×
SIGN-UP AND SCORE THE LATEST NEWS ON THE WORLD'S BEST CARRY
Carryology delivered. Your inbox. every two weeks.
Only the best stuff (and giveaways!), we promise.

Backpacks

Drive By :: Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L

by , October 9, 2015

James Jeffrey reviews the Millican Smith the Roll Pack…

Millican, the change of pace kings based in the Lake District in lovely England have a new range of bags known as the Maverick Collection. Based on their heritage of being influenced by the maverick himself, Millican Dalton, the bags are built from eco-friendly materials and embrace one of the best eco practices around, making stuff that is used well, lasts well and will survive the test of time.

The result is a group of clean and understated bags made of Bionic canvas, metal hardware and a minimum of seams to reduce wear and any potential of failure.

Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L

Millican have been covered here on Carryology before. I have reviewed one of their earlier pieces, an organic cotton writer’s bag. Their newer product is tighter and feels like a great selection of fit for purpose materials and constructions. For this Drive By, we got behind the wheel of the Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L.

Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
.

Who It Suits

Simply put, the bag’s fabric looks awesome. It is matt finish with added texture and a natural dual tone to the color. This gives the base fabric an interesting blend of technical and heritage tones. The bags are all monocolored and minimal on the branding details, so they have a touch of sophistication to them that pulls them into a more everyday appropriate range of outdoor gear.

Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L

Who It Doesn’t

I was using the 25L version of the pack and the main point to consider is that if you are wanting to use this as a city commute bag you are carrying a lot of webbing straps and external storage pockets. The end result is that it is slightly too busy to fit well into an office environment. I think that the minimalism of the Smith the Roll Pack 18L would be better suited to this environment, as it has just one webbing loop/clip to deal with.

Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L

Design

The bag looks great, the construction is really solid, and the pocketing is well balanced, with lots of opportunities to quickly throw gear in and special locations (the discreet pocket behind the back padding is nice) for organization. I used it as my main travel bag for a recent trip, it performed great and I quickly knew my way around the pack and where was suitable to drop things.
 .
Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
  .
The big side pockets could hold a lot of random gear as needed, such as a folded up magazine, water bottle, sunglasses etc.
  .
Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
  .
As per all rolltop bags, you have to be prepared to dive right into it to get anything small that can find its way to the lower sections of the main area.
  .
Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
  .
The front external pocket was laid out well and fortunately had a slip pocket behind it which was iPad-sized. This was great because the constant use of G-hooks on the flapped pocket is not ideal. The webbing loop under the flap was hard to locate and did get a bit frustrating. As I was in India I was trying to be secure and also needing quick regular access to this pocket, so it was a bit of a pain.
  .
Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
  .
Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
  .

The main closing G-hook was great; it slides easily into a leather loop that is part of the top grab handle.

“The bags are all monocolored and minimal on the branding details, so they have a touch of sophistication to them that pulls them into a more everyday appropriate range of outdoor gear.”

The G-hooks and webbing are all excellent quality. The thing that makes this bag great is the body fabric; it is a cotton, recycled polyester and high tensile polyester blend which feels tough, natural and semi-technical. A large part of the bag is unlined and it does not need to be due to the well-balanced stiffness/softness of the canvas.

Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
.

Features

There’s no airmesh present. The pack utilizes tough fabrics and appropriate padding, with lots of organization pockets and a laptop sleeve. The shoulder straps are comfortable, but the sternum strap is kind of frustrating due to it being a metal latch construction and the waist strap is thin webbing with metal latches. Both of these were quickly removed and have not found their way back onto the bag.
  .
Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
  .
Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
  .
The rolltop and storm-flapped zips make the bag feel pretty bombproof; getting caught in some rain or similar is a non-issue. The fabric is impregnated with wax and water does not feel threatening at all.
 .
“…the sternum strap is kind of frustrating due to it being a metal latch construction and the waist strap is thin webbing with metal latches.”
It has a laptop sleeve in the back section which claims to fit 15″ tech and my 15″ Retina MacBook just fits. It requires correct alignment and I must stress if you have anything bigger this bag will be a super-tight fit. With the Retina MBP I have to be careful of the alignment and be aware of the zip pulling past the edge of the Mac.
  .
Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
  .
Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
 .

Alternatives To Consider

For a heritage vibe with hard-wearing construction, the Tanner Goods Wilderness Rucksack is definitely one to look at.
 .
For a cleaner, office-friendly silhouette check out the Archival Roll Top or Bedouin Foundry’s Delireis backpack.
 .
Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L
.

Verdict

I really like the bag but feel that I don’t love it. Why?

It all depends on what you are after. I don’t need as much side storage as the bag offers. After using the pockets they push out and don’t quite go back, meaning you have some large pockets muddying up the silhouette. It’s not an issue if you are using this as an outdoor bag, but if you are trying to ‘dress it up’ for a meeting or office it is very difficult. This is compounded by having G-hooks and webbing hanging from lots of spots.

Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L

That and dealing with a G-hook hidden under the flap of my most frequently accessed pocket.

“After using the pockets they push out and don’t quite go back, meaning you have some large pockets muddying up the silhouette.”

The materials are great, the comfort is good, and the story and overall feel of the bag is awesome. I would recommend considering the trade-offs between a cleaner pack, such as the Smith 18L, and the advantages of more organization from the Smith 25L.

Millican Smith the Roll Pack 25L

The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access
6
Organization
7
Comfort
8.5

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
7.5
Build, Materials & Hardware
8.5
Features
7

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
8.5
Brand experience
8
Value
7
X Factor
6

Reader's Review

Be the first to review

All Reviews

Subscribe

Carryology delivered. Your inbox. every two weeks. Only the best stuff, we promise.