As part of its efforts to phase out fossil materials, Fjällräven uses a wood-based fabric for the new Tree-Kånken collection.
Fjällräven has a proud tradition of making its classic products from recycled materials. But after collections such as Samlaren, Re-Kånken and Kånken Re-Wool, another trail is now being explored. Tree-Kånken is an reinterpretation of the original Kånken backpack from 1978, but with a new raw material – namely Swedish wood.
“At Fjällräven, we have an ongoing innovation process to phase out non-renewable materials. Using wood for textiles is nothing new, but it has previously been difficult to get full traceability. With Tree-Kånken we were able to obtain volume-based traceability which is a step in the right direction,” says Christiane Dolva, Global Sustainability Director at Fjällräven.
The main fabric and lining of TreeKånken is called Pine Weave. This wood-based fabric, exclusively developed by Fjällräven, is made using filament fibers and is optimized for extra strength and functionality. The production process was improved and modified to ensure Pine Weave is robust, hard-wearing, and water repellent. Johanna Mollberg, Product Developer at Fjällräven, briefly explains:
“In very short, wood chips are boiled down to a cellulose mass. The mass then goes into the lyocell process, which is a sort of solvent-spinning technique. The dissolved cellulose pulp is pushed through spinnerets. It is finally washed, dried and spun into yarns. The yarn is then woven into a plain weave and coated with a mixture of PU and wax to prolong the lifetime of the fabric. Together this creates a hard-wearing material that is perfect for the use in backpacks and more durable than most lyocell fabrics on the market.”
Certified forest sourcing
The raw wood material sourced by Fjällräven comes from a cultivated and certified forest just outside Fjällräven’s hometown of Örnsköldsvik in Sweden.
The industrial processes that turn wood into cellulose today are not able to keep certified, traceable wood separate from other sources of wood. So the pulp used in Pine Weave is mixed up with the total amount of wood going into the pulp-making process. This is referred to as a “mass-balance” approach. So although traceability from backpack to tree in a closed system is not possible, this still means that Fjällräven is contributing to a demand for more traceable, certified wood in those industrial processes.
For Fjällräven, the Kånken backpack is the perfect innovation tester for new materials – it has proven for decades that it can withstand the test of time in terms of design and quality.
“Our next step might be a Kånken made of recycled bio-based materials. Material innovation is really a ‘never ending story’,” says Christiane Dolva.
Photo: Daniel Blom/Fjällräven