'The Abisko Friluft has all the reassuring bombproof solidity of Fjällräven's traditional trekking and hiking packs but with the bonus of a new, ventilated back system.'
Outdoors Magic: Seriously solid feel, comfortable and supportive vented back system, pockets, massive zip-down panel access to main compartment, big front pocket.
Outdoors Tragic: A tad heavy, quite expensive.
Outdoors Grabbit? On paper Fjällräven's packs look heavy and old fashioned, but they've always felt super solid and durable and carried really well in our experience. The new vented Friluft continues in the same vein. Not only is it cooler than the brand's conventional packs, it's really comfortable and supportive too. Add in lots of pocket choice and a radical, zip-down main compartment access panel and you end up with a deceptively capable, super solid pack that'll handle day walks and light packing too. It's not cheap and it's not particularly light, but the quality and comfortable carry plus well thought-out features reflect that.
Hill and mountain walking daypack with vented back system / ventilated back system with suspended mesh panel and aluminium frame / G-1000 Eco main fabric with Polyamide base / front, side stash and belt pockets / zip-down main compartment access panel / floating lid with inside and outside pockets / single pole/axe loop / accessory straps on base for sleeping mat or similar
Full Review Below
Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 35 Pack | Performance
There's something reassuringly, traditionally Scandinavian about Fjällräven kit. Not so much in an IKEA way, more along the lines of Volvo or Saab. Seriously solid engineering that's more about sturdy performance than looking good or meeting modish expectations.
With the Abisko Friluft, it all begins with the waxed G-1000 Eco fabric. It's a modern take on canvas using 65% recycled Polyester and 35% organic cotton and it has a nice, tough, natural feel. The base though is waterproof Polyamide for added toughness and damp protection.
None of which is new for Fjällräven. What is different is the back system, the brand's first ventilated one using a suspended mesh panel against the back backed up with an aluminium perimeter frame. It's not exactly original, Osprey's vented packs used to use pretty much the same system, but in this case it works really well.
There's an instant feel of supportive comfort and the hip-belt in particular wraps round with a sort of jaunty, springy embrace. In short, it's a properly comfortable pack to carry with the ventilation gap coming as a bonus.
The other surprise waiting for you, is a massive fold-down zipped access panel that gives either neat nice access using one zip - above. Or, if you zip down both and un-Velcro the top, you can expose the entire main compartment in a suitcase style. Handy for huts, useful for retrieving buried kit treasure from the bottom of your pack at short notice.
We like. We also liked the big, zipped, front pocket for stashing shell jackets and the like, the solid fabric side stash pockets, which feature shock-corded closure to keep things secure and the traditional floating lid, which comes into its own if you head off on an overnighter with just a little bit more kit than the Friluft can swallow. Nice.
Other mod cons include hydration system compatibility, twin compression straps on either side and a rain cover in UN Blue, which lives in the lid pocket, but can be stowed wherever you like.
Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 35 Pack | Verdict
The Friluft seems to bring its own ambience with it. Ease into the ventilated harness system, succumb to the spring embrace of those hip-fins and you're instantly transported to the arctic tundra. Or something like that.
What we're trying to say is that Fjällräven packs have a distinctive, solid, slightly retro feel that's pure Scandinavian gear porn. It's hard to describe, but unmistakably really quite impressive. Sure, the Friluft is a little heavier than flightier alternatives and it's certainly not cheap, but it does perform deceptively well in a way that belies the solid, traditional looks.
The features are good too. We like the easy panel access and the plethora of pockets plus the lines and colour. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea for sure, but if you like the look and retro feel, you can also be reassured that you're not compromising performance for that distinctive Scandinavian vibe.