Fjӓllrӓven is well known for its durable and adaptable G-1000 fabric that features on its trousers, jackets and even backpacks but if you’ve ever wondered how to go about waxing it, check out their handy new video guide. Who said ironing isn’t fun!
It’s a question 1000-milers will find increasingly relevant…
If you walk 1000 miles, by the time you cross that magical line you’ll have come to a conclusion: this isn’t a flash in the pan, it’s a permanent lifestyle change for the better – you’re not just in this for the medal, you’re in it for life.
That’s just one of the ways Fjällräven is the perfect apparel and rucksack partner for #walk1000miles. The Swedish firm is in this for the long run too. Founded in Sweden in 1960 on the principles of respect for nature and a need for enduring functionality and timeless design, Åke Nordin’s vision is perhaps best expressed in the Greenland jacket he first designed in 1968.
Originally made for a Swedish expedition in the faraway, frozen country with which it shares its name, 50 years on the tough, practical, repairable and sustainably-sourced Greenland Updated collection has been modernised to even better fit the enduring principles which first shaped it. And it works: 1000-miler
Corinne says: “I've had my Fjällräven jacket for six years and it's never let me down. Still in A1 condition.” We’re not sure how many brands hear sentiments like that.
Greenland & the making of Fjällräven
Fjällräven was a maker of backpacks and tents, when the return of a Swedish expedition to Greenland in 1966 presented an opportunity. The team reported disappointment in their heavy, slow-drying outerwear, and Fjällräven founder Åke Nordin believed he could do better – with an exceptionally tough, densely-weaved fabric he has considered using in his tents. G-1000 was an intensely windproof, breathable, durable yet comfy weave – but Åke wasn’t satisfied with its resistance to wind or water. So Åke went back to the drawing board, testing a range of materials and impregnations. In the end nature provided the inspiration. Using a mixture of beeswax and paraffin, Åke developed Greenland Wax which offered the versatile wind- and water resistance he was looking for, and even improved the material’s durability. The result was the Greenland Jacket, and Fjallraven was set on its unique and ecologically-inspired course.
Greenland Half Century Jacket
If you were to pair Fjällräven’s first jacket from 1968 with modern textile manufacturing techniques, you’d get the Greenland Half Century Jacket. Its cut is engineered for a great range of movement and the taped seams give it an exceptionally light, smooth feel. Made from the firm’s signature G-1000 fabric in its Eco incarnation (meaning it’s made from recycled polyester and cotton) the Half Century’s sphere of operation ranges from arctic to tropical, fearing no snag or abrasion in between. G-1000 is an exceptionally tough material whose waterproofness and breathability you can tune to suit the season and the environment using the firm’s Greenland Wax.
630g in M
Women’s + Men’s
Greenland Eco-Shell Jacket
A technical shell jacket for those who don’t like the brittle, plasticky character of most waterproofs the Greenland Eco-Shell Jacket is made from the firm’s proprietary, exceptionally waterproof/breathable, three-layer fabric called Eco-Shell. As you’d expect from Fjällräven it has a robust almost canvas-like feel which inspires visions of adventure for years to come. Its simple style, featuring the characteristic, envelope-style pockets speak of an understated confidence – plus there’s ample room for layering underneath.
770g in M
Women’s + Men’s
Greenland Top Rucksack
Merging classic looks with modern features, the Greenland Top rucksack (available in 20l and 30l capacities) has is made from practically indestructible G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco with four easy-access pockets on the outside, including the zippered front pocket concealed just under the lid, and a roomy main compartment. It also has a sleeve for a laptop – because who wants to keep a rucksack this cool for the weekend?
20 litres / 30 litres (Large)
700g / 800g
The none-more-cute Kånken has a new Greenland edition, made out of the HeavyDuty Eco version of Fjällräven's G-1000 fabric and has the patterned webbing that matches the rest of the Greenland series. Like its Kånken siblings, it is a hardwearing, practical everyday pack, ready to go wherever you go.
In 1968 the learnings from a Greenland expedition changed everything for us. This season we went back to meet some people that inspire us.
A multi-day hike through the wilderness of Northern Sweden sounded exciting on paper. But we weren't prepared for just how exciting things would get…
It’s only day three of our week-long trek, but as we struggle to pitch our tent behind the shelter of a boulder it’s obvious our best-laid plans have already gone out the window – or at least the mesh flap which passes for one. With the winds gusting at over 40 knots (a force nine gale in layman’s terms) we’re lucky the whole thing hasn’t blown away.
The following morning, a grim-faced volunteer at the next checkpoint tells us: “It’s been bad. I’ve just been looking at some statistics. We had 60 tents pitched near here last night and maybe 11 or 12 collapsed.”
“The Classic was dreamt up by Åke Nordin as a way to celebrate the Scandinavian concept of friluftsliv.”
None of this, it’s fair to say, fits with the picture I’d painted to my long-suffering girlfriend Simona when I’d persuaded her to come on the walk with me a month or so before. “Hiking, camping and cooking in the open air. It’ll be fun,” I’d said. “Plus loads of people do it every year, how hard can it be?”
Started in 2005, the Fjällräven Classic is a multi-day trek along a stretch of the trail known as the Kungsleden (or “King’s Trail”) in Northern Sweden. It was dreamt up by the brand’s founder Åke Nordin as a way to celebrate not only the company itself, but also the peculiarly Scandinavian conception of adventure it embodies, known as friluftsliv.
Twisted fire starters. Wild camping and lighting your own fire is expected in northern Sweden.
Literally this translates as “free air life” but (as you might expect from the people who invented flatpack furniture and the Tetra Pak) there are multiple layers of meaning folded into this neat little word. It’s not just a description of an activity, it’s also tied to a set of beliefs – the idea getting outside is good for you, that access is a fundamental right, and that the outdoors is for everyone, not just the hardcore.
Given the everyman ideals he’s espousing, Nordin’s idea of a fun hike looks quite daunting, at least on paper. The route stretches for 110 kilometres, beginning where the tarmac road ends at Nikkaluokta and winding through broad glacial valleys and past Sweden’s highest peaks. The finish line, which we’re told will take around a week to reach, is in the small frontier town of Abisko, nearly 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.
However, I wasn’t lying to Simona when I told her that lots of people complete the trek every year. From its humble beginnings when just 152 took part, the event has grown exponentially. In 2016 more than 2,000 people finished the Classic, and as we line up at the start, it’s obvious that our fellow trekkers have come from far and wide. We see Canadians, Germans, Koreans, Japanese, many of them obviously fans of of Fjällräven, who’ve dressed head-to-toe in the company’s kit for the occasion.
“There are actually people from 38 nations at the Classic this year, and only one quarter are Swedish,” says Anna-Luisa Stadelman, one of the startline volunteers, who admits to being something of a Fjällräven fangirl herself. “It’s my seventh year here,” she explains. “I’m German originally but I studied in Sweden in 2002 and first came on the Classic in 2008.”
Toytown. On certain sections of the route, like the Alesjaure Lake here, boats ferry people and goods between huts and the few tiny settlements.
As we set off, it’s easy to see what keeps people like Anna-Luisa keep coming back to the Classic year after year. Everything is as well-organised as you’d expect a mass-participation event to be. Maps, camping gas and free freeze-dried food are handed out to participants, and there are busses to take us to the start line. When we start walking the group quickly strings out, so it never feels crowded however, and by the time we stop to pitch our tent on the first evening, we’re completely alone.
When you’re this far north of the Arctic Circle in August it only gets dark for a couple of hours each day, and even then the light never fully leaves the sky. This means the sunsets are long, drawn out and spectacular. We cook our dinner in front of an incredible display as the sun goes slowly down over the snow-capped peaks ahead of us, painting the sky orange, red and purple as it sinks.