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Fjallraven Kajka 65

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Fjallraven Kajka 65 weekend pack (50-69l)

This pack is what I use as a Wilderness Guide in Tasmania. It is durable, adjustable, and holds more gear than it rightly should; all while transferring the load to the large hip belt in a comfortable way. Great for heavy loads.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Very adjustable
  • Volume seems larger than listed size
  • Great ventilation
  • Large sturdy hip belt
  • Expandable side pockets
  • Great compressability
  • Sustainable materials

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Long straps
  • Expensive
  • Poor chest strap position

The Fjallraven Kaja 65l is a pack built with old-school workmanship and new-school features. I chose this for my work as a Wilderness Guide due to the adjustability and durability; although it is quite heavy compared to most packs. This pack is designed as a load hauler.

The pack has an exceptionally adjustable harness system and comes in both men's and women's models. It will suit the tallest and shortest torsos. Part of what makes the harness great is that the back only makes contact over the wearer's upper back and pelvis. This leaves a slight gap between the lower back and backpack back. This gap, along with the cutouts in the hip belt, make this a surprisingly cool pack to wear. Even lightweight mesh covering your whole back is likely to be warmer than nothing contacting your back at all!

The harness system also does a great job of carrying the heavy loads required of my occupation. The compression strap system works excellently to keep all my gear secure. It does lack a lot of external attachments sites seen on other products, but I don't attach gear to the outside anyway.

My biggest gripe is that the sternum strap was built in too low, and couldn't adjust high enough. This put the strap directly over my lower chest and made breathing hard. I just cut it off and put a replacement on higher up the shoulder straps. The straps, including hip-belt are exceptionally long. Also, the hip belt is quite large and will not fully tighten if you are much thinner than me (30" waist).

The separate sleeping bag section also contains a mesh cover that can be used to dry out wet gear in lieu of holding a sleeping bag. The "brain" or top pocket is removable and has a built in hip belt. The top can also be attached on the front as a 'kangaroo pouch.' The official website states the weight at 3300g. I removed the kangaroo pouch attachments and shortened some of the straps and my pack now weighs approx 3200g.

The internal capacity seems larger than 65l has any right to be. I think this is due to the accordion style side pockets that easily expand to hold all my insulation, rain, and first aid gear.

It does lack a few extra pockets I would have liked (e.g. expanding front pocket) but there is plenty of room for all my gear. The water bottle pockets can be accessed from the top or side. The hip pockets are large, but not large enough for my phone. It comes with a large rain cover that has an attachment point on the drawstring allowing you to attach it at my lower back to prevent it from blowing off (this has been a very useful feature).

This pack is made of Vinylon F a synthetic material that is recyclable and acts like a natural fibre when exposed to water (i.e. it expands to become water tight). This makes the pack feel and look like canvas (which is a very popular material here in Australia for pack making). The internal frame is made from treated birch wood instead of aluminum. This is surprisingly light and also reduces environmental impact by 90 percent compared to aluminum.

I have used this pack for over 1000km of personal and guided hikes over the last six months. It has been used from Denali National Park in Alaska, to the Dolerite and scrub covered mountains of Tasmania. If you're looking for a pack that will take anything you could throw at it, with lots of technical features, this is a great choice. If you want an ultralight pack, this is not the place to look!


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Background

I have used this pack for over 1000km of personal and guided hikes over the last six months. It has been used from Denali National Park in Alaska, to the Dolerite and scrub covered mountains of Tasmania over the last year.

I own and have used many Fjallraven products and I am a big fan of their build quality and company ethos (if not their prices).

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $450CAD (bought in Canada)

Best packs I have ever owned Kajka 65 and 85. In 48 years of backpack hiking these are the best.

Pros

  • Shoulder strap clips allow easy safe attachment of cameras.
  • Front has two long zips that allow easy access to everything.
  • Excellent suspension.

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Weight, but that gives toughness

I own both the 65 and the 85 Litre versions. The three sizes (65, 75, 85) all follow a similar design. They only differ in size. The 65 and the 85 are identical except for size. I saw the 85 while on a trip. I tried it on in a store and it was “love at first sight”.

I got home and ordered the 85 for winter hiking. I took it out twice and YES this was it. So I immediately ordered the 65 for summer camping. There have been two excellent reviews of the 75 already and I agree with everything they say. Therefore I will keep this review short. I don’t need to repeat everything they have already said. I will concentrate on details that they didn’t cover or didn’t stress.

In any big pack comfort is the most important thing. You cannot carry big loads over long distances if the pack is uncomfortable. My camping trips are usually ~17kg (37 lbs) and my distance is typically 12kms (7.5 miles) per day. These packs are super comfortable.

The pack material is super tough. Light plastic materials in lighter packs, tear and puncture in the prickly Australian bush. This pack is tougher than the prickles. 

This pack has few external lashing points. The load is meant to be mostly internal. Instead of external lashing points they have two extremely large side bellow pockets which can hold an enormous amount of gear that might normally be lashed to the outside. This improves hiking efficiency and reduces the chance of gear snagging on bushes.

There are two long length zips on each side of the front. This allows the front to be completely unzipped allowing access to your entire load just like opening a suitcase. I have never seen this before. It is a fantastic feature. Although this is basically a top loader, it is also a front loader and unloader. I use these packs for travel as well as hiking. They double as truly excellent travel packs.

The lid can easily and quickly be removed for day hikes or it can be attached to the rest of the pack via sturdy clips in the shoulder straps. This gives easy quick access to smaller water bottles, snacks, etc while hiking OR you can put a camera in the lid and have fast access to the camera while hiking. Alternatively you leave the lid on the pack and clip a camera bag into the clips.

This is one of my very favorite things about these packs. Many packs don’t have strong enough attachment points on the shoulder straps to hold a full frame camera plus lens plus camera bag. I have retrofitted my Fjallraven Keb 52 Litre to do the same. It lacks the shoulder clips (which I added using clips available from a hiking store) but the shoulder straps themselves are more than strong enough to take the 3Kg (6.6lb) load.

Overall, these are the best big packs I have ever owned and by a wide margin. Simple as that.

Background

Many camping trips and many travel trips over about 50 years.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: The 75L retails for $700(AUD) = ~$450(US)

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Specs

Men's
Price Current Retail: $374.95-$375.00
Historic Range: $277.73-$379.95
Women's
Price Current Retail: $374.95-$375.00
Historic Range: $277.73-$375.00
Product Details from Fjallraven »

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