Gear Editor Chris Townsend reviews Fjallraven’s latest G-1000 Eco backpack, the Abisko Friluft 35
A new pack from Fjallraven, the Abisko Friluft 35 has a curved aluminium frame and a tensioned mesh back panel so there is an air gap between the pack and your back. The Friluft also has a wide mesh-lined hipbelt with cut-outs for ventilation and firmly padded, mesh-lined, curved shoulder straps. Fjallraven says this carrying system is designed for men and it only comes in one back length – 54cms. This is just long enough for me.
The pack is made from Fjallraven’s G-1000 Eco fabric, which is 65% recycled polyester and 35% organic cotton. The base is waterproof polyamide to ensure water doesn’t get through when the pack is stood on wet ground. G-1000 has a canvas-like texture and a matt finish, giving the Friluft a rather traditional, understated feel and look. No shiny fabrics here. It is available in orange and light blue as well as grey if you want to stand out a little.
Like many packs with curved frames the Friluft is quite narrow, a design that can make accessing items in the bottom half quite difficult. However this isn’t the case here as the whole front of the pack can be opened with two long side zips and a top strip of Velcro. The pack also has an extendable lid with roomy external and internal zipped pockets. There’s a detachable rain cover in the former. There’s also a huge zipped pocket on the front, two zipped hipbelt pockets, and two lower open-topped side pockets with drawcords. There’s a water bladder pocket inside and a protected opening for a drinking tube. Side and base compression straps can be used to tighten the pack around a small load and for attaching items. Finally there’s a stretchy loop for ice axe or trekking poles.
I’ve found the Friluft comfortable to carry and the back system has kept my back pretty dry on damp days. Stability is okay for a pack with an air gap though not as good as a body-hugging design. There’s always a trade-off between ventilation and stability. For most walking this design is fine. I really like the pockets too and the panel-opening as they mean all items are easily accessible. The capacity according to Fjallraven is 35 litres. Compared with other packs I think it’s a bit more than that with all the pockets. Come summer I’ll try using it for an overnight trip. I reckon it’s big enough.
At 1.52kg the Friluft is quite heavy for a 35 litre pack. However the harness system means it will support heavier loads than many packs this size. It’s expensive but it is well-made from durable fabrics and so should last well. If it fits it’s an excellent pack.