If you’re looking for a military-grade gym bag that can take a beating, the KNKG Everyday Tactical Backpack is worth its weight in dynamic durability.

Athletes of every ilk will find something to appreciate about the KNKG Everyday Tactical Backpack (EDT), says TJ Fink. Like the best workout clothes, it’s built to last and looks the part.

Men’s Fitness verdict

Thanks to tough-as-nails construction, plenty of pockets, and clippable MOLLE webbing around the exterior, there’s a lot to like about this rugged bag. Overall ergonomics could be improved though.
  • Ultra-rugged 1000D nylon body
  • Padded laptop compartment
  • Unique MOLLE webbing
  • Plenty of pockets, inside and out
  • No hip strap
  • Only two color options
  • So-so ergonomics

How we tested this backpack

While testing out this backpack, MF reviewer TJ Fink assessed the bag in terms of style, storage, and comfort. He also paid close attention to the durability of the design and whether it was worth the price tag. The testing process involved packing the backpack with a range of items – from workout clothes and gym shoes to a laptop and headphones – to assess the storage capabilities, before wearing it over varied periods to assess the comfort factor.

First impressions of the KNKG Everyday Tactical Backpack

First things first. With an MSRP of $269, the KNKG Everyday Tactical Backpack is slightly cheaper than other premium gym bags we’ve tested, such as the $290 Built for Athletes Pro Series. But that doesn’t mean KNKG skimped out on style – or overall durability. (KNKG is short for King Kong, by the way, and if you’re going to name your gym bags after a larger-than-life gorilla, they better be a bit beastly between the seams.) 

When my test unit arrived in the mail, it felt like I was getting prepped for a Black Ops mission; the backpack definitely lives up to its namesake in the ‘tactical’ department. The MOLLE webbing on the bag’s exterior is a nice touch, as is the included carabiner. 

KNKG Backpack on a wooden floor

I’m a little disappointed that the EDT Backpack is lacking a hip strap, but since this minimalist model is meant to be used primarily as a gym backpack (as opposed to a rucking or backpacking backpack), I wouldn’t call that a deal-breaker. 

KNKG Everyday Tactical Backpack features

The EDT Backpack is pretty minimalist at first glance, and that’s just fine by me. The 1000D nylon body is complemented by snazzy leather accents, a ripstop nylon lining, Duraflex buckles, and YKK zippers. The MOLLE webbing (and included carabiner) creates useful attachment points around the bag’s perimeter, and the main compartment is flanked by expandable bottle pockets – a necessity for any gym-goer. 

If you’re a fellow fitness fanatic who’s also a mobile maverick, you’ll be happy to know that the EDT Backpack comes with a dedicated 16-inch laptop sleeve to keep your tech protected. Open up the main compartment, and you’ll find four more pockets (one with a zipper!) to keep smaller stuff separated when you’re on the move. The contoured shoulder straps and adjustable sternum strap are paired with breathable back padding to accommodate heavier loads. Regrettably, the shoulder straps would occasionally dig into my skin when the bag was loaded up to full capacity – even when the sternum strap was in play. 

KNKG Tactical Backpack straps up close

But wait, there’s more: lift up the KNKG tag inside the main compartment, and you’ll find a teeny-tiny hidden pocket for storing…well, whatever the heck you can fit in here. Maybe some electrolyte drinks

As a freelance bartender who lives in New York City, I used the EDT Backpack as my primary pack for a few weeks, and put all those pockets to good use in my daily commutes – especially when it came to stuffing the bag to capacity with my off-the-clock running gear. (I train in the Catskills whenever I can.) The laptop pocket kept my notebook nice and secure as I jostled it around on the subway, and thanks to those nifty side pockets, I always had a water bottle at the ready. 

KNKG Backpack water bottle holder

The EDT Backpack is built to take a beating, and the nylon shell is certainly tough enough to take on the elements to some degree, but just remember: it’s not waterproof. That being said, during my testing the nylon shell dried very quickly from the occasional water splash, especially in the sun. 


Let’s talk about pockets. My favorite backpacks are chock full of ergonomic pockets, and the EDT Backpack is no exception. As mentioned above, you get not one, but two expandable bottle pockets on either side of the outer bag, and one small pocket – complete with waterproof zipper – on the front. This shallow pocket is perfect for holding your trifecta (ie, wallet + keys + phone) while you work out. 

There’s plenty of room inside the main compartment for a pair of the best running shoes, but a ventilated pocket along the outside might have been nice. That being said, it’s easy enough to clip your shoes right to that MOLLE webbing – or slip them into the expandable side pockets, depending on how bulky they are. 

Weighing in at just 3 pounds, the 18.2L EDT Backpack is roughly half as heavy as the 6.2-pound Built for Athletes Pro Series bag, but at 45L, the latter luggage also boasts more than double the storage capacity. 

Finer details

After about a month of intermittent use, the EDT Backpack still felt pretty rigid on my back, and I definitely would have appreciated a modest hip strap to keep the weight more evenly distributed when I was on the move. Still, this bag isn’t meant for longer treks; it’s meant for getting your gear from point A to point B without a fuss. In that regard, this backpack does its job well, but the overall ergonomics could still use some improvement. 

Of all the features this bag has to offer, I appreciated those expandable side pockets the most. They’re the perfect size for most protein shakers, and equally useful for storing snacks, spare socks, first aid kits, you name it. Plus, when it comes to the best gym bags, hydration should always be top-of-mind. 

18.2L is a fairly modest storage capacity, but I could mod the bag to my heart’s content by clipping gear to MOLLE webbing on the outside. Rock climbers and bouldering buddies, rejoice! 

KNKG Backpack on the floor with climbing gear attached to it

Should you buy this backpack? 

If you’re in the market for a basic gym bag that’s built to last, the KNKG Everyday Tactical Backpack should fill the bill – especially if you can find it at a discount. (As of this writing, it was on sale for $135 via KNKG’s website, which is a pretty substantial markdown from the original $269 asking price.) Athletes with excessive gear in tow, however, may appreciate the monstrous 45L storage capacity found in the Built For Athletes Pro Series Backpack.

As a longtime fan of backpacking backpacks, hydration backpacks, and lightweight running vests, I’ve always appreciated a well-placed hip strap… of which there are none to be found on the EDT Backpack. And while the shoulder straps are sufficiently padded, they come up short in the ergonomics department. Long-story-long: athletes of every ilk will find something to appreciate about this gym bag, but it wasn’t meant for the long haul.

Features1000D nylon body; Ripstop nylon lining; Full-grain American cow leather accents; Duraflex buckles; Expandable bottle pockets; MOLLE webbing
Capacity4.8gal / 18.2L
Dimensions12.2 x 18.9 x 8.7in / 31 x 48 x 22cm
ColorsBlack / Tan