Fjällräven Kånken: They’ve Got Your Back

Are These Popular Swedish Backpacks Really Worth It?


Victorianna Beels, Business Manager

Fjällräven: that one Swedish brand that nobody knows how to pronounce. They have been showing up more and more in the hallways of LCN. So we all know what these bags look like, but what is the point and are they really worth their higher end price?

In the 1950’s, 14 year-old Åke Nordin was spending a significant amount of time exploring the mountains in Örnsköldsvik in Northern Sweden. After taking many a long trek through the rugged terrain, Nordin decided he was over the back pain from carrying around the unsatisfactory backpacks of this time. Taking matters into his own hands, Nordin went home and built a wooden frame, which was created in order to evenly distribute the weight of a heavy hiking backpack across his back. Making the backpack a wooden frame, the backpack would not end up uneven, pear-shaped, or uncomfortable.

By the 60’s, Nordin’s innovations began to catch fire and became the first commercially made and distributed framed backpacks. Once Fjällräven began its journey to popularity, they needed to decide on a logo, a way for everyone to see the company for what it is: a hiking backpack. Nordin chose the artic fox to be the company’s name and logo. Fjällräven means Artic Fox in Swedish, honoring the small, highly adaptable predator that lives in the Swedish mountains under the harshest conditions.

After catching fire in the 60’s these incredibly stylish backpacks began to grow more and more, now being shipped all around the world, preaching functionality, durability, and dependability.

In 1978, Fjällräven created the first of their Kånken series backpack. These bags were specifically created to spare the backs of school children as back problems begun to appear throughout Sweden. These simple, stylish, and functional backpacks are the bags that have recently been appearing all throughout the hallways of LCN.

Now for the concerns of buying one of these cute little bags. They appear to be very small, how would one fit all of their school items into one of these bags? I thought the same things when I bought my Kånken. Even my first time taking the Kånken out of the bag, I was concerned about the size. I reached over to grab my large school backpack and pulled out all of my binders and folders. I began to stack everything into my new Kånken, and to my surprise, everything fit. It was tight, but it fit.

In addition to fitting everything into this backpack, I was curious about the impact it would have on my shoulders. Nordin was definitely not an idiot when he had come up with the idea for a square backpack because the idea definitely works, since I have had my Kånken, I haven’t had any problems with my back from carrying around my textbooks and supplies. The bag also comes with a sitting pad in the back pocket that provides a small barrier between the bag and the user. This creates a soft spot for your back when you pull the bag over your shoulders. Fjällräven also sells shoulder pads to go over the small shoulder pieces, which could make for a more comfortable fit as well.

Looking at the pros and cons of having a Fjällräven Kånken, I do believe that it is worth the $80 that they charge on the Fjällräven US website. If you are interested in a compact backpack for school or simply for a day out on the town, the Fjällräven Kånken is definitely worth the buy.