Filson wool tote
Shopping From the Past

Archival Review: Filson totes

Tin cloth tote (new tan webbing)
On Sunday, Sara and I did a quick spot check on the new totes at the Filson flagship store in Portland, Oregon. It’s a little early in the season for wool, but apparently the new versions are selling–even the crazy electric blue/black plaid tote (a version not currently shown on the Filson site). Though I love the eccentric look of this tote, and robust blanket weight wool, it doesn’t quite stand up on its own and I question its practical use value. Since I own more totes than I’ll ever wear out, I suppose this version could be my indoor, workplace, hallway or elevator tote. Send along your own suggestions for the proposed function of a wool rather than waxed bodied bag (for snowdrift climates, I imagine?).
After the classic tin cloth tote w/green webbing disappeared from the Filson website in July, I was concerned that this practical, affordable, Seattle-made bag had been discontinued. Several friends and I use this bag on a daily basis, and after a year of wear, the bag still looks great (though mine is slightly frayed at wear points on the webbing). Although I love the classic twill Filson tote, the tin cloth version, with taffeta lining, really forgives sloppy use as a grocery bag or bag-within-a-bag commuter. To my relief, Filson reintroduced an unchanged version with khaki webbing. Though I prefer the graphic contrast of the green webbing against the tin cloth fabric, I’m happy to see this basic model back in the Filson line-up.
On the subject of totes, I want to campaign for Gilles Berthoud, French bagmaker, to produce a tote bag that combines the fabric and leather trim of his bicycle panniers w/the carrying capacity, basic structure, of a Filson tin cloth tote:

5 thoughts on “Archival Review: Filson totes”

  1. Good stuff. I have two of the zipper tote bags that I depend on quite a bit.

    If I were to get any of the wool bags, it would probably be one of the medium field bags in burgundy. I can’t think of any practical reason for it over one of their regular bags, but it would be nice to have for variety during winter.

  2. I carry my Billykirk stonewashed tote these days. It is a trusty friend.

    For the wool tote, they look nice, especially the red/black one. I guess it can be used as a gym bag – holding shoes, clothes, an empty bottle, a lunch box, et al.

  3. I can’t quite fathom owning a tote bag that will become moth food if not carefully managed.

    But one can’t really have too many tote bags. I have some that are indoor totes only and are used as portable files; one for gardening books and notes, one for each obscure textile research project…

  4. Love idea of tote bag as filing system. We have several stationed around the house containing nothing but loose files and stray papers (the outcome of last minute cleaning operations).

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