The story began in 1950
In the 1950’s, 14 year-old Åke Nordin from Örnsköldsvik in Northern Sweden spent more time outdoors than indoors. After many long treks in the mountains, Åke decided the backpacks at the time were unsatisfactory and took matters into his own hands by building a wooden frame. This evenly distributed weight across his back so the pack did not end up uneven, pear-shaped, and uncomfortable. It also meant he could carry more weight with ease. Åke’s innovation quickly caught on and in 1960 Fjällräven became the first to commercially make and distribute framed backpacks.
An idea that carried weight
Åke built his first framed backpack in his basement with his mother’s sewing machine. Using strong cotton fabric for the pack, he attached the wooden frame using leather straps and used calfskin for the support straps. Not only was the pack more comfortable and distributed weight evenly, it also increased ventilation between his back and the pack. Soon after, during a trip up North, Åke’s invention caught the attention of the indigenous Sami people who spent weeks at a time high up in the mountains. They asked Åke to build them a backpack and after that a tent. Fjällräven had found its beginning.
The first Fjällräven jacket
Outdoor clothing was not always as practical as it is today. This was particularly clear during the Scandinavian Greenland Expedition in 1966 while testing Fjällräven’s revolutionary thermal tent. After the success of the tent and several serious discussions with the expedition team, Åke started considering making a jacket and trousers for the outdoors.
He started this next venture with a roll of extremely durable fabric that was too heavy for his lightweight tents. He placed it on the floor, began to draw, and with his grandfather’s tailoring scissors cut out a jacket silhouette. Returning to his sewing machine, Åke tailored what became the first of Fjällräven’s now extensive G-1000 outerwear collection, the Greenland Jacket. Named after his influential Greenland expedition, the jacket remains as popular and functional today as it was in 1966.