The North Face Kaban Backpack Review is a comprehensive review of the features, quality, and price.

It’s excellent to have a bag that looks beautiful and operates smoothly for daily transport between home and work or to maintain a small load when traveling. The North Face Kaban is a 26-liter daypack with a sleek, minimalist design and valuable features.

We’ve been testing The North Face Kaban for a little over two weeks in Detroit, Michigan. While the California-based company also provides a charged Kaban with additional electronics attachments, we’ll be focused on the standard version in this review.

Aesthetics & Materials

The North Face Kaban bag’s primary fabric is 900D polyester with a TPE PVC covering. The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bags, which we’ve already tested, are made of the same material. Thanks to the weather resistance, mud and grime wipe off the front of the bag, where this coated material is located.

The North Face Kaban Backpack in DetroitIn Detroit, The North Face Kaban Backpack. We believe this bag is fantastic, and our Instagram followers agree. The Kaban received 856 votes, and 85 percent of those who voted loved it. It’s unusual to have such a positive reaction, and it’s a good sign that people like the overall look.

The only Kaban colorway available on at this review is the black variant we’ve been testing. However, we’ve seen this bag in various colors throughout the years, so keep your eyes peeled.

The North Face Kaban has a black-on-black logo on the front, and a matching North Face emblem on the front shoulder strap in terms of branding.

The North Face Kaban Backpack LogoDurable YKK zippers, which we found to be a little jingly, are among the other materials on the Kaban. There’s also Nifco hardware, which we’ve previously had good luck with.

Components on the Outside

Moving on to The North Face Kaban’s harness system, the straps on this 26L daypack are relatively thick, which is something we seek in shoulder straps. Although they aren’t very soft and lack any mesh for breathability, these straps are more than enough for a pack of this size and proved to be quite comfortable throughout our testing.

The North Face Kaban Backpack Shoulder StrapsThe Kaban has a sternum strap that can be adjusted on a rail and is very simple to place. We appreciate that this strap is made of 900D polyester and has a front stay, which allows the fabric to slide out of the way when changing the belt. We also like how the webbing is a little thinner, which matches the size of the bag.

The North Face Kaban Backpack Sternum Strap AdjustmentThe Kaban has some beautiful Nifco strap adjusters but no elastic loops to keep extra straps in place.

The North Face Kaban Backpack Shoulder Strap AdjustmentThe rear panel is firm and features some ventilation channels, but there is no mesh on the backside like there is on the straps. While our testing took place in the winter in Detroit, Michigan, we know from experience that it’s difficult to prevent back perspiration in warmer areas, even with a mesh bag. We also enjoy how well-structured the framing sheet is.

The North Face Kaban Backpack Back PanelA grab hold made out of nylon webbing may be found at the top of the Kaban. It’s folded over to offer a little softness, which we appreciate. And we like how you can glimpse some orange-yellow lining on the inside—a sneak peek at what’s to come when we go inside the bag’s main divisions.

The North Face Kaban Backpack Top HandleThe North Face Kaban has special water bottle compartments, but the lack of stretch means the user isn’t there. Water bottles fit rather well within. However, they do reduce the bag’s overall capacity. If you intend to fill the bag, it’s something to think about.

The North Face Kaban Backpack Water BottleA little lash-loop at the bottom of the backpack may be used to attach a bike light or a carabiner. It’s there if you want it, but it’s not really visible if you don’t. Two yellow nylon loops are concealed behind a flap at the top of the bag but are accessible for hanging a carabiner clip or other accessories. This maintains the Kaban’s minimalist appearance while yet delivering some functionality.

The North Face Kaban Backpack Bike Light

Inside the Bundle

The North Face Kaban’s inside has a front vertical pocket that opens up with a No. 8 YKK zipper to show a decent amount of room with a colorful internal pocket. A small notepad, a sweater, or a light rain shell jacket fit well in this compartment. Note that if the bag is completely packed on the inside, whatever is in this pocket will protrude rather far.

The North Face Kaban Backpack Inside Zip PocketThe laptop compartment can be found by flipping the bag to the other side, where you’ll find that wonderful, bright yellow inside that we love. It makes it much easy to view your belongings within this bag. The pocket opens in a horseshoe shape and extends roughly one-third of the way down the load. This pouch provides cushioning for your laptop, but not enough to be termed a fake bottom, so if you drop your backpack, your computer will also fall to the ground.

The North Face Kaban Backpack LaptopThe North Face Kaban has an intriguing feature: a handle that can be used to lift the laptop up and out of the compartment. With the 16′′, 15′′, and 13′′ MacBook Pros, we didn’t find it to be very beneficial. It usually’s simpler to take the laptop out of this pocket. Thus the handle isn’t essential. However, we appreciate the idea; we didn’t utilize it much throughout our testing.

The top front pocket of the Kaban features two zipper pulls on both sides and maybe opened on both sides. The left zipper is approximately a quarter of the way down the bag, and the right zipper is about three-quarters down. This allows you to access anything on the inside easily.

The North Face Kaban Backpack Quick-Grab AccessThere’s a zipped mesh pocket on the front flap with a key clip on the inside. This part may be considered the Kaban’s “quick-access” pocket, albeit it’s not nearly as fast to get there since there are two levels of zippers to get there.

A two-thirds and one-third mesh pocket with some elasticity at the top and some fabric that folds over the top is located across from that zipped pocket towards the wearer’s back. This is an excellent alternative to a zipper since it allows for quick access while keeping contents safe within the bag. We haven’t seen this in many other packs, so it’s a wonderful point that other bag producers may adopt. It’s made of the same soft fabric as the preceding pockets.

The North Face Kaban Backpack Front OrganizationThere’s even more organization below the elastic pockets, with four spaces for pens, pencils, and styluses (styli?). There’s a little bigger pocket with a soft inside lining next to those four compartments that are perfect for a phone or other gadgets. There’s also a pull tab, which works similarly to the laptop compartment. The concept is that you can just lift the tab on top to remove your item. This is a great concept, but it hasn’t shown to be very practical in our testing—a plus-sized iPhone with a cover may become trapped. The function, on the other hand, is ideal for smaller phones or electrical accessories like a battery pack.

Behind all of these pockets is a little bigger pocket with a soft inside lining, perfect for an iPad or e-reader.

The North Face Kaban Backpack Main CompartmentLet’s go to the main compartment now. The North Face Kaban’s top folds down to reveal the main compartment of the pack, which is essentially a huge bucket.

With the zipper, we have a handful of nitpicks. To begin with, the zipper is difficult to distinguish from the other two zippers on the top flap. Second, getting behind the fabric of the front pocket to reach this zipper is difficult—it kind of vanishes behind that fabric, and there’s no large zipper pull to hold. These zippers jingle a lot, particularly if you place a tall metal water bottle in the water bottle pocket to clank against.

The North Face Kaban Backpack ZipperThe North Face Kaban’s big bucket opening will work well with organizers, pouches, and more significant stuff, but small items can quickly tumble to the bottom and get lost. With a compartment like this, “what you see is what you get” is very much the case.

Testing & Durability

We tested The North Face Kaban for two weeks in Detroit, Michigan, during this review. Overall, it’s been a delight to use, and we like the straightforward design and functionality.

The Kaban’s front organizing pocket is big enough for everyday electronic devices, while the main compartment has plenty of room for a jacket and other bulkier goods. We wouldn’t mind traveling with this bag for a few weeks since there’s enough capacity in the main pockets to stow a few packing cubes and be ready to go.

The North Face Kaban Backpack in Detroit 2However, the Kaban seems a little smaller than other packs we’ve seen, most of which are clamshell, so the top bucket-style may be to blame. Although this pack does not wholly open like other bags, it still seems smaller than other 26-liter packs.

There isn’t much to say about durability based on our two weeks of testing. We’ve driven this thing in the snow on a bike, where it picked up a lot of mud, sand, and filth from the Michigan winter, and it’s cleaned up well.

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