Filson 24hr Briefcase, One Year Later

This is still my primary office bag, and it’s still the best (easily).

It’s been over a year now since I declared that I was going all in on the 24hr Briefcase as the primary bag I take into the office. This change has actually held true over that stretch to my own amazement. The only time I deviate is for testing other bags or when I needed a larger bag to tote some extras to or from the office.

I am not sure I’ve stuck with a bag this long for office use, and that alone is a testament to how great the 24hr is.

It’s almost perfect in every scenario I need it to be used for. And it’s so good that I regularly consider bringing it as a personal item over other travel shoulder bags I have on trips. (My original review is here.)

I wanted to revisit this bag now that I’ve had a lot of use and time with it. Combining it with all the other variants/colors of this bag, I am coming on nearly two years of using a 24hr Briefcase. I am more confident now than ever that this is the best bag you can choose for office carry.

What I Appreciate Most

It’s hard to figure out where to start with these longer-term reviews. So with the 24hr I felt it was best to start with the things I appreciate the most about the bag, as I think a lot of these items are instances where you don’t mind them at first (or perhaps don’t care) and over time you start to really value them.

  • The Slouchy Style: the lack of structure and nature of a relatively lightweight waxed canvas means that over time, a bag that looked a little slouchy at the start develops more slouch over more use. It’s not that the bag looks saggy by any means — it’s more that it looks like a t-shirt you’ve had for a year, more than a brand new t-shirt. There’s a certain softness to all the lines, which develops and gives the bag a less fresh aesthetic. This isn’t truly patina as I typically talk about, but the crisp creases of wax are gone, and instead, a smoother-looking fabric is left behind.
  • Smart Organization: my first few takes on this bag left me longing for some level of better organization. Fast forward to today, and I find the organization of this bag really smartly done. There is still not a lot of organization for small items, but the pockets that exist inside the bag and the two front ones are so generously sized that they are more versatile in use than you expect at first. I am always blown away by how much I can shove into the front pockets and yet how easy it is to get to any of the gear inside.
  • Excellent Size: because of the materials and construction of this bag, it can ‘flex’ to hold a lot of gear you would initially think it would not hold. You can absolutely stuff this bag to the level where it’s not comfortable to carry. At the same time, you can trim down your gear and not look like you are carrying an overly large bag. The way this bag is sized has almost completely removed my need to carry my larger Journeyman to the office when I bring items into the office.
  • The Open Top Pockets on the Front: these pockets have ruined most other bags for me. In the same way that the Filson Zip Tote’s side/end pockets are amazing, these open-top pockets hidden behind the two large front pockets are fantastic. I regularly stash my car key, wallet, or any other minutiae in these pockets as I move about with the bag. They are reasonably secure and detract from nothing on the bag if you never use them — but the first time you do use them, you’ll quickly find you rely on them constantly.
  • Cotton Webbing Strap: At the start, I was wearing only the leather shoulder strap to upgrade the look. Then I started to worry about color transfer from the leather onto my nice work clothing, so I moved back to the cotton strap the bag comes with. And then I fell in love with the cotton strap. It doesn’t look as polished as the leather strap, but it is more comfortable without any worries of color transfer. The only real issue is lint, damned lint, this strap attracts a lot of it.
  • It’s the right look: the bags you carry say something about you, or at least they should. Carry a bag with a corporate logo from a company you don’t work for, and I know you are frugal in some way. I want my bag to look professional, be expensive (literally), and seem like it could easily be at home in a boardroom or a forest. That’s what matters to me, and that’s what this 24hr hits perfectly.

It’s not every single item on that list but the culmination of all items being present in a single bag which really make the 24hr a fantastic bag.

What I Am Bothered By

Not everything is perfect with this bag; there are a few things that bother me — not a lot, but enough.

  • The back panel: The entire outside of this bag is oil-waxed tin cloth, which is a great material. But I would much prefer the back panel of this bag to be something like a rugged twill so that there’s no worry of wax transfer to my clothing (since this is where the bag rests against my body). This is more than a passing concern, as I do get a mark of wax on my car seat where the bag sits heading to the office. However, I’ve yet to see anything of note on my clothing.
  • Handle keeper: It would be really nice if the two leather handles had a handle keeper on them so that they could be easier to quickly grab both. It would shift the looks of the bag a touch, but I think it’s a net positive if added, and I know in the past there have been variants with this.
  • Bottom padding: a small amount of padding along the bottom of the bag would go a long way to making it even nicer for carrying electronics. The laptop sleeve is padded just enough, but anything outside that sleeve has essentially no padding. Even if the bottom were also rugged twill, that would be enough to forgo any further padding.
  • Key keeper: right now, the key keeper clip is located in the rear pocket of the bag; I think this would ideally be located in one (any) of the front pockets. Who wants that lump against their body on the back of the bag? Not I.

All of these are so minor that I would be ecstatic if any one of them were changed, but I would not be compelled to buy a new bag unless all of them were changed.

Current Advice

This is the bag for the office. There are specific reasons to choose a backpack — mainly if your commute to work is not via a car. Outside of that, I think a shoulder bag is the most correct, and of those options, the 24hr Briefcase is easily the best shoulder bag on the market.

I won’t stop looking, but unseating this bag is an extremely high bar at this point.

Buy here, $395.

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