This latest post is a review of the Millican Keith The Writer’s Bag. I was looking for a new messenger style bag to carry to work, meetings, etc. It had to hold my laptop, all the usual accessories and a small camera, which in my case was the Fuji X100s. Ever since I was introduced to Millican products by photographer David Cleland I have been impressed with the design and quality of their products so this is where I started my search. For those of you new to this company you can check out their excellent website at Home of Millican. On initial inspection I noticed that they had several possibilities and after several hours and feeling a bit like Goldilocks; viewing Mark, a bit too small; Stewart, a bit too big; I found Keith who looked just right.
I have been living with Keith for a few days now and have to say I am delighted with it. The bag is made out of waterproof canvas and leather and feels really durable and hard wearing. However I should point out that it is a soft bag, which makes it light and comfortable to carry, but you should be aware that there is very little padding and this may be an issue if you subject it to a lot of bangs and knocks, although for normal everyday use it feels more than adequate. Inside it has a dedicated compartment for a laptop, which holds my 15″ Apple MacBook Pro Retina with ease (other laptop manufacturers are available but why anyone would choose to use one is beyond me). The main compartment holds my full size iPad, Kindle, Sony earbuds, Fuji X100s camera in its leather case, batteries, memory cards, filters, an A5 notebook, various cables, chargers and other adapters. The front compartment has two pouches, which I use for my portable hard drive, and USB storage case (holds six USB drives) various other small accessories, A6 notebook and business cards. There are also three slots for pens or stylus. The bag holds all this and there is still room for more.
In use the bag feels well balanced and not too heavy. However one accessory that I would like to have would be a padded non-slip shoulder pad. I have one of these for my Billingham camera bag and it does make a big difference when carrying the bag for longer periods. If anyone from Millican is listening, this is one accessory I would really like you to make, preferably trimmed in the nice brown leather you use on your bags. I would buy one immediately. I could transfer this between my other Millican bags, when required. The bag doesn’t have lots of internal pockets but my top tip for this, and indeed any other bag, is to use ziplock pouches for storing smaller items as it saves rummaging about in the bottom of the bag when you need them quickly.
On the back of the bag you will find one large pocket, secured by a press stud, and a smaller zipped pocket, which is ideal for holding a wallet, phone or keys. As this pocket is close to your body it adds to the feeling of security. I never like carrying such items in the front or side pockets. My only complaint with this bag relates to the large pocket on the back. It will hold A4 documents unfolded but the press stud will not close (see photo below). If it was located about one centimetre higher you could fit A4 pages and be able to close the stud for security. This seems like such a shame, particularly when Millican brand this as a “writers bag”, however, it’s a small point and A4 pages will easily fit inside the main compartments with no problems. In fairness Millican do suggest that this pocket is used for travel documents, such as passports, boarding passes or train tickets and these will fit easily.
In conclusion I must say that I absolutely love this bag and expect that it will give me years of good service. I know from my previous experience that Millican products are practical, hard wearing and will only get better with age. If you’re in the market for something like this then I highly recommend it to you.