Filson Dryden Briefcase review

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REVIEW – The staple of many commuters and office dwellers is a sturdy, dependable bag… preferably one that can take a few hits and look darn good doing it. Enter the Filson Dryden Briefcase which was sent to us from Bespoke Post.

What is it?

The Filson Dryden is a rugged, water-repellant briefcase featuring a Cordura nylon exterior, heavy-duty leather handles, a trolley strap and can fit up to 15” laptops.

The Dryden briefcase retains that classic satchel look with rugged and lightweight nylon construction.

What’s in the box?

  • just the briefcase itself with removable shoulder strap

Hardware specs

  • 16″L x 3¾”W x 12″H fits up to 15” laptops
  • 2 lbs 3 oz
  • 14L capacity
  • Water-repellent 1000D Cordura® nylon + nylon lining + Bridle Leather
  • Two large exterior pockets
  • Interior slotted patch pockets
  • Trolley strap

Design and features

At first blush, the design of the Dryden briefcase from Filson is the right combination of handsome, clean, and understated. It looks good without being flashy. It’s light and rugged but doesn’t look like something you’d find in a SWAT catalog. And it’s reminiscent of a tough leather satchel without the high cost of leather.

The outer casing of the Dryden briefcase is made of Codura nylon, which has a decent amount of water resistance. Light spills and rain will bead up and wick off of it easily. It wouldn’t withstand submersion, but outside of a torrential downpour, it would go a long way toward keeping your stuff dry.

It’s big enough to carry your laptop and accessories without being heavy or bulky.

One thing I really loved about the Dryden was the dual carry options. One could easily forego the thick shoulder strap, which can be removed quickly with the standard c-clip fasteners, and simply use the extra-large leather handles. They’re quite a standout feature on the bag, as you can see.

At a mere 3.5” wide, the main compartment isn’t made to carry more than a laptop, tablet and perhaps a few other flat items like papers, magazines, cables and a paperback. I think that’s why they smartly called it a “briefcase” instead of a messenger bag, which it more closely resembles at first glance.

The main compartment is only a few inches wide, so you really have to consider what you want to carry with you.

That said, you can pack quite a bit more into the zipper pockets. I’ve been using those two pockets to carry gloves, wrapped up cables, a Bluetooth mouse, AirPods and hand sanitizer. These two outside zipper pockets have sleeves and pen holders inside, satisfying organization wonks.

The main compartment has one large padded partition that can accommodate a 15” laptop, which can be secured with a Velcro strap. Stitched into the main compartment is also one large sleeve and one zippered, netted pocket.

Finally, on the back of the case is one large zipper pocket which really wouldn’t hold anything thicker than a notebook or a magazine.

While the back zipper pocket is large, you can’t fit anything much thicker than a couple magazines or notebooks.

The back has a heavy-duty trolley strap for quickly slipping over an extended luggage handle, always a nice feature.

There is, however, a trolley strap for easy toting on your luggage.

So as far as pockets go, it’s pretty standard stuff. I think most people would be just fine with the number, but personally I like a few more interior zipper pockets for added security.

There’s not much more than a couple of interior pockets, in case you love loads of tiny pockets and secret compartments.

Speaking of zippers, the leather pull ties on the zippers themselves are pretty great. It’s pretty rare to see them this large on a briefcase bag like this, but that does add to them flopping around a bit more than usual when walking around.

The outer zipper pockets are surprisingly roomy, though.

On the topic of security, it doesn’t seem like the bag has any standout safety features aside from looking rather plain, so as not to attract unwanted attention. No secret compartments or zipper locks… not even a reflector for walking or riding in traffic, so that’s something to take note of.

Really, outside of the minor lack of these security features, the only knock I could lay on the Dryden is the price. Even this, as I tend to repeat in every review of something that could be considered a hefty initial investment, is subjective. There are those who would never drop more than $40 on a bag. And others who spend much more. But I can tell you this bag will likely last you years, judging from the build quality and my time with it.

Carry just the essentials and you ought to be fine.

What I like

  • Unassuming design
  • Extra large handles for briefcase-style carry
  • Super-rugged and lightweight

What I’d change

  • Pocket addicts might want a few more
  • Could be too expensive for some

Final thoughts

My time with the Filson Dryden briefcase was, overall, great. I’d have to say it’s the perfect size for everyday carry. It’s lightweight, extremely durable, and really makes you consider only packing the essentials. I would think anyone willing to swallow the initial price will be very happy.

Price: $175
Where to buy: You can pick up a Dryden Briefcase from Bespoke Post’s website, or directly from Filson’s store at a higher price, in Whiskey (as reviewed) or two other color options.
Source: The sample of this product was provided by Bespoke Post.

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