Swedish brand Fjallraven put out their first backpack over 50 years ago, and have been making some of the most innovative and stylish bags on the market ever since. Their Kanken model has become so iconic it was classified as a piece of art by the Swedish government earlier this year. But while that one is primarily aimed at style-conscious city dwellers, Fjallraven also make backpacks for serious hikers. The Abisko Friluft 35, which is available for both men and women, and designed for day hikes or overnight trips, is a case in point.
The Abisko Friluft is hardwearing - the main body of the pack is Fjallraven’s own G-1000 Eco material, made from recycled polyester and organic cotton - but it’s also lightweight, and with its specially designed back panel it’s ideal for hiking in warm, summery conditions. The design features an aluminium frame and mesh material which let air circulate freely, reducing sweating significantly.
“You can lay the pack on its back on the ground and open the front panel right up, allowing you to reach stuff at the bottom easily without having to unpack everything."
Other clever eatures include the twin zips which run down the length of the main compartment. You can lay the pack on its back on the ground and open the front panel right up, allowing you to reach stuff at the bottom easily without having to unpack everything. The side panels have compression straps which allow you to distribute weight evenly across your back, and the bag has a floating lid, so you can pack it absolutely chocka and still get it closed without giving yourself a hernia.
The bottom of the bag is neat too - Fjallraven have made it out waterproof polyamide, so when you lay your bag down on dew-covered grass (or on a wet beach, as we did in testing) the contents stay completely dry.
When we took this out hiking we found the chest strap and waistbelt comfortable and easy to adjust on the fly. The little pockets on it were great for holding packets of trail mix or suncream. We didn’t try the Abisko out with a water bladder, but there is space to fit one and there’s an opening designed for the drinking tube should you wish to take one with you. We just packed a water bottle into the side pockets, which also works equally well.
The 35 litre capacity of this bag means it’s probably not big enough for week-long missions, but the clever little pockets and features make it perfect for day hikes and there are plenty of external straps so you could easily attach a tent or a roll mat to the outside if you wanted to take it out overnight. There’s an ice axe loop too, in case you’re trekking in cold conditions, but for our money this bag really comes into its own when the weather's hot - that back panel makes a world of difference to how much you sweat and therefore how comfortable this bag is to carry.
Fjallraven Abisko Friluft 35 Backpack