Josh Newman

Filson Dryden Backpack 20152980 Whiskey

Inside you’ll find a couple of small pockets to slip your phone into and maybe a pen or a vape or something if you want to use the skinny pockets. This is the best looking backpack you can buy. Classic materials, offers patina, durable, and the most classic of classic backpack looks. And the thing about this bag is that it can easily look at home in a fancy office, a TV Show, or out in the backwoods as a hard use bag. It looks right no matter where it seems to be — not many bags can do that (I can’t think of another). The main compartment has one large padded partition that can accommodate a 15” laptop, which can be secured with a Velcro strap.

If you’ve read a few of my reviews, you know that I never hesitate to criticize an aspect of a boot that needs criticizing — and I’d never recommend anything I didn’t love. If that sounds kind of stupid, you should pick the Dryden. If you prefer a little romance in your backpacks over logic, get the Journeyman.

filson dryden backpack review

Particularly with the main compartment, the lip that goes over the zip doesn’t move much and I found myself needing to set the bag down with two free hands to de-snag it rather regularly. A useful photography companion, this comfortably held a mirrorless, 400mm zoom, a prime lens and all the accoutrements that come with taking photography gear out and about. I do happen to be neurotic with my tech, admittedly those extra lenses were in cases, but the semi-rigid structure of the bag allowed me to create my own system for using it. Most camera bags I use are very specific about where you put gear, so I found this was actually rather refreshing, particularly as my valuable contents were somewhat disguised. I didn’t have any inclement weather to test the capabilities fully, but it handled some water spray with ease.

Here we go, the Filson Journeyman Backpack a bag I have been waiting to test for a long time. This is an awesome bag which I love very much, but I can’t say it is better than many of my other bags. All orders must have a minimum total of $250 across all items in cart. We had to move to Texas, so getting things from this store is like taking back a little piece of home.

To counterbalance their classic, old fashioned, waxed canvas backpack the Journeyman, Filson released its more modern, functional, and cheaper nylon brother the Dryden. I’ve used both for months, and we’re going to decide which one you should buy. This is a strong middle-of-the-pack backpack for Filson. It clearly has more of the high-end materials than some of the sub-$200 offerings from the PNW company, but also the design itself seems more thorough and in line with their DNA. I enjoyed the comfort, style, and capabilities of this bag, however I can’t deny that the ease of use wasn’t what I’m used to from their bags.

Canvas and twill soften up over time and with use, and while the Dryden will break in a little, nylon of this heft and tenacity won’t soften much. Some people see that as a pro, because the Dryden is a lot easier to stand up on its bottom. Others complain the bag takes up more room than the foldable, rollable Journeyman.

The straps themselves are surprisingly comfortable for what they are and the size of the bag. You won’t be hauling heavy loads with this bag often, but even stuffed full and weighing in close to 20lbs, this bag was still comfortable enough to carry around. The straps contour to your body well, and offer enough padding to keep the complaints from your shoulders to a minimum.

Every Filson product is guaranteed for life against failure or damage in its intended usage. 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.