Fjallraven – The Re-Kanken

by Neil Summers,

No longer the preserve of straight-spined Swedes on the school run, Fjällräven’s Kånken backpack is now a beloved piece of carrying kit the world over. Which, given it’s popularity is perhaps why the environmentally-conscious brand has decided to re-invent this firm favourite in the form of the Re-Kånken.

This relatively new addition to the Fjäll family has been produced using recycled plastic bottles and an energy efficient SpinDye colouring process both of which help to radically reduce each bag’s environmental footprint. What’s also great is that the whole backpack (save for its buttons and zips) have been created using the same material, with the main fabric, lining and straps all made from the same yarn, thus ensuring that a Re-Kånken bag will be a lot easier to recycle in the future.

Though given how long it takes to wear out an incredibly durable Kånken bag it’s handy that the Re-Kånken has retained all the timeless design features of its former guise with the only subtle difference being the Fjällräven badge has been embroidered rather than sewn on. This is a bag that will look after your possessions, your posture and the environment.

The Re-Kanken is available in many colours and also available in a smaller ‘Mini’ version. Take a closer look at the all new Re-Kanken at The Sporting Lodge or our Kanken dedicated sister site My Kanken Bag.

Fjallraven Travel Pack, Splitpack and Kajka

by Neil Summers

Whether you’re planning on a short city break or a week away from it all in the wilderness, the latest clothing range from Fjallraven to arrive at the Sporting Lodge has something to suit every environment. Similarly their impressive array of bags are equally ideal for your holiday or business trips whether you’re heading down-town or up the highest of peaks.

Take for example the two handle carrying system on Fjallraven’s lightweight Travel Pack which is perfect for hopping in and out of planes, trains and automobiles whilst the stowable padded shoulder straps can be released when it’s time to ditch the transport and start exploring on foot.

There’s also plenty of separate compartments and pockets in which to stash your maps, laptop, phrasebooks, souvenirs, drinks, camera, clothing and other essentials. A handy zippered section at the front of the bag also allows you access to the bag’s inner without having to open the bag fully and annoyingly rifle through all your other belongings before finally finding that pesky passport!

Equally suited to adventurous short breaks is the versatile Fjallraven Splitpack which is a unique duffel bag with two spacious main compartments separated by a zip closed mesh as well as having three additional internal mesh pockets and two on the outer. Made from Fjallravens classic G-1000 heavy duty eco material it’s a substantial yet extremely comfortable bag thanks to its padded back panel and shoulder straps.

Whilst for those who like looking for adventure far away from the madding crowds then the Fjallraven Kajka is the  ideal trekking backpack. Voted product of the year 2009 by Swedish outdoor magazine Utemagasinet this expert pack sits on an incredibly strong and  environmentally friendly wooden frame as opposed to the usual aluminium and has various safety features such as an easy access whistle and a reflective rain cover for increased visibility in the dark. As with the other two packs it’s an incredibly well thought out design with a wealth of separate compartments and access points for increased ease of use and balanced weight distribution.

So for the solution to all of your Spring and Summer storage scenarios then you need look no further than the Travel Pack, Splitpack and Kajka from Fjallraven.

Fjällräven: Born and raised in the great outdoors

When it comes to truly authentic outdoor brands there can be few brands credentials as impressive as the Swedish label Fjällräven. Their origins can be traced back to 1950 when founder Åke Nordin was a 14 year old boy-scout and took issue with the uncomfortable backpacks of the time. Being a practical type he decided to do something about this problem and in a lodge adjoining the family’s holiday home he made a wooden frame and fastened a cotton bag to it that he’d sewn together using leather straps. The new design worked a treat as it distributed the load across his back and increased the ventilation between back and the backpack. Allowing for a more comfortable fit, enabling heavier loads to be carried and heralding the start of something special.

After leaving the scouts Åke went on to do his military service  at the newly founded and extremely demanding FJS Parachute Ranger School in Karlsborg. It was during his time there that he discovered that even the equipment used by the most elite unit in the country was not fit for purpose. Recognising that there was clearly a market for functional and hard-wearing outdoor equipment, Åke set up his own company in 1960.

The first registered Fjällräven office was the family’s one-room flat just outside Örnsköldsvik. Whilst the workshop was situated down in the cellar and is where the first backpacks with aluminium frames were created. They were gradually followed by the condensation-free, lightweight tents, functional outdoor clothing and revolutionary sleeping bags that would come to be loved by a growing corps of outdoor enthusiasts the world over.

Though now a global company with many employees Fjällräven continue to be a brand with a love of the great outdoors still very much at it’s heart. Which is why they remain completely committed to continually developing their high quality products whilst also promoting the outdoor life and acting responsibly towards wildlife and nature.

View Fjallraven’s fantastic outdoor range at The Sporting Lodge.

Fjallraven – G1000

by Neil Summers

Whilst a lot of today’s outdoor clothing use lightweight fabrics as their
main selling point, this is not the most important factor when it comes to
Swedish brand Fjallraven. Their clothing, especially the Fjallraven numbers
range prefers a more substantial weight in their fabrics thanks to their
product consultant and ex-military equipment tester Johan Skullman. A man
of considerable knowledge and experience who has found that in the most
demanding conditions lightweight products are often prone to tears and rips
just when you need them the most. So with this in mind jackets such as the
Fjallraven Anorak number 8 have been designed with a heavier, tougher
fabric construction using the wind and water resistant Fjallraven G-1000
Eco and G-1000 HeavyDuty fabrics on the shoulders, sleeves and extended
back. This next level anorak also features several useful ventilation zips
to help regulate temperature alongside plenty of super practical pockets
including a versatile kangaroo pouch on the front, that’s accessible from
both the top and the sides. The additional use of greenland wax also adds
to the durability and waterproofing of Fjallraven jackets which is made
specifically to be with G-1000 fabric that contains a combination of
high-quality paraffin and beeswax, which is far kinder towards the
environment than chemical-based products.

To complement their incredible range of jackets Fjallraven also has some
equally impressive trousers and shirts that also uses their trademark
G-1000 fabric. The substantial Fjallraven Mountaineering shirt Number 3
for example at first look may appear to be classic alpinist attire made
from soft, warm shetland wool but it has also been reinforced with G-1000
material on the elbows, shoulders, back and hips to reduce friction. Whilst
Fjallraven trousers such as the Barents Pro are made entirely from G-100
which is further reinforced on the rear and knees. The knee section also
has pockets on them into which Fjallraven knee pads can also be inserted
for additional comfort whilst kneeling down to peg a tent, taking aim
whilst hunting or maybe even making a marriage proposal in the great
outdoors!
View our extensive range of Fjallraven products at The Sporting Lodge.

Review – Kanken No. 2 Laptop

Brand new for 2016, Neil Summers shares his thoughts.

If you’re looking for something smart, stealthy and Swedish to safely store your supplies in then you need the Kanken No.2 Laptop bag in your life.  Comprised of Fjallraven’s signature heavy duty G-1000 fabric with leather detailing this super smart looking backpack opens up to reveal a separate padded compartment to place your laptop in as well as a handy business card holder. You’ll also find a handy seat pad in there that can be quickly pulled out to provide you with somewhere clean and comfy to sit down when all the seats on your train compartment, conference centre or park bench have all taken.  This is more than a backpack, it’s a mobile office!
If you’ve been bitten by the Kanken bug or just want to find out more about this various incarnations of this versatile Swedish icon then head over to our newly re-branded site (previously called I Love My Kanken) which is now called My Kanken Bag that’s totally dedicated to this dynamic backpack.

Fjallraven Kanken – evolving with the times

Founded in 1960, Fjällräven is a veteran at coping with the outdoors. The brand began like many of its counterparts, with problem-solving at its heart. That simple backpack created by Ake Nordin all those years ago has been joined by a full range of serious outdoor clothing and accessories, and while jackets like the Greenland have become iconic, it’s that original bag which lends its DNA to the brand in the current era.

When things are ubiquitous, it’s usually for a reason. The Kånken bag enjoys worldwide popularity, perhaps due to having nailed the middle ground between function and style. Like any good design, whether it be a car or an item of furniture, the Kånken has been gently evolved with the times, and there are now variations which include laptop compartments and other useful additions. The Kånken also comes in a number of subtle styles, from the well-known bright colours to a more understated, grown up version which utilises leather and more muted colours. There’s something for everyone. It’s a clear example of form following function and looking great as a by-product. Everything about the Kånken is clear, considered and concise. The same can be said for Fjällräven in general, in fact the only thing we can’t quite get our heads around is how to pronounce it correctly, which is fitting for a brand born in Örnsköldsvik. Try saying that with a mouthful of Kendal Mint cake!

kanken-no-2

laptop

re-kanken

We have a long lasting relationship with Fjallraven and have a fantastic range of products, tried and tested by The Sporting Lodge. Check out Fjallraven’s AW16 collection.

Allemansrätten, Fika & Kånken

Our guest blogger, Neil Summers finds out what makes the Swedish tick.

Having just got back from an epic hiking trip in Western Sweden I have discovered that there are three things that are intrinsically part of the Swedish psyche that also reflect their love of the outdoor lifestyle. The first is Allemansrätten which is wonderful law allowing Swedish citizens the right of passage to roam freely across the entire country, meaning you can hike, climb, sail, swim, forage and even pitch your tent up for a day or two wherever you want.

The second is Fika which is an abbreviated combination of the Swedish words for coffee and cake and refers to a daily ritual that’s taken very seriously by the Swedes.

cafe-fika

Traditional Swedish Fika cakes and pastry

Just like the British tea break everything stops for a heart warming cup of coffee usually accompanied by a cinnamon bun or pastry at least once if not twice a day. Nowhere is this ritual observed more than whilst outdoors whether up a traversing a mountain or holed up in a bird hide everything stops for Fika.

Thirdly of course is Kånken the ubiquitous and much loved backpack that was first  launched by Fjällräven in collaboration with the Swedish Guide and Scout Association in 1978 that has been a part of Swedish life ever since. Though favoured by university students and Stockholm commuters with its handy laptop-friendly size the Kånken is equally as popular with Swedes outside of the city enjoying their freedom to roam  and coffee break opportunities in the great outdoors. Over the past three days I witnessed a variety of Kånkens in vast range of colours to equal those of the beautiful flora and fauna of the stunning Swedish wilderness.

kanken-range

I Love My Kanken – How Did it All Start?

In the late 1970s, Fjallraven noticed that many school children were suffering from back problems when carrying heavy, unwieldy backpacks on their commute to and from school. In 1978, that problem was solved with the trusty Kanken! Its unique and ergonomic style of straps aided children when carrying their heavy books; the word quickly spread, and soon the Kanken became a household name across Sweden.

ilmk-blog-content

In 2000, The Sporting Lodge identified this gem of a backpack and, so impressed by its unique design and impressive range of colours, decided this fantastic bag deserved a website of its own – I Love My Kanken was born!

Since then, Fjallraven’s range has grown to provide a Kanken backpack to suit the whole family, ranging from Kanken Kids to the Kanken No. 2 (the posh one!).

I Love my Kanken’s era is now over but we still have the full range for you to enjoy at The Sporting Lodge.

The Kanken bags are now popular worldwide, and a common sight in any city!

Where will you take yours?

Festival Season 2015

Festival Season is here again! Festivals – mud, sun, rain, porta loos and hose pipe showers.. not the place for your favourite suitcase and Italian leather shoes.

So what do you really need to take to survive? The Sporting Lodge have handpicked a few suggestions that will help you on your way to your ultimate festival survival kit!

1. The Bag

bag

Comfort, durability and space are most important when choosing your backpack. If you like to take all your luxuries and more we suggest the Fjallraven Kaipak 58L Rucksack. It’s practical, rugged and weatherproof. Plenty of pockets to organise your gear, a carry system with air flow and support belt with even more places to keep your stuff. Compression straps can be used when the bag is not fully loaded and it also comes with a rain cover if the weather turns bad.

If you like to travel a bit lighter we recommend choosing a Fjallraven Kanken. They range from 16L to 27L with large compartments and if you really can’t live without your technology there’s even a few with laptop compartments! View our range to find your perfect size.

2. The Outer

the-outer

Umbrellas aren’t the most convenient at a festival, so a good all round outer layer is essential. For protection without the weight few have a few possibilities.

Firstly; the Fjallraven Poncho. Simple, robust and your new best friend if it starts to rain! The poncho is big enough to fit over your rucksack and can also double up as a tarp if you decide to sleep under the stars. Multifunctional and will fold up so small it can fit into your pocket, ready to go.

If you want something a bit more substantial, we enthusiastically recommend the Fjallraven Greenland Jacket. Available for Men and Women, this traditional piece will withstand the test of time. Made from hard wearing G-1000 which can be waxed for extra protection against the elements. Plenty of pockets and designed for layering up underneath. This coat is lightweight and will pack up tight if not needed. The Fjallraven Greenland Jacket comes in various styles and colours, and you can view the full range here.

3. Shoes

wellies

Wherever in the world you’re going this year there is going to be mud, so practical footwear is a must!

For ladies, we recommend Le Chameau City All Tracks wellies. Robust and practical with exceptional comfort. Available in 4 colours and at a fantastic price of only £85!

For men, we have the Beretta Lario Wellington Boots. 100% natural rubber, with cotton and polyester lining. Features toe, forefoot and heel protection. We stock a wide range of men’s wellingtons, so if these aren’t for you see the full range here.

Another possibility if you’re not a welly person is a versatile pair of Swims shoes. Norwegian made water resistant, lightweight, fast drying durable footwear. We have a great range, from sneakers to galoshes. These Swims Penny Loafers in Brown are a classy and practical option for those hot summer days!

4. Accessories

Here are a few key items we think will make your festival life more comfortable.

  • Fjallraven Greenland Hat (£30) – durable, water resistant with a flair of style.
  • Failsworth Snap brim Panama (£49.99) – Expecting Sun? Made in Ecuador by local artisans in 100% Toquilla Palm. A timeless classic.
  • Fjallraven Hip Gear Bag (£60) – Perfect for your personal belongings when you leave your tent. Approx 4L.
  • Fjallraven Puffy Travel Pillow (£17.50) – Small practical pillow with synthetic padding; the perfect accessory to make your stay more comfortable. Packs away neatly in its own pack bag.
  • Fjallraven Waterproof Dry Sack Bags (from £15) – waterproof bags with taped seams, ideal for clothing and equipment. A really handy accessory to have whilst you’re away from home. Available in 3 sizes.
  • Brunton Pulse 1500 Emergency Charger (from £25) – low battery? No problem, power up with a Brunton charger. Available in many power sizes, see our full range.

Need more inspiration? We’ve handpicked our favourite festival selection and popped them in one place for your browsing pleasure. See our full range of Festival Gear.

Think you have everything? See our checklist to make sure!

Fjällräven High Coast Wind Jacket Review

Last weekend I got to try the new Fjällräven High Coast Wind Jacket during a trip to the Lake District and here is my review of the product.

The jacket is made from a waxed polyamide and organic cotton material and is very light and breathable. As the name suggests, this is a windproof jacket as well as being shower poof so will keep you a little dry should you get caught in light rain showers.

My first use of the jacket was during a hike up Blencathra. It was a clear day and quite warm when I started the hike, but as I got higher up the wind started to pick up and started to feel a little colder, so on came my High Coast jacket. The jacket certainly did its job of keeping the wind off me and help maintain a comfortable body temperature.

Although it was windy as I got closer to the summit, my baselayer top was damp with sweat in the usual places where you sweat when on a hike, however I was surprised how quickly my baselayer seemed to dry under my High Coast jacket and how breathable the jacket actually was when wearing on top of a damp baselayer. I often find when hiking that you always seem to be taking layers off or putting layers on in order to get the right body temperature based on how strenuous the hike conditions are, I was very pleased with the combination of my baselayer and jacket and just pulled down the jacket zip if I felt I need to cool down or let more air to my upper body.

When I finally got to the summit and stop for lunch, it was a lot more windy and cooler, yet I didn’t need to put any extra layers on, I just zipped up the jacket and hood and pulled the cords to tighten the hood around my head. The jacket has a single zipped chest pocket on the left and two zipped hip pockets either side. The cuffs are elasticated and the hem of the jacket can be tightened by hidden chords at either side.

I continued to wear the jacket for whole of the descent and I just unzipped/zipped up as and when my body temperature dictated it. I also wore the jacket for most of my hike the following day in warmer, yet more changeable conditions while doing the Fairfield Horseshoe; both times the jacket protected me from the wind when needed and helped maintain my body temperature at all times.

The biggest thing that impressed me with the Fjällräven High Coast Wind Jacket was its breathability. I have worn lightweight windproof or showerproof jackets in the past and one thing what always happened was condensation/sweat inside the jacket. This never happen once with the High Coast jacket. Even when the temperature increased as I got lower down towards the start of my hikes, I never once felt condensation or sweat inside the jacket. I was actually amazed how dry the jacket was inside when I took it off.

high-coast-wind-jacket

Although I never got caught in any rain showers during the weekend (which makes a change for the Lake District), I’m sure the High Coast jacket would keep me dry in any light rain when the time comes. The waterproof level of the jacket can also be enhanced a bit by waxing it with the Greenland Wax as used on the other G-1000 based Fjällräven products, though I will wait to see how the jacket performs in light showers before giving it the waxing treatment.

I would thoroughly recommend the Fjällräven High Coast Wind Jacket as a perfect jacket for Spring or Summer adventures and look forward to putting it through its paces more over the coming months.

UPDATE 7th May 2015

Last weekend I got to test this jacket in more wet and windy conditions. Last Thursday I got caught in strong winds, hail, snow and light rain for nearly 2 hours during a hike in the Lake District. The jacket held up very well in the light rain, snow and hail showers, in that the jacket kept my baselayer completely dry. Two days later I was caught in much stronger winds and heavier rain while on another hike for a period of over 5 hours.

This time the jacket did become a lot wetter than previously in lighter showers and shorter time. The jacket was wet through but I was wearing it on top of my Keb Loft down jacket. Although my Keb jacket was damp on the outside, it still kept my baselayer completely dry. So basically the High Coast Wind Jacket certainly does its job in more moderate conditions over a shorter period of time, but if caught out in more heavier rain and for longer periods then the jacket will get wet, but it’s not designed for such conditions and would be best with a more heavy duty waterproof jacket.

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