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The Filson Briefcase

By Jesse Kornbluth
Published: Feb 03, 2016
Category: Gifts and Gadgets

READER TESTIMONIAL: I’ve had a Filson briefcase since the early 2000s. Mine survived a car fire and the laptop inside was fine.

It was a dark and stormy night, but I was warm as I walked up Madison Avenue, for I was wearing a Filson coat.

A man stepped out of an office building — Ralph Lauren. He looked me over. And smiled, because my coat looked a lot like something he’d make.

But it wasn’t.

“Filson,” he said.

“Might as well have the best,” I said, quoting the Filson motto, and, if truth be told, getting in a mild dig at Ralph, who laughed and stepped into a waiting car.

The important thing about that jacket, though, is this: I’d had it for a few years and it was still stiff. Like: bulletproof. It took several more years for it to soften. I wasn’t surprised. Clothes that last forever — that’s the Filson legacy, and it has been ever since Clinton C. Filson started outfitting miners and loggers in 1897.

It’s crazy to report that Filson has now made a product that’s “hot.” Its goods are not cheap and never discounted. They’re not widely available. If Filson advertises, I’ve missed every one.

So how is it that the Filson briefcase is showing up everywhere? And not with rugged outdoor types, like the guys you see running construction crews in Cialis commercials. The Filson briefcase is an urban thing. An executive thing. A style statement.

Actually this makes sense. We have entered a zone that prizes authenticity, and in a sea of products that look good but quickly fall apart, the Filson briefcase is so well designed and so well made it could be the last briefcase you’ll ever buy. At $265, that makes it a bargain. What if it glitches down the pike? Clinton Filson’s original pledge still applies: “We guarantee every item purchased from us. No more, no less. Your satisfaction is the sole purpose of our transaction.”

So what’s the fuss about? A 22-ounce, oil finish, cotton twill bag. Trim and tabs in tougher-than-your-beard bridle leather. An industrial strength brass zipper. A detachable strap. And room for stuff: 2 full length interior open pockets; 1 interior business card pocket; 1 interior calculator/cell phone pocket; 2 full width exterior open side pockets; 2 small exterior end utility pockets. Translation: It will hold a 15-inch MacBook Pro, a power adapter, a notebook and a Kindle. [To buy the Original Filson briefcase from Amazon, click here. To buy the larger Filson briefcase/computer case from Amazon, click here.]

A conundrum awaits you: what color? You have a choice of three: otter green, brown, black. If you’re like me, you’ll think green is the classic. Or maybe black.

The conundrum that does not await you: wanting one. Because they are that cool. Proof? Read the Amazon comments.