Nature has always been the foundation of Fjällräven. Åke Nordin, the founder of Fjällräven Kånken, had a vision to give more people the opportunity to connect with nature. Nordin desired to create a simple backpack that could hold his gear while sitting comfortably on his back. After a decade of tinkering with product ideas, the first Fjällräven Kånken was created. Now its product range has expanded to tents, sleeping bags, jackets and trousers. However, the Fjällräven Kånken remains a cultural icon in Sweden. In some cases, Fjällräven Kånken backpacks are passed down from generation to generation! The history of the Fjällräven Kånken backpack holds a special sentimentality in the hearts of most Swedes and is admired by others globally.
The Fjällräven Wool Program
In Scandinavia, the arctic fox population is threatened by climate change and faces extinction. The arctic fox is the brand’s namesake, with Fjällräven meaning “arctic fox” in Swedish. Fjällräven takes part in the The Save the Arctic Fox project by co-financing a research position at Stockholm University in the studies of the ecology of the arctic fox. In addition, they provide equipment for summer and winter research projects. As a result of the efforts from Stockholm University and Fjällräven, the arctic fox population has increased from 50 foxes in Sweden, Norway and Finland to 200 foxes.
Its oversized handle, boxed shape and bright color create a statement piece for any backpack enthusiast. These packs have gained a large audience on social media, particularly from those who love an eye-catching Instagram aesthetic, because of its unique and captivating design. Due to its responsibly sourced material, users can draw, embroider, and customize their Fjällräven Kånken to fit their personal style. This backpack is often used as a means of self-expression—that is why it is trending on social media!
200 Kankens are sold every hour worldwide such is their appeal now. The bags have gone on to become an iconic product, much loved by people all over the globe. Spotting fellow Kanken owners is now a legitimate pastime on the London Underground.
Fjällräven is one of the few brands who is known for its powerful history, originality, and responsibility in protecting our earth. The passion and creativity that Fjällräven provides is why the Fjällräven Kånken is so popular among consumers.
The Fjällräven Kanken backpack was developed in the late 1970s to help Swedish schoolchildren cope with their heavy loads. Backache in young children had started to be a problem and the Kanken was designed to spread the weight evenly. The backpacks soon became a common sight in Swedish schools with their huge range of beautiful colours.
Fjällräven Kankens are brilliantly water-resistant. Vinylon F, the synthetic fabric they are made from, behaves more like a natural fibre and swells as it becomes damp. As it swells, the gaps between the woven fibres close more and thus it becomes more resistant to water penetration. This means there is no coating that needs to be maintained and this property lasts the life of the bag.
Beware the fakes – with huge popularity comes the inevitable fakery. Fake Kankens can be seen everywhere now but they are easy to spot. The fabric is usually different, much softer like a standard bag and you don’t get the telltale creases on the front pocket. You also don’t get the water-resistance.
Vinylon F is made in Japan but the original Vinylon was invented in North Korea. Made from polyvinyl alcohol and using limestone and anthracite as raw materials, it is the fabric of choice in North Korea where it is used for clothing and shoes and pretty much everything else. Though great for bags, it is hard to imagine what trousers made from this fairly stiff material would feel like.