Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 45 review: a durable backpack that’s a breath of fresh air

We shoulder Fjällräven’s Abisko Friluft 45, a classic trekker’s backpack with a modern ventilation system for superb comfort on day hikes and longer missions

Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 45 backpack: snowdon
(Image: © Alex Foxfield)

Advnture Verdict

This is a classy trekking pack that marries modern design features with traditional aesthetics. The well-designed back panel keeps things cool on warmer days, it’s supremely comfortable to carry, while the wealth of storage options make it wonderfully versatile. Suitable for everything from long hikes to multi-day backpacking missions, this is a high quality pack from a very fashionable brand.


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    Comfortable and ventilated back panel

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    Front access to main compartment

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    Nice little design touches

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    Recycled fabrics

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    Emergency whistle on sternum strap


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    You’re paying more for the logo

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    No women’s specific version

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    Needless waterproof cover

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Fjällräven need little introduction. The Swedish brand has enjoyed worldwide success with its Kånken daypacks, now iconic lifestyle packs originally designed for school children. Meanwhile, its technical mountaineering and trekking ranges have garnered a solid reputation for quality, durability and classy design.

The brand have three trekking lines: Keb, Abisko and Singi. Keb products, such as the Keb Agile Winter Trousers, are designed for seriously tough trekking in challenging conditions and on varying terrain. The Singi range marries functionality with traditional aesthetics to create premium equipment with a timeless feel, such as the excellent Kajka trekking packs.

The Absiko family of products is named after Abisko National Park, a stunning, mountainous Arctic landscape in Swedish Lapland that, as well as being home to Scandinavia’s largest alpine lake is also one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis. The products in the range are designed to be lightweight, ideal for day hikes and the kind of cabin-to-cabin trekking that’s so popular in the region. I was excited to test out the Abisko Friluft 45, a classic pack with a modern ventilated back system, courtesy of the wonderful people at Trekitt, UK-based outdoor gear specialists.

Meet the reviewer

how to choose a down jacket: Alex with Berghaus jacket
Alex Foxfield

Alex is passionate about exploring the mountains and he loves wild camping expeditions in the high places. As someone who has learnt through a long process of trial and error in the mountains, he has steadily refined his expedition nous. Today, he's a qualified mountain leader and one of Advnture's experts when it comes to backcountry kit.

First impressions

Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 45 backpack: portrait

The Friluft is well equipped to deal with the needs of wild campers (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

List price: $225 (US) / £250 (UK) / €269.95 (EU)
Weight (empty): 1.64kg / 3.6lb
Volume: 45L
Size: 74cm x 44cm x 24cm / 29in x 17in x 9in
Variations available: 35 and 45 liter versions available, both with S/M and M/L fits
Materials: 210D polyamide ripstop fabric with a reinforced base in 500D polyamide, both 100% recycled, aluminium frame
Colors: Navy; Patina Green
Compatibility: Day hiking, wild camping, multi-day trekking

Having recently tested and reviewed Fjällräven’s excellent Kajka 55 trekking pack, which boasts a classic look and wooden frame, it was interesting to directly compared the two. The Abisko Friluft is a lighter hiking backpack with an unmistakably more modern aesthetic. It still looks classy though, with nice brand touches like the stitched mountain fox logo on the front of the lid and a little tab saying “Fjällräven Sweeden 1960” across one of the harness straps. Let’s face it, when you buy Fjällräven gear, you’re paying a little more for the logo, so it's a good job it’s included in various places on the pack!

The ventilated nature of the pack also jumps out, with its Friluft – meaning open air in Swedish – suspended back panel nodding towards suitability for summer use. After testing, I can safely vouch that this is a comfortable pack to wear even on the kind of hot, sunny days that have you questioning why you chose to spend them ascending a mountain instead of being in a beer garden or on the beach. It’s obviously lighter than the Kajka and the levels of cushioning are dialled back, though there’s still plenty of spacer foam here, which gives a nice degree of carrying comfort.

Frame and fabrics

Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 45 backpack: on Crib Goch North

The aluminium frame provides the structure, while the suspension system provides comfort and ventilation (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

The Abisko Friluft makes uses of a light but strong, hour-glass-shaped aluminium frame, providing support and stability on the trail. This lies behind the firm, mesh suspension system, which enables air flow between the wearer’s back and the pack. The harness system is padded with spacer mesh and features a sternum strap that can be slid up and down the straps for the perfect fit – particularly important, as there’s no women’s specific version. The plastic buckles on the sternum strap feature an emergency whistle, while the pack’s other buckles feature the mountain fox logo – a nice little touch.

Durability is core to Fjällräven’s ethos. One of their three core values is to ‘Develop functional, durable and timeless outdoor gear.’ This is reflected in the 210D polyamide ripstop main fabric and the even more rugged 500D polyamide base, which should make this hard-wearing pack last for many, many years. Another tick in the sustainability stakes comes with the fact that all of this contains recycled materials.

Versatile storage

Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 45 backpack: opening up the front

The pack can be opened right up for access to camping gear (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

One of the standout features is the way the main compartment can be opened right up from the front for easy loading and unloading. Full length zips run down either side, enabling quick side access. Here’s the little slice of genius though – a long, thick Velcro strip runs along the top, enabling you to virtually remove the front of the pack. As usually, you can also access the main compartment via a drawcord closure at the top. Inside the main compartment is a clip for a hydration bladder and a large, slightly elasticated pouch for separating items. The front panel also includes a sizable, zippered compartment, perfect for items that you want to stash separately to the pack’s main hub, such as wet gear on a multi-day hike.

The detachable top lid has the usual zippered compartment on the top, while there’s webbing above this to quickly stow clothing while on the move. There’s also a zippered mesh pocket included on the underside of the lid. This is where the waterproof cover is housed. I’ve gone on record numerous times about these being an unnecessary inclusion in backpacks, as they have a habit of blowing away and littering the backcountry. Besides, best practice is to keep items dry by storing them in separate internal dry bags.

Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 45 backpack: lid

The multi-pocket lid contains a needless waterproof cover (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

Twin open side pockets are large enough to fit a 946ml (32 oz) Hydro Flask bottle and contents can be cinched for additional security. The hip belt also provides a little extra storage, with a zippered pocket on each side, one of which is mesh.

If you’re wild camping and need additional space for a sleeping pad or similar, The Abisko has straps at the bottom for external attachment. A cleverly tucked away loop also allows for ice axe and trekking pole compatibility, when used along with the elasticated drawcord towards the top of the pack.

On the trails

Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 45 backpack: hiking in Eryri National Park

High on the trails of Eryri National Park (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

I wore the Friluft on long hiking, scrambling and wild camping days in Eryri (Snowdonia) National Park. I was impressed with the pack throughout, though its feature set makes it better suited to longer hikes on less technical trails than some of the rockier terrain I took on. However, the smaller, lighter 35-liter version would be a better shout for day hikes with a bit of scrambling.

The standout qualities are how comfortable it is for hour after hour of wear and how the suspension system held the bulk of the pack away from my back, providing ventilation during some very hot spring afternoons. Despite being held slightly away from my centre of gravity, the pack is really well balanced and very much felt like a part of me once all the straps were properly adjusted.

Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 45 backpack: scrambling

The Friluft is well-balanced enough to scramble in, though it's admittedly not its forte (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

Quick access to water on the move is always essential on these kinds of days and I found that I was able to reach into the side pockets to liberate my supplies with relative ease. 

I loved the ability to open up the front for quick access to my gear when wild camping, while the straps at the bottom of the pack were useful for holding my sleeping pad. The hipbelt pockets also gave me handy access to items like headlamps or powerbanks. The amount of storage makes it perfect for one- or two-night expeditions or hut to hut trekking, though it’s a little on the large size for day hiking.

Fjällräven Abisko Friluft 45 backpack: hiking in Snowdonia

For those who desire to trek in comfort for day after day, this is an excellent pack (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)

How its durability will fare in the long term remains to be seen, yet the grade of fabrics present here and Fjällräven’s usually high standards should mean it will last decades. I was certainly impressed with how it brushed off multiple instances of rock abrasion while I was scrambling and there's no sign of wear as of yet.

At 1.64kg (3.6lib) it’s middling in terms of weight, so those who want to really hike fast may be served by something more minimal. This certainly isn’t one of those that doubles up as a runners’ option. However, for those who desire to trek in comfort for day after day, this is an excellent pack.

Alex Foxfield

Alex is a freelance adventure writer and mountain leader with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, his native English Lake District has a special place in his heart, though he is at least equally happy in North Wales, the Scottish Highlands or the European Alps. Through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors. He's the former President of the London Mountaineering Club, is training to become a winter mountain leader, looking to finally finish bagging all the Wainwright fells of the Lake District and is always keen to head to the 4,000-meter peaks of the Alps.