Our Favorite Fjallraven Backpacks Reviewed

  • October 7, 2020
  • / By Keith Terrell
Winter Hike

If you’ve ever wanted to buy a quality backpack sometime in your life (and you probably have!), the chances are that you’ve come across Fjallraven. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that it’s one of the first brands that comes up when you Google “high-quality backpacks.”

Winter Hike

This Swedish brand has captured (and continues to capture) markets and users’ hearts, wardrobes and shoulders across the world ever since its inception and for good reason - though the brand is one of the upscale, high-end ones, the quality, excellent craftsmanship, great design and the impressive array of features make the backpacks worth every penny.

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Name

More Info

Kanken Classic Backpack

Best for Daily Use

Kanken Classic

Kajka 65

Best for Trekking

Kajka 65

Travel Pack

Best for Travel

  Travel Pack

Foldsack No. 1

Best for Laptops

Foldsack No. 1

Abisko Hike 35

Best for Hiking

Abisko Hike 35

Why does Fjallraven enjoy the global fanbase that it does? And if you were to pick out a Fjallraven backpack, what options should you look at? We answer all these questions and more in our article, so read on!

We start off our list with Fjallraven's Kanken Classic Backpack, easily one of the company’s most popular lines. What we love about this backpack, apart from its functionality, quality, and trendy design, is that it’s extremely versatile - though it will serve you extremely well on your day out in the town, it can also serve you extremely well as a lightweight backpack on your hiking trip.

This backpack is a hit especially among the student crowd; it makes for a great school backpack, spacious enough to fit in all those folders, notebooks, and stationery. In short, a sturdy backpack that is very well suited to your daily carrying needs!

Kanken Classic Backpack

Source: fjallraven.com

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 14.9 x 10.6 x 5.1 inches
  • Weight: 0.7 pounds
  • Size: One size
  • Volume: 16 liters
  • Material: Vinylon

Benefits

This iconic backpack from Fjallraven is one of its most popular offerings - even today, the backpacks are designed with the same classic 1978 Kanken design that was first used. Featuring two-way zippers for closure, the backpack has a front pocket and two side pockets that are open in addition to the main compartment, easily letting you store your everyday essentials in an organized manner. 

The material of the backpack is another major draw - Vinylon F is dirt and water-resistant and to make the deal sweeter, supremely easy to clean (all you have to do is wipe!). Thanks to this, you can rest assured that your backpack will see you through quite a few years before it calls it a day! 

Though the backpack is water-resistant, it also comes equipped with a rain flap for protection, ensuring that those assignments you spent nights writing don’t get ruined thanks to a sudden flash flood that you couldn’t have anticipated! With not one, but two, security measures in place, your belongings will stay safe and dry.

To ensure that users are comfortable while carrying the backpack, even when it’s an especially long day, the Kanken comes equipped with ergonomically-designed adjustable shoulder straps and 2 snap handles on top to let you carry it when your shoulders are begging for a break. 

There’s a sitting pad for impromptu seating as well as a reflective logo that’s not just trendy but also enhances the visibility of the backpack and the wearer. Lastly, though it’s not designed to be a laptop backpack, it does feature a thin, padded sleeve at the back of the main compartment (originally meant for papers and files) that can hold your 15-inch laptop comfortably. 

Overall, a great combination of functionality, durability, and class!

Pros

  • Versatile, trendy, lightweight backpack
  • Extremely durable; resistant to dirt and water
  • Easy to clean
  • Great quality 
  • An iconic design that’s stood the test of time 
  • Spacious, with sufficient pockets for organizing belongings efficiently 
  • One of the more affordable models of the brand 
  • Available in 30-plus colors!

Cons

  • The material, though resistant to dirt, is prone to collecting dust.
  • Not great for extremely heavy loads

Verdict

The Kanken is an iconic backpack, continuing to maintain its popularity despite the passage of time; it’s as popular even today as it was when it first hit the market, and with good reason!

The backpack is trendy yet functional and spacious enough to fit in all your belongings quite comfortably, laptop included, though it isn’t designed to be a laptop backpack. Additionally, the durability, sturdiness, and relatively cheap price are quite the major draws too. 

All in all, there’s very little margin for error if you do pick this backpack for your everyday carrying needs, so go for it!


Kajka 65

Looks can be deceiving, especially when it’s the Fjallraven Kajka 65 in question; you wouldn’t believe just how much durability, comfort, and functionality is packed into this backpack’s modest outer shell! Its innovative design, great features, and overall awesomeness have won it quite a few laurels, from being the 2009 Utemagasinet "Product of the Year" to being Retkis’ "Best in Test" in 2011, in addition to the endorsement received by tons of hikers across the world. Only natural, then, that it would be our best trekking backpack, too!

Kajka 65

Source: fjallraven.com

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 29.9 x 13.8 x 11 inches
  • Weight: 7.1 pounds
  • Size: One size
  • Volume: 65 liters
  • Material: Polyester

Benefits

The Kajka 65 is one of Fjallraven’s most innovative backpacks, equipped with improved features that have been fine-tuned to near perfection. 

One such feature is the unique wooden frame used in the backpack’s construction; not only does this frame provide strength, durability, functionality, and form to the backpack but also earns major brownie points for being considerably less damaging to the environment than steel/ plastic frames. The backpack also features a Perfect Fit Adjustment System, meaning that no matter what the user’s shape or size, it can be easily adjusted to suit different body types; you can adjust both the width between the shoulder straps and the length of the back. 

In addition to this, the hip belt (designed to even fit wider girths), enhances the backpack’s fit while also ensuring comfortable carrying. While we’re on the topic of comfortable carrying, let’s also take a second to appreciate the backpack’s support system that facilitates even weight distribution of extremely heavy loads too, the chest strap and the comfortable, padded shoulder straps too!

The backpack’s main compartment is the top-loading type and features a snow lock. The front of the backpack features a large vertical opening (meaning that you can open the entire front) while the bottom features another opening, letting users easily view the backpack’s contents. This means the backpack can also be divided into upper and lower halves; the latter features wet/ dry mesh compartments to stow away all the dirty, damp casualties of your hiking trip. In addition to this, the backpack has zip-closure pockets on the sides (slanted, to hold water bottles and other larger items), on the hip belt and on the top (one of the two pockets on top features a key-holder inside). 

In addition to all these fantastic features, the Kajka 65’s top cover is removable; it can double up as a chest or waist bag. There are two compression straps on either side for efficient compression (designed to do so without blocking the openings to the side pockets), attachment points on the backpack’s top cover and bottom, a convenient whistle on the chest strap, and last but not the least, a rain cover with reflectors. 

Pros

  • Extremely feature-rich
  • Very well designed; innovative design with innovative features
  • Hydration compatible
  • Environmentally-friendly frame, leading to a reduced carbon footprint 
  • Additional safety features such as a reflective rain cover and attached whistle

Cons

  • At around $350, it’s quite expensive, even for a Fjallraven.
  • It’s on the heavier side, even for its 65-liter capacity.

Verdict

Honestly, with the tons of features we just listed out, you shouldn’t need a verdict to help you decide, but here it is, anyway - we adore the Kajka 65 and it would probably be our first pick for a hiking trip. You’d be hard-pressed to find another backpack with as many innovative features (or even just plain features), great functionality, design and comfort, and just plain overall awesomeness, all of which justify the heavy price tag for many users. A definite must consider (if you haven’t already placed your order by now) for all your hiking needs!


Travel Pack

An extremely spacious backpack that you can easily fit a few nights’ worth of vacationing into, the Fjallraven Travel Pack is all kinds of practical and functional. Its semi-soft nature makes it easy to stow away or store while its thoughtful design makes it easy to easily organize your belongings. Additionally, it’s TSA friendly for most airlines, which means no long check-in lines to bear. Overall, another feature-rich offering from Fjallraven to fulfill users’ needs for an efficient travel backpack!

Travel Pack

Source: fjallraven.com

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 18.1 x 12.6 x 10.6 inches
  • Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Size: One size
  • Volume: 35 liters
  • Material: G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco

Benefits

Whether you’re planning a short vacation or need to make a business trip, the Fjallraven Travel Pack is the perfect companion. It’s functional, stylish, durable, practical and like the Kajka 65, has a reduced carbon footprint. 

The backpack’s main compartment (fully openable with zip closure) features a padded sleeve that can accommodate laptops up to 15 inches, a mesh cover and 3 internal zippered pockets for your valuables, a flat pocket in the front with zip closure for your everyday essentials that you need to access quickly and a phone pocket lined with fleece.

The backpack also has a double-access compartment (accessible from inside the bag when the main compartment is opened and from outside when it isn’t) with zip closure into which you can put your toiletries and other items, such as your passport and tickets, that you may need to pull out quickly at the airport. 

To keep users comfortable while carrying it, the Travel Pack features padded shoulder straps and leather handles. In addition to this, it’s foam-padded on all sides with a light polyamide internal lining; combined with the G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco (a tougher version of the G-1000 manufactured using organic cotton and recycled materials), you can rest assured that you have a durable, sturdy backpack on your hands (or shoulders) that can very efficiently protect your belongings from damage. The leather is naturally colored, further earning brownie points for the backpack’s eco-friendliness!

Should you choose to carry this backpack as carry-on luggage, you can stow away the shoulder straps to make your backpack more compact and as mentioned earlier, the semi-soft nature will let you easily stow/ store the backpack in the overhead cabins or under the seat.

Pros

  • Conveniently carry-on sized for most airplanes
  • Many pockets for efficient organization of belongings; the unique double-access compartment is a huge plus.
  • The zips can all be locked with a padlock.
  • Extremely durable and sturdy 
  • Environmentally-friendly material

Cons

  • Not very suitable for extremely heavy loads
  • Gets scuffed easily and attracts dust and lint 
  • No water bottle compartment on the sides

Verdict

When the convenience of a backpack met the organizational capabilities of a suitcase, the Fjallraven Travel Pack was born. Sure, for a backpack with so many specific and general compartments designed to store possibly every conceivable belonging, it’s kinda ironic that it doesn’t have a water bottle compartment, but you could just easily fit a water bottle into the backpack’s roomy interiors anyway.

We also don’t particularly dig the fact that for a backpack designed for travel, the Travel Pack’s exterior gets easily scuffed and picks up fluff, but well, you win some, you lose some! A worthy investment if you’re looking for a travel backpack for short trips.


Foldsack No. 1

A backpack with a simple, uncluttered design that’s high on functionality, the Foldsack No. 1 comes equipped with a host of laptop-friendly features; ergo, best laptop backpack! In addition to the signature durability and solid construction that Fjallraven backpacks are known for, the Foldsack No. 1 features a fold-down top, a roomy main compartment with space for a 15-inch laptop and is great for everyday usage.

Foldsack No. 1

Source: fjallraven.com

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 15.7 x 11.8 x 5.9 inches
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds 
  • Size: One size
  • Volume: 16 liters
  • Material: G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco

Benefits

The Foldsack No.1’s simple, no-fuss layout doesn’t compromise on any of its superb functionality; it features a fold-down top that can be attached with metal buckles and textile straps to the front of the backpack. The extra-durable, extra-strong G-1000 HeavyDuty fabric construction (same as the Travel Pack) will keep your backpack performing at peak levels for years to come, making it just as suitable for a trek as it is for everyday usage. 

The main compartment is quite spacious, featuring an inner sleeve for 15-inch laptops with a padded bottom that protects your laptop from any falls. The front of the top cover also features an external pocket with zip closure when you fold it down; you can also access this pocket without opening up the top. 

To make carrying the backpack comfortable, the Foldsack comes equipped with a padded back panel (G-1000 Original padding), supporting shoulder straps, and a textile handle on top for carrying. 

Though the backpack features no external embellishments or designs, it’s available in a range of attractive colors.

Pros

  • The roll-top lets you customize the backpack’s space as you wish, expanding when you require additional space and folding down when you don’t.
  • Designed for easy packing, you can pack in belongings quickly and easily. 
  • A very sleek appearance, even when fully packed, despite the surprisingly large capacity!

Cons

  • No water bottle compartment
  • A relatively low number of internal pockets, compared to other Fjallraven backpacks

Verdict

Like the classic Kanken, the Foldsack is a simple, functional, practical bag that very efficiently accomplishes the purpose it was built for - carrying and protecting your laptop and everyday essentials. It ranges between $90 and $110, which means that even at its most expensive, it’s still relatively cheap for a Fjallraven. However, if you’re not looking specifically for a laptop backpack with padding at the bottom and roll-top closure, you may just be better off investing in the Kanken than the Foldsack; the former is more versatile, more efficient and less expensive too.


Abisko Hike 35

Lightweight, functional, and flexible, the Abisko Hike 35 ticks all the right boxes when it comes to a backpack to carry on hiking trips. Its slim profile makes it a great option for low-weight trekking and hiking between cabins, as well as for day trips; however, you can even accommodate a couple of nights’ worth of gear quite comfortably. With other great features designed to support hiking trips, the Abisko Hike 35 is a must consider.

Abisko Hike 35

Source: fjallraven.com

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 11.8 x 11.8 x 2.75 inches
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Size: One size
  • Volume: 35 liters
  • Material: G-1000 Eco and G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco

Benefits

The Abisko Hike 35 is equipped with all the features required to make your hiking trip easier, first and foremost being its extremely durable, strong construction. Constructed using G-1000 Eco and HeavyDuty Eco, this bag can withstand all the tests and trials of your hiking trip. Additionally, the fabric is waxed, which means that it’s resistant to moisture; there’s also a rain cover included for the heavy spells of rain. 

When it comes to comfort, the Abisko has the standard comfort-enhancing features, such as lightly padded shoulder straps, a lightweight internal frame that significantly reduces the bag’s weight, and a hip belt. When the backpack isn’t in use, it’s extremely to store - it flattens out almost completely when empty, so you can fold it up for storage. 

The backpack’s main compartment is of the top-loading kind, with an additional zipper on the right that facilitates quick access to your belongings and a security pocket inside. You can also raise the top flap to allow space for attaching gear; it also has two pockets. To store your water bottle, there’s an expandable pocket on the side that can be adjusted with straps and a front pocket with zip closure for essentials. 

In addition to all these features, the Abisko Hike 35 also has attachments for trekking poles, loops on the hip belt to fasten gear, and loop-and-clip compression straps on the left, along with being hydration compatible.

Pros

  • Extremely durable, especially the water-protection features
  • Lightweight construction that makes the bag significantly lighter, more comfortable to carry and allows users to pack in more of their belongings 
  • Great for all weather

Cons

  • Some users found the separate rain cover a tad bit inconvenient, compared to an attached one.
  • Though it’s lightweight, there are ultra-lightweight hiking backpacks available in the market.

Verdict

Though there’s nothing special about the Abisko Hike 35, it can be a very efficient hiking companion - it has all the features a hiking backpack should have. In fact, with the kind of durability this backpack has, it may even be the only one you’ll need for a long time!

As with all Fjallraven backpacks, the quality and attention to detail in each feature are nearly unbeatable, and again, as with all Fjallraven backpacks, you’ll end up burning a hole through your wallet for these. But if your budget permits, the Abisko Hike 35 is a great option to consider for your hiking adventures.


Fjallraven - a Study in Excellence!

Swedish company Fjallraven is known for its high-quality, upscale backpacks and clothing; the attention to detail, superior craftsmanship and innovation in each product have won the brand quite a large number of admirers across the world.

Man Enjoying Nature

A Brief History 

Fjallraven, named after the arctic fox, was founded in 1960, the brainchild of then-14-year-old founder Ake Nordin. When Nordin was planning out his hiking trip to the Vasterbotten mountains, the quality, design and discomfort of his hiking backpack left him sorely disappointed - this sparked his search for the perfect hiking backpack, and if you’ve guessed the rest of the story, you know that’s how Fjallraven came into existence! 

Ake Nordin decided to take matters into his own hands and after a lot of research, trials, errors, and experiments using his mother’s sewing machine, he came up with his first prototype - a bag made of strong cotton in his mother’s basement, designed to keep the load high and close to the spine of the person carrying the backpack. He went on to add a wooden frame secured with leather straps and calfskin for support so that the weight would be better distributed, as would the ventilation. 

Soon, Nordin’s backpacks found popularity, catching the attention of everyone, from the indigenous Sami people to normal folks, but it was only after his stint in the Swedish Armed Forces that Fjallraven truly took off - his time in the army had helped him realize that it was a potential market to tap into. This took him back to the basement in his family house, and the rest is history!

From a small company that operated out of a basement to getting on the Swedish Stock Exchange to opening its first store in New York to expanding its product lines to clothing and accessories, Fjallraven sure has come a long way.

What Makes Their Products Popular 

If you’ve paid attention so far, you know that Fjallraven products have unbeatable quality, functionality and durability. One common positive comment that runs through most users’ reviews is how Fjallraven products last for a long time, holding their shape despite all the travails that they’ve been put through. 

Bonfire

This durability is aided by the fabric that Fjallraven uses to manufacture its products - the G-1000s, which keep your belongings safe from all kinds of weather and damage. Additionally, Fjallraven uses an eco-friendly variant, which earns them major brownie points in our eyes. Another material that they use is the Eco-shell, a weather-resistant, lightweight, eco-friendly fabric made from recycled polyester. The fabric’s water resistance comes from DWR PFC-free coating as opposed to traditional DWR treatments, which enhances the fabric’s eco-friendliness. 

In addition to this, you’ll also find that Fjallraven’s products, especially their clothes and jackets, are all very versatile and breathable, the latter being an essential feature in outdoor clothing. Many of their winter clothing essentials are also extremely warm and comfortable - being a Nordic company, they know exactly what is needed to keep bodies warm during the harsh Swedish winters, and in this case, it’s down.

The down that Fjallraven uses in their products is not only of the finest quality (which means that it’s even more expensive than the usually expensive down available) but also ethically sourced; you can fully trace the down back to its source. Fjallraven representatives visit farms to ensure that birds are treated humanely in their lifetime and are raised for meat, making down a by-product; such measures have earned them a high rank among ethical brands.

You’ll also find that a lot of attention has been paid to the details, such as the pockets and compartments, zippers, stitching, and so on; therefore, you know that time and effort have gone into making and designing the product.

Why Buy a Fjallraven Backpack, in Particular? 

Apart from the high standards of performance and quality, Fjallraven backpacks are among the most comfortable backpacks to carry. Add to this their durability and ability to retain their shape for generations, and you have a class-A backpack on your hands. 

Fox in the Wild

The Kanken is one of the most popular models of the brand - this model boasts the highest sales among all the company’s products, still going strong despite having been launched more than four decades ago! The reason behind this? The innovative design. Though Fjallraven backpacks are styled in a very minimalist manner, you can’t fault much the design of the backpack itself, from the layout of the compartments and pockets to the size and capacity right down to the closures and access. 

All Fjallraven backpacks are designed for easy packing and facilitation of easy access to the main compartment, with pockets that are spacious and effective while blending into the backpack instead of sticking out uncomfortably.  

How Fjallraven backpacks are sized is another reason that they’re popular and another testament to the innovative designing - though the backpacks look slim, they pack in a surprising amount of space. Even better, they won’t look bulky or oversized even if they’re packed to the brim with a ton of heavy objects.

The Final Word

One of the most reputed brands out there, there’s very little margin for error if you pick out a Fjallraven backpack, no matter what the occasion or purpose. These high-quality backpacks come with long lives and tons of innovative features, all put together in well-designed, sturdily-constructed packages, all of which answer both questions - why Fjallraven backpacks are so heavily priced and why so many customers still swear by the brand despite the heavy price asked!

If you wanted to pick out a Fjallraven backpack, we hope our picks made the job easier, but remember, a product could be the best in the world but if it doesn’t meet your needs, expectations, and preferences, there’s no point shelling out a bomb for it. Therefore, don’t just blindly take our word for it; do your own research too!