The KÜHL Eskape 25 backpack is almost perfect for anyone who loves spending time outdoors or travels a lot. This backpack was designed with the outdoor enthusiast in mind, and it has a ton of features that make it ideal for any activity, no matter the weather conditions. The KUHL Eskape backpack is for bikers, hikers, travelers, and basically anyone looking for a high-quality, water-resistant, everyday carry backpack.
KUHL Eskape 25 Kanvas Backpack Features At A Glance
- Made with TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) waterproof laminated fabric and durable nylon-reinforced canvas with a waxed coating, so contents stay dry
- Magnetic buckle and fast access, dual zip, top compartment
- Quick access, clamshell main compartment for easy packing
- Padded, waterproof laptop compartment
- Laptop sleeve suspended above the bottom of the bag to protect laptop corners
- 25L of space (i.e. room for a couple days worth of clothes)
- Hidden pocket specifically for an Apple Air TAG or similar device tracker
- Fleece-lined top pocket to protect sunglasses, cell phone, etc.
- Dedicated location in the center of the bag for an indicator safety light
- Split-zip outer pocket for quick access items
- Expandable side pockets for water bottle, tripod, etc.
- Compression straps on both sides
- Stowable waist strap
- Padded shoulder straps with load lifters
- Back panel with luggage pass-through compatibility for rolling luggage
- Magnetic sternum strap
- Water-resistant zipper
- Highly reflective zipper pulls and tabs for easy identification at night
- Theft-resistant zippers for main compartment
- Zipper-secured key clip pocket
- Reinforced in high abrasion areas
- Superior to other similar-sized bags
- 9.5”L x 12.5”W x 20.5”H
- Sleeve for laptop/tablet compartment: 16.26” tall by 12” wide
- Volume: 25 Liters
- Empty weight (Kanvas version): 3.8lbs
- Empty weight (TPU waterproof version): 4.1lbs
I have only ONE complaint about this backpack, and it’s kind of a big one… Read on to find out if it might be a deal breaker for you.
KÜHL: By Far My Favorite Outdoor Clothing Brand
You can see evidence of how much I like KUHL clothing in my video reviews – whether filming or just in my everyday life, KÜHL pants are my go-to pants because I like them that much and have for several years. More recently, I was excited to become an affiliate with KÜHL. For you, this just means that, if you decide to buy the Eskape 25 backpack or any other KÜHL products by clicking any of the KUHL links on our site, I will receive a small commission of the sale at no additional cost to you. It’s pretty much a win/win scenario. You get awesome outdoor clothing and gear from KUHL, while also supporting what we do here at The Warrior Solution with no extra cost to you. Sweet!
Meet Your New EDC Backpack | The KUHL Eskape 25
There are currently two versions of the KUHL Eskape 25 backpack. The first is a blend of TPU waterproof nylon and wax-coated “kanvas,” which is the version I have, on which this review is based. The second version is full TPU waterproof nylon material. Basically, if you live in areas that tend to get a ton of rain, like the Pacific Northwest, these backpacks are almost perfect.
The overall size of the Eskape 25 puts it right in line with airlines’ size requirements for carry-on luggage. Its 25L capacity is big enough for a couple days worth of clothing, a laptop/tablet, accessories, camera tripod, water bottle, and more. It’s also a great size for commuting via a motorcycle or bike. The KUHL Eskape 25 has a horizontal nylon strap sewn in the center, which just happens to hold a marking light or similar safety device.
Features of The KUHL Escape 25 Backpack
The KÜHL Eskape 25 Kanvas backpack isn’t just a check in the box for “backpack.” It’s clear that the designers spent quite a bit of time in thought, figuring out what features and attributes would be most important for a bag like this. Just glance at it, and you can tell this isn’t just a backpack off the shelf at Wally World. If you take the time to look at all the features, fit, and finish of the backpack, you’ll quickly discover how calculated this design is.
Featuring a Woojin magnetic clasped sternum strap and FIDLOCK magnetic clasp on the secondary compartment, as well as Duraflex adjustment hardware and YKK zippers throughout its design, this pack is engineered with quality components to ensure durability. Additionally, it has an adjustable hip belt buckle, but I’ll say more about that in a bit.
Waterproof Padded Laptop Compartment With Water Resistant Zipper
One of my favorite features of the KUHL Eskape 25 backpack is the padded laptop compartment. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the best-designed laptop pocket of any backpack I’ve ever owned. For starters, the padding between the heat-molded back panel and the actual laptop sleeve is almost an inch thick. It isn’t annoyingly stiff, cheapo foam either. It’s rigid enough to provide plenty of protection for your tech, while also being flexible enough that it doesn’t feel like you’re carrying a board on your back.
The entire padded laptop compartment is made with very durable, waterproof TPU-laminated, nylon fabric. The compartment also has a water-resistant zipper made by YKK. That’s a bunch of word salad that basically means you can walk through a hurricane, and your computer, tablet, or whatever else you store in that compartment should stay safe and dry – okay, maybe not a hurricane. Seriously though, it’s water resistant. (Don’t go SCUBA diving with it.)
As if that wasn’t enough, the laptop sleeve is also suspended above the bottom of the bag, so if you drop it, the corners of your laptop will have protection. This is a super smart design that keeps your tech safer than any other backpack I’ve ever used.
Clamshell Style Main Compartment For Easy Packing
Another great feature of the KUHL Eskape 25 backpack is its clamshell main compartment design. It opens up like a suitcase, so it’s really easy to see everything you have packed inside and make sure nothing is forgotten. This also makes packing and unpacking much faster, since you don’t have to dig through multiple tiny pockets to find what you need or dig around from the top of the bag to reach items at the bottom.
The main compartment features YKK theft deterrent zippers, which are effective for keeping your valuables safe. I was messing around with them, trying to be as sneaky as possible – it would take a Houdini to get into that main compartment without you knowing about it, if you use those theft deterrent zippers correctly.
The main interior compartment of the KUHL Eskape 25 Kanvas backpack features one large mesh separator pouch and a second zippered pocket for smaller items.
High Visibility Interior*
One interesting thing to note about the differences between the full TPU waterproof version and the Kanvas/TPU version I have is the color of the interior lining. The full TPU version features high-visibility blue, while the canvas/TPU interior is light grey. I’m not sure why KUHL opted to go with grey over the high-visibility blue for both versions, since the blue makes it super easy to sort through your gear and find what you’re looking for… However, if you really like grey, as I do, you’ll be set. If you think you’d prefer the higher visibility interior, go with the full TPU waterproof version of this backpack.
*The high visibility interior is only available in the full TPU version, not the canvas style shown in this review.
Magnetic Buckle & Dual Zipper Quick Access Top Compartment
Another really cool feature of the KUHL Eskape 25 is the magnetic buckle that gives fast access to the top compartment. This backpack is the first item I’ve reviewed that featured one of these magnetic buckles from FIBOLOCK. Spoiler alert: it’s AWESOME. This buckle uses magnets and some very clever engineering to lock and unlock really quickly, while still being strong and secure. It’s hard to describe in words, but the magnetic buckle alone would set this backpack apart from others.
This is the same buckle design that the Warrior Poet Sling uses that they call the “Jedi Buckle.” You can grab the pull cords and just lift up, and the whole top of the bag opens like a traditional top loading backpack. This pouch sits in front of the main compartment for easy access. You can store longer items fairly securely and just have them sticking out one side of the flap.
Special Hidden Pocket For Device Tracker
If you like to keep track of your property with Apple AirTags, Samsung Galaxy SmartTags, or Tiles, the KÜHL Eskape 25 kanvas backpack is designed for that too. It has a purpose-built, hidden compartment inside the top zippered internal pouch. You would never know this pocket was there, but KUHL includes a small, removable label on the pocket to help you find it. It’s just large enough to fit the tracking device of your choice.
Easy Packing Splitzip Front Pockets For Quick Access Items
The front of the KUHL Eskape 25 Kanvas backpack features two front pockets with YKK zippers. These are great for small items you need to access quickly. Personally, I would not recommend storing anything that is valuable in these pockets. Instead, think of things like boarding passes, packs of gum, batteries, cords, etc.
At the top center of the two front pouches, there is a horizontal strip of nylon webbing. This is specifically designed for attaching lights, reflectors, or similar safety markers for commuting. You can also attach a small carabiner for things like helmets or similar items. I wouldn’t suggest anything heavy, but it’s still a nice feature to have.
Integrated Luggage Pass Through Sleeve For Rolling Luggage
The padded back panel on this pack features an integrated trolly sleeve, so you can slide the backpack over the handle of most rolling luggage. The sleeve is pretty wide and should slide over a standard luggage handle without difficulty.
External Expansion Side Pouches
The KUHL Eskape 25 Kanvas backpack features two expandable pockets on the sides. These are great for things like water bottles, camera tripods, action cameras, or anything long and too tall for the interior of the bag. There are also two compression straps, just above the side pockets, so you can loop the strap through the top of a bottle or a tripod leg to keep it secure.
External Horizontal Carry Handles
The backpack features two external, nylon carry handles, as well as the main carry handle at the top of the bag. The side handles are made from tubular nylon with some padding inside the nylon. (The top handle is made from one-inch nylon webbing that is folded in half and sewn together. To me, the top carry handle feels a little small for the size of the bag. I imagine it’s secure and not going to rip off easily, but it just seems too small to me, based on how heavy you can load the bag.)
The side handles, on the other hand, are very strong and comfortable to use. These handles are super durable and great for airline overhead bins or generally moving the backpack around in everyday situations.
Highly Reflective Hits On The Zipper Pulls & Shoulder Straps
The KUHL Eskape 25 Kanvas backpack features some great reflective hits on all of the visible zipper pulls and shoulder straps. These help keep you safe, if you’re out at night, walking or biking around in low-light situations. The reflective material is small enough that it doesn’t really stand out during the day, but it still looks good and adds a nice safety element to the bag, overall.
Stowable Hip Belt
The hip belt on the Eskape 25 Kanvas backpack seems more like an afterthought than a primary feature. The design is about as simple as a hip belt can get. It’s there if you want to use it; but personally, I just store it and don’t mess with it.
Summery of The KUHL Eskape 25 Kanvas Backpack - Pros & Cons
- Possibly the best laptop/tech compartment
- Awesome magnetic, easy access
- Clamshell main compartment for easy packing
- High visibility blue interior in full TPU version
- Hidden pocket for a device tracker
- Storage with two front pouches
- Two external expanding pouches (i.e. water bottles or tripods)
- Two external horizontal carry handles
- Reflective hits on the zipper pulls
- Integrated luggage pass-through sleeve for rolling luggage
- Top carry handle feels too small
- Stowable hip belt seems more like an afterthought
- More expensive than similar-sized bags on the market (which are likely not water resistant like this one is)
- Top-heavy design = backpack falls over unless you lean it on something
My One Major Complaint About The KUHL Eskape 25 Kanvas Backpack
At the beginning of this review, I indicated that I only have one major complaint about the Eskape 25 Kanvas backpack. Here it is: this thing falls over faster than R2-D2 getting tased by Jawas! Its base is thinner than the top, so if you have the backpack loaded with gear, you can’t put it down on a flat surface and expect it to stand up on its own.
I’m sure there is some reason KÜHL opted to design it the way they did, but I personally hate when my backpack can’t stand up and look awesome on its own. With this tipping hazard, I have to turn the backpack around and lean it against a tree or wall to get it to stay upright. I don’t really want to put it down with the back panel on the ground because it will pick up debris, dirt, grime, etc. I also don’t really want to put it face down in the dirt, since that limits access to all the pockets.
This issue hasn’t been mentioned by any of the other reviews I’ve seen, and I’m not sure why. Is this a deal breaker for me? No, it’s still an awesome backpack; it just isn’t perfect because of this aspect. Nevertheless, it’s my favorite backpack I’ve owned so far.
Conclusion & Final Thoughts
Overall, the KUHL Eskape 25 Kanvas backpack is a great mid-sized pack that has some really nice features and useful pockets for organization. It’s loaded with outdoor-specific features, well-constructed, and aesthetically pleasing. The fact that it is made with waterproof materials is a huge plus over the competition, making this bag a good option for varied weather conditions. The KÜHL Eskape 25 backpack is definitely worth considering.
If you found this review helpful and you’re interested in buying the KÜHL Escape 25 backpack, please consider using any of the links from this page to help support our work.