My accidental sustainable purchase – Fjallraven Kanken review

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Back in November 2018, I wrote a blog post about my three-year-old Kanken backpack and then I realize that it was my first sustainable purchase without even knowing it.

This is a story about how high-quality well-designed items can find their niche in the market and be desirable for the people who have no idea what sustainability is. 

In spring 2016, when I was living and working in Georgia, a new girl came for a job interview. She was wearing a weird, rectangle shaped bag with odd handles. It was the first time I saw Kanken backpack and got enchanted, how simple yet interesting it was.

When she got hired, I asked about the backpack and immediately loved how enthusiastic her answers were. Soon I ordered my very own Kanken from because back then you could not buy this bag in Georgia. Price was approx 80 USD. In Estonia, where I live now, it’s 80 EUR for classic Kanken. For this price category, the bag is surprisingly durable. They also have more expensive models, but the classic Kanken is just fine to me.

My Kanken and me Relaxing after the workout

Yes, I copied my new colleague, but she wasn’t mad at me at all if you are interested. “It’s just a good bag and everybody should own at least one” – said she, like a bad-ass influencer.

Since then, I have been using my Kanken almost every day and I experience it as a stylish, extremely durable backpack that sits on the back comfortably.

With this bag on my shoulders I used to:

  • Go at work every day (in Georgia I was the reporter in local online media outlet)
  • Traveled a lot in Georgia
  • Visited Italy
  • Moved in Estonia and started studying on MA program
  • Go to university, to gym or hiking
  • Visited 3 of Estonian islands and couple of towns.

.. This list should be continued.

On the pic: My Kanken and me rocking around Florence 

Is it getting shabby as a result of everyday use for years? – Yes, it does. But I also have to admit that I am not a good caretaker. 

Used Kanken
On the bottom of the backpack there are minor signs of depreciation. Despite of this the backpack is fully functional and reliable.
Used Kanken
My Kanken backpack after 2 an a half year of use.

I’ve already confessed that I haven’t always used this backpack according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Here is how I violated good care standards:

Whatever you do, don’t put Kanken in the washing machine – I did. Several times. I used the “hand wash” regimen but it is self-deception. I do not recommend this. 

Don’t overfill – I cannot help myself not to put a lot of stuff in my Kanken. I use it for laptop and notebooks (it is not designed for the laptop), for water bottles, sometimes as hiking bag or gym bag – it can hold anything. Sometimes I even exceed 5 kilos, but this doesn’t happen very often.

Don’t put a laptop in a regular Kanken  – I do put my laptop in my Kanken while it is not a laptop bag. As the manufacturer says, putting the laptop puts too much strain on the straps and zips. Again, I do not recommend this, because this backpack deserves better care. 

Used Kanken Review
After 3 years of use the straps, stitches and zips look almost like new.

As you see, I do not take much effort to keep this bag safe. In spite of this, it is still sturdy and 100% working condition.

A lot of things changed in my life during this years, but this backpack stands still and continues the service outstandingly. Based on what you pay and what you get Kanken backpack is a good value of money and I recommend it without hesitation. 

Kanken claims they have social and environmental responsibility:

Another reason why I love Fjallraven is that they are an environmentally responsible company as they supports projects that help conserve nature and inspire people to protect flora and fauna. Their code of conduct says that they do not accept child labor and acknowledge the rights of the workers.  It feels so good to know that a piece you invested in is made ethically.

They also issued an environmentally friendly backpack called RE-KANKEN, which, as the company claims, is made entirely from polyester recycled from plastic bottles. Well done!

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