Long term readers will no doubt recall my quest a few months back to find a backpack suitable for a man of style. The point was to do away with the typical company-issued, black nylon backpack most people use to cart around their laptop and workday miscellany. This turned into quite a task, and resulted in not one, but two posts, firstly this one, and not long after an additional one. The backpack I lusted for after that research was by Home of Millican in the UK, and I still hope to own one in the future.
I did however become aware of the Nullarbor backpack by Australian company Whillas and Gunn. Now, Whillas & Gunn are not exactly strangers to me, I’ve had the pleasure of owning one of their waistcoats for a couple of years now, but they’re hard to come by around these parts, and I wasn’t aware that they also made backpacks. Until I discovered their new online shop, and found the Nullarbor. I know it will sound odd, but I’m talking instant backpack lust. The Nullarbor is named after a desert plain in Southern Australia, a suitable name for an outback style backpack.
You may be thinking now that this superficially looks like many other retro-styled, canvas backpacks? Yes, I would agree, up to a point. The difference is that this one is the real deal. What makes this backpack special? For starters, I love the rugged look of it. The thick canvas is described as Rhino Canvas, and certainly feels rugged enough to last a long time. The colour and feel brings to mind vintage army equipment, though the design is definitely modern.
The leather detailing is spot on, in proper thick leather. The hardware for the straps works in a way that won’t wear out or break, which is something that will be appreciated down the road. All the metal hardware appears to be brass, just another detail that indicates the attention that has gone into the design.
And apart from the rugged, outback style, you also get the more delicate details, like the marvellous striped inside lining, and the zippered inside pocket. I also very much appreciate the properly padded shoulder straps. Nothing worse than carrying a laden backpack with straps cutting into your shoulders. Nice design touches like the W&G print on the straps, and the printed patches on the inside.
If there was one improvement I’d like to see, it would be adding a divider inside, so that a laptop could lie in it’s own pocket and save it from sharing the space with rations, water bottles and sundry outback tools. And the best part of it? It’s actually pretty reasonably priced for a backpack of this quality and class.