Top positive review
January 20, 2019
What can I say? I love Fjallraven products. They may not be as stylish as some other bags I've owned, but they are durable, water resistant, and most importantly - comfortable for carrying heavy items. I have had this bag for over a year now, so can try to speak to it's durability.
This Kanken No 2. Laptop bag is my primary work bag. I switched from using an over-the-shoulder tote after it started digging into my shoulder and causing me pain hauling my laptop back and forth to work. Because I take public transit, I often have to carry my bag for long periods or tote it around the city, train platforms, etc. Because of this, a backpack makes a lot more sense than an open tote where items can fall out or carrying it can be awkward.
What I like about the Kanken is the compact size - it easily fits my 15" Macbook as well as my 14" Dell, and has a dedicated laptop sleeve in the back. Unlike the original Kanken, this model has padded shoulder straps, which I highly recommend if you plan on carrying around a laptop for any significant duration. There are pockets on either side of the bag which can hold a narrow water bottle, and a small pocket in the front of the bag which I use to hold items like keys/ID cards which I need to access quickly.
The leather carry handles are what sets this backpack apart from so many others in my opinion. The handles are super convenient when I need to hop on the crowded subway - I can quickly remove my backpack but still hang on to it like a handbag. If I set it down on the ground, I can easily grab it by the handles which stay upright. When the bag is not full, the handles help fold it downward to reduce the overall profile.
Finally, I love the cavernous, square size of this backpack. The profile is not huge, but it holds a lot more than you would expect. I usually carry my laptop, a lunch, wallet, winter accessories (hat, scarf, gloves), extra shoes, misc other small items and still have room to spare. This bag holds it all but does not cause back pain carrying heavy loads.
If you're already looking at buying a Kanken, I'd suggest this model if you are considering needing to carry heavy items (laptop, books, etc). It may cost a little more than the classic, but you won't regret it. Having the padded straps and dedicated laptop sleeve makes a big difference.
Finally I've attached a photo of my bag so you can see what it looks like after 1+ years of daily use. I'm not particularly nice to this bag, other than wiping down the outside from time to time. It does have a tendency to hold on to things like pet hair and dust, so just give it a wipe with a damp cloth and that tends to help.