Anyone familiar with outdoor industry history knows that wood is not new as a backpack frame material. Indeed, wood was the foundation of the very first frame-based backpacks ever manufactured, including Fjällräven's initial model over 50 years ago. With an update to the popular Kajka backpack line, Swedish company Fjällräven is once again returning to wood for the future of their backpack frame design.
A life-cycle analysis conducted back in 2009 on the Fjällräven customer favorite Kajka backpack showed that the aluminum used in the frame had the biggest environmental impact compared to everything else on the backpack. After immediately starting a project to find a new material to use for the frame, wood quickly became a front runner as it is carbon neutral, renewable, environmentally sustainable, and most importantly, met all the requirements in terms of performance.
By replacing the aluminum frame with wood, Fjällräven has reduced the environmental impact of the backpack frame by 90%. Wood offers the same strength as aluminum, withstanding a similar load amount whether in damp, hot, or cold conditions. The wood even offers up a sort of supple compliance to your form and movement, something aluminum can't provide.
The wood backpack frames are made from a laminate of 5-7 layers of Finnish Birch that is FSC certified and grown using responsible foresting methods. The wood layers are pressed and molded using strong, environmentally friendly glue with 50 tons of pressure at 90ºC, then treated with linseed oil. Wood fibers follow the entire form of the frame stay, adding to the strength.
The Fjällräven Kajka wood frame backpacks will be available in both men's and women's models, with a variety of capacities between 55L and 100L. The new Kajka line will start shipping in time for your backpacking adventures next summer, with the Kajka 75L retailing at €339.