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As avid backpackers, everyone in my family is constantly on the lookout for the ‘best’ technical backpack. Of course, as any outdoors-person knows, the ‘best’ depends entirely on the person and their preferences. I originally picked up the Fjallraven Kaipak for my 6’2” husband, but as it turned out, it was my 5’5” father who fell in love this with streamlined, solid pack.
One line from my dad after a weekend on the trail says it all: “This is the most comfortable pack I’ve ever worn.”
This from a man with 40 years of backpacking under his belt. What makes the Kaipak so comfy? We think it’s the fixed torso design: while it’s nice to have adjustability, that perk comes with the downside of a less stable harness/carrying system. The Kaipak comes in just one size for men and one for women, which means the waist belt and shoulder straps feel almost molded to your body…if the pack fits. My dad noted that the pack seemed held in place against his back perfectly, without jostling or sliding whatsoever, which really aided his hiking.
The Kaipak is certainly pretty, too, assuming you like the understated, minimalist look (which we do). The recycled polyester and organic cotton fabric is seriously tough and waxed for water resistance, giving this pack an almost retro appeal. This material is recycled, and you won’t be recycling it anytime soon, given how strong it is. It comes with a rain cover, which is a nice extra, which fits snugly and securely in case of rain or sleet.
The hip belt and shoulder straps are adapted to fit a man’s body (ditto for the women’s model), and I love that the hip belt includes two small zippered pockets, perfect for a point-and-shoot camera or snacks. The pack is top-loaded, and the design is a simple one…you won’t struggle with more sleeves and pockets than you know what to do with, trust me. The top lid can be raised and has two pockets, and there’s an attachment loop for trekking poles (or ax). The bottom section is not separated from the main compartment, but there is an extra bottom opening for stashing stuff you need quick access to. You get compression straps in ample supply, and a whistle on the chest strap.
The Kaipak is hydration system compatible, of course. We found it easy to outfit with an Osprey bladder and hose. The actual depth of the pack is 30 cm, which a height of 73 cm. It weighs in at 2100 grams, and retails for $300 on Fjallraven, in either stone grey or pine green. Because of the fixed torso, I highly recommend trying one on and checking sizing carefully, but if the fit is right, you’re in for a great hiking experience. Fjallraven packs are also available on Backcountry. If you’re in the UK, you’ll find it on Amazon as well.