The following Fjällräven Kånken backpack review was submitted by Camilla.
I am 23 year old woman from Sweden. I love to travel and see the world, but since I am still studying at university, I have mostly travelled within Europe and Sweden, and once in the US. The bag I am reviewing was made in my country, and it’s one of the most popular bags there – I see it everyday when people commute and go shopping. The name Kånken means roughly “the lug”, as in lugging something.
What’s your backpack brand and model? How much does this backpack typically cost?
My backpack is a Fjällräven Kånken, in the standard 16L size, which goes for about €79, but I always use it with the additional shoulder pads that go for €20.
>> Check out prices for the Fjallraven Kanken backpack on Amazon.
How long have you had your backpack and where have you traveled with it?
I’ve had my backpack for at least five years. I’ve mostly used it for school, but I also traveled a week in London with it as a carry-on. For my biology project at university I spent a month out in the woods with it as a daypack.
What factors were most important to you in choosing a backpack?
For me, it is important that the bag is weightless when empty, but also comfortable even when it’s full. I also value being able to have my things organised in different pockets and sections.
What do you like most about your backpack? Any down sides?
It is light-weight and waiting to be stuffed: I like organisation and compartments, which isn’t Kånken’s strong side – it only has four pockets: two side pockets, one big compartment and one small in front. But in return the bag is light-weight (at 300g, it is lighter than a soda can) and easily stuffable.
For this review I put a full binder into it to show the size, but you can easily stuff even more things into it, like some clothes around the sides. I usually put in one or two packing cubes that works as my organisers for my small things. The two side pockets are great for umbrellas, bottles, sunglasses and things of that size and shape, and the front pocket is nice for quick-grab items like napkins and snacks.
It lasts: I love that the bag is so durable (no wear and tear after all these years, except the discoloured bottom), as well as washable – when I bought it the bag company recommended a light hand wash and then re-applying wax to keep it waterproof, but I’ve machine washed it (on the gentle setting) two or three times without re-applying waterproofing, and it survived fine. I do think it’d need a new coat though, because it is not as waterproof as it used to be.
>>See why you should clean your luggage after a trip.
Tell us about the fit and comfort level of your backpack.
The built in straps can easily hurt when you carry a heavy load, but if you spend the extra €20 for the shoulder pads it is as comfortable as can be. I am a mere 155cm (5’2”), but I have never looked at the bag and thought it was too big, nor too heavy when it is full.
Along with the two shoulder straps, the bag also has two carrying handles, which is great when you need to have you bag ready at customs or whenever you don’t want to have the bag on you back, like in small souvenir shops when you have to squeeze through.
>>Read about the best backpacks for slim and petite women.
If you want to take your backpack as carry-on luggage, can you?
Yes! At a mere 16L, the bag works perfectly as a carry-on.
Have you found the size to be too small, just right, or too large?
The bag is just right as a carry on, but depending on where you’re going (or what you’re carrying) it might be too large for a daypack – if you’re exploring the city you might as well just go with a smaller handbag. When I use it for school I can without problems carry a laptop, a writing pad and a textbook, along with other necessary things like snacks, wallet, water bottle, sunglasses and emergency charger.
Overall, would you recommend your backpack?
I highly recommend the Fjällräven Kånken to everyone who wants a simple, light-weight, durable bag that does exactly what it’s supposed to, with no extra fuss (or weight).
About the author: Camilla Nilsson is a environmental biologist from Sweden, but is currently studying environmental and health protection. She has mostly travelled within Europe but wants to see the world. She is also does illustrations and sews in her free time.
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