Before embarking on our Gobi adventure, it occurred to us that with the cold temperatures and the sand, we might need some insulation for our kit, fuel and water. With temperatures below zero we were concerned that our drinking water might freeze, particularly overnight and perhaps when cycling due to the wind chill. Fuel for cooking is essential and cold temperatures can mean that it doesn’t pressurise and pump very easily. In fact when we toured in England on our John O’Groats – Land’s End trip, it froze one night in the peak district and we were unable to boil water or make porridge the next morning! We are also carrying laptop, cameras and our V4 battery packs for our bike dynamos. Neither of us were very sure how well they would cope with the cold, and most electrical items dislike sand!
Millican are a client of Liz’s and she designed their website, and even works for them on the road, internet permitting. Jorrit and Nicky are based in Keswick, near our home in the Lake District and whilst Liz was back in the UK she met up with them and happened to mention that we were thinking about some insulation for the Gobi. Jorrit and Nicky offered to make us some custom bags and covers, and the ‘Gobi Coolers’ were born!
Millican produce organic cotton canvas bags and accessories, with a high attention to detail and design. Some of their products use locally sourced, Herdwick wool, which is a fantastic natural insulator. Our Gobi Coolers would also be using Herdwick wool and would be handmade by Vera the Dame of Sewing.
Liz left the UK to return to China and meet up with Chris again. Shortly afterward a package arrived for us in Beijing, containing our Millican Goodies.
The box contained 2 fuel bottle covers, 1 laptop cover, 1 camera bag, 1 battery cover, Derek the Drinks Holder, with Andy the water bottle including a new sports top. We were delighted! Now that we have been in the Gobi for two weeks, we wanted to share our thoughts with you all and tell you about our Millican Gobi Coolers.
Fuel Bottle Cover
These are great, robust and compact, and our MSR fuel bottle fits inside perfectly, with a neat drawstring at the top to prevent dust and dirt getting in. So far we have been keeping the fuel bottles in their covers the entire time, even to fill up at the petrol station.
It has dropped to –5 degrees overnight and we have had no problem cooking porridge in the morning and the stove has lit first time! We are very pleased with these indeed!
We strap the fuel bottles to our bikes, in a water bottle cage, both for easy access and to keep the fuel away from everything else.
This case is a sturdy, nicely padded cover that fits our 10” notebook very well. Chris carried the laptop in one of his back panniers and if the bike falls over, we don’t have to worry much about it being bashed as the case will protect it. Some people use jumpers to wrap around their computers, but out here we’ve been wanting to wear all of our jumpers!
The pocket at the back is excellent for a dongle, cable, pens, maps and a little notebook. We’ve used it as much off the bikes, in the cities, as we have on the road. However the best feature is the protection from the dust, it really does make a huge difference.
Millican currently have Joe the Ipad Cover if you are interested in a similar product. But if you like the idea of a laptop case, why not email them and tell them.
We attach our small Panasonic camera to the front of the handlebars for easy access when cycling. The Millican bag has a roll top design, with a press stud style fastening. There is room for a spare battery, a cable as well as the camera.
We are finding the roll top design to be excellent at keeping the dust out and superior to design with zips as the sand can break zips pretty quickly. The stud fastening is more secure than it looks too, which is great.
Liz likes the roominess of the bag and the fact you can just drop the camera in and take it out with ease. Chris would prefer a smaller, more compact version of the case longer term, as our camera is only small.
Millican are looking to release camera bags as part of their range in the future, so we hope than any feedback we can give them at this stage will be useful! What do you think, big, small or both?
Whilst it’s not been as cold here in the Gobi as we had expected, due to us being delayed in Beijing, it’s been great to have the Gobi Coolers. We really value the support of Nicky and Jorrit, and appreciate all their efforts to help us on our travels.
If you are interested to find out more about their product range (or perhaps you need a more original Father’s Day gift than last year!), please visit their website: homeofmillican.com. It is now the season for summer shows, so if you are interested, see where they will be over the coming months.
A big thanks to all at Millican!
p.s. check out their cool and inspiring blog for more travel ideas!