At a glance
Plusses: Numerous features, environmentally-friendly design, hard-wearing, fully adjustable and very comfortable.
Minusses: Heavy and expensive
Features: The Kajka is built like an old-school pack but loaded with all the features you would expect from a modern pack, and some you wouldn’t. Its most interesting feature is a Forest Stewardship Council-certified birchwood frame – which gives it a vintage feel and, according to Fjällräven, reduces the environmental footprint of the frame by 90 per cent.
The pack boasts adjustable back-length and shoulder-width, the main compartment has top and front access, a removable partition divides the main compartment into two sections, zippered side pockets, mesh hipbelt pockets, hydration ‘plumbing’ and a rain cover. The lid has its own bag of tricks, with three separate zippered pockets (one designated for a first aid kit). It can be un-clipped and worn as a bum-bag or left at home to save weight.
There are two ice-axe loops, side mesh pockets and compression straps on either side.
Fit: Adjustable back-length is universal to all but lightweight, technical packs, but being able to adjust shoulder width is a nice addition. The back length is continuously adjustable, while the shoulder width has three settings. Both are easy to adjust and mean the pack will fit just about anyone.
Comfort: The shoulder straps and hipbelt paddles are generously padded and remain comfortable after long days and the birchwood frame supports big loads with ease.
Pack design is about striking a balance between comfort and weight. With a heavy canvas fabric, a glut of features, rain-cover and the wooden frame, this pack is built to last a lifetime but weighs a hefty 3300g as a consequence.
In use: The relatively streamlined design and 600D canvas fabric make the Kajka a good pack for rugged tramping trips that involve lots of bush bashing. I took it on a hunting trip and found it carried heavy loads comfortably. The removable lid had enough room for an extra layer and gear for day trips.
My one gripe is the pack’s 3300g weight. Even with the lid and rain cover removed, the pack is more than 3kg.
Value: The Kajka is a premium pack built to last a lifetime and comes with a matching price tag. The value of a pack like this comes down to how much use it gets – every month or more, or once or twice a year.
Verdict: Rugged good looks, hardiness, a bagful of handy features and a comfortable harness all make the Kajka a good choice for those who want to invest in ‘one pack to rule them all’, but, as with Frodo’s ring, be prepared to carry a heavy load.