Updated Classic

The traditional look and solid build of Fjallraven bags are some of the reasons why people love the brand. Their unmistakable square, Kanken (or Kånken) rucksack is no exception to this. Though it’s unisex, this is a very popular backpack for women.

But if you like an everyday backpack with a timeless look that also has a laptop sleeve, you might want to get yourself a Kanken. It might also be appealing for anyone searching for “the one” with the best value for its price.

We’ve had a Fjallraven Kanken in daily use for a few weeks, testing it the best way possible–as an everyday bag for the commute or as a daypack. The included seat pad is a boon for sitting on a bench or on a rock in the forest.

Read on, and we’ll walk you through every point you need to know.

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested and researched this Fjallraven Laptop Backpack In summary, this is what we think of the Kanken:

4.8

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Really nice canvas material will last for a generation
  • check-mark
    Lots of colors to choose from
  • check-mark
    There's an overhanging flap over the zippers for additional weather protection and security
  • check-mark
    2-way zip in the main compartment gives easy access
  • check-mark
    The wide opening means you can see everything inside the bag
  • check-mark
    It's got a cute and classic look never runs out of style
  • check-mark
    Back padding can be taken out and used as a seat mat
  • check-mark
    Water- and dirt-resistant
  • check-mark
    There’s an ID tag in case you lose your backpack

Things we don't like:

  • check-markSide pockets too small for most water bottles
  • check-markNot so good with more than 15 lbs
  • check-markStrap adjustment isn’t the best
  • check-markIt can only fit in a 15" laptop unit

Where to buy:

Fjallraven Kanken Laptop 15 Product Image

Fjallraven Kanken Backpack

Specs & Features

  • Materials: Vinylon F.
  • Dimension: 5.1” x 10.61” x 15”
  • Capacity: 16 Liters
  • Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Colors: Acorn, Graphite, Ox Red, Leaf Green, Flamingo Pink, Deep Red, Dahlia, Sky Blue, Spicy Orange, Un Blue, Warm Yellow, Royal Purple, Navy, Ochre, etc.
See the complete list of the best Backpacks here!

Your Tough and Timeless Daypack

Kanken Classic carries Fjallraven’s signature look. You can expect that it has the same high-quality build, sure to endure uncountable days to come. It’s a 16-liter bag with a simple design but functionality that won’t disappoint.

Not too sporty-outdoorsy, not so sophisticated. It’s a flexible daypack and everyday laptop backpack for numerous purposes. Kanken seems to work well for a wide range of people, whether for school, work, or other casual activities.

Construction and Design

Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack has an old-fashioned style, an evergreen quality. It has versatility, allowing you to transition from urban settings to natural environs effortlessly.

The cross-strap back straps were designed in 1978 to help prevent schoolkids from getting a sore back. Its success spread quickly to adults who have been using them more than kids for decades.

You can have this Kanken in numerous colorways like Graphite, Acorn/Ox Red, Clay, Burnt Orange, Dahlia, Leaf Green, Mint Green/Cool White, and more.

You’ll notice that the Kanken Classic has a big top dial-haul loop with a snap for a clean look. We appreciate a handy feature, making it easy to grab or hang the bag when not in use. These loops also aid in quick access to the main compartment. The zippers work smoothly and have an overhanging flap. It gives a little more weather protection and security.

fjällräven-kånken-laptop-15-front-view
Kanken Classic’s zips are protected both from weather and wrong hands by an overhanging flap.

You’ll also find this design in Eastpak Out of Office and MIS BACKPACK. The overall design and roominess of the Kanken Classic are somehow more spacious compared to the 20-liter Able Carry.

Another selling point for us is the wide opening of the main compartment. You can see everything inside your Kanken since the zipper goes to the bottom. You can get your things as quickly as possible.

fjällräven-kånken-laptop-15-open-compartment
The wide zip opening gives you full access to the main compartment.

Most everyday backpacks have traditional closures that only go halfway through the bag. This design gets the job done, but not as easy and helpful as Kanken Classic.

Fjallraven used their very own Vinylon F in Kanken Classic like in most (if not all) of their products. It’s a synthetic fabric that absorbs moisture and expands its thread’s size. With the increased fiber size, the weave tightens more. It means your Kanken has better water protection since there are fewer holes to penetrate through. Fjallraven took an innovative left turn from go-to materials like nylon and polyester, and now Vinylon F is their trademark as a brand.

Keep in mind that it’s a very robust and highly water-resistant material, but it’s not waterproof. If you’re looking for a completely waterproof backpack, MYSTERY RANCH Urban Assault and Chrome Industries Barrage Cargo are your best bet.

Fjallraven Kanken Classic serves you with an excellent build you can depend on. It’s an option providing user-oriented ease of use, versatility, and performance.

Harness System

Kanken Classic comes with a minimalistic and straightforward approach to the straps. It’s got a standard webbing with a snap at the ends, attached to the top section of the backpack.

fjällräven-kånken-laptop-15-back-view
Kanken Classic Backpack has traditional shoulder straps webbing.

They provide stable carry, but they’re not as comfortable over the long run as padded shoulder straps like in Patagonia Refugio and TNF Jester. It’ll dig into your skin, especially when it’s heavily loaded. Also, there are only two length adjustments available. You either lock it at the top snap, which may be too short, or at the bottom, perhaps too long for some. If you decide to go in between, your Kanken will have dangling straps on your way of movement.

But overall, as a daily companion for usual commuters and students, Kanken Classic has an ok harnessing system. Not the comfiest, but snug and pleasant enough for short-term journeys.

Storage

Classic Kanken serves you with a total of 16 liters of storage. It’s enough room for your school needs or the daily commute to work. This daypack from Fjallraven can also work as your diaper bag for a day out with your baby.

Main Compartment

The main compartment of this Kanken has a 2-way zipper closure. You can access your items without needing to unzip to the other side. Once you open it, you’ll see a built-in sleeve with a sitting pad inside. An ID tag is also present to add in your info, useful if you lose your Fjallraven backpack.

Carry the seating pad anywhere you go and use it anytime you need. Alternatively, it can also double as a tablet/laptop sleeve. A 14 inch laptop fits nicely into the square compartment of the bag too. Most 15 inch

If you need a solid laptop sleeve in your everyday backpack, why not look at HEIMPLANET Transit Line or AmazonBasics Carry-On. They have secure and padded sleeves for larger computer machines.

The rest of the main compartment of Classic Kanken is spacious for your daily shenanigans, whether you’re a student or an office person. Load up your notebooks, folders, textbooks, and bento box. Off to the gym? It won’t disappoint either.

Kanken 5
The main compartment has enough room for more than just a couple of items.

Front Pocket

The front pocket of Kanken is roomy enough to fit in your phone, plus other small extras. Just avoid mixing in anything that might scratch your phone’s screen.

fjällräven-kånken-laptop-15-front-pocket
The front pocket is simple yet handy for small items you need in a snatch.

Side Pockets

Now, the Kanken Classic has two side pockets. You can sneak in your Airpods, a hipflask, pens & pencils and your phone. But since they’re too small and not stretchable, you can’t use them for your water bottle.

fjällräven-kånken-laptop-15-side-view
The side pockets can’t accommodate water bottles.

It’s a bit of a downer since we love staying hydrated on the go and we value keeping drinks away from everything else. You might want to see Osprey Daylite Daypack or TNF Borealis if you agree with us. Both are outdoor/active-oriented and have mesh side pockets.

But if you don’t mind having your water bottle in the main compartment, this design flaw won’t stop you from loving a Kanken Classic.

Fjallraven Kanken Classic Backpack’s 16-liter capacity is just enough for daily routines. If you need something roomier, you might as well opt for daypacks with twenty-something storage space like Herschel Little America or JanSport SuperBeak. If Kanken is too much, you can downsize to Kanken Mini with 7 liters on board.

Summary

There’s no denying that the Kanken Classic is a rugged and serviceable backpack for daily use. For roughly $70, you’ll get excellent construction and performance that can go head-on with mundane daily routines, whether it be school, work, or a quick trip into nature.

Rock the streets with its good ol’ trad versatile look in various colorways. This Kanken might not have all the features you want in a bag, but its reliability makes up for it. Not the most comfortable, but it’s enough for a just-right carry for short trips from point A to B.

Buy this everyday backpack if:

  • You trust Fjallraven products
  • Want a pack that can quickly adapt to various settings
  • Looking for a solid bag for everyday use

Related Reviews

Our Overall Review

We have thoroughly tested and researched this Fjallraven Laptop Backpack In summary, this is what we think of the Kanken:

4.8

Things we like:

  • check-mark
    Really nice canvas material will last for a generation
  • check-mark
    Lots of colors to choose from
  • check-mark
    There's an overhanging flap over the zippers for additional weather protection and security
  • check-mark
    2-way zip in the main compartment gives easy access
  • check-mark
    The wide opening means you can see everything inside the bag
  • check-mark
    It's got a cute and classic look never runs out of style
  • check-mark
    Back padding can be taken out and used as a seat mat
  • check-mark
    Water- and dirt-resistant
  • check-mark
    There’s an ID tag in case you lose your backpack

Things we don't like:

  • check-markSide pockets too small for most water bottles
  • check-markNot so good with more than 15 lbs
  • check-markStrap adjustment isn’t the best
  • check-markIt can only fit in a 15" laptop unit
FAQ

Frequently asked questions

What does Kanken mean?

Fjallraven is a Swedish company, whose name means arctic fox. It refers to an outdoor enthusiast who loves venturing into the wilderness. Kanken, from the word kånke, means to carry a great burden. The ethos behind the Fjallraven Kanken is to help people with a burden, lessening the hardship. This backpack has straps originally designed to help Swedish kids with their school bags, helping them maintain good posture. It turns out that their parents and teachers wanted to lessen their burdens too.

How do I clean my Fjallraven Kanken backpack?

Grab a damp cloth or soft brush and use mild soap with lukewarm water to spot clean your Fjallraven Kanken. Never put your bag inside the washing machine! Once you’re finished with spot cleaning, hang it in a place out of direct sunlight with proper ventilation.

How do I adjust my Kanken’s straps?

You need to unclip the snaps at the top of your Kanken’s strap. Then, pull the webbing to your desired length through the adjustable buckles. Repeat the same process on the other strap and make sure they’re even. The only thing to note is that any excess strap will dangle since there are no strap keepers or the exact snap mechanism like in the mini Kanken.

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