Find out why the Fjallraven Kanken is the world’s favourite backpack
Humble beginnings for Fjallraven
At just fourteen-years-old, Swedish born Åke Nordin was unhappy with the cumbersome nature of his rucksack. A boy scout, Nordin knew a thing or two about how you should carry heavy loads on your back – so equipped with a wooden frame and his mother’s sewing machine, he set about creating his very own backpack.
The wooden backpack frame was so successful a design that Nordin could now carry significantly heavier loads than ever before. The design attracted the attention of the Sami people, who spent several weeks at a time in the mountains, and needed a backpack that could withstand greater weights. He was able to sell designs to the Sami long before Fjallraven began, but it was not until his return from military service that Nordin recognised that even the elite in the armed services were in need of functional and robust equipment. In 1960, he registered Fjallraven as a company to his family’s one room flat, and it was here that the backpacks and modern, aluminium frames were first created, and from this small start, an internationally loved brand was born.
Åke Nordin, Fjallraven founder. Image: Fjallraven Archive
The Kanken: Fixing back pain one bag at a time
In 1978, almost twenty years after starting Fjallraven, Nordin became concerned with the increasing issue of back pain amongst school children across Sweden. Based on the measurements on two A4 ring binders he designed the Fjallraven Kanken as a solution to these aches and pains. Soon it wasn’t only school children who took on this innovative little backpack: commuters, trekkers, and anyone who could get their hands on one were eager to wear the coveted Kanken backpack.
Anatomy of the Kanken
So what is it that makes the Kanken so fantastic? Well firstly, it’s constructed from a durable, water resistant Vinylon fabric that swells when wet to protect your valuable from water damage. The handles and straps are made from robust cotton webbing that can be adjusted to suit all heights. The inside is incredibly spacious, plus there is a zipped pocket to the front for smaller items, and easy access side pockets. The frame is kept in place with the addition of a foam seat pad which sits in the back compartment.
Fjallraven Kanken for: Students
The Kanken is designed around the measurements of two A4 ring binders, so you can be sure that this handy little backpack will support your textbooks, notebooks, pens, and of course trusty snacks to get you through lectures. For younger students, summer gym kits and exercise books fit in easily, and the side pockets double up great as water bottle carriers.
Fjallraven Kanken for: Parents
This might seem strange, but the Kanken is actually ideal for young families! With all the space you need for carrying around nappies, spare grows, bottles, dummies, wipes…(the list goes on), the Kanken is a great alternative to a shoulder changing bag. And what’s more, the hand seat pad can double up as a soft changing pad when you’re out and about.
Fjallraven Kanken for: Commuters
Being able to have both hands free when on the commute is critical to navigating that urban jungle. Whether it’s swiping your oyster card while you take a phone call or are running to catch the bus, you can be sure all of your everyday essentials are tucked securely in your backpack while you get on with your day.