Even if you had never stepped foot in a Fjallraven store, you’d recognize the Kanken backpack when you saw it. This often brightly colored, boxy backpack is a regular sight on high school and college campuses around the US (and Sweden, of course). And while it remains a perennial favorite, Fjallraven has decided to give their marquee bag a bit of an eco upgrade in the form of their new Tree-Kanken. Fjallraven sent SPY a sample of their new Tree-Kanken for testing and review.
As the name suggests, this version of the Kanken is made from trees. To be more specific, Fjallraven created the backpack with a new material which they call “Pine Weave.” Pine Weave, in essence, is wood sourced from Sweden that has been boiled into a pulp and then chemically treated to turn into a sticky cellulose, before being spun into a fiber. This fiber is then used to build the bag, making it a sturdy and sustainable bag that is just as tough as its predecessor. But the base material isn’t all that’s eco about this backpack. Even the chemicals used to treat the backpack (to help make it water-resistant) are 99.6% recycled.
Though this is the latest eco-turn for the Swedish company, it is by no means their first foray into the eco-space. In fact, just a few months back, Fjallraven debuted their Samlaren collection, a line that utilized the literal scraps on the cutting room floor to create a handful of bags and jackets. But while we enjoyed the creativity in Samlaren, the Tree-Kanken feels much more sustainable. Fjallraven’s pine weave technology seems like a first step down a long road of eco-friendly products. And judging by the quality of this bag, we’re excited to see what the future brings.
Fjallraven created their Tree-Kanken to be tough. In hand, it looks to be just as durable as the original bag, with the Pine Weave feeling like a dead ringer for waxed canvas. In fact, if I wasn’t sure this was made from trees, I might think otherwise. Physically, the Tree-Kanken remains fairly faithful to the original. It still sports its iconic top handle but has done away with its front pouch pocket, in place of MOLLE webbing. This gives the Tree-Kanken more of an outdoor tilt, making it feel like more of a hiking backpack than a college backpack.
In typical Fjallraven fashion, the Tree-Kanken is available in a handful of colors. Though not nearly as bright as their original Kanken, you can still pick up the Tree-Kanken is a pleasant mustard yellow, a cool blue-gray, a piney sage-green and an ashy gray.
Fjallraven will debut their new bag on August 16th on Fjallraven.com, and then on partner sites such as Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters and REI starting in mid-August. If you’re looking for a new bag that does right by our planet, the Fjallraven Tree-Kanken should be at the top of your list.