A light breeze skims the lake’s emerald surface. Dappled sunlight twinkles through broad-leaved trees. Clouds paint abstract shapes over lowland moors as they scud overhead. Snow glistens like diamonds on the highest peaks. Infinite waves roll incessantly onto the shore. This is nature, just doing its thing. As it has been for millennia. And it’s waiting for you.
It was this idea of nature waiting to be explored and experienced, that enticed Fjällräven founder, Åke Nordin, out into its embrace as a boy. He trekked regularly in the varying landscapes of central and northern Sweden. He loved the mountains, the lowlands, the forests and the coast. While he never sought to tame or conquer nature, he liked to be comfortable. He became frustrated by the lack of functional equipment available in the 1950s. Everything was too heavy, bulky or awkward. At the same time, nature was calling to him. He wanted to travel further, deeper and longer, carrying all his gear on his back. But his backpack consistently failed him. Rather than waiting for the outdoor industry to improve the backpacks of the time, Åke created his own. His v-shaped design, complete with supportive wooden frame wasn’t just a comfortable, light, swallow-all-gear backpack. It was the start of something much greater: Fjällräven.
Fjällräven has returned to this point, to where it all started: backpacks. This is because backpacks aren’t just the start of Fjällräven’s journey as a company; they are the start of any good adventure. Whether it be a day hike close to home or a week long expedition in a remote wilderness, your backpack allows you to carry all you need (and sometimes even a few little luxuries) with you. It’s the starting point for your best memories in the outdoors and due to its versatility and durability, a Fjällräven backpack can be your travel companion, shopping assistant and it can even carry your home in nature.
To ensure it covers all activities, landscapes and weather conditions, for 2019 Fjällräven is introducing new styles into its Bergtagen (mountaineering) and Keb (technical trekking) collections as well as a series of daypacks under the name Ulvö.
Just as important as the new products is the material they’re made from. Bergshell is yet another sustainable fabric Fjällräven is adding to its range. Made from recycled nylon (31%), it reduces Fjällräven’s dependency on non-renewable resources and its use of energy and water. The material is waterproof, hardwearing and tough, but remains soft to the touch. Fjällräven’s recognisable DNA runs right through Bergshell.
This DNA, Fjällräven’s very identity, is defined by its passion for thoughtfully and sustainably creating products that make nature safer, more comfortable and accessible. This season’s collection is no exception. So what are you waiting for? Nature is out there, ready to be explored.
In keeping with its goal to become the most premium and sustainable global outdoor brand, Fjällräven has added a waterproof, extra hardwearing, eco-friendly material to its collection. Bergshell is made from recycled nylon (31%) that is Global Recycled Standard certified. Not only does this circular economy thinking keep post-production nylon in use, it also reduces Fjällräven’s dependency on non-renewable resources and its usage of energy and water. To top it all off, Fjällräven continues to use pfc-free impregnation.
Aside from these noteworthy sustainability credentials, Bergshell is packed with functional benefits too. It is completely waterproof (20,000mm) thanks to a white tpu laminate on the backside, preventing water penetration. But the most exciting development is the flat ripstop construction. Conventional ripstop fabrics have an uneven surface with the ripstop threads taking bumps and scuffs first as they are slightly raised. This protects the filament yarn beneath, but wears out the ripstop threads. However, with Bergshell’s innovative flat ripstop construction, abrasion is spread evenly over the entire surface of the fabric, considerably increasing the amount of abrasion it can withstand. Furthermore, Fjällräven has combined a filament yarn in the ripstop with an air-textured yarn in the base. Smooth filament yarn has a high tear strength, but lower abrasion resistance. However, when combined with air-textured yarn, which has a fuzzy surface offering greater abrasion resistance but lower tear strength, a material that blends the best of both worlds is created. Bergshell has both high abrasion resistance and high tear strength.
“Our goal when we started developing Bergshell was to create a waterproof fabric with clear Fjällräven dna,” explains Niklas Kull, hardware designer at Fjällräven.
“It had to be durable, particularly in terms of abrasion resistance. From a distance it has a smooth, matt look. But if you look closely and move the bag around, that’s when the magic happens. Depending on how the light hits the material, you see the threads crisscrossing in different directions.” Because of these specific functional qualities, Fjällräven is using Bergshell to create a variety of new backpacks and bags. The Bergtagen Backpack is designed specifically for mountaineering, so it’s highly adaptable. It has a removable fsc-certified wooden frame, a detachable top-lid and hip belt and it’s hydration-system compatible. It comes in two back lengths: small/medium and medium/large; and it boasts ice axe fixing points, daisy-chain webbing for attaching extra gear and ski carrying side straps. So whether you want a lightweight daypack for a summit push or a more sturdy, roomy solution for multi-day backcountry traverses – on foot or skis – this is the only pack you’ll need.
Fjällräven is finally adding larger trekking backpacks to its popular Keb range. The Keb Backpack will come in both 52 litre and 72 litre versions. Like the Bergtagen Backpack, the Keb Backpack has an fsc-certified wooden frame, loads of gear attachment solutions and it’s hydration-system compatible. This pack is designed with longer trekking trips in mind, so it has an advanced attachment system complete with strong steel hooks and quick-release functionality to carry all the gear you need – even skis for alpine touring. With that in mind, all features are designed for gloved hands, so un-zipping both small and large compartments on the fly is just as quick and straightforward in winter as it is in summer.
With Ulvö, Fjällräven is making its daypack collection even more versatile. The Ulvö range includes a daypack in two sizes (17 litres and 23 litres); a 23 litre rolltop day pack and a hip pack (also in two sizes: large and medium). The daypacks are surprisingly spacious; there’s even room for a 15" laptop. While the hip packs are perfect for storing valuables or gear that you want close at hand. Like the name suggests, they can be worn around the hips. Alternatively, you can sling them over your shoulder.
Fjällräven is expanding the scope of its support of good causes with the Arctic Fox Initiative. The new programme will use funding from the sale of selected products to back projects that protect and preserve flora, fauna and outdoor life. Fjällräven’s social media followers will pick from a shortlisted collection to decide which project(s) receive funding.
Starting with its founder, Åke Nordin, and spreading to its employees, its events and, of course, its clothing and equipment, Fjällräven has always had a deep respect for nature. Part of its commitment to leaving “base camp” – whether taken literally at one of its Classic trekking events or metaphorically as a symbol for planet earth – in the condition it found it (or better), the Swedish outdoor brand has supported people and projects that take care of nature or promote an outdoor lifestyle.
The most notable is the Save The Arctic Fox project. In 1994 it began supporting research into its Scandinavian namesake (Fjällräven means arctic fox in Swedish) through a team of scientists at Stockholm University, led by Professor Anders Angerbjörn. Anders’s research has helped shed light and – together with funding from Fjällräven – awareness on the plight of the Scandinavian arctic fox with many positive effects. Fjällräven hopes its Arctic Fox Initiative can bring about similar positive change in other areas too.
“Since the 1990s we’ve been involved in different projects that support the arctic fox and we’ve learned that climate change is part of the challenge threatening our namesake. So for us it has become a symbol for doing our bit to preserve nature. We figured that we can do a lot, but together we can do even more,” says Christiane Dolva, Fjällräven’s head of sustainability.
“This is why we started the Arctic Fox Initiative, to expand the scope of projects we support and to have it as an umbrella for all our efforts in keeping nature in business for generations to come.”
The first products to support this new initiative will be three special-edition Kånken backpacks, two with unique artist-designed prints and a third with rainbow-coloured detailing.
After Kånken was officially designated as craft art a few years ago by Svensk Form, Fjällräven thought it high time to celebrate this achievement in style. It’s doing so with the launch of two special edition Kånken backpacks. Swedish artists, Cecilia Heikkilä and Erik Olovsson, were commissioned to design unique prints representing their personal connections to nature combined with a touch of Kånken playfulness.
Kånken started life in 1978 as a practical solution to a pressing problem. Back troubles were spreading across Sweden and not just among adults, but children too. This worried Fjällräven founder Åke Nordin. So he decided to find a solution. And it was Kånken. A simple backpack with space for two A4 binders and a pencil case it made carrying school gear easier and more comfortable. Over the years Kånken has become more colourful (there are now more than 50 colour combinations), and more varied, with different sizes and materials (including Re-Kånken, made from recycled plastic bottles); but the basic shape and effortless simplicity hasn’t changed. That, along with its history, has helped catapult it to global success.
It has now become more than just a backpack. It’s an extension of the wearer’s personality. It’s photographed, graphically recreated in art and used as a styling accessory. So when it was protected by Svensk Form (The Swedish Society of Crafts and Design) as a piece of art, part of Swedish cultural history, Fjällräven felt it was only natural to run a competition on social media encouraging Kånken wearers to share their Kånken Art.
“We were blown away by the results,” says Sarah Benton, Fjällräven’s social media manager.
“Not only was the level of art contributed way beyond our expectations, we also saw the passion surrounding Kånken.”
That, along with the designation as art by Svensk Form, is why Fjällräven commissioned Erik and Cecilia to produce Kånken Art prints. Furthermore, one per cent of the proceeds from the sale of these special edition Kånkens will go to Fjällräven’s new Arctic Fox Initiative, a fund that will support projects that protect and preserve flora, fauna and outdoor life.
Cecilia Heikkilä is a graphic designer who, among other things, has written and illustrated children’s books. Nature and animals are synonymous with her work and her “Fable” design is influenced predominantly by Nordic nature. “To me, the forest and nature are places for unpredictability and coincidence, in both a dangerous and beautiful way. But I believe that the closer we come to nature, the more we want to protect it. This is what inspired my pattern for Kånken Art,” says Cecilia. “When Fjällräven asked me to collaborate, I immediately said yes. The goal of The Arctic Fox Initiative lies so close to my heart and I’ve always loved Fjällräven, so I’m proud and happy to contribute.”
Erik Olovsson is also a designer working within the fields of product, furniture and graphic design. He runs his own studio in Stockholm, aiming to have an intuitive and experimental starting point for his projects. “Kånken was always around when I was growing up and it’s deeply rooted in my childhood. So it’s been an honour and interesting challenge to work on this project,” says Erik. “I have many memories hiking in the mountains with my family when I was a kid. To experience the shifting landscape and the ever-changing weather that created new sceneries in front of us was something grand and meaningful to me. My Kånken Art is an abstract way of describing the layers of nature connected to my own memories of the mountains.”
“Kånken has been used as a canvas by many of our fans for years,” explains Henrik Andersson, head of innovation and design at Fjällräven. ”Inspired by this, we decided to launch Kånken editions with original art from some of our favourite creatives. It adds a nice expression to the Kånken packs and we’re happy connecting them to the Arctic Fox Initiative.”