A company with ties to the Gold Rush creates a bag tailored to the 21st century.
Clinton C. Filson was well into middle age by the time he established his outfitter company near the end of the 19th century. Prior to settling in Seattle in the 1890s, Filson had homesteaded in Nebraska and traveled the countryside as a railroad conductor. However, he found his true calling when he started his company, C.C. Filson’s Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers, in 1897, just as thousands of prospectors were making their way to the Alaskan wilderness for a chance at discovering a fortune during the Klondike Gold Rush.
In the beginning, Filson manufactured clothing, blankets, and knit goods, while also selling boots, shoes, moccasins, and sleeping bags. Two years later, with the gold rush dwindling, Filson looked to other outdoor trades and soon was making clothing for the timber industry. This pattern continued, with Filson always manufacturing new products marketed to outdoorsman and the most prevalent trades. Through all of it, he emphasized top-quality materials, as evidenced by a quote from the company’s 1914 catalog: “The goods we quote must not be confounded with the cheap and vastly inferior grade with which the market is over-run. Such goods are not only useless for the purpose for which they are intended, but the person wearing them would be better off without them.”
In 1991, the company reintroduced a luggage line made of rugged twill and bridle leather, and in 2000, it introduced a padded computer bag (shown here), which costs $315. According to Mark Korros, the company’s CEO, because the bag is made from the same durable and waterproof materials that characterized the company’s first line of luggage, it will develop an antique appearance and will grow softer with age. “The bag starts to develop its own patina, like a billfold you’ve used for years,” he explains. “It’s not only built for longevity, but it starts to become a comfort piece. Once it’s broken in, it starts to become [a part of] you.”
Measuring more than 16 inches wide, 14 inches tall, and more than 7 inches deep, the bag offers plenty of space for a full-sized laptop, and full width pockets on either side provide additional space for greater organization. An exterior oil finish keeps the bag waterproof and resistant to mud and abrasions, while inside, high-density foam padding guarantees safe laptop transport. But, as Korros has learned from experience, you should expect the bag to spark a few conversations while you’re on the road. “I travel with Filson bags and constantly people stop me in the airport and say, “That’s a Filson bag!” he says. “They’re very quick to identify with it.”- S.T.
C.C. Filson Co, www.filson.com