Millican Fraser The Rucksack 32L | Review
Don't be taken in by the lush, retro looks and traditional styling, Millican's Fraser the Rucksack also makes a competent hill companion if you choose.
- By Jon -
'Millican's brilliant mix of archly retro styling, tough-feeling Bionic Canvas and thoroughly modern design and features makes it a quirky, but super practical pack in or out of town. Grintastic... '
Outdoors Magic: Ace retro styling, bombproof feel, fantastic detailing, comfortable, stealth lap-top sleeve, forged alloy buckles and clips, hidden pockets everywhere.
Outdoors Tragic: Slightly heavy, comfortable but basic back system, not very 'serious'... sternum strap fiddly. Pricey.
Outdoors Grabbit? We defy you not to look at Fraser and smile. Brilliant retro alpine styling meets tough, new era 'Bionic Canvas' in a super cool-looking package embellished with loads of neat and practical touches. Because although it's a little weighty by modern standards and the traditional back system is, well, traditional, this is a surprisingly practical, sturdy all-round walking pack that also works brilliantly as a cool everyday town carrier. Lap-top or hydration system, compass or tube pass, map or Kindle? It's your call.
Retro-styled urban and outdoor daypack / Bionic Canvas fabric / secure top-lid with drawcord closure / storage pockets for maps, bottle etc / hydration - lap-top sleeve / two compression straps / External zip pocket with internal key ring / two zip-pockets on hip-belt / removable hi-belt / 25L version also available.
Full Review Below
Millican Fraser The Rucksack 32L | Performance
Millican is a young, renegade Lakes-based upstart of a company doing things in their own, distinctive, sustainable and retro-styled way. Take the 'Bionic Canvas' fabric. It's 57% recycled polyester and 38% cotton, plus 5% high tenacity polyester, all impregnated with paraffin wax.
It looks and feels great and is a claimed '30% stronger than regular canvas'. The trim is leather and the whole look harks back to vintage alpine styling, You could imagine Clint Eastwood dragging one of these up the North Face of the Eiger.
All of which is great, but dig a little bit deeper and you realise that Fraser has a thoroughly modern side to him. Take the ace-looking forged aluminium buckles of a type first seen on Lowe Alpine's most technical climbing packs. They're everywhere from the waist belt fastener to the slightly fiddly sternum straps and they not only look great - plastic, pah... - they work really well too.
Then there are the artful hidden pockets. One, slotted away in the back system, has a neat key-clip and space for your wallet or phone. Ideal for commuting, but just as good for simply storing things. The side stash pockets are gusseted and expand to hold a bottle, map or anything else you want to carry and inside, the hydration pack sleeve doubles as a lap-top one holding anything up to 17" says Millican.
For crowded tube commutes you can simply remove the padded hip-belt and take advantage of the neat, top-mounted grab loop. But if you're walking in the hills, stick it back on and take advantage of the handy hip-belt pockets that Clint never knew he needed, but are idea for small things, snacks and compact cameras.
Speaking of which, how does it carry? Impressively well is the answer. The back-system is a basic stiffer plus foam padding affair, but it just works. The shoulder straps feel just right, there's added support from the waist belt and it nestles nicely into your back.
Not quite as sophisticated as more modern designs, but for normal walking with medium loads we thought it worked just fine and the shoulder straps actually have a simplified take on Lowe Alpine's body variant tolerant adaptive fit technology, but shhh, we didn't tell you that...
Millican Fraser The Rucksack 32L | Verdict
Don't get suckered into thinking that Fraser The Rucksack just looks retrotastic in an vintage-styled urban chic sort of way. Not only is he / it beautifully designed and put together from top-notch materials and other components, the genius of it, is that Fraser's equally capable in town or on the hill.
Strip off the hip-belt, slip a lap-top inside along with your gym kit and some sandwiches and you're good to go for your commute. But belt up again, add a hydration system, some waterproofs, hill-snacks and the the rest and it makes a tough, comfortable hill-walking companion too.
You do pay for the quality and design flair to the tune of £135, but we reckon the tough Bionic Canvas will last and last and the Fraser feel-good factor is arguably priceless. Not for everyone, but if you like the ethos and the looks, beauty is more than skin-deep for once.