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Fjällräven Ulvö Rolltop Backpack | Review

A new one from Fjällräven that blurs the lines between hiking pack and commuter pack

Why We Chose The Fjällräven Ulvö: Technical fabrics and performance, casual look, useful details.

Even if you don’t know what the Fjällräven Kanken backpack is, we’re willing to bet you’ve seen it before. It’s a square-shaped thing made of brightly coloured canvas with narrow straps and a little round logo with a red fox on it. Yup, you’ve got it. As of this season, we have a new, fairly similar unisex backpack from the Scandinavian brand, and we reckon it could end up being another popular item. They call it the Ulvö.

This is a pack with a number of different uses. Its 23-litre capacity makes it perfect for carrying the load required for a simple dayhike (your waterproof jacket, some warm layers, and a picnic), plus it’s well-suited to cycling thanks to its flexible and padded back, little zipped pocket on the side for accessing your snacks while on the go and a strap on the front to clip a safety light onto.

It’s got a look that’ll fit right in in the city, at work, or in the classroom, and it has all the conveniences for those kind of things as well, like a padded laptop sleeve, and zipped interior pocket for small valuables.

There are two things we love about this though. First of all, it’s the Bergshell fabric. This is a brand new development by Fjällräven and they’re already rolling it out in some of their trekking packs and jackets. It might have a soft feel to it, but underneath that outer layer there’s a laminate and taped seams to make it fully waterproof. And it’s tough as well, thanks to a unique flat ripstop weave that Fjällräven have utilised – watch the video within this article for more on this.

The flexible, padded back keeps the pack lightweight. Photo: Chris Johnson
The rolltop closure adds to the waterproof qualities of the Ulvo. Photo: Chris Johnson
Side mesh pockets couple a stash pocket on the side of the Ulvo. Photo: Chris Johnson

The second thing we love about this is that rolltop closure. Not only does it contribute to the overall waterproofness of this bag, but it also makes getting to and stashing your kit quick and easy as it creates a really wide opening. This rolltop closure, along with the side straps, gives a lot of volume adaptability. You’d be amazed how much you can actually stuff into this.

“We had some pretty miserable weather in the fjords and I can tell you that the waterproofing definitely works.”

Throw in a good sternum strap, stretch mesh side pockets that both pass the Nalgene Widemouth bottle test, and an easy to clip and adjust sternum strap, and you’ve got a nifty little pack here. If for some reason you don’t like a rolltop, don’t worry, there’s a zip-sealed version of the Ulvö as well.

Tester’s Verdict

Will Renwick, Outdoors Magic Editor

“I was hiking around Norway with this for a week and I really liked it. I have to say, the Kanken is a little too ‘city’ for me, and while this still has a city vibe to it, it still seems right at home out in the wilderness. We had some pretty miserable weather in the fjords and I can tell you that the waterproofing definitely works. I was also really impressed by the durability of the material. It doesn’t feel as tough, as say, an Ortlieb rolltop, but it definitely seems as durable – and it doesn’t have that slightly ugly sheen to it that the PU coated commuter packs you often see have. This is much more refined.

Another thing I liked about this is its packability. I flew out to Norway with this in my hold luggage and it flattened down beautifully at the bottom of my big duffel bag.”

We love the rolltop closure. It makes getting to and stashing your kit quick and easy, thanks to the wide opening. Photo: Chris Johnson

Fjällräven Ulvö Rolltop Backpack

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Selected for The Outdoor 100 2019/20

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