Tricks of the Trade: How to Properly Pack a Filson Bag with Max Wastler
Max Wastler is a writer living and working in Chicago, Illinois. Through his blog, All Plaidout, he strives to tell a uniquely American story through the people he meets, the places he goes. Today, he details the perfect way to pack your Filson. For business or pleasure, make sure to start your travels with these time-tested tips.
When I set to packing my bags for a week of travel, I flash back to a particular family road trip when I was six years old. As my father loaded up the family Jeep, I’d budge the luggage with what strength my little arms could muster, eventually giving up to watch my dad’s wizardly mechanics. He’d eye the pile in our driveway, calculating how to fit every suitcase, every knapsack, and the cooler, all the while reminding me, “Everything has a place.” It is a mantra for him, and it’s become one for me.The past few years, I’ve spent a lot of time traveling, from living abroad to selling shirts around the Midwest to my current job, which takes me across the country and back visiting American makers. And with all this time on the road, I learned to perfect the art of packing. And speaking of perfect, my go to luggage on week-long trips has become a Filson briefcase and tote bag. First, to visualize the pack, I lay everything out:
- One suit and a couple ties
- A rain jacket and a sweater or a wool shirt
- Three shirts
- One pair of jeans
- Clothes for running and swimming
- Casual shoes, in this case cowboy boots
- Dress shoes
- Casual belt and a dress belt
- Socks and underwear
- Dopp kit filled with my toiletries
- Laptop and iPad
(For this particular trip, I decided to fly with cowboy boots, jeans, my suit jacket and tie.)
Tips on shoes: In keeping with my “use every inch” approach, I always stow my socks and underwear, swimming gear and and a belt inside my dress shoes. You know what they say about guys with big feet: large shoes. As for running shoes, I swear by a slim pair that double as trail hikers. By tying them together with their laces, they pack flat. By packing the shoes into the tote bag first, this allows plenty of space to fit the remaining clothing.
On smart briefcase storage: Thankfully I can store all of my favorite books, magazines, and movies on my iPad. Rather than my stuffing dog-eared copy of this month’s Esquire into the briefcase’s inner pockets, I can utilize that valuable space for my folded dress shirts.
Consolidate the soft goods: By folding the sleeves of my rain jacket inwards in front, then the shoulders, and then from the base of the jacket, rolling the body of the jacket into its own hood, it creates a tight bundle that squeezes perfectly into Filson’s tote bag. Then, I roll the pants from the cuff to the waistband and place them next to the rain jacket.
Save precious time: Upon arrival, I am fairly meticulous about hanging everything up, and before heading home, folding it all up. It’s well worth the extra minute or two and saves on ironing time in my hotel room. And though I always come back with more than what I left, I try to keep it to a single reusable shopping bag at most.
Remember: Everything has a place.