Why are Fjallraven Kanken backpacks so expensive – Should you buy one?

Let me start by saying that I do not consider Fjallraven backpacks to be very expensive, but they are indeed overpriced.

Nowadays, you can easily find backpacks that offer the same quality for lower prices but without the Fjallraven name attached to them.

I think that Fjallraven backpacks are overpriced because they represent an idea more than an actual backpack. You could say that solid marketing turned this brand into a symbol, but still, that would be a bit misleading.

Thousands of backpack manufacturers with a considerable marketing budget only dream of someday being in the Fjallraven shoes.

Let’s be realistic here – 80% of people buy their backpack for its brand name and looks.

I did ask a few people why they chose a Fjallraven backpack, and most of the time, the answer was: “because it’s cute,” or “because I like it.”

So if you are considering buying a Fjallraven backpack as a present for someone else, now you have your answer. 

It seems that most brand customers don’t care too much about the quality of the product or how well it’s made; they buy it because it makes them feel good about themselves. So I must congratulate Fjallraven for achieving this status. 

Let’s see why the Fjallraven Kanken backpack costs so much.

1. Love

Yep, you read it right. Most people love this brand of backpacks, but love is not quantifiable. You can love the Fjallraven packs or not. It is your choice.

Why do people love Fjallraven then?

I can’t say for sure, but I think it has something to do with the overall design of the backpack.

It looks like a backpack from the past, or something from a coloring book.

If you ask small children to draw a backpack, you will end up with something that resembles a Fjallraven pack.

In 1978, the brand products were first intended for children because they equally distributed weight to both shoulders, thus improving posture.

Children and parents loved them and, almost without anybody realizing it, a symbol was born. Since then, not much has changed in the design of the Fjallraven Kanken.

2. Durability, resistance, and practicality

The Fjallraven Kanken backpacks are made from Vinylon F fabric. This is a synthetic fabric composed of polyvinyl alcohol, but this material does share some properties with natural fibers.

This material is highly resistant to wear and tear and also water-resistant. Unfortunately, the material is not waterproof.

The fibers increase in size when exposed to humidity, so the gap between the fibers closes more and more, thus increasing the material’s water-resistant properties.

The Vinylon F fabric is also dirt-resistant and cleans easily.

Sadly, this material and wax don’t get along. So if you planned to increase its water repellent properties by waxing it, you should choose a different brand.

To make things worse, applying wax to the pack will also void the limited lifetime warranty.

Although the pack is resistant to the elements, I do not recommend buying one for use in the wilderness.

If you plan on long walks in the rain with it, remember that water will eventually seep in.

All the backpacks have a generous main compartment that opens from the top, so storing large items inside shouldn’t be a problem.

Also, two open side pockets are present if you are a hydro flask fan.

3. It’s predictable

Buying a Fjallraven Kanken backpack is like buying a Coke. You know exactly what to expect when you buy a new one. Even if the package is different, the taste is the same one you are accustomed to.

The Fjallraven Kanken backpack design hasn’t changed, and I’m not expecting it to anytime soon because, frankly, it works. 

With other brands, you need to first research the new updated models and read contradicting reviews about the difference between the old models and the new ones to make a good choice.

This is not the case with Fjallraven – it’s just a great grab-and-go item.

4. Customer service and warranty

Unless you bought a fake, you shouldn’t need to contact customer service any time soon. The packs are well known for their durability. In addition, the Fjallraven company offers a limited lifetime warranty for all its products.

Keep in mind that only the products bought from Fjallraven authorized sellers are covered by the limited lifetime warranty. If you don’t know where to find a list of authorized sellers and resellers, you can find the list here.

You should also know that the warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, cuts, stains, fading, or discoloration due to excessive sun exposure.

On the bright side, Fjallraven’s customer service is fast. They usually respond within an hour to any inquiry you may have.

If you need to replace or repair your product, send them a photo of your damaged pack, and they will contact you shortly.

5. Environmentally friendly

While not completely environmentally friendly, the “green factor” gets added to the price.

The brand does use a lot of eco-friendly and recycled materials during the production phase, but it’s still not considered a completely nature-friendly brand.

Instead of dealing with the issues at hand, the brand prefers to offer climate compensation.

From manufacturing to transporting, all climate impact emissions are carefully accounted for and offset.

Personally, I would have preferred a direct approach by constantly improving the environmental score of their products each year.

I guess that offsetting emissions also works to relieve the minds of the environmental activists, but the additional cost is added to the customer’s tab.

6. Fashion or cultural item

Many Scandinavians consider the backpacks made by Fjallraven to be a cultural icon.

Entire generations grew up with it on their backs and continue to buy them as adults. Nowadays, the backpack is more of a fashion item than anything else. 

By modern standards, the lack of internal pockets and compartments may irritate some customers, making it an antique design.

However, if you think about it, those interior compartments and pockets that other backpacks have, take up space, making the interior tiny.

Being a high-demand item means that the manufacturer doesn’t need to have the best price on the market to increase sales.

Related: Why Is Tumi So Expensive

As a fashion item, it’s not a really expensive one.

7. Customer opinion

Customer reviews on the Fjallraven backpacks are mostly positive, but they also tell an ugly story: the market is flooded with fakes.

Be careful where you buy a Fjallraven Kanken backpack because counterfeited items are available on the market and some of them are very well made.

It would be best if you purchased your pack only from authorized sellers.

If you want to buy one from other places, just remember that the Fjallraven Kanken arctic fox logo is reflective, and fake ones don’t reflect the light.

Are Fjallraven backpacks worth it?

The answer depends a lot on what you intend to do with it.

In general, for urban environments and if you want a backpack that is highly fashionable and offers ample storage, then this backpack is worth it.

If you are planning outdoor trips, then it’s not worth it.

Maybe it’s a cultural icon or fashion or style, and everybody thinks differently about it, but what I can say for sure is that the logo will catch peoples’ eye.

This backpack is bought with one unique purpose in mind: to be seen or, more accurately, for you to be seen with it.

In terms of price, there are other options out there better suited to your needs.

If you want lots of pockets and interior compartments, then a Fjallraven backpack will not be your friend.

As I already stated in this article, I consider a Fjallraven Kanken backpack a good choice when you want to buy a practical present for someone else. 

Even if you buy one and are not satisfied with the choice you made, I bet that you can easily find someone that will love it.

The short answer is that if you only choose your pack based on the features they offer, then no, the Fjallraven backpack is not worth the money.

Buying a Fjallraven backpack is a choice you make with your heart.

But before embarking on the Fjallraven ship, ask yourself if this backpack will make you happy. If not, then move on without any regrets.

How long do Fjallraven backpacks last?

In the past, it wasn’t unusual for your Fjallraven Kanken backpack to last you more than ten years. Nowadays, you can expect a solid 5-7 years from your pack. After seven years, the color of the pack will start to fade.

Keep in mind that the actual time varies from person to person. From what I can tell, the backpack will last longer in cooler climates.

However, if you live in Florida, or a similar climate, it will not last a long time because direct sunlight exposure will make the color of the pack fade faster.

If you live in a sunny area, I advise you to avoid black bags and other dark hues as these colors absorb UV sunlight faster.

Regardless of the weather, you can expect a solid five years out of it. 

Are Fjallraven backpacks still cool?

Yes, they are, and they will be cool for many years to come. A Fjallraven backpack will never go out of fashion. The reason is its plainness.

Fjallraven doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with every new model. They know that their customers love the simplicity of their designs—That’s why a Fjallraven backpack made in 2010 is not out of fashion today.

This pack’s timeless design convinces an increasing number of people to buy it every year.

Why are Fjallraven Kanken backpacks so popular?

This brand differs from others because they have been producing virtually the same style of backpacks for decades, and I think that’s why it became so popular.

In today’s aggressive marketing world, when every brand tries to convince us to buy their product because it offers x amount of features over the competition, the Fjallraven Kanken backpack can be described in two words: simple and functional.

That is why it’s a popular choice.

Are Kanken backpacks good for laptops?

Not exactly, and that’s because not all packs come with a dedicated laptop compartment.

The good news is that Fjallraven is manufacturing dedicated laptop versions for their backpacks.

The bad news is that they cost more. If you want to buy a pack just to have a safe place to store your laptop, then I don’t recommend Fjallraven, but not because it’s bad quality.

For the price you pay for a Kanken, you can find a dedicated laptop backpack with a charging port and waterproof laptop padded compartment.

Some manufacturers even advertise their laptop backpacks as being shockproof.


Although overpriced, I consider a Fjallraven Kanken backpack a good investment for everyday use because it tends to last longer.

The fact is, this backpack will remain a fashionable item for years to come.

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Sorin Susanu
Sorin, the primary writer for this site, launched it in 2019 as a hobby and a means to refine his English. With a passion for travel ignited by a trip to Italy at age twelve, Sorin has been exploring the world and sharing his adventures ever since.

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