What is the King Kong Backpack II… It’s a multi-functional bag designed for the CrossFit (or fitness) athlete. It provides everything you need from a shoe compartment to enough space for traveling with all your gear to a local comp.
After spending years in the gym (and traveling) while toting around massive amounts of food, extra clothes, and bottle after bottle of water… I’ve come to appreciate a good bag. And over the years I’ve used many different bag type… Backpacks (like the King Kong Backpack II), messenger bags, and a few duffle bags along the way.
For years I carried my things around in a North Face backpack (until it was stolen during the 2014 CrossFit Regionals), for even more years in a Timbuk2 messenger bag, and I’ve even had my fair share of duffles including the King Kong Classic which I reviewed a few years back.
What do I look for in a backpack –
There needs to be enough space to handle a basic trip to the gym, or get loaded up for a weekend getaway (or CrossFit competition). I’m not really interested in having multiple daily use bags. I’m needy and want one that can conform to my needs each day.
Something that’s hugely important to me is having a water bottle holder that can handle a 32 ounce bottle securely! So many bags these days can hold a 32 ounce bottle but if you bend over, or god forbid you run with your backpack on… the bottle will go flying out of the pack.
There also must be multiple compartments to organize all of my goods. I want to have a secure place for my clothes and/or food, wallet, laptop, multiple charging cords, pens, and even a key lanyard is on my list. I like to know where ALL of my things are at all times!
So, let’s get into talking about this King Kong Backpack II! Checkout my unboxing video here.
Highlights of the King Kong Backpack II –
The size of the King Kong Backpack II is great for a quick trip to the gym, or even a 5 day business trip back to Seattle (I’ve done this several times at this point). And the material seems to be pretty much bomb proof, but not so harsh that it would be rough on delicate clothing (like the original King Kong duffle).
Something that I never realized how much I’d like is the ability to fully clamshell the Backpack II. When traveling this is a game changer. I can easily organize all of my clothes, and even separate the dirty clothes from the clean.
Side note: if you keep a plastic grocery bag or one of those small backpack totes (that people give out for free all over the place) in your bag they work great for separating dirty clothes when traveling.
And I’ve found the clamshell to be nice on a regular work day when my podcasting mic slides it’s way down to the bottom of the pack. I’ll just flip open the clamshell and it exposes everything in the main compartment of the bag. Bingo!
But don’t worry, that’s not the only way to get into the main compartment. King Kong has a second top loading zipper that allows you to dump and run. Just dump your gear into the top and you’re on the go! I’ve found that I do regularly use both zipper access points on the bag, and think they are both valuable editions.
Then when you need to take your laptop with you (which for me is always), the King Kong Backpack II has you covered. The laptop sleeve is nicely padded and easily holds both my 13 inch MacBook Pro and my 9.7 inch iPad.
One feature that I don’t use everyday, (but that is very nice to have) is the shoe compartment on the outside of the bag. This is especially nice if you carry your lifting shoes into the gym each day (or are traveling with a second pair of kicks). I’ve found that I don’t really use this space everyday, but King Kong has included zippers on the sides of the shoe compartment which lessen the bulk of the pocket when not in use.
I must say that there have been a couple of times that I’ve used the shoe compartment for holding extra food when traveling, and although smaller things could fall out of this space if you tipped the bag upside down, it’s a great space for things other than shoes.
Lately, the water bottle holders on the King Kong Backpack II…
… they are the best that I’ve ever used!
Here’s why… They are large enough to fit a 32+ once bottle. In fact, you could probably easily carry a 40 ounce bottle. The pouches (there are 2) have netting that covers the whole water bottle and secures it for the times that you have to make a dash for the bus (or just feel like moving faster than a walk).
AND they utilize the same zipper tech as the shoe compartment that allows you to compress the water bottle pouches if you want to keep your bag extra slim. It’s very cool!
Things that I wish the pack included
First on my list is a key lanyard. I know this might sound strange to you, but I hate having my keys in my pocket and I want to be able to put them somewhere I will always be able to find them. A key lanyard does this job brilliantly, and it’s just so easy for a bag company to add!
The only other want that I have for the King Kong Backpack II would be for there to be a few more accessible compartments to organize my things. I’m practically living out of this thing for gosh sakes!
Right now there are two netted zipper pouches inside of the main compartment in the middle and lower area of the bag, but due to their location they are pretty hard to get things in and out of (especially if the bad is loaded down). This is where I hold my hair goo and deodorant, but I have to move my clothes if I want to get to them.
I have no problem throwing down a couple hundred bucks on a cool new bag that I think could make my days a little more organized and fun, and although there are a few (very nit-picky things) that I would really like to see included with the bag… The King Kong Backpack II has become my everyday backpack. Meaning that I can have any backpack I want, and this is the pack that I’m choosing to use everyday.
Not to mention the Burnout black color is super cool! I get compliments on it all the time!
If you have any questions that I can answer about the bag prior to your purchase please drop them in the comments section below and I’ll be happy to answer them.
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