Our Favorite Kipling Backpacks Reviewed

  • June 30, 2020
  • / By Keith Terrell
Playing with Sparklers

​Kipling, a brand from the 1990s, understands that the ubiquitous backpacks serve many purposes. They are needed right from backpacking trips to travels to taking it to school, college, and workplace. While you would like them to be roomy to accommodate all that you need whatever the purpose, you also expect it to be stylish and durable. 

Playing with Sparklers

Kipling has introduced a series of backpacks and totes to suit the modern tastes of the millennials. These bags marry utility with fashion to make them a conversation piece amongst the youth. We review a few of Kipling’s latest releases to help you choose one that serves your purpose.

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​Name

​More Info

Kipling Seoul L

Best for Laptops

Seoul L

Kipling Queenie Small Backpack

Best for Fashion

Queenie Small

Kipling Alcatraz Wheeled Backpack

Best Wheeled

Alcatraz

Kipling Micah

Best for Travel

Micah

Kipling Komori Tote Backpack

Best 2-in-1

Komori

The Seoul series has many variations for different occasions. The Seoul Large laptop backpack is roomy with a 27 L capacity. The main compartment can easily take your textbooks and other essentials. A zip-front compartment and a protective sleeve for your 15” laptop make this really a convenient backpack for all occasions.

What’s more, it comes in different colors and patterns and you can choose one that suits your personality best to complete your look.

A side pouch is a thoughtful addition for carrying your water bottle. The padded shoulder straps, a durable exterior and roomy interior for just a little over $100 make this backpack made of nylon lightweight and a real value for money.

Oh, and if you are a Kipling fan, you get a free monkey key fob, and in a color of your choice.

Kipling Seoul L

Source: kipling.com

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 13"L x 17.75"H x 7.25"D
  • Weight: 1.51 lb
  • Volume: 25 L
  • Crinkle nylon
  • Top grip handle
  • Padded straps that are adjustable to a maximum length of 32"
  • Protective laptop sleeve with Velcro closure
  • Padded back and bottom panel
  • Zip-front pocket containing 2 pen sleeves, cell phone pocket, slip pocket, and large internal zippered pocket
  • Large zippered front pocket
  • Zippered pocket at the top of the bag
  • Water-resistant
  • Water bottle pockets
  • Free monkey key fob included

Benefits

Be it to school or your workplace, you need to carry many things including your laptop. If you are a college-goer, you have to carry textbooks, a pencil pouch, and other essentials that a classroom environment demands. A professional has tools of the trade such as documents, books, and files that need to fit into a convenient backpack that has space as well as is well organized for easy access.

Seoul Large is just that, and the fact that you can fit in your laptop, as well as a water bottle, makes it really a very convenient backpack. The colors are stylish and will give you a classy and trendy look.

Pros

  • Roomy
  • Water-resistant
  • Washable
  • Adjustable padded straps

Cons

  • Expands even with less number of items
  • Snap closure for the laptop sleeve would have been better

Our Verdict

This backpack is for the trendy millennial who needs style, as well as utility, all rolled into one. The Seoul L design, colors, and patterns make it extremely desirable and a smart accessory. The compartments make for a well-organized bag so that you can access things easily.

The price is also reasonable, giving complete value for money due to its durability and easy maintenance. Don’t hesitate and check this into the cart.


Queenie Small Backpack

If you believe that small is beautiful, then you will want to possess this fashionable one from Kipling! Queenie Small Backpack is a minimalistic, simple yet stylish revamped model aimed at the women wanting a great girl’s day out or a casual night. You can place it lightly on your shoulder to enjoy a relaxed day!

You may wonder how much this petite, mini bag can really carry, and you will be in for a surprise. It has smart functionality providing three front pockets so you can carry essentials like your sunglasses, keys, wallet, cell phone, and headphones that you need to access quickly whenever the need arises.

A magnetic flap covers a zip closure revealing spacious interiors fit for a queen. You can carry books, a tablet, a water bottle, and what you will! It can also double up as a mini bag, depending on your need. This mini bag that costs under $100 has a capacity of 12 L and is made up of nylon.

Kipling Queenie Small Backpack

Source: kipling.com

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 10.25" L x 13.5" H x 6.25" D
  • Weight: 0.88 lb
  • Volume: 12 L
  • Two front zip pockets
  • Front flap pocket
  • Zip-top closure
  • Flap top closure
  • Adjustable backpack straps
  • Top carry handle
  • Monkey keychain

Benefits

Queenie is a small yet roomy, stylish yet utilitarian backpack that can also double up as a mini bag to suit your needs. Its many compartments let you keep your things in a very organized manner. It comes in three fashionable colors apart from a metallic version and is made up of nylon that is light and easy to carry. You can fit in a tab and there will be room left to keep your books and a water bottle as well.

Pros

  • Adjustable backpack straps
  • Top carry handle
  • Lightweight
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Each bag is made of different material so check before buying
  • A tight fit for Mac

Our Verdict

If you want to make a style statement when you are out having a great time with your friends or on a casual day, Queenie Small Backpack is the right one for you. Fashionable, trendy, and compact, this is highly utilitarian with compartments for good organization and fitting many things.

You can easily access the smaller, essential items like sunglasses and keychain from the front pocket while carrying your tab and books in the roomier main compartment. For under $100, this is an excellent buy that is durable and comfortable even for daily travels.


Alcatraz Wheeled Backpack

Multi-purpose, utilitarian, innovation, and trendiness are the buzzwords that define Alcatraz, an improved version from Kipling. Aimed at the millennial who cannot do without his or her laptop, this spacious backpack can double up as wheeled luggage and be used comfortably for airline travel as well. 

You can keep your laptop and other stuff needed on the campus, making it an ideal bag for the college-goer too. The bag has a capacity of 27 L. It comes in different colors and is made of nylon/ crinkle nylon. The zipped pockets on each side give you additional space to keep things that you need to access quickly.

Kipling Alcatraz Wheeled Backpack

Source: kipling.com

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 16.25"L x 18"H x 8.5"D
  • Weight: 5.53 lb
  • Volume: 27 L
  • Two side zipped pockets
  • Extra-large, open back pouch pocket
  • Flap cover top has one zipped pocket with buckle closure for extra security
  • Hide-away padded backpack straps
  • Water-resistant
  • Monogrammable
  • Furry monkey key fob
  • Interior pouch accommodates 15" laptop with Velcro closure
  • Retractable multi-stage wheel handle with blocking button
  • One front zippered pocket with mesh-lined interior pouch pocket

Benefits

Alcatraz from Kipling serves dual purposes. It can be carried as a backpack or wheeled luggage ideal for airline travel as well as the campus. It has many pockets, letting you organize your things well so that you can access them easily. 

The front pockets can carry your smaller items, while the main compartment has room for your laptop and more. There are also zipped side pockets that really let you divide the luggage evenly to make it easy on your back. It is durable and good for daily use as well.

Pros

  • Dual-purpose - can be wheeled or carried as a backpack
  • Roomy with many compartments
  • Durable and lightweight

Cons

  • A little wide to be pushed under the airline seat

Our Verdict

A bag for every occasion, Alcatraz is value for money. You save costs on buying a bag with wheels and a backpack as this can serve both purposes. It is good for daily use, be it school, college or office and also for airline travel. It is roomy, organized with multiple zips, and can also carry your laptop and other documents. 

It comes in three sober colors, is designed with class in mind, and is trendy. We recommend it for those who want something to ease their backs once in a while even when they are on the move.


Micah Backpack

A backpack that you can easily carry in the airport by sliding it over the trolley sleeve makes the Micah Laptop Backpack a really smart backpack! With a capacity of 24L, the bag is roomy enough to carry your 15” laptop with other stuff. It has several compartments including a water bottle pocket, slip pockets, a key clasp, and a protective laptop sleeve making this lightweight and a convenient bag for travel.

The shape is streamlined and spacious with room for textbooks, notebooks, or other daily essentials so you can carry it to school! At less than $100 and available in different colors, this is a must-have, handy backpack.

Kipling Micah

Source: kipling.com

Specifications

  • Nylon
  • Dimensions: 12" L x 15.5" H x 6" D
  • Weight: 1.46 lb
  • Volume: 24 L
  • One side pocket
  • Trolley sleeve
  • 15" laptop sleeve
  • Interior mesh pockets and small slip pocket
  • Pen loops
  • Key clasp
  • Adjustable straps
  • Top carry handle
  • Two front zip pockets

Benefits

This backpack is very convenient for school or office use as it has several pockets that help you keep your things safe and organized. The water bottle pocket, main pocket with space for laptop and books, a key clasp, slip pocket and even pen loops make it easy to access whatever you need quickly.

It is also good for short trips or, even on a long trip, you can slide it over the trolley sleeve to ease the load off your back. It is lightweight and durable, making it well worth the price.

Pros

  • Roomy and organized
  • Trolley sleeve
  • Laptop sleeve

Cons

  • Really hard to find one in this well-thought-out backpack

Our Verdict

If you are looking for convenience and comfort, something that you can use for school, work, and even travel, go for it. The Micah backpack will give you space and organization, as the many pockets make it easy to keep things in their assigned places for quick access.

It is well worth the price and the printed design is very trendy. With all pros and no cons that we could find, all we can say is, add it to your shopping cart without a second thought.


Komori Tote Backpack

A convertible backpack, you can carry the Komori Small Tote bag by its top handles or sling it over your shoulder to get a cool and casual hands-free look. Priced a little over $150, it is compact with a capacity of 13L capacity.

This multi-compartment bag has three front pockets for items such as your phone, snacks, headphones and sunglasses, three inside pockets with ample space for a tablet, wallet, keys and cosmetic bag, and a signature monkey keychain. Made from polyester, it is sleek and convenient.

Kipling Komori Tote Backpack

Source: kipling.com

Specifications

  • Polyester
  • Dimensions: 13.7" L X 14.5" W X 4" D
  • Weight: 1.34 lb
  • Volume: 13 L
  • Dual carry handles
  • Three front zip pockets
  • Tuck away, adjustable backpack straps
  • Internal zip pocket
  • Monkey keychain

Benefits

This is a daily use bag that can be slung over the shoulder or carried as a tote bag. Being made of polyester, it is lightweight and handy. Its many pockets let you keep your things in a very organized manner. It is spacious enough for carrying a tab, your cosmetics, and wallet in the main pocket.

There are other pockets for smaller items such as the phone, snacks, sunglasses, and so on in the front, giving you easy and quick access. It is ideal for office use. It comes with the Kipling monkey keychain.

Pros

  • Compact and convenient
  • Multi-compartment for organization
  • Lightweight
  • Tuck away, fully adjustable backpack straps

Cons

  • Polyester can become hot on your back with prolonged use 

Our Verdict

This is a very useful compact bag, easy to carry a tab, and a few essential items such as the phone and the wallet. Since it can be carried as a backpack and as a tote bag, you can use it to suit the look and your convenience.

At just above $150, it is good value for money as it’s comfortable, lightweight and handy. It is available in sober colors and will go with anything you wear. So we would say, if you need a small, lightweight but handy bag, go for it.


Kipling: A Monkey on Your Bag

In the 1990s, bags made with crinkled nylon could be seen in every classroom and airport. An adorable monkey, the mascot of Kipling, was a heartthrob of many and the brand itself was very popular for bags and accessories. 

Kipling Monkey Keychain

Source: kipling-usa.com

Started in 1987 by three friends in the heart of the fashion capital Antwerp (Belgium), the company was named after Rudyard Kipling, the author of The Jungle Book, and the monkey mascot was also inspired by the book. Also, monkeys represent fun and adventure, and seemed to fit the image of the company perfectly. The three wanted to create bag designs that were casual, vibrantly colorful bags, fun for women while being affordable, sporty, and functional.

Soon monkey keyrings became very popular. While every Kipling monkey is given the name of an employee of the company from around the world, a unique monkey emblem is given to every collection. The monkey has itself become a collector's item for the fun-loving and young at heart!

Finding Its Footing

A few years after the brand started and became popular, it lost its way, getting stuck in a feminine and childish image. The world was changing too fast and it was unable to keep pace. It is slowly trying to regain its place in the world of fashion after losing its way for a while.

In 2003, the VF Corporation, makers of North Face and JanSport outdoor equipment, acquired Kipling, which had sales of about $69 million that year. At the time of acquisition, Kipling ran 17 stores in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Britain and distributed through 120 shops in Asia.

Since the acquisition, the company has been slowly returning in favor and changed its strategy. Its headquarters shifted to New York City though design and development still happen in Antwerp, Belgium. From providing high-quality backpacks it now offers a range of carryalls for different lifestyles. They are designed to be more stylish, colorful and fun without compromising on utility and durability. 

Apart from North America, where Kipling brands were available since 1993, it is now available in 55 countries including in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. The bags and accessories are distributed through 436 stores in 80 countries and also 7,500 retail outlets.

The company proudly declares that 23 Kipling bags are sold every minute somewhere in the world; that it has more than 35 million customers; and that the number of people using Kipling bags is more than the population of Belgium.

Who Is the Target Market?

Kipling reinvented itself as a brand for the millennials. The decision on how to go about it was taken following the recommendations of a task force set up to revive the popularity of the brand after its acquisition. It tracked the vloggers and influencers whom millennials follow to understand their tastes and preferences. These understandings were culled and translated into a new vision to create designs that would appeal to the most happening generation. 

Young Woman in Coffee Shop

 Apart from the childish and feminine image that the new version had to break away from, Kipling also had several local, regional models. But to be a truly global brand, it has unified, standardized the designs with some local flavors.

It has also boosted its digital presence since millennials like to do everything online.

Kipling announced its re-entry as a serious contender in the accessories space in 2018/ 2019. It released its fall/ winter collection at an event in Antwerp and invited key influencers and members of the press from seven different European countries for a sneak preview. The new Kipling has maintained its connection to its roots by retaining the Jungle Book influence and crinkled nylon. The novelty is in the many pockets and zippers to organize the content in their bags better.

Kipling’s Popularity

Kipling bags have style and they are feature-rich. Some of the reasons for their bags popularity include:

  • Lightweight
  • Versatile
  • Choice of colors
  • Multiple compartments
  • Practical and functional
  • Value for money
  • Trendy and fashionable

Kipling is able to make lightweight bags due to the solid crinkled nylon that has been popular for decades. Its Lacquer Bags edition is made of 100% nylon with a TPU top coating, making it water repellent. Each bag has a lining of 100% polyester. 

The materials also make it easy to clean the Kipling bags. All you need is a damp cloth though even a hand wash not only is safe but makes your bag look as good as new.

The name Kipling has been synonymous with quality and durability since the inception of the line. They have a wide range of products from handbags, backpacks to luggage and accessories and not just for women but for men as well.

Pricing

What adds to the popularity of the Kipling bags is its pricing. Most of the ladies' handbags cost less than $100. At this price, the users are not only assured durability and convenience but also a choice of colors and patterns. Despite regular use, they last for months, and with careful use, even years. 

Shopping

The many zippered compartments let you hold all the essential things when you are outside, right from the wallet to the mobile phone, keys, MP3 players, laptops and even documents such as passports and small cameras. The zips keep them secure when you are commuting or traveling.

Style and Function

Kipling, a fashion icon for accessories in the 1990s, has reinvented itself to cater to the tastes of the millennials. Started in 1987 by three women who wanted bags to be fun, stylish, and sporty, the brand got stuck with a childish and feminine image with time. Though it had a following across the globe, it was unable to leverage its brand value. 

However, since being acquired in 2003 by VF Corporation, the designs have undergone a change. Now it has regained its popularity as a trendy, fashionable brand. The bags combine style with function, are aesthetically designed, durable but light and versatile, as they can be used for many purposes. Be it for school or work, the bag provides convenience and comfort.

Monkey accessories such as keychains and fobs also can be purchased if you are a fan of their monkey mascot. Kipling bags are also available online since that’s where millennials like to shop.

Now you can not only get a Kipling bag in even departmental stores across the world apart from retail outlets, but you can shop from anywhere in the world on the Kipling website (check if import duty applies if you are shopping from outside the US). Avail offers and discounts, get the latest look with a Kipling bag, and enjoy having your own Monkey Fob.