Reviews

This pack is what I use as a Wilderness Guide in Tasmania.

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $450CAD (bought in Canada)

Summary

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!


IMG_0680-JPG-small.jpg

Experience

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).

Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Great review, Josh! Thanks for taking the time to share it. Being a Wilderness Guide in Tasmania sounds like quite an adventure!


26 days ago
Josh Wood GUIDE/OUTFITTER

Thank you! It is definitely an adventure!


25 days ago

Where to Buy

Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support Trailspace's independent gear reviews.