I’m 12% Swedish and my trusty Fjallraven Kanken backpack is 100% Swedish – between the two of us, it seemed we should make a pilgrimage to Sweden.
I’ve had my Fjallraven for two years, biking around campus while carrying 20-units-worth of books, yet it remains unscathed. After all, my beautiful forest green satchel is crafted out of vinylon F material. It’s no surprise the same country that produced Vikings could produce a college-proof backpack.
But can the Fjallraven stand to meet its maker? Can it survive the rugged Scandinavian wilderness? My Kanken and I boarded a Stockholm-bound International flight to find out….
The simple design of the Fjallraven is iconic and functional. The Kanken design was debuted in 1978 to spare the backs of Swedish schoolchildren, who had been developing back problems at an increasingly younger age. Now the Fjallraven backpack is beloved by Swedes of all ages, and its design has been put to the test for over a quarter of a century.
Fjallraven includes all the necessary components but doesn’t overdo it with frivolous bells and whistles. The pack helps me stay organized: instead of frantically searching for my camera in 23 zippered pockets, I know exactly where to find it. It’s usually in the main compartment, with my keys and phone stored safely in the front zippered pockets, and my wallet and other essentials in the two side pockets. Going through airport security with my Fjallraven backpack was a breeze because I didn’t inadvertently leave liquids in a forgotten secret compartment.
Stockholm was the first stop on my Fjallraven’s pilgrimage. I wanted to bring my DSLR camera, rain jacket, snacks, and water bottle on the walking tour of Stockholm. But when touring Europe, it’s important to be stylish. If I’m being perfectly honest, I usually favor starving and freezing over carrying an ugly backpack in all of my European photos. Well here’s a newsflash: all the Europeans are carrying Fjallraven Kanken backpacks, many in favor of purses, and looking super sharp. Whether at a museum or a hipster bar, I fit right in with my Fjallraven backpack.
Most backpacks only cater to the great outdoors, but Fjallraven does an exceptional job of remaining functional and seriously fashionable. The cheeky winking fox doubles as a reflector if you’re walking or biking after sunset. Fjallraven also has a color selection that rivals a box of 48 Crayola crayons. Any age and any gender can find their perfect color match: ocean green, deep red, estate blue, brick, navy, purple, peach, graphite, and more. Most of the Kankens are monochrome, which is a hot trend with longevity, but they also offer fun two-tone options: purple/violet, forest green/ox red, burnt orange/deep red, and graphite/UN blue. Perhaps you want to make a statement in peach pink or become a wardrobe staple in Europe’s favorite color: black.
From Street to Summit
My Fjallraven passed its Stockholm street test with flying colors: the Swedes were impressed; they thought I was one of them. But this was just the warm-up round. The Fjallraven took the city in stride, but could it handle the wilderness?
I carried my Fjallraven over national borders to the Norwegian fjords. Here I embarked on an 18-mile hike up a mountain, in the rain, to Trolltunga, or “Troll’s Tongue.” Several overzealous hikers trotted past me, kicking up mud. They looked like they knew what they were doing- they had rain protectors on their backpacks and smiles on their faces. I had neither. I assumed the contents of my backpack would get soaked, but my Fjallraven Kanken prevailed! Its hardwearing vinylon F material is lightweight and water-repellent, keeping my backpack’s interior completely dry throughout 10 hours of rain! And while my feet got tired, my shoulders never got sore from the simple and effective Fjallraven straps (designed with schoolchildren in mind, remember?!)
In the end, my Fjallraven Kanken backpack was the ultimate Euro trip companion. Heck, it made me proud to be Swedish! No more switching out purses with heavy backpacks: the Kanken has everything you need for any type of traverse or adventure. Shop Fjallraven on eBags.com!
Annie’s based in Los Angeles but hails from Portland, Oregon. Sort of. She moved to six states by the time she reached middle school, and continues to move around the US and abroad – call her a nomad, but she prefers “Location ADHD.” After studying abroad in New Zealand, Annie circled the globe, graduated from USC, and circled the world once again. For one year she lived out of a backpack everywhere from The Philippines to Nepal to Slovenia to Norway. She’s a curry connoisseur and passionate explorer, taking the road less traveled, the “trail” covered in vines and swarmed in exotic bugs. Foreign lands feel like home, and Annie loves encouraging more and more people to utilize their passports and experience a new culture.