The North Face Kaban backpack is a stylish and functional urban commuter pack to carry all your daily needs.

The North Face Kaban Backpack

We first tested the original Kaban years ago and loved the design. This year, The North Face updated the Kaban with some great features.  After several weeks of testing in the city (and even the mountains) we have some great insights into this backpack.

Durable materials – Basecamp Duffel for your laptop

North Face nailed it with the 900D polyester and PVC coated material on this.  It is the same durable fabric they use in their iconic Basecamp Duffel series.  If you know what those are, then you know they are burly.  This backpack is not waterproof – so don’t try to dunk it.  However, it is very water and weather resistant.  Sufficient for biking in inclement weather and use outside.

The North Face Kaban Backpack

Organization at its peak

What originally impressed us with the older Kaban, was that is was very well organized.  The new Kaban is even better.  They streamlined many of the pockets to offer just what you want and nothing more.  The main compartment can easily hold a change of clothes, jacket, food and other sizeable items.  The next pocket keeps pens, tablets (iPad in this case) and other small items in place.  It also has 2 fleece-lined pockets at the top.  Perfect for sunglasses and a camera.

Side water bottle pockets – love ’em or hate ’em

One thing that might turn some people off on this backpack, is the side pockets.  While they are capable of holding sizeable bottles – 40oz in the pictures – this takes up space from the main pocket.  Meaning, the side pockets are not elastic.  Rather, they push into the main compartment to allow room for the bottle(s).  This may be a turn off for some, but I don’t think it is a big deal. In fact, I find that it keeps the side profile more sleek and unobtrusive.

Safe passage for laptops

The third pocket is capable of safely carrying a 15″ laptop.  In the test, I used a 13″ MacBook Pro.  I was able to easily carry the laptop and some 8 1/2 x 11″ client folders.  If you have trouble getting the laptop out, pull on the handy cord to assist in raising it.  The pocket is very well protected on all sides.  I had very little concern about damaging the laptop.

Uses for the Kaban Backpack

The Kaban offers the best of several worlds.  It is durable and weather resistant.  It is sleek and stylish.  Well, I don’t know if I would opt for the floral camo print, but it is available in 10 colors and women’s version as well.  It carries a full day of gear with ease.  Whether it is school books, workout clothes, hiking gear or anything else – the 26-liter backpack does it with ease.  There is a smaller version called the Kabyte and a larger one called Kabig.  For urban commuting to work, school or the gym – the Kaban is as good as it gets.  MSRP $129

The North Face Kaban Backpack