Fjallraven Kajka 75
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Price Paid: $200
I have carried large packs (65 to 105 L) in all kinds of environments for years now. The Kajka 75 is more comfortable and easier to organize than any of them!
- two large side bellow pockets
- G-1000 material is tough as nails
- suspension system is amazing
- easy to access H2O bottle pockets
- full front panel opening
- drying area for wet gear
- adjustable shoulder strap width
- heavy materials
- spendy purchase price
- minimum external lashing points
After carrying the Bora 95 from Arc'Teryx for several years of leading trips and the Gregory Denali Pro on personal adventures, The Fjall Raven Kajka is, hands down, the most comfortable large pack I have ever carried!
The hip belt is very easy to tighten and stays where it should be, on my hips, not on my butt. The load lifters moved the weight to different muscle groups with ease and allowed me to extend my travel days from 5-7 miles to 8-11 miles. The torso length can be adjusted with ease. The width of the shoulder straps can also be adjusted with some snaps and velcro, this made the pack just as comfortable over a t-shirt as it was over down and fleece layers.
Usually a large capacity pack swallows gear, but hesitates to give it back up. Often only a side zipper or a front panel opens to give the user access to gear packed in the middle of the load. Not so with the Kajka! The entire front panel opens up with the ease of rolling luggage to display the pack's entire contents all at once. Compression straps on the top and sides, along with velcro, and vertical zippers make this a reliable panel loading system with no failure points.
The zippers are never under stress, unlike panel loaders with curved zippers or book-bag styled closures. 75 Liters of gear is easily sorted and accessed with two zips, and then, perhaps more importantly, it is all closed up and organized for the next leg of the adventure.
The compression straps, two per side, are attached to vertical bars sewn into the front panel. This allows the entire front of the pack to be compressed against the entire rear of the pack. This eliminates bulging at the sides and keeps heavy gear stacked against the user's spine.
The sleeping bag compartment has an interior mesh liner. The actual G-1000 exterior can be zipped out of the way and rolled to the bottom, this reveals the mesh interior wall. In the event that a bag, tent, or clothes get soaked during an evening storm or mid day down pour, they can all be zipped into the sleeping bag compartment, behind the mesh, and be allowed to air dry as the user continues their hike.
Our trail through New Hampshire's Pemigewasset Wilderness was narrow and wildly overgrown. Upon encountering this terrain I packed my Kajka to be tall and narrow. This allowed me to squeeze between outreaching branches with ease.
When it came time to climb to the peaks I was able to pack the Kajka to be wide and low, almost square like a canoe pack. This allowed be to look up, assess my terrain, and then reach up for holds and branches without the pack impeding my flexibility. As these climbing trails were wide, and even often above tree line, widening and shortening the pack made the adventure much more enjoyable.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 280 Euros
I dub this "the best backpack ever" and show it off to everyone I can. It's so roomy, so sturdy and has so many features without being over the top. This is obviously designed by someone who treks a lot and knows what they want in a pack.
- External side pockets — don't compromise on space
- Adjustable back straps — lots of options
- Sturdy and great material
- Best backpack I've ever seen
- Heavy (~4kg)
- Mesh hip-pockets great for ventilation, bad for protecting phone /snagging
It's got a great adjustable frame padding; both up and down and across for a narrower fit; the hip strap is so comfortable and the top is removable and very adjustable.
The amazing little features include:
- An extra mesh lining on the lower unit for drip-drying while you hike;
- No bulky rear pockets to keep the weight centered;
- Huge (like 10lt) external side pockets that don't compromise on space - you can fit hiking boots int here!;
- Top and side entry with solid zips - you can pack it like a suitcase, zip it up & hike 12 hours using the top entry;
- Big drink holders on each side;
- Extendable lid that you can remove and use as a day bag if you want;
- Two hip-pockets for compass/pocketknife/phone/gps (I have mesh pockets which aren't great for rain or scrub, but have seen solid pockets in photos);
- Strong and durable, this pack will last forever.
Multi day treks around the world (Patagonia, The Alps, Australia and New Zealand)
We have a new baby, so my wife and I can cram everything into the Fjallraven and the other carries our bub.
Great travel bag as well — the top compartment has three zips you can fill with passports, change of clothes and toiletries you can use as a daybag while storing the rest of the pack during day trips.