Chris Townsend likes a tough daypack made from recycled fabric, with some interesting features.
This year Millican are making all their packs from recycled polyester. The Smith 25L, which I’ve been using since last autumn, uses the equivalent of 44 single use plastic bottles. This is great but of course the product also has to perform. I’m pleased to say the Smith 25L does. It’s a small daypack made from a tough fabric that feels like canvas rather than polyester and indeed Dalton Canvas is the name Millican use for the material. The fabric is thick and quite heavy. This is not a pack for ultralighters. At 1.2 kg it weighs more than some packs twice the size. But then it should last well and I don’t think the weight matters that much in a small daypack in which you won’t be carrying that much anyway.
That the Smith 25L isn’t designed for heavy loads is shown by the lack of a padded hipbelt. Instead there’s just a webbing strap. The back does have a framesheet and two long mesh-covered foam sections for comfort and the shoulder straps are well padded. As the full name of the pack suggests the Smith has a roll top. This closes with a metal clip buckle as does the roomy front pocket. There’s an open-topped space behind this pocket too. On the sides are two more open-topped pockets. These are quite roomy and have elasticated openings. Hidden in the edges of the back panel are two zipped pockets for flat items. The small one is good for phone, wallet and keys (it has a key clip), the larger one for maps – it will take a laptop if you want to use it for urban life. There are four pockets inside for maps, laptop, phone and more too.
The Smith 25L isn’t big enough for winter mountain days but it’s proved fine for shorter, lower level walks, and even ski tours, when I haven’t needed ice axe and crampons. I find it comfortable and haven’t noticed the absence of a hipbelt. For summer days out it should hold all I need. The weight and price are quite high but I expect this pack to prove very durable.