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Review: Fjallraven Abisko Friluft 45W Backpack

Woman hiking by the coast
 

Comfortable and lightweight 45 litre hiking backpack for long days or short overnighters on the trails.

If you’re looking for a capacious, comfortable and robust hiking backpack that oozes a sophisticated style, then this is the pack for you. With a female specific design, the Abisko Friluft 45W is finished in Fjallraven’s distinctive G-1000 Eco fabric alongside a sturdy aluminium frame and mesh back for ventilation. There are some great features to access your kit and keep it cleverly stored which makes it a superb pack all round. Best used for loading up and heading out to the wilderness.

Fjallraven Abisko Friluft 45 W Backpack: The stats

Capacity:45 litres
Weight:1.6kg / 3.53 lbs
Material:G-1000 Eco: 65% polyester, 35% cotton
100% polyamide 500D
Fit:Female cut
Hydration compatible:Yes
Rain cover:Yes
Eco-conscious:Made from recycled polyester and organic cotton

Features of the Fjallraven Abisko Friluft 45 W

Adjustable hip belt and pockets

Backpack belt pocketThe hip belt is supportive and lightly padded with ventilating airmesh. It’s super comfortable on the hips and takes the weight of the pack well. There are also two zippered pockets which provide easy access to a camera/phone, snacks and small useful items. Additionally, the pull forward straps make the whole hip belt really easy to adjust, however the slight downside is that the straps are long and dangle so will need tying together or tucking in.

Back panel

Backpack back panelDespite the fixed back length, the lightweight, female specific shape and fit of the back panel provides excellent comfort levels, especially in warmer conditions. The aluminium frame and padding contributes to this. As does the Friluft Ventilation System which combines mesh with air columns for optimal airflow.

Shoulder straps

Backpack shoulder strapsLike the back panel and hip belt, the mesh-covered shoulder straps are padded for comfort and airflow. They also boast an ergonomic shape that is female specific. Otherwise, the straps are simple yet functional, featuring hydration hose loops and an adjustable sternum strap (complete with emergency whistle!) which sits in a comfortable position on the chest.

Main compartment access

Unpacking backpackAs well as access through the top of the pack using a quick-pull drawstring, the entire front panel opens up via two side zips. This provides easy access to all of my gear in the main compartment and a favourite feature.

Floating lid

Top pocket of backpackThe top lid features two decently sized zippered pockets. One on the outside of the lid and one on the inside. The internal pocket has a key clip inside and the rain cover can be stored in one of the pockets. The lid is also floating which means that it can raise up both at the front and back to store layers or gear underneath it.

Front pocket

Map in front pocket of backpackUnlike many front pockets which are stretchy and open-topped, the Friluft features a fully zippered pocket. This is a great feature to protect the pocket contents in bad weather and it also keeps gear more secure. The pocket is large enough to store maps and waterproof gear for easy access but not as convenient as an open-topped pocket.

Hydration compatible

Hydration compatible backpackThere is a water bladder sleeve on the inside of the main compartment which is big enough to hold a 2 litre bladder. The tube feeds out of a port at the top of the side panel under the lid and can be secured on the shoulder strap.

Side pockets

Backpack bottle pocketThe two side pockets are expandable with elasticated openings. They easily fit 1 litre bottle (I used a Camelbak Shute and Klean Kanteen 800ml to test) in each though anything with a bigger diameter is tight, especially when the pack is full. The pockets are also great for storing tent and walking poles or hats, but they aren’t the easiest to access whilst wearing the pack.

Compression straps and gear loops

Backpack compression strapsThere are two buckled compression straps on each side of the pack which also double as gear storage or for securing tall items in the side pockets. The bottom of the pack also features two buckled compression straps for cinching the pack in or for storing extra or bulky gear like a tent or foam sleeping pad. Finally, the top lid has a couple of gear loops to attach your own cords or bungees to for extra storage.

Pole attachment point

Hiking poles on backpackOn the side of the pack is a loop and elastic cord to attach an ice axe or trekking poles. This is easy to tighten and loosen, although not intuitive to use and no ‘daisy-chain’ to cradle the poles.


Fjallraven Abisko Friluft 45 W Backpack review

I have used this pack on day hikes on Dartmoor, a two-day overnight trek on the Southwest Coast Path and even to take a substantial picnic with cookware to a wild swim spot!

My first impressions were that it not only looked stylish, but felt sturdy and capacious, and when I put it on it felt really comfortable and fit nicely. I couldn’t wait to use it and figure out all the interesting features, and when I packed for the overnight trip I was really excited to see how everything would fit in and around the pack.

One of the reasons the pack looks so stylish is the classic Fjallraven G-1000 fabric, made from 65% polyester and 35% organic cotton finished with Greenland Wax. Fjallraven have been using this fabric on all their kit since they began, so has stood the test of time. It feels durable, is waterproof and is not garish and noisy like some other pack fabrics can be. The base also has extra waterproof fabric ensuring it is protected when you put it on the ground. It comes in black, blue or green so if you’re not into looking like a bush or soldier you can get a brighter colour!

fjallraven-backpack

Comfort and fit

Sweat management is always hard with me, I run hot! The meshed back ventilation system is excellent, it sits comfortably on your back but allows a breeze to come between you and the pack. Despite this great feature, there is no amount of design that can stop my back (or anyones?!) sweating in summer when I’m heaving over the rugged coastal path. But the design does stop the sweat building up. The mesh panel goes all the way to the bottom of the pack and I found this super handy to place my map which tucked in securely but was fabulously easy to whip out when I needed to check the route – a small bonus feature!

Padding and rubbing – the padding on the shoulder straps and hip belt is just right, and I have felt no rubbing whilst using the backpack. The two-day overnight hike I did was in the height of the August sun and even though I was getting sweaty there was still no rubbing. After two long 11 mile days on the trail the pack didn’t feel uncomfortable once.

Fit – the pack is secure and feels tight when going over boulders and steep sections, with the weight distributed evenly, I never feel I’m going to topple over. I have quite broad shoulders and some bulk around my hips and I feel the pack fits me like a glove, is really comfortable and with some minor adjustments I can get it to sit nicely on my hips and back. However, others (including Joey the founder of this site) who are a lot slimmer with narrower shoulders had difficulties using this pack as they found the hip belt wouldn’t pull tight enough and the top didn’t pull in close to their back. So perhaps this might not fit well for the smaller hiker.

Woman hiking in the woods

Useability

The number and size of pockets are well suited to the size and use of the pack. The pockets in the lid are really big so you can stash all those items you want to whip out quickly in there. The front zippered pocket is also a really decent size compared to other front pockets – it can hold a few items of clothing such as outer waterproofs and a fleece for easy access, and slides a map in really nicely. Then there are the hip belt pockets which are always handy for those smaller items you need on the go: lip balm, suncream, camera, knife. The main compartment has that excellent full front entry for when you just want to dive in and get that specific item, and is great for packing or laying out at camp and keeping your kit contained.

The zips all have handy pull cords on them and glide nicely, and the straps are all fully adjustable and easy to use. When the lid is open, an excellent clip keeps the loaded lid tight to the pack, or unclipping it allows the lid to hang loose and totally away from the pack. This is especially useful when you have more kit in the extended area.

Weight – although it weighs 1600g empty, it doesn’t feel at all heavy when it’s on your back even when fully loaded, and the aluminium frame holds the pack rigid which helps to spread the load.

Quality – without having used the pack for a long time, the Fjallraven quality shines through and you can tell this pack will serve you well for a long time. The zips and buckles feel robust and the whole pack is well made. I’ve not had experience of the G-1000 fabric over a prolonged period, but understand that re-proofing with the Greenland Wax is highly recommended and easy to do. Like with all kit, if you look after it, it will last forever and this certainly has the style and useability that will make you really want to take care of it.

Unpacking backpack

Versatility

This is such a versatile backpack that can be used for so many treks and days out in the countryside. It’s probably a bit too big for a short half-day hike, but could fit all the family gear in if needed. It really works well on an overnight hike and has so much room for everything you need: stove, tent, sleeping mat and bag, down jacket, water, food, clothing etc. Additionally, it would easily be capable of carrying kit for 2-3 days or even an overnighter in the winter with some bulkier kit.

Woman hiking in Fjallraven Abisko Backpack

What I love the most about the Abisko Friluft Backpack

The options for getting into the pack are genius; the entire front of the pack peels back to reveal the main inner storage area so you can get straight to the item stuffed down the bottom without pulling everything out or forcing your arm down the sides. It peels away with zips down the side and Velcro along the top; great for when you get to camp and want to take everything out quickly and easily.

I also really like the lightweight aluminium frame of the pack. Not only does it feel rigid and bombproof, when you put the pack on the ground it stands up nicely without falling over and getting things grubby or falling out!

What I don’t love so much about the Abisko Friluft Backpack

The hip belt is super comfortable but the straps do tend to dangle down around your crotch if you don’t tuck them in or tie them up. Additionally, if you are a more slender person, the hip belt barely does up tight enough to transfer the weight from your back to your hips. I have a bit more bulk around the waist/hip area so the belt fitted me well but with a lot of strap left over, so anyone smaller might find this a problem.

When the pack is full the side pockets become quite tight so if you have a water bottle that is thicker, it can be quite hard to stuff in and risks falling out, but is a small knit-pick in what is otherwise a great pack.


Women backpacking on the coast

Verdict

The Abisko Friluft 45 W is a really great option for women who want to tackle some big day hikes and decent overnight adventures. Made for slightly bigger framed women, and those who are packing a decent amount of kit for a full day with the kids or a couple of days on the trail, the versatility and comfort is absolutely great. It is a bit much for short summer walks and is best served for a fully loaded exploration of some wild terrain. It looks super stylish, is comfortable, feels robust and durable, and will certainly stand the test of time – I’m looking forward to a long-term adventure-ship with this pack!

Find the latest price at:
Fjallraven | Alpine Trek

Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

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