King Kong Backpack II Review


To say that I have an affinity for backpacks is an understatement. Personally, I have a stockpile of backpacks; some for style, some for utility, and some just for the hell of it.  Whether it’s for gym, work, or play, everyone needs a nice backpack. Now, I get that most people aren’t as crazy about backpacks as me, or aren’t willing to spend copious amounts of money of multiple bags.

So why can’t you have it all in one? Backpacks that are directed towards gym and play don’t quite have professional look for work. Backpacks that fit the bill for work are a little too fragile for gym and play. Backpacks that are for style don’t have the utility for gym, school or work. You can forget all that now, as the King Kong Backpack II looks to solve your backpack woes with a single bag that you can use for everything in your life.

Call me vain, but appearance means a great deal to me. Look at cargo pants for example: they’ve got tons of utility, but you wouldn’t catch me dead in a pair of them. No offense to the folks in the world that still fall into the Gap, but it’s not 2001 anymore. Of course, they’re not without their specific purposes, but for the most part they’re a no go.Backpacks that have a gazillion pockets, giant logos, tons of tacticool webbing, or all of the above would be great for a ruck, but some people need a professional look for work. You do lose a little bit of functionality, but the minimalist style of the Backpack II is something you’ll be proud to show off whether it be to work, on the street or to the gym.

Construction is made from a mil-spec 1000 denier nylon that screams high quality. The 1000D is the same you’ll find on their duffel bags and is water resistant, so not only does it look nice, it’s also very functional. The stitching throughout the bag is some of the most consistent that I’ve ever seen on a bag. While the King Kong logo is slightly larger than I’d like to see, it’s nicely embroidered and doesn’t take away from the clean look of the backpack.  You won’t be able to overlook the details of the Backpack II with it’s YKK zippers that have a nice rubberized King Kong logo on them and insanely heavy carbon steel buckle at the front of the bag. They could have put a plastic buckle there, but it definitely wouldn’t have polished off the look as much as the steel one does.

The interior is lined with a red nylon ripstop fabric for even more durability, but is also aesthetically beautiful. You’ll find this in every pocket, but I do wish the front pocket where you put your spare shoes was lined with something a little bit more dirt resistant, as I don’t want to ruin the look of my backpack with my dirty shoes.

The back of the bag is padded and covered with a breathable mesh just in case you wanted to be active with your backpack. Each shoulder strap is also nicely padded so if you have a lot of gear in your bag, the straps don’t dig into your shoulders or ever become uncomfortable. There is also a sternum strap for keeping the backpack locked down if you’re doing something where you’re required to move around.

Though you might not get the same utility as a bag designed to take camping, the Backpack II still has plenty of functionality for your normal life. Every exterior pocket (two side, one front) is expandable and has nylon webbing so you can stuff big items like your shaker bottle in them, but also securely hold small items like your wallet and cell phone. Also on the top of the backpack there is a zippered pocket that you can hold your valuables in as well and also has organizational slots with a port that you can run your headphones through.

The main compartment has two access points: there’s a zipper that only opens up about 3/4 of the backpack if you just wanted to quickly stuff your things in, or a zipper towards the rear of the bag that fully opens it up so you can fully organize the 28L capacity for weekend trips. From accessing the top zipper you’ll be greeted with another zippered pocket inside at the top part of the bag, which for me serves as my jump rope storage. Not to mention a couple zippered webbed pockets on the front inside of the bag and a padded laptop sleeve on the rear of the bag that is also secured with a buckle. If this backpack doesn’t satiate your need for storage, then you probably need to look into their duffel bag.

$145 dollars isn’t a little bit of money to spend, but the overall value of the backpack is still excellent. The King Kong Backpack II is something you’re going to be able to use for just about everything and you’re probably going to be using it all the time. King Kong Apparel has been around for quite some time and makes excellent quality gear, but if you’re really worried about how things will hold up, they also have a 25 year warranty against workmanship. I wouldn’t go throwing your backpack off a cliff, because it doesn’t cover abuse and normal wear and tear, but with the materials they use, I wouldn’t worry too much about standard wear.

You can always spend a lot more on a bag that does certain things better, but all in all, the King Kong Apparel Backpack II is one of the most stylish, functional bags you can get for the money.


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  1. Hello Joel, thanks for this full review. As I look and read carefully all the details you gave to us, I didn’t see anything about a wet compartment (neither on KingKong apparel website) inside the Backpack II. Is there a pocket that can be used to separate wet/dry clothes?

    1. There actually is no wet compartment in the King Kong backpack, aside from the front pouch. Probably the worst thing about the backpack :(.

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