A stylish urban backpack has become an absolute must-have for everyone. It is designed for everyday use: you can take it with you to school, university, work, go for a walk, meet friends, make short excursions to nature, take a weekend trip, go shopping, or go out with your kids. A good backpack can become your best friend and make your life more comfortable. Moreover, a modern colorful urban backpack will also be a striking part of your image.
Fjallraven Kanken, a Swedish company, has invented a backpack model that fits in with all life situations and at the same time has become a fashionable part of a wardrobe. These are quality urban backpacks, but for many, their price seems too high. Also, apart from being overpriced, once a hipster accessory, Kanken backpacks are now more mainstream. Therefore, in this article, I have collected for you some of the best alternatives to Kanken backpacks that are also super stylish, high quality, and will serve you for years. I also provide some practical tips to help you choose the most suitable and the best urban backpack.
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Keep reading to find the best Kanken alternative, but first of all I would like to share some tips for choosing the right city backpack.
How To Choose The Best Urban Backpack?
We choose our friends ourselves, and time leaves the best ones. With backpacks, it's about the same but a little easier since experience matters.
With so many types of urban backpacks to choose from, it can be challenging to figure out which one is right for your needs. They come in all sizes, shapes, and styles. They have different functions, features, and accessories. How to choose the best city backpack for you?
1 - THE SIZE DOES MATTER
Before choosing your best urban backpack, you should have an idea of what you will pack in it. First, imagine everything you want to pack, understand your needs, and this way you will make your choice easier.
Make sure your backpack is big enough to hold all of your largest items on the list, but no more!
After all, the larger the backpack, the more you will tend to fill it.
The backpack should also not be too small; otherwise, it will be constantly overloaded, and it will be difficult to find something inside.
Besides, the backpack should be proportional to your body in order to look harmonious on you. If you are a slender girl of short stature, in no case buy a huge backpack. And if you are a tall and muscular guy, choose a large backpack that will accentuate your masculinity.
Most models of city backpacks have a volume of 15 to 30 liters.
A city backpack of 15-20 liters will be enough for absolutely any city needs, such as daily trips to college, university, work, and training.
If you put tips for packing light into practice, this volume will also be sufficient for one or two-day weekend trips. This kind of backpack is suitable for carrying a laptop, a tablet, a wallet, a cosmetic bag, headphones, a food container, a bottle of water, an umbrella, a sweater, or a jacket.
2. QUALITY OF BACKPACK MATERIAL
I think you will agree that the life of a backpack largely depends on the quality and reliability of the backpack's fabric. Urban backpacks are usually made from nylon or polyester.
But it is worth remembering that not all nylon and polyester are the same. Thus, the density and weaving of the material make the backpack's fabric more durable, and sometimes the manufacturers impregnate the backpacks for moisture resistance.
Is a waterproof feature of a backpack vital to you? If so, go for urban backpacks made from water-repellent fabric.
Nylon is a good, solid, and robust material, but it depends on its density, weaving, and impregnation.
"No name" Chinese city backpacks for $ 20 are usually made from the cheapest nylon. It is often a thin fabric that can be easily damaged by snagging and without water-repellent impregnation. Signature models from good brands are made from more expensive high-density nylon material and often specially treated.
A decent alternative to nylon is polyester. With a very fine weave, this fabric has water-repellent properties, practically does not tear, and does not get dirty.
So I can safely recommend city backpacks based on these two materials - nylon and polyester.
3 - URBAN BACKPACK SHOULDER STRAPS
This backpack element is undoubtedly very important when choosing a reliable companion for weekend trips and daily walks.
Buy only models that have strap length adjusters. With such straps, you can adjust the length of the straps along the back.
Otherwise, you will suffer that the backpack's straps are too long or, on the contrary, are too short and uncomfortable. Unfortunately, not all city backpacks have this feature.
4. COMPARTMENTS AND POCKETS OF THE BEST URBAN BACKPACK
A city backpack should not only be comfortable, but also smart. I mean that a good city backpack should have different compartments and pockets to accommodate whatever we want to pack in it. Most importantly, the backpack's clever internal organization will help us find any item in seconds and get it out of the backpack without having to rummage.
You can only carry your laptop, charger, electronic gadgets, headphones, important documents safely if you have organizers in your urban backpack.
Modern backpack manufacturers understand this need and have managed to create backpacks with a special protective compartment for laptops and tablets. If you often carry your laptop with you, choose a city backpack with such a compartment; otherwise, you can damage your favorite notebook.
In addition to a laptop compartment, the best urban backpacks often have carabiners for keys, a compartment for small items, pens, and a diary.
It is also worth paying attention to another important detail of a city backpack - a compartment for a thermos or a bottle of water. Not all city backpacks have this feature, and many neglect it. For me, the ideal city backpack should have these pockets. Why?
First, external water bottle compartments save a huge amount of interior space in backpacks.
Second, you need to drink all the time if you want to feel good. It is easy and quick to take out the bottle from such compartments.
Thirdly, with such bottle compartments, you don't have to worry about water leaking inside the backpack. And if you are not sure of the thermos' tightness, then the ability to put it in a pocket separate from all things is a must.
Fourth, it is convenient to carry an umbrella and a folding shopping bag in this compartment.
5. STYLE AND DESIGN
When I choose an urban backpack, I want it to be pretty, stylish, and fit into my wardrobe and my look.
When looking for the best urban backpack, bear in mind that your backpack's design should match the style of your everyday wear.
Thus, a city backpack will create a harmonious look, and at the same time, will be a useful accessory.
Is There a Good Kanken Alternative?
Fjallraven Kanken managed to create backpacks that meet all the criteria of the best urban backpack. Click here to view the most iconic model of the Kanken backpack.
Initially, Kanken appeared as a backpack for school children in Sweden. It was created to prevent back problems among children and teenagers as traditional school bags hurt their postures and backs. From the medical perspective, the ideal school backpack should be positioned high and close to the spine.
And it was exactly what Kanken backpack offered. The company had crazy success in Sweden, not only among school children but also teenagers and adults. The Kanken backpack quickly became a trendy urban backpack with a recognizable design.
From 1978 till our days, Fjallraven manufactures durable and timeless everyday and outdoor bags and backpacks.
The Kanken backpack is a durable bag made of hard-wearing, water-resistant Vinylon fabric and has a large main compartment with a large outside zipped pocket and two side pockets. You can carry it as a backpack or also a bag as it has convertible straps.
Some models of the Kanken backpack are made from polyester derived from recycled plastic bottles.
Fjällräven has a large range of consumers: individual consumers can buy products for their personal use, and the company also expands its market share to department stores and international markets. Now they sell their famous backpacks in more than 40 countries worldwide.
Kanken backpacks are perfect for everyday use with their modest and minimalist design and colorful palette.
One of Fjallraven's goals is to preserve the environment while producing the best quality products. The company believes that creating products that last longer is better for the environment. They are constantly striving to improve the production process, select the right raw materials, and reduce the use of water, energy, and chemicals.
I wore my Kanken backpack for three years, and I was happy with it.
However, I didn't particularly appreciate that the material started looking a little shabby after half a year of wearing.
Another disadvantage that I found: inside, the backpack had only one pocket that was not suitable for carrying a laptop. Even though I put a computer there, the manufacturer does not recommend doing this: "this pocket is suitable for folders, notebooks, a tablet, but not a laptop, as this will put too much stress on the shoulder straps and zippers." I found the shoulder straps were too thin for carrying a laptop.
As I work from cafes and coworking spaces, I need to carry my laptop every day.
So I was looking for a Kanken alternative with a specially designed compartment for a laptop. And I found it. I actually found it by chance while traveling in Hong Kong.
By the way, later I discovered that Fjallraven has a special model The Kanken Laptop but I wanted to test an urban backpack from a different company anyway.
The Best Backpacks Like Fjallraven Kanken:
1. Himawari Vintage Backpack
This urban backpack is an excellent Kanken alternative and it has got almost 10,000 of positive reviews on Amazon.
When I was traveling in Hong Kong, I came across a Himawari backpack in one accessories store. This yellow backpack was my love at first sight.
I have been using this backpack for two years now, and it still looks great. Its beautiful, moderately bright yellow color lifts my spirits during frowny rainy season, and it brightens up any outfit, especially fall and winter outfits.
I have no complaints about the quality of this backpack. In my experience, it's as good as a Kanken backpack and half the price.
The main compartment with a dual-zip is well organized: it features a laptop pocket where you can keep your tablet or a 14" laptop. It also has an excellent organizer on the other side with many small pockets for gadgets, phones, headphones, chargers, pens, keys, documents, or glasses. It is very well designed, and it helps me to find things very quickly.
Externally, there are two large upper handles, two comfortable padded adjustable straps, two outer side pockets, a front zipper pocket with flaps.
The bag comes in 30+ colors. I am sure there is one that will charm you.
I am just in love with the design, and I find this backpack very stylish. I also love the size as I can fit everything I need for going to the coffee shop or a coworking space with my laptop, chargers, a notepad, water, some snacks, and clothes such as a jacket or a hoodie.
It's also perfect for short trips and as a carry-on bag for flying. And all this comes at a bargain price.
2. Doughnut Macaroon Standard Backpack
Doughnut Macaroon is another great Kanken alternative. It's a company from Hong Kong that produces stylish and colorful backpacks. They present themselves as a family business. Their backpacks are very similar in design to Kanken and Himawari bags. The company makes different backpacks like Kanken, bags, and travel essentials, everything of high quality and made of good materials.
Doughnut Macaroon comes in 5 sizes: Macaroon Petite, Tiny, Mini, standard, and large.
They are also available in 40 colors, so there is a suitable color for everyone! The color palette is amazing: you can find bags from pastel pink and violet colors to vivid red and yellow colors. There are also backpacks in neutral and dark colors that will be right for male travelers and students.
Doughnut backpacks are made from water repellent and durable nylon.
The structure of the bag is very similar to the Himawari backpacks. It also has a large main compartment with a laptop pocket and an excellent organizer. The backpack also features one front pocket and two side compartments for bottles or an umbrella.
Macaroon backpack comes with comfortable padded shoulder straps. It is especially important because most users, including me, carry heavy laptops and books every day. In comparison, the Kanken backpack has no such padded straps but only thin straps that make carrying something heavier uncomfortable.
It's more expensive than Himawari but cheaper than Kanken backpacks.
Unlike Kanken, Doughnut backpacks have lots of compartments. So it's an excellent Kanken alternative if you like to keep things well organized.
This backpack is suitable for many life situations. You can use it for going to school, at work, hiking, or traveling. Its functionally is versatile. And you will love its stylish design.
Doughnut Macaroon offers also very cute mini backpacks with a volume of 7 liters. They will be perfect for children or for adults who want to create a cool casual look.
3. Kalidi Casual Backpack
Another item on my list of Backpacks like Fjallraven is KALIDI.
It has got more than 4,000 positive reviews on Amazon. The bag is made of durable, water-resistant, and lightweight Oxford fabric.
This day pack features a large compartment with many pockets: two flat side pockets and a front pocket. Externally, it has a zipped pocket, two side pockets, two large top handles, and two comfortable adjustable shoulder straps.
Kalidi is a budget multipurpose backpack that you can use for any occasion, traveling, going to university, or school. It also suits any style, and it's easy to match this backpack with your clothes. It's one of the best affordable backpacks like Kanken.
It comes in many colors. The design is minimalistic and clean.
The main advantage of this backpack over Kanken is its very affordable price. Moreover, this backpack has many pockets and even a secret safety pocket. So, it's much easier to find what you need in the backpack. The material is also more resistant; it does not bend and does not leave any creases like Kanken backpacks.
All in all, if you are looking for a cheap Kanken backpack, Kalidi bag will be an excellent choice.
4. Seventeen London Wimbledon Backpack
The next backpack on my list of Alternatives to Kanken is a Wimbledon Classic backpack by SEVENTEEN LONDON.
SEVENTEEN LONDON was founded in London in 2017 by Laura & Oliver, who wanted to create a perfect and functional backpack for their two kids. As they didn't find one on the market, they developed their ideal backpack themselves. The result of their work is a classic Wimbledon backpack that is an excellent accessory for everyone who wants to show off their individual style and personality.
This backpack has received over 2,000 positive customer reviews on Amazon. It shows that this backpack is worthy of attention and trust.
Its design is different from that of the Kanken backpacks, but it is also a stylish and modern backpack. Currently (at the time of writing this review), it comes in only three colors: black, red, and khaki. It's a surprisingly practical backpack, with lots of pockets and comfortable straps. Wimbledon Classic is made from durable nylon with a polyester lining.
It's nice to use it as a camera bag, go on trips with it, and go to college. This backpack has a very reasonable price compared to Kanken and excellent quality.
5. LILY & DREW Travel Backpack
This beautiful and lightweight, fashionable backpack from Lily & Drew is perfect Fjallraven alternative for those who are constantly active and on the move.
Use this bag for hiking, cycling, traveling, school, work, or wherever you go.
The outer fabric is a luxurious nylon material that protects your belongings from water. The inner lining is made of silky smooth polyester.
This backpack from Lily & Drew has received over 1,000 positive customer reviews on Amazon. And it mostly has a 5-star rating.
Its design is different from all the models on this list: it's more minimalist and feminine.
If you are looking for a backpack that will become your best companion in nearly all life situations, Lily & Drew is a perfect choice.
6. Modoker Vintage Laptop Backpack
I really like the design of this urban backpack by Modoker, and it's already on my wishlist. It's incredibly stylish and modern with this special vintage, old-school look.
If you are looking for a Kanken alternative with a bit different style, this backpack will please you.
This product is a great success and has received over 14,000 positive reviews from Amazon customers. This number of satisfied customers speaks for itself and is the best proof of the backpack's quality.
It comes in 5 very stylish colors. The backpack features multiple compartments so that it's easy for you to organize your belongings. It is made of 600D nylon fabric that is scratch-resistant and water-repellent.
If you are looking for a perfect urban backpack and a good Fjallraven alternative, the Modoker Vintage backpack can be an excellent fit for you.