The Best Scandinavian Backpacks that You’ll Ever Need! (Updated)

Spread throughout the world are the “oh so famous” Fjällräven Scandinavian backpack. The company took everyone by storm once they created the classic Kånken rucksack. This is the most popular thing that they sell from all of their outdoor clothes and gadgets. While you travel to a new country, it’s easy to spot these bags on fellow travelers. Look for the Fjällräven logo of a red fox, which appears on their products. Before I knew these backpacks were so popular, I thought that a person who had it was from Sweden since the company is from there.

kebnekaise hike
Hiking to the Fjällstation, then Kebnekaise

So, when I saw a girl had one on her, I was excited that I would get the chance to practice my Swedish while I wandered in another country. But once I started speaking Swedish with the girl, she stared at me like I was crazy. Whoops! Since then, I’ve noticed the bags on travelers throughout many countries as I explore. Now I know that these bags are popular worldwide and not just in Sweden.

Check out Outdoor Gear in Sweden.

Outdoor Gear Sweden

I have created my own shop on my website with great gadgets and clothes for outdoor adventures. You can check them out here. If you like traveling or just exploring in the outdoor world, then you’ll enjoy these items!

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1.    Fjällräven

Åke Nordin is the creator of Fjällräven since he was unsatisfied at how Scandinavian backpacks were made in the 1950s. So, he constructed his own after researching thoroughly into making a backpack. His creation became a big hit with friends and family and soon was recognized by the indigenous Sami people of Sweden. Everyone wanted a lightweight durable backpack that they can wander on trails with or use it while going on adventures in nature. Over time, it led into building outdoor clothes that can withstand Swedish weather and a variety of different kinds of backpacks. Fjällräven in Swedish means, “The Artic Fox”, which helps you get the idea that the products are hardy and can handle the cold weather like the Arctic fox.

Scandinavian backpack
Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash

Fjällräven Kånken Rucksack

This is the oh so popular Scandinavian backpack (aka rucksack). Kånka in Swedish means “to lug” or, “to carry”. Initially, this product was created from all the negative reports that Swedish children were having from traditional school backpacks. They were beginning to get back problems from using these kinds of backpacks. So, Fjällräven decided to make a lightweight rectangular backpack that could help them with their problem in 1978. It boomed quickly in popularity.

Even with it being a small backpack, it is spacious and durable. They are offered in over 54 different colors and designs. The Scandinavian backpack can either worn like any backpack or you can carry it using the handles on the top of it. It’s great for everyday use since it’s light and a small size. Many have used it while going to school, work, traveling, or trekking.

It is quick drying and is water resistant which is helpful against the weather. Since it can handle dirt and wetness pretty well, it is a nice backpack for exploration in the outdoors. Use it while hiking, camping, or just about any nature adventure! By the way, this little Scandinavian backpack even comes with a seat cushion that’s stored inside the backpack.

Check out the Fjällräven Kånken backpack now!

You can learn more about Fjällräven and other great outdoor products here!

2.    Sandqvist

This is another great Scandinavian backpack that sticks to Swedish values. This company was founded in 2004 by 3 swedes that are childhood friends, and each of their products has what swedes love. They have a sustainability and care for the environment, great designs, and a durable functionality. They can come in several colors, look sophisticated, and still be able to be water resistant. Which is perfect for those outdoor lovers.

Backpacks from Sandqvist

There are several different kinds of styles of backpacks that they offer, and it can also depend on what you want to use it for. Some of them are waterproof, while other are water resistant. When they create a backpack, they have the environment in mind. They keep the backpacks functional and sustainable with style. Many of the bags are made using recycled nylon and are meant to last through the years.

At first, these bags were created to make a good working/ computer bag. These bags are seen as an ‘oh so Swedish’ bag since they care a lot of the environment when making them. It’s becoming more known in Sweden and now is getting traction in London. These bags are best for an everyday use and for city life.

Check out Sandqvist!

Water resistant means that it can handle becoming soaked by water to some degree, but not entirely. While waterproof can keep dry as long as the product is in good quality.

3.    Haglöfs and its Backpacks

This is yet another durable outdoor Scandinavian backpack that makes any adventure better since it’s made to take on the Swedish weather. This was introduced to society in 1916 by Wiktor Haglöf. His thought on a backpack is that it should last up to 100 years and it should look relativity good over time. As the company worked on created more modern backpacks, they wanted the product to be 100% from Sweden, which means, they had to solve the problem of Sweden not having zippers and Velcro. Over time, the company supported the military, health care, and the forestry industry. The creator believed that if you wanted something good, you have to make it yourself. This is what gave him the drive to develop such a great Scandinavian backpack.

Check it out here!

When I went on a trip with my niece, this was the backpack that worked the best for her. We traveled in Cambodia and Thailand just with our backpacks and they worked great! She was shocked at how much she could pack in her bag even with it being a relatively nice size. The weather wasn’t on our side as we hiked the streets in Cambodia. But that didn’t matter for our backpacks. Everything stayed nice and dry since we had waterproof rainflies on our backpacks. I was just soaked since I had a really worn in rain jacket and we never even thought about bringing waterproof pants. Oh well, you live and learn!

4.    66° North

This company was created with Icelandic fishermen in mind. They needed better gear that could protect them from the weather and the wet job. If they had poor quality clothes, then it could mean a matter of life or death for them. So, this company was founded in 1926 by Hans Kristjánsson. He moved to Norway so he could learn how to sew fishermen clothes. Nowadays, the products use a synthetic material which helps it be durable towards the harsh weather. This company has high quality Scandinavian backpacks that can handle storms and the weather that an Icelandic fisherman would have to endure. The name, 66° North is the latitude line of the artic circle and touches Súgandafjörður, which is where the company was founded. 66° North has helped out Icelandic search and rescue team with protective clothing since 1928. They even were given an award for their outdoor clothing made from oil-borne canvas.

Backpacks from 66° North

They have a variety of different kinds of backpacks from sports bags to waterproof outdoor backpacks. You can even get ones that are more like a purse. They are durable and can handle a lot, which makes them a good investment.

See more 66° North products!

5.    Helly Hansen

Linseed oil helped create durable products and this began in 1877 in Norway by a sea captain named Helly Hansen. Being on a ship during harsh weather with it dropping below freezing was unbearable. So, he began constructing better quality outdoor clothes and gear for other sailors. This helped many as it began to become known. It is known as a great brand for skiers and for people that go out sailing.

Scandinavian backpack
Photo by Max Poschau on Unsplash

Helly Hansen Backpacks

The company now has created breathable backpacks that are popular for sports lovers, hikers, and practically anyone who enjoys the outdoors. The most known Scandinavian backpack from Helly Hansen is Vanir with its compact and functional designs.

See more Helly Hansen Backpacks!

Choose the Right Backpack for You!

Personally, I’ve used something from all of these brands and enjoyed each one of them. Each one has its own qualities and great things that makes them different from the next one. When you pick out a Scandinavian backpack, don’t forget what you want to do with it. That will make it easier on choosing which brand has the right kind of backpack for you.

I have several backpacks since I do all kinds of activities. I have my big backpack that’s actually an Osprey. It has lasted for me for over 5 years, maybe even more now. I use this when I’m traveling. I like to travel with only my backpack, it makes it easier to travel through a country. Then, I have an everyday backpack and that’s also an Osprey. I’ve had this one as long as I have had the other one, and this small backpack attaches to a suitcase. Since I’ve had these before I moved to Sweden, I haven’t need to replace them yet!

When I’m hiking, I like to use a small backpack that’s lightweight. I’ve been planning on investing in a Fjällräven Kånken since my niece has one and I had the chance to try it out. Plus, I hear nothing but good things about it, so, why not?

Hiking Gadgets

Learn more about some great gear you can use on your next hike or adventure outdoors. This is a list of items that I recommend since I use or have used them. I have written some articles about some of the best brands as well as what products are best to have depending on the season in beautiful Sweden. Since Sweden has a lot of nature, it gives an outdoor lover many options. But with that, weather is not always on your side. So, it’s best to plan for the unknown. Check out Hiking Gadgets!

Outdoor gear sweden
Camping at the Fjällstation (bottom of Kebnekaise)

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Scandinavian backpacks
Scandinavian Backpacks

Any items I recommend, I can make a commission on them. This doesn’t change the price, so don’t worry. The price is the same.


Misfit Wanders

About Me

Misfit Wanders

Misfit Wanders

I´m a kooky girl that likes to travel. I grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA. Then moved to Northern California for about 5 years. But now, it's going on 5 years living in Sweden with my hubby and our furbabies, plus our little boy and my mom has joined our crew! Over the pandemic time, it has been hard to travel. Thus, my travel blog had been at a stand still. I started going to a University and I had a baby. Now I'm on a different kind of adventure. But my family and I plan on traveling when we can still. Traveling is something I cherish. New adventures is what keeps me moving, that and a stubbornness. I have a weird sense of humor if you haven´t figured that out from my posts. My writing can be perplexing, but I like to tell stories, and the best way is from my own experiences. So sit back and relax, as you take a spin through my hikes or enjoy following my footsteps as I wander in different countries! Most of my writings will be focused on hikes and the outdoors in Sweden.

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