Now the time had come. My old faithful hiking companion, a used Bundeswehr backpack, has found his resting place near the Mekong. He was with me for almost 30 years now and has accompanied me on many tours – in the Masuria, several times in Sweden, twice in India, in Bulgaria, France, Ireland and Spain… and finally in Thailand and Vietnam. But there he signalled that he is at the end of his strength and that his last days have come. The fabric cover – rough sailcloth – was rotten in the meantime and began to tear with a loud crunching sound when treated a little more roughly. In addition, the leather straps of the fasteners had become shorter and shorter in the last few years – first due to mean treatment by the Indian security inspectors, in the last weeks increasingly due to old age.
Why do I write about this in such detail? He simply went through a lot and lasted for an incredibly long time – I don’t know, but I’m sure he had been my „class enemy“ in west germany (I’m from the east) for 10 or 15 years before he came to me in the early 90s. So in total he had a life span of about 40 to 45 years. When I think of the daypack I used to have, which was decorated with an animal paw – it was completely finished after 10 years.
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Worthy of a successor?
But now for the replacement. For several months now, I’ve been thinking about this very successor: Abisko Hike 35 by Fjaellraven*. Of course in green, I’m always out and about in the forest. At Fjaellraven, Abisko means a lot, from outdoor trousers, shirts, shorts and padded west … to backpacks in several volumes. Sure, if you are at home in Sweden and want to create a high level of identification … Because the village Abisko is one of the accesses to Kungsleden, the most famous Swedish long-distance hiking trail. And a national park is named after Abisko too.
Fabric and sustainability
Why the abisco? I just noticed it among all the other backpacks of comparable size.
Slim waist, round shapes, nice appearance 😉 Well, something like that. An important criterion was the fabric. This is G1000 Eco, which is a cotton blend fabric.35% organic cotton, waxed, 65% recycled polyester. The typical robust fabric that Fjaellraven uses in various qualities for all kinds of outdoor products.
What I like about it is that it looks and feels a lot like natural fibre and not like the shiny plastic bags of other companies. Besides, I still have great confidence in cotton fibres in terms of durability and stability. So I can only refer to my old backpack again. Let’s see how the recycled PE content affects this. Maybe the cotton will continue to stabilize the material, even if the plastic part has lost its plasticizers. The waxed fabric is at least for the time being reasonably waterproof, so the rucksack will survive a little fluff without soaking the contents. A rain cover is still part of the basic equipment – but there was a sky-blue specimen in the forest green backpack. Well, I have a green one from before and I know someone who loves blue things more than anything else…
For your information – there are other colours available like navy (blue) or stone-grey (grey), possibly others as well.
Which I am quite happy about – back and inside are not bright – white, as it often looks like on the internet pictures. This is rather a light grey, which is a bit greenish. Fits very well to it and is not noticeable in the bush.
Partitioning of compartments and closure details
Let’s get down to details. The backpack consists of a slim main compartment and a somewhat tubular front pocket, which extends 4/5 from top to bottom over the front. At the top, the main compartment is closed by a retractable fabric ring, which helps to expand the volume a little more. For example, for the first days‘ meals. The use of the closing cord needs some getting used to, because it is fixed with a cord stopper, which opens on pull (with a drawstring). I did not have that yet. Closing it is ok and I get along fast.
To open it, however, I have to get used to pulling the cord out a little on the fixed side, hold it and then pull on it and at the same time on the drawstring of the cord stopper. It takes some time before I have internalized this. Over the packed main compartment you also pull a packing strap with click buckle (compression strap?). If necessary, the jacket, shirt etc. can be put under it and fixed when it gets slowly warm.
Lid and upper compartment
The lid is basically separate and attached with four ribbons above the main compartment. In the front with two click-buckles, in the back only with adjustable straps. This allows the lid to be moved upwards when the main compartment is overfilled and still be put on straight. Well, nothing new, also available for other models. But it works quite well, very nice handling 😉 In the lid are two zipper compartments – one from the top and one from the inside when the lid is open. A lot fits in there again. In the upper compartment there is a small ribbon with (plastic) carabiner sewn in, to which e.g. keys can be attached ready to hand and secured against slipping out.
A further zipper – compartment is sewn on the inside of the main bag at the top of the front. There e.g. travel documents, passport or similar can be stored. They are not immediately visible and accessible to everyone, but they are quickly at hand when needed. Simply open the lid and you can reach the zipper. At the back of the main compartment at the top you will find another small ribbon, this time with a click-buckle. It can be used to hang up a hydration-system-bladder or also for keys, usb-sticks or other small parts, which can be hung up…
Further down in the main compartment there is another simple subdivision on the back. Looks like the „laundry compartment“ in the old BW backpack. It may be that it is intended to hold the drinking system*. But I don’t know about that, I don’t like those things. In any case there is also the necessary hose passage for it.
Quick access thanks to side zipper
A real plus is a zipper on the left side over the entire height of the main compartment. I will probably get used to it very quickly. Because above it the whole content is always easily accessible. The eternal feeling and rummaging from above in the deepest depths of the rucksack has come to an end. I only hope that these zippers are very stable. (Or better: I simply assume that with an experienced brand company …) But the side zipper is relieved by the side compression straps.
Towards the bottom the rucksack becomes a little slimmer. From the optical point of view I kind of like it. It is surely about getting through everywhere without getting stuck. But it also means that the packed rucksack is not very stable.
The front compartment, which also tapers down to a little bit, can be opened over the whole length with another zipper. Especially here it makes sense to put in „single units*“ packed separately. Not clear what I mean? Well, up to now I had several side pockets, and in one of them there was simply toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving kit, nail scissors (with the tip in a cork), hairbrush etc. lying around loose inside. The front compartment of the Abisko Hike is too big to „rummage“ through everything unpacked. Therefore I bought a small „wash bag*“ with me. It shares the space in the front pocket with the first aid kit*, the inflatable neck cushion* (which I often use as a pillow in my sleeping bag) and other small stuff in matching bags. Also in the front compartment the quick access via the long zipper is optimal.
On the right side there is a bottom pocket, which can be enlarged by a double fold. For example a water bottle* fits in there, or the lower end of hiking poles* or similar. This bag can be closed with the lower compression strap as needed.
The Carrying system
The back part as well as the hip and harness areas on the body side are made of a grey mesh fabric. An internal back frame made of stable steel rod provides a comfortable back support with ventilation at certain points. This works very well, on my first hikes the back was largely sweat-free despite the very warm spring sunshine. Except for the hip support surfaces, which cannot be avoided.
The carrying straps and hip fins are somewhat stiff, padded profile straps in an ergonomic cut. In the first moment you might have some doubts whether the whole thing really fits and fits so well. But the result is all the more surprising – even when fully packed, the backpack is really comfortable to carry for a long time. The chest straps are height adjustable via a profile rail. A signal whistle is integrated into the buckle of the chest strap.
Volume and mission plans
The weight of 1400g is slightly above that of comparable 35l backpacks. This is probably due to the robust steel frame and the somewhat heavier mixed fabric of the cover (G1000 heavy duty). But I assume that this is compensated by higher resistance in the forest (thorns, wood splinters) and on the rock (sharp edges).
The volume is about the same as I had before. Only with the distribution of my utensils I have to practice again – the BW – walking tuber was rather wide instead of high. Now it is reversed. In any case, I assume that I am just as well equipped for light-weight 3-season tours as for possible long-term trips to warm regions, where clothes and sleeping bag are almost reduced to zero. If I do need more (winter tours, adventures with lots of equipment and food supplies), I can use my old big 55l backpack. But this happens rarely, mostly I try to limit my needs to the size of the backpack. Anyway, he has already done the first tour on the Upper Lusatian Mountain Trail with increasing sympathies from my side. And I am looking forward to further adventures with the Abisko Hike backpack*, which will follow soon.
Reference to *advertising
The article contains so-called affiliate links, which are marked with *. If you click on such a link and place an order in the linked shop, sonnige pfade will receive a small commission to keep the blog alive. Nothing will be more expensive for you, because the commission is already included in the pricing.
The backpack Abisko Hike 35 was not sponsored or provided by a company, but bought on my own account.