Fjällräven just released a challenger to its classic staple: the Tree-Kånken, which is a more sustainable, more masculine, and more ideal backpack for urban commuters.
Design and fit
The Tree-Kånken is actually a throw-back to the design of the very first version of the bag Fjällräven released in 1978 to help prevent back pain among Swedish schoolchildren. Compared to the Kånken we see on the streets today, the Tree-Kånken is roughly the same height, depth, and width, and has virtually the same fit as the modern-day version.
Design-wise, the Tree-Kånken and classic Kånken both have large, 16-liter compartments, a quick-access pocket on either side, and webbed straps and handles.
The real design difference is on the outer front where, instead of a small external pocket, the Tree-Kånken has a hidden vertical front zipper that opens to an additional top-to-bottom compartment. This allows it to stash more goods than the Kånken (although it’s not as helpful for grabbing small items like Chapstick or Airpods).
It also has two columns of webbing daisy chains on which you can loop a bike lock, bike light, or a water bottle with a carabiner, as well as straps to fasten a jacket or yoga mat underneath.
A side-by-side comparison of the traditional Kanken (right) and the Tree-Kanken (left) Fjallraven, Insider
Because of those design features, and an added reflective element to the signature Fjällräven logo, the bag lends itself to be a great commuter backpack.
The only downside of this new release is that the Tree-Kånken comes in just four colorways: Maple Yellow, Charcoal Grey, New Moon Blue, and Lichen Green. For what it’s worth, all four are lookers, though.
What they’re made out of
As the name implies, the Tree-Kånken is made from Pine Weave, a durable, wood-based fabric developed from filament fibers. For the fibers, the brand sustainably harvests branches, twigs, roots, and wood that doesn’t qualify as timber from spruce and pine trees in FSC-managed Swedish forests. This wood is turned into pulp that is then converted to Pine Weave. The material on its own is a landmark, since most lyocell fabric — which the eco-friendly community loves for its sustainability, breathability, and moisture-wicking abilities — isn’t durable enough to be used on products like backpacks or other hardware. Pine Weave could be a more sustainable contender for synthetic fibers.
When applied to the Kånken, the Pine Weave is slightly thicker and stiffer than the classic bag — which is made from a synthetic material called Vinylon F — but it’s not enough for anyone to truly say it feels or looks much different. The Tree-Kånken is also colored using Bluesign-certified dyes, which use less water and energy, and a water-based, solvent-free PU coating process. Roughly 99% of the chemicals and 91% of the water used to produce the bag is recycled.
The bottom line
The release of the Tree-Kånken is an exciting launch for anyone looking for more sustainable purchases. Fjällräven is a brand earmarked by its focus on recycled, eco-friendly, and highly durable products.
And on top of being crafted from tree fibers, Kånken’s are marked by their ability to hold up for decades. Assuming the Pine Weave behaves similarly, the Tree-Kånken is truly one of the best sustainable backpacks you can buy.
What’s more, the slight design differences in the Tree-Kånken deliver a bag with all the reasons the classic has such a cult following, without that VSCO-girl connotation. My boyfriend has even already claimed mine as his own thanks to the more masculine aesthetic and functionality of the daisy chains, as well as its massive external zippered compartment.