1970's Children on Bikes With Kanken Bags

The Fjallraven Kanken: An Iconic Bag’s History

You’d be hard pressed nowadays to visit any bustling city and not see at least one Fjallraven Kanken knocking around.

The Kanken is perhaps the most iconic rucksack of all time, worn by people of all ages and tastes, throughout the world. It comes in more than 50 base colours and, unlike many of its rival products, it’s an item that really does look better with age and wear, developing a proud patina.

With its simple rectangular design and equally simple branding, it’s a bonafide design classic, up there with the Casio F-91W, the Parker Jotter, the adidas Stan Smith and more.

When was the Fjallraven Kanken introduced?

The Kanken was first released in 1978, designed specifically for schoolchildren.

It may be a fashionable product these days, but its inception back then was purely functional. The intention of the Kanken was to improve Swedish schoolchildren’s posture and to solve the back-pain that many of them were suffering, supposedly due to the old-fashioned shoulder bags that were still prevalent at the time.

Fjallraven’s founder, Ake Nordin, had already designed and produced reams of functional outdoor products prior to thinking up the Kanken – always with the goal of innovating and problem-solving. He set the brand up in 1960, and soon his ingenuity had won the favour of Swedish expeditionary teams, who only had eyes for Fjallraven by the end of the decade.

But it was the Kanken’s introduction in 1978 that really put the brand in front of the general public.

Sales in that first year stood at a modest 400 units, but the following year, 1979, saw the Kanken become a nationwide phenomenon – with a staggering 30,000 units sold.

The evolution of the Kanken

Now, more than 40 years later, the Kanken Classic remains unchanged in design and aesthetic, and is still Fjallraven’s best-selling product.

However, the Kanken range has expanded further than the Classic, offering justified variations that serve different purposes.

The Kanken Mini

Fjallraven launched the Kanken Mini in the early 2000s – a smaller version for smaller children.

The Kanken Laptop

In the late 2000s, the company launched the Kanken Laptop, an enlarged version of the Classic, with padded shoulder straps and a cushioned laptop pocket separate to the main compartment. A perfect example of Fjallraven’s constant forward-thinking approach: putting a new spin on a heritage product, in order to meet the needs of the modern consumer.

Buy your trusty new Fjallraven Kanken

A Kanken is a genuine investment for life. Constructed from hard-wearing Vinylon F fabric, and with a water-restistant coating that also protects it against damage from everyday dirt, it’s ready to stand the test of time.

We have an all-encompassing range of Kanken backpacks, so whether you want the straightforward Classic or a subtle variation such as the Laptop edition, you’ll find what you need right here at My Fox Bag.

Shop our full range of Kanken Bags