How to take care of your Kånken

Little has changed since we launched Kånken in 1978. Here are some tips to help prolong the life of your favourite backpack.

The now world-famous little backpack we all know as Kånken goes back as far as 1978. Åke Nordin, founder of Fjällräven, had read about the rise of back pain among Swedish school children, and believed a backpack developed especially for them could help. The simple design would accommodate two A4 binders and it would be sewn in the most durable fabric Åke could find.

Although many years have passed since then, and Kånken has become a household name all over the world, it has remained basically the same, stubbornly refusing to conform to fleeting trends and styles.

Certainly there are now variations on the classic Kånken. Sizes and colours of course, and we now have Kånken No. 2, which is a more hardwearing version made using G-1000 Heavy Duty material. In 2016, we added Re-Kånken, made from recycled plastic bottles. And the most recent addition to the family is Tree-Kånken, which is made of a new bio-based material, Pine Weave.

Whichever Kånken you own, you can be sure that it will last for many years to come. And even more years if you take good care of it. So here are some tips to help prolong the life of your favourite backpack.

Re-Kånken @pernillenygard

Caring for Kånken

  • To get those vibrant colours, we use a special dying technique, but this does mean there is a chance the colour can run or rub off on your clothes. Particularly light-coloured clothing. We recommend soaking your Kånken in lukewarm water before you start using it, or gently rub the surface with a soft brush. Hang up to air-dry completely before filling it with fun stuff and strapping it on your back.
  • Putting your Kånken in the washing machine is not something we recommend. There is a risk that the fabric warps here and there (due to differing temperatures) causing a more unbalanced weave, resulting in decreased reliability in the fabric as well as zippers become slightly askew in some places. Instead, use a soft brush or sponge and lukewarm water to clean away dirt too keep your Kånken up to its original high standards.
  • Don't overfill your Kånken. We have loads of different sizes, so if you want to stuff it full of goodies then get a bigger size. The standard Kånken original backpack has a 16-litre volume, and although we don't have an official max weight load, you should keep it to just a few kilos. If you want to put a laptop in your Kånken, be sure to get a model with that function. The back pocket of the original model is made for folders, papers, and perhaps a tablet computer. Definitely not a laptop. It puts too much strain on the straps and zippers.
  • Speaking of zippers, if you get something stuck in your Kånken zipper, avoid yanking it free. Instead, use a little bit of oil or clear lip balm to loosen the zip. Then gently try opening and closing it.
  • If tears appear, fix them straight away. The longer you leave them, the bigger they will get, making them difficult to repair.
  • Finally, as you know, colours tend to fade when exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. Some people like it because it adds a paler character and patina to their Kånken, while others don't. If you want to keep the original colour for as long as possible, keep your Kånken out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
Kånken by @wavethatstranger

Fjällräven Kånken


Tree-Kånken - Dark green, Green
Tree-Kånken - Maple Yellow Green
Tree-Kånken - New Moon Blue
Tree-Kånken - Charcoal Grey

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