History of Fjallraven Kanken Bags

History of Fjallraven Kanken Bags

Founded in the 1960s, Fjallraven is known for their collection of top quality outdoor clothing and equipment. Beginning with a simple backpack frame, Fjallraven would eventually become most famous for the now iconic Kanken bag. 

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The History of Fjallraven


The history of Fjallraven begins in the Swedish town of Örnsköldsvik when a 14-year-old boy scout named Åke Nordin decided to invent a new frame for his backpack. Fed up with the uncomfortable bags that he was used to, the creative teenager built a wooden frame at his family's holiday home. Using his mother's sewing machine he created a rucksack out of cotton fabric and attached it to his new frame.

Nordin was happy with his new creation. He found that it distributed the weight of his load more evenly across his back, meaning he could more comfortably carry a heavier bag. In addition to this, the frame allowed better ventilation and breathability between his back and the bag.

kanken bag mens street style



It wasn't until ten years later that Nordin officially established the Fjallraven brand. After spending time serving in the Swedish armed forces as part of the parachute rangers he realised there was a space in the market for a durable and lightweight backpack.

The brand named Fjallraven was officially registered in 1960. With the humble setting of his family basement acting as the factory, this unique brand had an extremely low-key beginning. Although they originally made bags with a traditional aluminium frame, the Fjallraven bags we know today are less bulky. This ability to innovate and keep producing top quality equipment is something that was perfectly demonstrated in the creation of the Fjallraven Kanken backpack.

history of fjallraven
PHOTO CREDIT: Fjallraven

1970s - Kanken Backpack.

Originally designed for school children, Fjallraven created the Kanken backpack as a reaction to the increasing number of reports that children were developing back problems from their more traditional bags. The lightweight and deceptively spacious backpack is the result of Fjallraven's attempt at solving this problem.

However, the huge variety of colour combinations is what ultimately made the Kanken rucksack so unique. Perfect for children, the choice of colours let the customer personalise their bag to reflect their own individuality.

Although the Kanken is still an excellent bag for children, it is also one of the most popular adult backpacks around. Originally launched in 1978, this classic bag has kept the same design for over 35 years. With the addition of new styles and features such as a laptop sleeve, Kanken has managed to keep up to date with the needs of a modern world. Whether you want a casual everyday bag or something to take to work, a Fjallraven backpack is perfect.

kanken bag school kids the history of fjallraven
PHOTO CREDIT: Fjallraven


"The Kanken is definitely one of those iconic pieces of Scandi design that often gets overlooked. Pairing bright colourways with well designed water-resistant material, this is by far one of Fjallraven's most practical pieces. Perfect for a daily gym or work bag the Kanken is perfectly sized and has enough space for a full change of clothes and a laptop."


"For me, it's the most iconic bag there is. It's great for everyone from school kids to mountain climbers and every colour and fjord inbetween."

kanken bag


Over the last few season's the Kanken bag has become increasingly popular. Keeping the same design from when it was first produced in the 70s, this iconic piece of luggage has truly stood the test of time. With the increasing popularity of heritage style clothing, the classic aesthetic of this durable and water-resistant bag is perfect for any look. Try combining one with a classic Fjallraven Greenland jacket for a great look. Pick a colour that suits you and you can't go wrong.


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