Fjallraven Kanken Purchase Guide Leave a comment

What are a few of the most Swedish things that you can think of?

If you were to make a little list, I’m guessing it would mention lingonberries, maybe Swedish meatballs, and almost certainly Ikea?

Your list may look a little bit different than mine would, but there is one thing that’s certain: if you didn’t include the Fjallraven Kanken, you’re skipping right over the most iconic Swedish backpack of all time.

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A swedish backpack which became a master hit of hipsters (mostly). The actual design was created to help Swedish children in keeping their backs straight and healthy. It might have fit this purpose for a while; until it became terribly popular among adolescents. I don’t believe it will change anytime soon. Especially since everything at this age is still ‘because my friend has one’.

The Fjallraven Kanken has long been the most popular backpack in Sweden thanks to its unforgettable style and its long-lasting, quality construction. A favorite of both children and adults for nearly four decades, the Kanken has seen a huge surge in popularity throughout Europe and North America over the past few years – especially among style-conscious adults and trendy urban commuters. You would be hard-pressed to spend the day in a hip metro area like New York City or San Francisco and not spot someone wearing a Kanken at some point, whether in a restaurant, at the park, or on the subway car.

Originally designed to improve back health and posture among Swedish schoolchildren, the Fjallraven Kanken has become one of the most sought-after backpacks for everyone from college students to parents to professional photographers. There are nearly no limits to the number of uses for the Kanken, with many loyal Fjallraven owners using it as their number one go-to bag no matter what the role.

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Fjallraven Kanken Pros

Kanken owners are among some of the most loyal customers out there – and for good reason. There are a ton of great benefits of choosing the Fjallraven Kanken over other brands of backpacks, with the most popular pros including:

  • Waterproof Design – Built out of highly-durable Vinylon F material, the Fjallraven Kanken is naturally waterproof and able to keep your belongings safe and dry in almost any environment – from the unexpected winter rain storm to the humid summer’s day on the trail.
  • Spacious Storage Compartment – While other bags have multiple compartments that all wind up being too small to actually use, the Kanken’s spacious central compartment makes it easy to carry larger items like laptops and books.
  • Huge Selection of Colors – Want a unique bag that perfectly matches your personality? The Fjallraven Kanken comes in dozens of different colors meaning that there’s a bag out there for just about everyone.
  • Convenient Handles and Straps – One of the Kanken’s most convenient features is the ability to be carried in multiple different ways. From the weight-balancing back straps to the top strap meant for carrying the Kanken on your arm, you’ll never have to worry about struggling with an awkward or uncomfortable bag.
  • Foam Back Pad – Fjallraven is dedicated to designing comfortable products, and that commitment is 100% evident in the Kanken’s form-fitting foam insert that runs along the back of the bag. Great for further spreading out the bags weight, the foam insert also protects your back from pointy book corners and other potentially painful objects.

Fjallraven Kanken Cons

Despite all of its great qualities, the Fjallraven Kanken might not be the best bag for everyone. Before you go ahead and buy one of your own, here are a few disadvantages that you should know about first:

  • Small Side Compartments – If you’re planning to store large bottles of water in the Kanken’s side compartments, you may be disappointed. While ideal for smaller items like phones and umbrellas, the sides aren’t quite large enough to hold big bottled waters.
  • Not Meant for Super-Heavy Items – The Fjallraven Kanken is a great day pack, but its frameless design and unpadded straps make it less than optimal for people carrying extremely heavy items with them. While there may not be a set limit, most people seem to recommend avoiding loading up the Kanken with more than 30 pounds at a time.
  • Material Can Scuff – Although Vinylon F is waterproof and extremely durable, it is susceptible to scuffing through daily use. All Kankens can scuff, but it is often most noticeable on the lighter colors. For many Kanken owners, however, this worn-in look is actually a desirable trait.
  • No Interior Pockets – If you’re looking for plenty of interior pockets for storing and separating small items, the Fjallraven Kanken will leave something to be desired. While the large central compartment is great for carrying computers, books, and even smaller bags and purses, its single-chamber design can make it hard to keep small item organized – although it also means never having to wonder which pocket you put something in.

This is what we recommend

  • Day trips: 18-30L
  • Multiple days, without a tent: 30-55L
  • Global travelling: 40-65L
  • Multiple days, with a tent: 65L+

Winter expeditions generally require big backpacks as you need space for larger sleeping bags and extra layers.

Size matters

Next you need to match your pack to your back. This is less important for small daypacks, as they won’t have space for heavy gear. But for bigger packs it’s really important that they fit your back. Too small or too big will result in chaffing and general discomfort.

Find your size

  1. Start by finding your hip bones.
  2. The hip belt should be placed directly over them, so the hip bones is centred on the belt, or – if you have slim hips – you may want to have the centre of the hip belt just under your hip bone.
  3. Tighten the hip belt so it fits snugly over your hips.
  4. The shoulder straps should start at the back curve of your shoulders. There shouldn’t be a gap between the top of your shoulders and the straps. Likewise, the straps shouldn’t start too low down your back.
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Fjallraven Kanken Review Overall Recommendation

If you’re looking for a reliable backpack for everyday use, the Fjallraven Kanken is one of the best bags on the market. Kanken backpack owners report using their bags for carrying everything from schoolbooks to expensive electronics, in a number of different environments ranging from urban commutes to remote hikes and just about everything in-between. Although not well-suited for multi-day hiking or for carrying extreme weights (think 30 pounds and up), the Fjallraven Kanken
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should be at the top of the list of anyone searching for a bag that’s both practical and dependable while still maintaining the iconic style that has made the Kanken backpack a worldwide favorite for nearly forty years.

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