King Kong Apparel is a company that specializes in making backpacks. The “King Kong Backpack” is one of their products, and it has a fantastic review with 26 reviews on the app store.

I haven’t seen a backpack like this before. It looks exactly like the image. It has almost everything I was looking for in an affordable school bag: lots of compartments, padded straps that feel good on your back, and room to carry in notebooks or textbooks (or even groceries).

You’re not alone if the image of a giant gorilla ascending the Empire State Building sprang to mind when you heard the moniker King Kong Apparel.

We’ve had the pleasure of testing the King Kong Apparel PLUS26 Backpack for the last two weeks, and we’ve been enjoying all of its valuable and intelligent features. Of course, it can be used for your daily commute, but its organization makes it a strong candidate for a gym bag, as we’ll explain below.

Aesthetics & Materials

This daypack has a boxy design and doesn’t have as low a profile as some of the other daypacks we’ve examined. This might explain why our Instagram audience only awarded it a 26% approval rating in our look poll. Nonetheless, the pack’s design and characteristics give it a tough exterior that we like in the proper situation.

We’ve been testing the Charcoal hue of this bag, but it also comes in a few other options. For example, let’s say you’re not a fan of this style. In that case, at the time of this review, you could choose between the Redwood or Burnout colorways—and, if you’re feeling patriotic, they even have a USA colorway to show your patriotism.

King Kong Apparel PLUS26 Backpack Material and LogoThe brand’s emblem is written over the top front of the bag in bold letters. It’s rather obvious, which you may not like if you prefer a more subtle approach, but it does contribute to the bag’s durability. If you see a bag with the words “King Kong” on it, your first instinct is likely to be, “that bag means business.”

For this pack, King Kong Apparel used a 1000D nylon fabric. It’s shown to be quite resilient since it hasn’t suffered any visual or functional damage throughout our testing. Furthermore, we’re not afraid about this backpack breaking on us anytime soon since it feels robust to the touch and has held up nicely.

King Kong Apparel PLUS26 Backpack ZippersFor this bag, YKK zippers were an excellent option (and any bag, really). These have easy-to-grasp pulls that have allowed them to slide open and closed without a hitch throughout our testing—we wouldn’t expect anything less from this reputable brand.

The bag’s hardware is a combination of YKK and Fidlock, both of which have performed well so far—we have no big complaints.

Components from Outside

Left: Riley, Height, 5’4” (162 cm), Torso: 16.5” (42 cm) | Right: Mark, Height, 5’10” (178 cm), Torso: 19” (48cm)The shoulder straps on the PLUS26 Backpack seem like they were designed for King Kong himself. Although this may be an exaggeration, they are cultivated. We’ve also noticed that the edges of the straps bite into the chest more than we’ve seen with other bags. However, they’ve been comfy thanks to some thin yet thick cushioning and a mesh lining.

Meanwhile, the sternum strap is adjustable through a rail system that runs down the shoulder straps. We’re not afraid about losing it since it feels pleasant and secure, and it glides up and down without any effort on our part. It also has an elastic keeper to assist round up any extra strap for a neater appearance and a less dangly feel.

King Kong Apparel PLUS26 Backpack Shoulder StrapsTake a step back! Before we go further, we need to speak about the rear panel. It’s built similarly to the shoulder straps in that the padding is modest yet thick, and the mesh lining and air channels keep the air moving well—especially on extended wears and when we’re out in the sun.

The top of the bag’s handle is coated with Hypalon material, which provides more traction than regular nylon, so you won’t have to worry about it falling off while hanging it up. It’s also useful for just gripping and tugging the bag from one location to another or when you need to retrieve anything out of it.

King Kong Apparel PLUS26 Backpack Water Bottle PocketThe two water bottle compartments on the pack’s sides are the last item on this list for this segment. They’re pretty spacious, and the top is held with elastic, enabling them to bend even more to accommodate bigger bottles. We’ve been using the Hydro Flask Bottle 21 oz (Standard Mouth) as a test, and it fits well. We wouldn’t put anything smaller inside, however, since it’s more likely to fall out of the bag is flipped over.

The Inside of the Pack

To begin this part, we’d like to draw your attention to one of the bag’s most useful features: the shoe pocket. The front panel has gusseted fabric on the sides, allowing it to expand up and carry an additional pair of shoes. Once your shoes are inside, tie the matching strap to the hardware above the pocket to hold them in place.

We’ve been using it to store our Teva Ember Moc Slippers so that we can slide our feet into something cozier when we get to our destination, but you could also use it to store a pair of athletic shoes if you’re bringing this bag to the gym. The nicest aspect is that you don’t have to use it for shoes if you don’t want to—you could, for example, store a jacket or a hat here. When you’re not using it, zip up the edges to make it lay flat against the bag and out of the way.

King Kong Apparel PLUS26 Backpack Front OrganizationAbove this compartment, there’s a quick-grab pocket for the items you use often during the day. It features integrated organization against the rear wall, with a bigger sleeve, two medium-sized sleeves, and two convenient pen sleeves. These pockets may be used to separate goods such as a small notepad, headphones, and the like, while heavier objects can be stored in the remaining open area (wallet, keys, etc.).

Wasn’t it the main compartment that was mentioned? No? Is it just the breeze? In any case, we may as well speak about it. The first thing you should know is that there are two ways to reach this pocket. The first is via the bag’s horseshoe-style zipper. This entrance mode is ideal for rapidly grabbing anything on the run, whilst the zipper behind it opens the bag completely clamshell, giving you the most unrestricted access to your belongings.

Regardless of your preference, you may take advantage of the 26L of storage space and built-in organization provided by this pack. The first pocket inside is at the top of this compartment, and we’ve been storing our tech-related quick-grab goods there. We can unzip the horseshoe-style zipper, flip back the front flap, and reach inside, making it simpler to access than the rest of the organization.

King Kong Apparel PLUS26 Backpack Main CompartmentTwo mesh pockets of equal size are underneath this pocket, suitable for goods you don’t require access to all the time. Why? Because the pouches, clothes, or miscellaneous goods you place in the compartment’s open space will nearly completely enclose these pockets, you’ll have to rummage through everything within to get to them. And whether you enter the pack from the horseshoe entrance in the front of the clamshell opening in the rear, the sensation is almost the same.

A sleeve on the other side of the compartment can fit a 16-inch MacBook Pro. It’s cushioned for additional support, and it’s suspended to protect your device from drops. Plus, it’s secured with a buckle at the top, so you won’t have to worry about it bobbing in and out of the sleeve when the bag is jostled.

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