Filson’s Ballistic Nylon Duffle Pack Really Is the Greatest Bag Ever Made

Filson also has seen fit to provide an expandable, waterproof liner in one of the cavernous side pockets, so you can separate wet gear from dry. If you’re on a weekend trip, going to the gym or swimming pool, out hiking, or dealing with young children’s mishaps, this is not a pocket, it is a godsend. 

Indeed, look anywhere on the Duffle Pack and you’ll find care and love has been lavished on the little things that make all the difference. According to Adam Hogarth, associate director of design at Filson, a normal zipper on the top was seen as insufficient. “We used a 10-gauge zipper in the end, which is not only super durable, it’s functional. They don’t freeze up easily,” he says. “If you take this out into the field and it gets very cold, it will always work.” The brass zipper pulls with leather loops are also intentionally larger, for easy grabbing with gloved hands.

The designers made the top opening extra wide, so you can get stuff in and out in a trice. Filson easily could have linked the carry handles with more ballistic nylon and some Velcro. But no. Here you get a quality bridle leather carry grip secured with metal fastenings, which will be stiff at first but ages over the years to be buttery smooth and pleasingly flexible. 

“It was always designed for field use,” Hogarth tells me. “But it’s been adopted by the everyday carrier because it is so versatile. I have one too, and I use it a lot when I’m going on trips as a carry-on bag.” 

Stuff it silly: Filson’s pack holds 46 liters.

Photograph: Jeremy White

So do I. In fact, I shun my more expensive wheelie cases in favor of this Duffle Pack every single time I fly. The low-cost, money-grabbing UK airline Ryanair likes nothing more than to charge you extra for even taking overhead carry-on suitcases onto a flight, but backpacks are free (for now). I can easily fit more than a week’s worth of clothes, all my toiletries, my tech, adapters, cables, and sunnies into the Duffle Pack’s 46 liters of space—more than Away’s 40-liter carry-on—then breeze onto the flight with the bag in backpack mode without having to pay one cent extra. Joyous.

In the airport and on the subway, I lightheartedly skip down steps and escalators as the wheelie brigade are left jostling their sliding suitcases, struggling to wrangle them into line on anything other than marble-flat flooring. I leave them in my wake to be the first person through security once again.

And if my Duffle Pack ever does let me down, Filson has a lifetime guarantee against failure or damage for “its intended usage,” though I’m not sure what you can’t use this bag for. 

Hogarth finishes our chat by reassuring me that Filson has no immediate plans to cast aside this carrying marvel. “It will remain in the line in some way. It may be updated. And when I say updated, I mean it’s only going to get better,” he says. Not possible, if you ask me. For my money, this is the greatest bag ever made.

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