Useful Presents Hall of Fame
Kanken Backpacks

Kanken Backpacks

Date: 20 May 2017
Category: Hall of Fame

Kanken Backpack is Europe's most famously functional urban backpack. It’s very light, very tough, mightily square, unisex, and the only backpack with a Swedish Royal Warrant.

This is a backpack without trickery. It's bult to last for years without a tally of confusing pockets or faux features. It does have a unique criss-crossed strapping to keep weight high up, close to the body, and comfortable.

Kanken has been the Swedish people’s bag since 1978. Ingmar Bergman's grandkids, Volvo workers, Bjorn Borg, and members of The Cardigans have all probably used a Kanken.

It was invented by former Boy Scout Ake Nordin in collaboration with Sweden’s Guide & Scout Association. Nordin noticed that the standard Swedish school bag of the time was a heavy leather messenger bag. It looked very posh, but was bad for backs.

He created his  original Kanken (Swedish for 'carry') to fit two lever arch files. It succeeded beyond Ake Nordin's wildest hopes and has been unchanged since 1978. A Kanken Backpack is simple … and deceptively sophisticated : For all it's simplicity, a Kanken does have one famously unique feature - there's a removeable internal pad that can be taken out and used to sit on (at sporting and music events, for exampe) for a bit of bonus comfort.

Ake Nordin passed away in 2013. The company he created on the back of his Kankens was named Fjallraven after the Swedish Arctic Fox - featured on the reflectorised logo on all their backpacks. The company is still directed by his son, and the famed Kanken backpacks carry on ... in lots of colours.

• main compartment opens completely with heavy duty double zippers that don’t break

• two side pockets for 500ml bottles, magazines etc

• a zipped front pocket secures smaller things

• unique interior seat pad can also pillow a 13” laptop.

- Machine washable (gently)