Åke Nordin, Founder of Fjällräven, 1936 – 2013: “We’ve been on this trek for over fifty years now. Let’s hope we never arrive.” One of the most successful manufacturers of outdoor clothing and equipment in Scandinavia, Fjällräven has become synonymous with Sweden and has been instrumental in shaping the country’s love for the outdoors. It was in 1960, in the far northern town of Örnsköldsvik surrounded by enormous expanses of wilderness, with grand vistas framed by glacier-covered peaks and studded with sparkling lakes that Åke Nordin, the company’s Founder, was inspired to start his trek to create high-quality, reliable products capable of withstanding the rigours of the Swedish outdoor experience. Since the beginning, Fjällräven’s goal has been encouraging people to spend time outdoors and making it easier for them to do so by supplying them with functional and durable outdoor clothing, backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags. The company wants its customers to experience nature and is passionate about educating them about the importance of protecting the environment.
“As a company, we make every effort to act responsibly towards people, wildlife and the environment. But we also encourage people to take an active interest in outdoor life”, says Fjällräven Head of PR, Philipp Kloeters. One of the most effective ways the brand has found to do that is creating innovative and inspirational event concepts. Philipp Kloeters says the “Fjällräven Classic and our winter event Fjällräven Polar are our two biggest events that are organized with the aim of increasing interest in and spreading knowledge of the environment and outdoor activities.”
Held in 2005, the inaugural Fjällräven Classic brought together 152 people, mostly local Swedes, to hike the 110 kilometres from Nikkaluokta to Abisko. The company quickly realized the event was the perfect gateway to outdoor life for those who’d long dreamt of hiking and camping in the wild but weren’t yet ready to do it on their own. The notoriety and number of participants grew quickly, with over 2,000 participants from around the world present for the 10th edition of the Swedish Classic. With novice and experienced hikers walking side by side, it’s now more than just a safe introduction to the sport and has become more of a hiking festival. However, the core objective remains the same: to encourage people to explore nature and to provide inspiration, knowledge, and a feeling of community.
For many outdoor enthusiasts, travelling to the far north of Sweden to go hiking for a few days wasn’t an option. So, along with an increase in sales of Fjällräven product around the world, the company decided to export the Fjällräven Classic concept to new places: first to neighbouring Denmark, then Colorado, USA, and finally Hong Kong. “With adding new destinations and exporting the successful concept of Fjällräven Classic
Sweden to other countries, we want to give more people, from other parts of the world, the chance to experience a unique long-distance trekking event”, explains Fjällräven event manager Andreas Cederlund. The basic format is the same, with a few small differences depending on the location. All hikers carry their own equipment, set up their own tents, cook their own food and walk at their own pace, with Fjällräven staff and volunteers ready to help when necessary. In order to leave no trace of their passage, participants are provided with rubbish bags for their own waste and also to pick up any litter they find along the way.
At OutDoor by ISPO the Fjällräven family will aim to reinforce their brand mission: to inspire people to go out in nature because they believe that the more people spend time in nature, the more they learn to appreciate and respect it and to understand why nature needs to be protected.
“Events like the Classic and the Polar will become an even more important part of our brand strategy for the future, aiming to not only produce products but also experiences and memories that will last for generations,” insists Philipp Kloeters.
For 2020 Fjällräven will be introducing four more exciting destinations for the Fjällräven Classic, which will be announced at OutDoor by ISPO on Sunday evening. “All locations are chosen for their beautiful scenery and for having a thriving trekking culture with lots of great trails. We’re excited to let more people experience Fjällräven Classic, and to continue sharing our passion for trekking with new friends,” says event manager Andreas Cederlund.