For more than 50 years, Fjällräven has been crafting technical gear and clothing. The Swedish brand quickly became one of my favourites thanks to their rustic yet urban styles. It’s not rare to meet people who have been using their Fjällräven packs for more than 40 years. I’ve been using the Kånken original pack for a while, and when I decided to start shopping for a new travel/hiking bag, I thought ‘why not just update what I had?’
The Kånken is a Scandinavian classic – and is quickly becoming a favourite in North America. There’s more than one reason why it’s been popular for so long. Building on that sucess, Fjällräven came up with the Kånken No.2 -an even better version of the original pack.
The original Fjällräven Kånken that launched in 1978 is a sure design classic. There’s no disputing it.
So it’s understandable that, on first glance, people are suspicious of the Kånken No. 2, which looks slightly more dressed-up than the rough-and-ready original design.
What is the difference between Kanken Classic and No 2?
Today’s Kånken is in principle the same product as the very first model, except for now there are more colours and sizes to choose between. One detail that has never been changed is its fabric Vinylon F – until now that is, when Fjällräven is releasing a special version as part of the Numbers product series.
Kånken No. 2 is made from G-1000 HeavyDuty, an extra durable version of Fjällräven’s hardwearing outdoor fabric, with handles and details in natural-toned leather. The material can be waxed with Greenland Wax for extra protection against weather and wear and it will acquire a beautiful sheen with time. The included sitting pad is made from G-1000 HeavyDuty and is padded – in contrast to the original’s which is in plastic foam.
The design of the backpack is the same as the original model; a large main compartment with a generous opening which makes it easy to pack or unpack a file or laptop computer, for example. There are also two side pockets and a zippered front pocket. The sitting pad is stowed in a back pocket and gives the pack structure and comfort while ensuring that the contents will not press against the wearer’s back. The flexible, adjustable shoulder straps are made from polypropylene.
This added smartness makes the No. 2 a more work-friendly bag – one that looks just as much the part on the commute and in the office as it does out and about, or travelling the world.
Kånken No. 2 Sizes
- No.2 (Regular) – same as the original Kånken Classic that has been on sale since 1978, with a capacity of 16L
- No.2 Laptop 15 – this one is slightly larger, with a volume of 18L, and comes with a padded laptop compartment at the back – which can hold laptops up to 15” in size (hence the name)
- No.2 Mini – with a capacity of 7L, this is just a scaled-down version of the regular size, and is perfect for smaller children
Arguably the second most respected aspect of the Kanken is their incredible durability. Known to last over 20 years with regular care, the Kanken No. 2 is made from Fjallraven’s legendarily tough G-1000 Heavy Duty fabric and can be cared for as simply as washing with a sponge and some warm water. The beauty of the Kanken is that if a hole, rip or tear ever accidentally occurs, you’re able to simply sew a patch over the hole and it’ll keep on going. The other advantage the No. 2 has over the regular Kanken is it’s the ability to be waxed with Greenland Wax, increasing the durability and overall weather resistance.
Functional, stylish, durable, available in a multitude of colours and loved by millions, what’s not to love about the Kanken?