Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It?
The Pros Outweighs the Cons

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Credit: fjallraven.com

Ah, the age-old question. Is the popular Fjallraven Kanken backpack worth it?

Its clean and minimalistic design, coupled with its practicality, has made it a favorite among students, fashionistas, and everyday people alike.

But with a price tag of $80 or more, some people are wondering if the Kanken is the hype.

Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know about the Kanken backpack so that you can make an informed decision.

So let’s get started!

Yes! The minimalist design and functionality make it a great choice for students, commuters, and travelers alike. Also, the fact that it’s made from durable materials means it will stand up to years of use. Plus, with so many colors and design options to choose from, you’re sure to find one that you love. 

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Credit: fjallraven.com

Just keep in mind that it is on the pricier side and doesn’t have as many organizational features as some other backpacks on the market.

Read on to learn everything about this backpack, including the pros and cons below.

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Credit: fjallraven.com

The Kanken backpack was created in 1978 by the Swedish company, Fjallraven.

The story goes that the founder, Ake Nordin was concerned about reports of back problems among school children in Sweden.

He set out to create a backpack that would distribute weight evenly and be comfortable to wear for long periods.

The result was the Kanken, which quickly became a hit with students and soon gained cult status both in Sweden and abroad.

Today, the Kanken is still one of Fjallraven’s most popular products.

It’s available in a wide range of model designs, and there are even special editions released from time to time (like this ACNE Studios/Fjallraven Exclusive Collaboration).

Despite its simple design, the Kanken has a devoted following among celebrities, fashionistas, students, and pretty much anyone who appreciates good design and quality craftsmanship. 

One of the reasons the Fjallraven Kanken backpack is so popular is that it is incredibly durable.

The Kanken is made out of a synthetic material called Vinylon F which makes the backpack resistant to dirt and moisture.

The material also dries quickly if it gets wet.

In fact, some users on Reddit have even given the Kanken the nickname “BLIF” which stands for “buy it for life” because of how long-lasting the backpack is designed to be.

3. The Kanken has an iconic and timeless retro design that won’t go out of style

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Credit: fjallraven.com

The Kanken backpack has a retro design that will never go out of style.

Whether you’re using it for school, work, or travel, the Kanken will always be in fashion.

The simple design also makes it easy to clean – just wipe it down with a damp cloth and you’re good to go.

4. The Kanken is practical for day-to-day usage thanks to its small size

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Credit: fjallraven.com

The Kanken is also very practical for day-to-day usage.

The backpack itself is small, which makes it perfect for carrying around town or on public transportation.

It measures 38 x 27 x 13 cm with a 16L carrying capacity, making it perfect for everyday use.

It also weighs less than 1 pound (300 g), so you won’t have to worry about it adding too much weight to your load.

The small size means that you won’t have any trouble fitting it into a locker or under your seat on an airplane.

And even though it is small, it can still fit all of your essentials like a 13” laptop, water bottle, and extra clothes if needed. 

5. The backpack has a clean and minimalistic design that suits different settings.

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Credit: fjallraven.com

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Kanken is its clean and minimalistic design.

This means you can pretty much wear it on any outfit and event.

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Credit: fjallraven.com

The Kanken backpack isn’t just a pretty face; it’s also incredibly functional.

The main compartment is roomy enough to fit textbooks, notebooks, and other everyday essentials, while the front pocket is perfect for holding smaller items like your phone, wallet, or keys.

The shoulder straps are adjustable so you can find the perfect fit, and there’s even a functional strap that lets you carry this bag tote style.

And of course, the classic vinyl logo on the front is not just for show—it’s reflective, so you’ll be visible even when walking home at night. 

7. The Kanken is available in a variety of colors to match your style.

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Credit: fjallraven.com

It’s available in a variety of colors, so you’re sure to find one that you love.

From bright and bold colors to more subdued tones, there’s a shade for everyone.

8. The backpack is also a versatile carry.

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Credit: fjallraven.com

One of the best things about the Kanken backpack is that it’s versatile.

You can use it for work, school, travel, or even as a diaper bag!

And if you get tired of carrying the backpack on your back, there’s also a handy loop on the top so you can carry it by hand.

9. Backpack/ tote bag convertibility makes the Kanken super handy.

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Credit: fjallraven.com

Another nice feature of the Fjallraven Kanken backpack is its ability to convert from a backpack into a tote bag.

Simply clasp the top strap together and zip up the adjustable straps at the back of the bag, and voila!

You now have a stylish tote bag that is perfect for carrying your essentials around town or to and from the office. 

10. It comes with a lifetime warranty

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It?

Another reason why the Kanken might be worth the high price tag is that it comes with a lifetime warranty.

This means that if anything happens to your backpack, you can simply send it back to Fjallraven and they will repair or replace it for free.

This is a great perk for anyone who wants peace of mind when buying an expensive item like a backpack.

11. The Fjallraven Kånken collection has a variety of options to suit different needs and tastes.

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack
Credit: fjallraven.com

There’s a Kånken backpack for everyone!

The Kånken Mini is perfect for carrying everyday essentials, while the Re-Kånken and Tree-Kånken are made from recycled fabric for a sustainable option.

And for commuters or students in need of a larger backpack, there are the Kånken Laptop packs, which come with a padded laptop sleeve and room to store other accessories.

What’s more?

There’s even a fully customizable Kånken Me option that allows you to choose your favorite color and design. 

The Drawbacks of the Fjallraven Kanken Backpack

Before you purchase a Kanken backpack, there are a few drawbacks you should be aware of.

Knowing these drawbacks would let you know if they are a dealbreaker for you or not.   

The Kanken backpack is expensive

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It?

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Kanken backpack is its price tag. Depending on the model you go for, a Kanken backpack can cost anywhere from $80 to $200.

This puts it on the higher end of the price spectrum for backpacks, especially considering its small size and lack of features.

However, some people feel that the price is justified by the backpack’s high quality and durability. 

The bag has very limited organizational features

Another drawback of the Kanken backpack is that it has very limited organizational features.

There is only one main compartment with a small front pocket and two side pockets that are too tight to fit a standard-sized bottle.

And at 16L, the Kanken is relatively small, which means that it’s not ideal for carrying heavy loads.

This might not be a big deal for some people but if you’re someone who likes to have everything neatly organized, especially if you’re carrying a lot of items with you, the Kanken might not be the right backpack for you.  

When packed out, the Kanken can be uncomfortable to carry due to its lack of padding.

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack

When the Fjallraven Kanken backpack is packed out with all of your belongings, it can become uncomfortable to carry due to the lack of padding on the straps and back panel.

This can make it unpleasant to wear for a long time, especially if you’re carrying a heavy load.

If you plan on carrying heavy loads or walking long distances with your bag, we recommend opting for a different backpack that has more padding on the straps and back panel. 

Some people think the Kanken is more of a fashion piece than of function

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Fjallraven Kanken backpack

Some people feel that the Fjallraven Kanken backpack is more of a style piece than a functional one.

While it is certainly a good-looking backpack, its small size and lack of organizational features make it less than ideal for everyday use.      

The Best Alternatives to the Fjallraven Kanken Backpack

The Fjallraven Kanken backpack has been all the rage for years.

With its stylish design and simple functionality, it’s no wonder why this backpack has become so popular.

However, the Kanken backpack is not without its detractors.

Some people find it too small, too basic, or too expensive.

Fortunately, there are plenty of great alternatives out there that won’t break the bank.

Here are five of our favorites. 

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack 27L

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack 27L
Credit: patagonia.com

The Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack is a great alternative to the Fjallraven Kanken backpack.

It’s made from recycled materials and features a water-resistant coating, making it eco-friendly and durable.

The bag includes an internal organizational system, an external zip pocket, and two water bottle pockets, making it perfect for carrying all your essentials.

Best of all, it is also lightweight and can be folded up when not in use, making it perfect for travel.

However, at under $100, it’s only slightly more expensive than the Classic Kanken backpack. 

Himawari Vintage Backpack

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Himawari Vintage Backpack
Credit: amazon.com

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly alternative to the Kanken backpack, the Himawari Vintage Backpack comes is a great choice.

It features a classic canvas design and is made from high-quality canvas and leather.

There are multiple pockets for storing your essentials, including a padded sleeve for storing a 14” laptop, making it perfect for students or professionals who need to carry their computers with them.

Also, the straps are adjustable, so you can customize the fit.

Plus, at under $40, it’s half the price of the Kanken backpack! 

Doughnut Macaroon Standard Backpack

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Doughnut Macaroon Standard Backpack
Credit: amazon.com

For a colorful alternative to the Kanken backpack, the Doughnut Macaroon Standard Backpack deserves a closer look.

This fun bag is made from quality nylon fabric that is also scratch resistant.

The pack comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns, so you can choose one that fits your personality perfectly.

It’s also lightweight and super affordable, compared to the Kanken backpack. 

Lily & Drew Backpack

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Lily & Drew Backpack
Credit: amazon.com

The Lily & Drew Backpack is a great option if you’re looking for something cute and lightweight, similar to the Kanken. 

This stylish and minimalist backpack is made from durable polyester material that’s also water-resistant. 

Unlike the Kanken, this pack has 10 internal pockets, including a padded pocket for your iPad or tablet.

There are also 3 pockets on the exterior for quick access to items like your phone, wallet, water bottle, or umbrella.

The straps are also adjustable, so you can customize the fit to your exact liking. 

Herschel Little America Backpack

Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? : Herschel Little America backpack
Credit: herschel.com

The Herschel Little America Backpack is another great alternative for those who are looking for something stylish and functional.

This backpack features a front zip pocket and an internal media pocket with a headphone port along with additional padding in the back panel and straps for comfort.

It also features a back sleeve that’s perfect for holding a laptop or tablet.

Additionally, the Herschel Little America backpack is made from high-quality materials and comes in dozens of colors and patterns to suit your style needs. 

Closing Thoughts

So, is the Kanken backpack worth it?

We think so! The Kanken backpack is an investment piece that will last you for years to come. The durability, water resistance, and timeless design make it a backpack that is perfect for everyday use, no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing. Plus, with so many colors to choose from, you’re sure to find one that you love.

Just keep in mind that it is on the pricier side and doesn’t have as many organizational features as some other backpacks on the market.

Thanks for reading, and we hope this post helped you decide whether or not the Kanken is right for you. 

For any other general luggage-related questions, you are sure to find some answers in my Ultimate Guide to Carry-on Luggage and the Ultimate Guide to Checked Luggage posts. 

6 thoughts on “Is the Kanken Backpack Worth It? The Pros Outweighs the Cons”

  1. The price is expensive but I think it is justified since this backpack lasts for life and has a life warranty. If you buy cheaper backpacks they might last for a few years and then you have to buy a new one, which becomes a repetitive pattern, and in the end you’ll end up spending the same money you would spend on a Kanken backpack.
    I like this backpack and I think that it would be great to have one. It looks very practical.
    I’m just a little confused as to why it has no padding which can make carrying this backpack a little uncomfortable when it is stuffed, but it was originally created because of concerns over school children’s back pain. If it was created because of kids’s complaints of back pain that backpacks caused, I wonder why Kanken hasn’t put in some padding in the back area. Or did I read that wrong?

    Reply
  2. It is true that the price is costly but I like that it has a lifetime warranty! That is awesome! I also like the fact that you can use it as a tote bag as well. That’s super practical for sure. I think it is worth investing in a Kanken backpack for its quality and durability features. I love the retro look as well and the variety of colors that you can choose from. Great review, thank you for your help!

    Reply
  3. I really didn’t know there was a backpack with a lifetime guarantee, maybe it’s not for everyone’s budget, but it’s definitely worth it when we look at the material it’s made of, weighing 300 grams, practical for carrying a small laptop and other things. The Kanken backpack is popular for a reason, I’ll just have to see what color to choose. the other cheaper backpacks you listed are good options and thank you for this informative article I’m sure it will be useful to many as it was to me. I wish you good health. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Just amazing to read the story of this company. I think, that the Reddit conversation you shared, is showing how great the product is, I mean lifetime warranty, wow! I think people will be happy to pay 80 bucks for a backpack that is going to be with them forever. Only thing I am concerned, is that you can’t really make it full, otherwise it won’t be comfortable to carrying it. Great post, you gave me an idea to think about this backpack Femi.

    Reply
  5. It is a no brainer if the Kanken backpack testifies of superb quality and comes with a lifetime warranty – then it is certainly worth every penny. I am just wondering about any fine print here? Are there any specific situations/conditions where the lifetime warranty does not apply? Many thanks!

    Reply
  6. Hi Femi,

    What an eye-opener is this article!
    These backpacks are so durable and they are so good-looking! Of course, if one is to buy something good then one should be ready to pay the price tag for it! Also, not every product will fit everybody, tastes are different.

    However, the fact that it can last for generations and have a lifetime warranty simply gives me the confidence that this product is simply really good.

    All the best,
    Tatiana

    Reply

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