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Fjällräven is a renowned Swedish brand specializing in outdoor clothing and equipment.
On the company’s website, you will see their quality standards prominently displayed: to develop functional, durable, and timeless outdoor gear, act responsibly towards nature, animals, and people, and inspire and develop an interest in outdoor life.
Fjällräven is a Swedish company specializing in outdoor equipment
Fjällräven is an international brand, and there is a good chance you have seen their winter coats or backpacks in both outdoor retailers like Moosejaw and high-end clothing stores like Nordstrom and Zappos.
If you aren’t familiar with the brand, you may have looked at the price tag and thought, why is Fjällräven so expensive? Who are they?
There is a reason for all the digits on the price tag, and it’s quite an interesting story!
Let’s look at the brand a little closer…
How do you pronounce Fjällräven?
If you’re not a Swedish speaker, you might be wondering how to pronounce the name. With Swedish accents and spelling, the pronunciation isn’t intuitive for those who aren’t fluent.
The word Fjällräven means arctic fox, which explains the fox logo. It is pronounced “F-yah’ll-rah-ven.”
Fjällräven is Swedish for the Arctic fox, also known as the white fox, polar fox, or snow fox
Where does the brand come from?
Fjällräven originated in a small town in Northern Sweden called Örnsköldsvik, where the mountains and forest meet the sea.
In 1950, a young 14-year-old boy named Åke Nordin was preparing for a hiking trip in the Västerbotten mountains. He found his current hiking backpack very uncomfortable and not suited for the trip he was about to undertake.
Frustrated, he started to research different hiking backpacks, where he discovered the weight should be positioned closer to the spine. He then used his mother’s sewing machine and made his own backpack in the basement of his parents’ home.
Fjällräven was founded by Åke Nordin, a Swedish entrepreneur who died on December 27, 2013
The cotton bag had a wooden frame and leather straps. Nordin designed the bag with optimal load distribution, and the wood frame provided increased ventilation.
The indigenous Sámi people were impressed with the design and asked Nordin to make them one. Years later, after serving time in the Swedish Armed Forces, he started his brand. Again, in his parent’s basement.
Twenty-three years later, Fjällräven was put on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. By 1996, the brand had reached about USD 20.3 million in revenue.
Fjällräven’s New York City store is located on the corner of Grand and Greene in the heart of SoHo (Credit: Fjällräven)
Founder Åke Nordin died in 2013 at the age of 77. Before he died, he was able to see the first store in New York open. Since then, Fjällräven’s quality products have become available worldwide, with stores in over 40 countries.
Why is it perceived as expensive?
There is a reason Fjällräven is on the more expensive side when compared to other outdoor apparel and equipment brands. Due to the quality materials used and the manufacturing process, the products last for a very long time.
A Fjällräven jacket or backpack will last you several years! The material G-1000 was created by the brand and is believed to be the best outdoor material available.
The overall consensus is that Fjällräven makes great quality products
It’s made from a combination of polyester and cotton and is weaved and waxed in a way that allows for air permeability as well as wind and water-resistant. Fjällräven makes this material themselves, and there are different versions depending on the product it will create.
Their materials, clothes, and backpacks are also waxed with a mixture of 65% paraffin and 35% beeswax. They can also be re-waxed using Fjällräven Greenland Wax.
How to wax your Fjällräven G-1000 gear to maximize the performance
Fjällräven is a sustainable company, that is very cognizant of their environmental footprint. They consistently choose materials and processes that are better for the environment, even if that means a higher cost.
Fjällräven are proud of the comfort and eco-credentials of their backpacks
Their goal is to create clothing and gear that lasts. This is not fast fashion. Fjällräven wants people to buy their products and use them for years to come, repair or re-wax as needed, and avoid ending up in landfills.
One of their more expensive items is their down winter jackets that keep you warm and dry, even in harsh Nordic winters. A rarity in down material, Fjällräven down is ethically sourced.
Made from recycled plastic bottles and using a new dying technique, Re-Kånken is Fjällräven’s most sustainable Kånken
The brand conducts inspection and visits to geese and duck farms to ensure the birds are treated humanely. These birds are raised for meat, not for down.
Another sustainable product is their Eco-Shell, made from recycled polyester. These sustainable products cost more to produce.
Is Fjällräven popular?
The brand is quite popular, especially in Sweden and throughout Europe. It has gained a loyal following over the years due to its stellar reputation of making quality products that last.
If you ever purchased a Fjällräven backpack or coat, you know it’s worth the investment and will last several years. More and more people are looking at a Company’s values and whether it is sustainable before purchasing.
Fjällräven is Swedish, translates as ‘Arctic Fox’, and is pronounced F-yah’ll-rah-ven
Their strong views on sustainability have many people choosing Fjällräven over other popular outdoor brands.
This brand has a cult-like following that has transcended clothing and equipment and becomes a lifestyle brand. In 2005, the Fjällräven Classic was born.
This is an event that encourages people to trek 110km through the Swedish mountains. The event that promotes hiking, community, and exploring nature grew to Denmark, the US, and Hong Kong.
With thousands of tickets to the events selling out in seconds, the event was set to run in Germany, UK, China, and South Korea in August of this year.
Fjällräven Classic Hong Kong is a 49 km long tropical trek through lush forests and fine serene coves, sweeping bays and shimmering cityscape views
However, with Covid-19, the Fjällräven Classic canceled the original events and went digital. In a digital series online, they brought trekking events to people in their homes worldwide through Fjällräven Classic TV.
Each episode will take viewers trekking through beautiful mountains, backcountry, and landscapes like Colorado, USA, Qinghai, China, and the Classic UK trail in Scotland.
Kristen Stewart carries Fjällräven’s Foldsack backpack in ochre while arriving at Narita International Airport in Chiba on October 22, 2012
Celebrities can also be seen wearing Fjällräven, which, of course, influences the brand’s popularity. Stars like Kristen Stewart and Alexa Chung have been photographed sporting the Fjällräven Kånken backpack.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wears an all-weather Stina jacket from Fjällräven while visiting the Sayers Croft Forest School and Wildlife Garden at Paddington Recreation Ground in London on October 2, 2008
The Duchess of Cambridge has been photographed several times wearing a Fjällräven jacket as well as popular American actor Casey Affleck.
What are the most popular Fjällräven products?
The most popular Fjällräven offerings are their backpacks, jackets, and tents. Their backpack, known as the Kånken, is their best-selling product.
From its origin in 1978, Kånken has become a worldwide icon
The smaller bag was first designed in 1978 for school children. Since then, it has become increasingly popular and is now used more like an everyday backpack by people of all ages.
The Kånken is also water-resistant and pre-waxed like their other products, with quality zippers running the bag’s length. The brand has since created the bag in a selection of sizes and over 50 colors.
The logo on these backpacks is slightly different, appealing to the most popular wearer of the bag, females 12-25. The logo on the Fjällräven Kånken is pink and white, as opposed to the original light brown.
Limited edition Fjällräven Classic patch inspired by the old tag in this vintage 1970s made in Europe Fjällräven jacket
Fjällräven Greenland jacket is also very popular, pre-waxed, and made from their superior G-1000 material. The first Greenland jacket was created in 1968 and came with the Greenland wax to re-wax your jacket.
Although some modifications have been made, the jacket is still very reminiscent of the original created by Nordin himself.
Timeless, durable, and functional, Fjällräven’s Greenland jacket was first released in 1968
Although it’s unlikely you will see pictures of celebrities using it, the Fjällräven Termo tent is a popular item for outdoor adventurers. Just as he did with the backpack and clothing, Nordin examined the traditional tents on the market and improved it.
In 1964 he created the Termo tent that used an outer layer consisting of a waterproof flysheet made from waterproof polyester.
The inner layer was made from thin, breathable nylon.
The combination of the two materials allowed moisture to be whisked away, keeping the tent dry and light. The brand offers three different types of tents geared towards their function (i.e., how extreme the conditions will be).
Fjällräven’s store in Bend, a small city on the Deschutes River, in Oregon
The Abisko tents are low weight, and good for all types of outdoor life, the Keb tents are suitable year-round and provide extra durability, and the Polar tents are specially formulated for demanding Arctic winter conditions.
Due to the varying design, the price of these products also varies. The Abisko tents are the most affordable, and the Polar tents running a few thousand dollars at Amazon.
As a brand with an inspiring story, a passion for sustainability, and dedication to quality products, it’s not surprising that Fjällräven has the loyal following that it does.
Abisko is a simple, light, trekking backpack with a comfortable, adjustable carrying system adapted for women
Although they are perceived as expensive, their popular products like the Greenland jacket, Kånken backpack, and Termo tents remain international bestsellers.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. The quality G-1000 material and superior durability mean that although it may initially cost you more, a Fjällräven will last you for years to come.
Credit: WENN / Fjällräven / John Rainford / Louie Angelo