Need a roomy and reliable backpack that's just the right size for a weekend of exploring? Fjallraven’s Abisko Friluft 35 backpack could fit the bill perfectly.
It was launched in 2017 to join the Swedish brand’s line-up of backpacks, which range from the tiny and iconic Kanken to the massive Kajka 100 litre trekking pack. After testing it out in the hills, we think the Abisko Friluft sits perfectly in the middle of the line-up as a great two-day adventure backpack, and it's definitely one to bear in mind if you're in the market for one of the best hiking backpacks.
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Fjallraven Abisko Friluft review: design and features
Let’s have a rummage around inside the Abisko Friluft. The main compartment of this rucksack can be fully zipped open, making it easy to square away all your kit – this comes in very handy whether you’re unpacking in a tent or a hostel. An extendable top lid really opens up the space you have for packing, and makes it simple to stash a waterproof or a warm layer on the go.
The top lid pocket is useful for stashing essentials or for carrying travel documents, and the hip belt pockets will take a phone and other small bits and bobs you might want to grab quickly. A large front pocket is great for maps. All in all, there’s an impressive amount of space here, and 35 litres of capacity plus that extendable top lid make this a roomy choice for two or three days.
The outer material of the Friluft is Fjallraven’s G-1000 Eco, which is made from recycled polyester and organic cotton. While this isn’t waterproof from the get-go, you can add some extra water resistance by treating the fabric with Fjallraven’s Greenland Wax (sold separately for £6), which can also be topped up when needed. A rain cover is included for heavy rainfall, which coupled with a handy waterproof bottom panel does a good job of keeping your kit dry.
While aesthetics aren’t the main reason to pick this (or any) pack, it doesn’t hurt to invest in a rucksack you actually like the look of. Like all of Swedish brand Fjallraven’s kit, the Abisko Friluft backpack has handsome retro styling and looks timeless - ideal if you don’t like garish outdoor kit in plastic-y finishes.
Fjallraven Abisko Friluft review: performance and comfort
The Abisko pack is a touch too big to be crowned the perfect day sack, and a little small for a week’s excursion – but we loved using it for two-day adventures. There’s plenty of space inside for a few days’ worth of clothing and kit, and you can easily strap a tent or a sleeping bag to the outside, making this rucksack a nice choice for carrying lightweight camping kit, or for overnight stays in bothies or Alpine huts. We’d also recommend using this rucksack for your travels – being able to totally open up the central compartment is really handy for packing and unpacking on the go, and much less faff than digging around in a top-loading rucksack.
Fjallraven’s Friluft looks great - so we were keen to see if it also performed well once it got into the wild. We packed it full of gear for a two-day hiking and camping adventure, and two features really stood out – the tough and waterproof bottom panel, which protects the pack and means you can pop it down even on wet ground, and the well-designed mesh back panel, which is breathable and comfortable even in hot weather. The unisex pack’s back panel fitted our 5'7" tester very nicely, but petite female hikers will definitely get on better with the shorter female version of this pack. We also liked the plentiful pockets, which are well-placed and make organising your belongings stress-free.
There isn’t much we don’t like after testing out the Abisko Friluft pack for a few weeks - our only word of advice would be to pick this backpack in black or dark green rather than in the pale blue colourway we tested, as the outer material of our blue backpack looked dirty as soon as it got a sniff of the outdoors.
Fjallraven Abisko Friluft review: verdict
Great looks and good performance in the outdoors – Fjallraven’s Abisko Friluft 35 litre pack ticked all the boxes on test, and makes a great pick for casual adventures and weekend travels. Stand-out features include roomy pockets, good breathability and the option to re-waterproof the pack on the go – we wouldn’t expect any less from this ever-popular Swedish brand.