The Keb collection is our pinnacle trekking range. It’s where we push innovation. We don’t look for the easiest route; we seek out the best one. We aim high, but keep our feet firmly on the rugged terrain. The Keb range is named after Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise, which is remote, wild and challenging despite its modest height (2,097m). The mountain is accessed by a winding, rocky path. The way up is over shrub, scree and snow. It’s this landscape – and its challenges – that inspired the collection: Keb was developed for challenging treks in varying terrain.
We’ve focused heavily on trousers and jackets, with the award-winning Keb Trousers and Keb Eco-Shell Jacket the cornerstones of this collection. We hadn’t included a backpack. We’d kind of relied on Kajka or the newer Kaipak backpacks to partner up with Keb clothing. That’s now changed. Meet: Keb Hike.
Designers Fredrik Hyltén-Cavallius and Niklas Kull have treated it just like a technical trekking backpack. It’s heavily infused with smart, year-round touring details such as storable ice-axe loops, walking or ski pole straps, heavy-duty ski carrying loops and a wet-storage compartment. Despite all this, they never lost focus on carrying comfort.
“It’s big on carrying comfort,” says Niklas. “Yes, it’s technical, too, but it carries well. The frame moves with you nicely.”
“And that’s true even if you’re carrying heavy loads,” adds Fredrik. “We made the frame really strong and sturdy because winter gear, like skis and avalanche protection, can be pretty heavy.”
That’s something Fjällräven is known for, carrying comfortably. Kajka has been carrying king for a decade, and when it comes to packing functions, it punches above its weight. But when you’re looking for comfort and ruggedness coupled with a streamlined design that won’t slow you down while trekking, Keb Hike is the way to go.
“The Keb family has always been about freedom of movement. We’ve continued that thought into the Keb Hike backpacks. Although the 20ltr and 30ltr are slightly different in terms of functions, neither will restrict the movement of your arms or place pressure on your hips when you take big steps, for example. They’re still functional, but not overly so. This keeps weight down and it allowed us to focus on the carrying system.”
In line with this idea of seamless movement, the guys have made the packs hydration bladder compatible and all the zips can be pulled with gloved hands. There are two large compartments, plus a quick-access pocket on the top for keys and cards. And there’s a rain cover included, for when the weather turns nasty. Although waterproof rip-stop fabric and PFC-free impregnation will do some of the hard work.
“And I really like the expandable water bottle holder,” adds Niklas. “It’s ideal if you don’t have a standard-size bottle, plus you can strap it tight so that even if you lean forward your bottle won’t fall out.”
On top of all that, it’s made entirely from recycled or organic fabrics, which is rare for backpacks in this segment. The rip-stop is made from recycled plastic bottles and the G-1000 Heavy Duty S utilises organic cotton.
“We see this as the start of something more. We want to offer more backpacks in the same vein as these, under the Keb name, and with its freedom of movement. But we want to make them bigger for multi-day adventures in the outdoors,” says Fredrik.
Watch this space!
Text: Sarah Benton