Are you an outdoor enthusiast? Do you like long hikes on a mountain trail, backpacking or camping with your friends? Or maybe your passion is climbing and mountaineering?
If so, you will surely like the brands that we are going to compare today. They are two of the most popular outdoor brands at the moment, and are highly recommended and raved about by their customers all over the world.
We are talking about Fjällräven and Arc’teryx, both extensively featured here on our site!
In today’s article, as we usually do in these comparisons, we will take a look at their history, the materials they use, their popular products, their manufacture, their prices, and finally we will try to decide which of the two would be the best choice for your specific outdoor activity or sport.
Let’s begin right away with Fjällräven!
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A Short History Of The Brand
Fjällräven, as we mentioned above, is a brand founded in Sweden. Its history begins in the ’60s as an outdoor gear company, and you can easily recognize it by its famous logo featuring the arctic fox.
In fact “Fjällräven” means “Arctic Fox” in English.
During the first years of the brand, its founder Åke Nordin was trying to design a backpack that would carry heavier loads easier and provide better support. This also because there wasn’t a similar product on the market at the time.
So, the Kånken backpack was born, and it became very popular especially among students that used it to carry their heavy books while at the same time reducing the risk of damaging their spine.
While the Kånken remains one of Fjällräven’s most popular products ever, nowadays they have expanded their product range to include clothing and outdoor gear and accessories.
If you take a look at their website today, among their product line you’ll find everything that you will need to have a great time outdoors, during your free time or if you work outside.
Materials and Manufacture
Fjällräven is a renowned brand for the fact that their jackets and backpacks last for a very long time, and hold their shape over time, particularly the backpacks.
In fact, if you have ever owned a Kånken pack, you will know for sure how stiff and sturdy its material feels to the touch.
One of Fjällräven’s materials that they use extensively in their products, for example in jackets, is called G-1000. We have reviewed this material in-depth here.
Briefly, it is a versatile, durable and highly breathable fabric that protects against the environmental conditions. It can also be waxed, so you can adjust its weather resistance and breathability according to your needs.
Next on the materials list is down, one of the best insulators in the world, if not the best, which Fjällräven uses for their winter jackets and parkas, making them very popular for the comfort and warmth they provide.
The down is fully traceable and ethically sourced from geese and ducks.
It uses DWR coating to resist water, but unlike traditional products, in this case the DWR treatment is PFC-free, thus being more eco friendly. PFCs affect all the living organisms that they come into contact with in nature.
To end this paragraph, Fjällräven’s manufacturing process is done mainly in China and South Korea, but you can also find some of their products made in Vietnam, for example some Kånken backpacks.
They are very meticulous during this process, putting great attention to details, as you can attest as soon as you hold one of their products in your hands.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some popular products by Fjällräven.
Fjällräven Classic Kånken Backpack
Obviously we could not make a selection of Fjällräven’s products without a Kånken in it.
It is a durable, water resistant and quick drying backpack that can carry a lot of things inside, even if it looks small at first sight. The material is Vinylon F (100% vinylal), resilient and long lasting, you can read more about it here.
Its compact design and the attention to details are the two main features that we personally like about this backpack. Also, who doesn’t like that big red logo on the front, which is reflective too?
Unfortunately, the Kånken is also one of the most counterfeited products of this brand, so beware of the fakes. To make sure that you’re buying an original Kånken, we recommend buying it from their official website (link above) – we think it’s the most secure online shop.
Fjällräven Expedition Men’s Down Jacket
Expedition is an iconic jacket by Fjällräven, first designed in the 1970s.
Read also: 10 of the Best Fjällräven Jackets Reviewed
Fjällräven is a quite expensive brand. For example, their jackets start at around $150 and can reach $700 – $800 (the Expedition jacket), while their backpacks start at $80 – $100 (the Kånken backpack) and move upwards of $400 (the Kajka trekking backpack).
Are Fjällräven’s products worth the price?
In our opinion, they are worth it. We particularly like their minimalistic design and the sturdy materials, which are durable, last for a long time and perform really well.
A Short History Of The Brand
Arc’teryx is a Canadian brand founded in 1991 by Dave Lane.
But its history begins in 1989 when its founder created the “Rock Solid” company, which produced climbing gear, and later was called “Arc’teryx” after Dave Lane partnered with Blair Murdoch and Tim Duholke.
The name “Arc’teryx” refers to the Archaeopteryx, the oldest known bird, that represents very well the brand’s focus on product innovation.
Founded by mountain climbers, Arc’teryx’ first popular products were made with climbers in mind – among them we can mention the Bora backpack and the Vapor harness, created with the thermolamination technology.
After obtaining the license from Gore-Tex to use this fabric technology in their products, Arc’teryx entered the outdoor clothing market (further reading: How Gore-Tex® Works – An In-Depth Review).
Since then, the brand’s popularity has only increased and nowadays their products and gear are some of the most recommended both online and offline for their quality and versatility by outdoor lovers, climbers, hikers and athletes.
Materials and Manufacture
Arc’teryx not only creates products that perform really well, but the materials the brand uses are high quality, sustainable and responsibly sourced.
The materials are Bluesign® certified and follow the rigorous Life Cycle Assessment protocols. Their down insulation follows the Responsible Down Standard to ensure that the birds from which it is sourced are being humanely treated without forced feeding or live plucking.
Arc’teryx uses synthetic insulation also, called Coreloft™, which we have reviewed here.
You might also like: 11 Arc’teryx Jackets for your Favorite Winter Sport
In general, Arc’teryx uses both synthetic and natural materials depending on the type of product and its purpose, just like many other outdoor brands as we have seen.
As for fabric technologies, Gore-Tex is mainly used for their apparel, and their own technology called AC2 mostly for their backpacks.
Arc’teryx manufactures some of its products in Canada, and the other part is made in China and other Asian countries.
By Arc’teryx we have also picked a backpack and a jacket.
Arc’teryx Arro 22 Backpack
One of Arc’teryx’ iconic products the Arro 22 backpack has a modern design and good internal organization.
It has a padded 15″ laptop sleeve and a capacity of 22 litres, ideal for work, everyday city life, but also short hikes.
Arc’teryx Thorium AR Men’s Hoody
The Thorium AR jacket is designed for alpine conditions and is very versatile – in fact, “AR” means “All Round”, for multiple activities. It can be used as a midlayer in cold weather or on its own in cool, dry conditions.
The jacket uses 750 fill power European grey goose down to provide warmth, while the areas more prone to moisture are insulated with Coreloft™ synthetic insulation.
The outer material is durable Arato™ 30 nylon with DWR coating and the jacket is also easily packable.
If you make a list of expensive outdoor brands you will surely place Arc’teryx there.
Maybe it might not be in the first place of that list, but its prices are quite high, starting at around $150 and going up to $600 for some very high performance jackets.
Are Arc’teryx’ products worth the price?
We think they are worth it, and this is not only our opinion. Many customers recommend this brand’s products for their performance and the fact that they last for a long time.
3. Which Brand is Better?
The quality of these two brands is indisputable: they use high quality materials a considerable part of which comes from recycling, follow sustainable and eco friendly production processes, and the performance of their jackets, backpacks and other outdoor gear in general is excellent.
So, which one is better? Which brand should I choose?
This time we don’t have a clear answer. We just love both of them! But, we’ll list some features that you can keep in mind when trying to choose between Arc’teryx and Fjällräven.
First, the design. While both have minimal designs and put great attention to details, Arc’teryx’ products usually have a more streamlined design, we would say more “futuristic”. On the other hand, Fjällräven offers more classic designs with straight lines and classic fit.
Next, the price. Arc’teryx may be slightly more expensive for some high performance jackets, so keep that in mind if you have a fixed budget.
And lastly, Arc’teryx may be more specialized for some mountain climbing products, but Fjällräven doesn’t fall too far behind as they have some great mountaineering products too.
In conclusion, we think these three factors, along with other personal preferences like number of pockets or favorite colors, will help you decide between these two brands.
In our opinion, whatever your decision, you can not go wrong with either of them.