When someone mentions Fjällräven, the first thing people usually think of is the square, brightly coloured backpacks with the little foxes: the Kånken. For a long time that is how I thought of the brand too, but they are so much more than that, and they wanted to tell me why.
Fjällräven kindly invited me on a trip to the Abisko National Park in Arctic Sweden, on their Bergtagen (mountain collection) event. There we walked some of the famous Fjällräven Classic, a 110 km route along a dramatic section of the famous Scandinavian Kungsleden (The Kings Trail), and they told us all about their brand, its history and their products.
I was very excited to be invited and accepted gladly. A few flight connections led us to the arctic mining town of Kiruna where we were greeted by Andreas, who is responsible for events organisation. We travelled on for an hour or so through stunning wild landscape, to the village of Abisko. There we checked into the fabulous Abisko Mountain Lodge, where we couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome. In our rooms we found a selection of Fjällräven clothing and packs that we were to test over the next couple of days. We tried our gear on before dinner, had a fantastic meal and a briefing on what was planned for the next two days.
The next morning we woke to fine weather. We were split up into small groups of 5 and introduced to our mountain guides. The plan was to go climb a mountain, camp out overnight and then walk the last leg of the Fjällräven Classic the following day. As the area is so remote there are no roads, so helicopters are the main source of transportation if you need to get into the mountains quickly.
Our 10 minute flight dropped us on the glacier, which would have taken us 3 days to reach from the lodge. This was a strange experience for me; one minute we were drinking coffee in the lodge and 15 minutes later we were stood on a glacier. We roped up and made our way up the glacier to the rocky col. Here we removed our crampons and made our way up the impressive ridge to the summit of the mountain.
After a quick lunch on the summit we made our way back down the ridge and glacier to the lake below, where we camped for the night. It was a stunning spot, and we sat around the fire and listened to some very inspiring talks from Martin Axelhed, the CEO of Fjällräven, Christina, their Sustainability Manager and Felix, their textile expert. It was a fantastic location for these talks, much better than any classroom!
After a night sleeping under the midnight sun we woke the next morning to start our walk back to Abisko. A short helicopter flight across the large lakes dropped us at a Classic checkpoint on the Kungsleden, where we began a 17km walk back to the finish line of the Classic event. It was nice to experience a small section of this event; it is a great way for people to walk in this remote and potentially challenging environment, supported by regular checkpoints where gas, food and help can be obtained if needed.
At the finish line there is a real party vibe. Food, drink and music is laid on for the participants; there is a boot waxing station and you could even get a Fjällräven Classic tattoo! A large crowd cheered the walkers as they crossed the line - we felt like frauds who had only walked the last 17k!
The whole trip was an amazing experience. The passion for the brand, the commitment to their core values on product design, sustainability and the company ethos could not have been made clearer by all the people involved. It was so good to use Fjällräven products in the beautiful and wild landscape that inspired its creation. So if you think Fjällräven just make small schoolbags, have a look at what else they do, you might be surprised.
Check out Outside's Fjällräven range here.