photo by tj turner
With Minnesota’s large Scandinavian population, love of the outdoors, and appreciation for good design, it was only a matter of time before Fjällräven came to town. The stylish, Swedish outdoor brand has opened its first Minnesota store at the Mall of America, with another planned for St. Paul’s Grand Avenue later this fall.
The Mall of America store showcases the brand’s mix of modernism and tradition, with large flat-screen TVs displayed amidst antler chandeliers and handmade paddles (by Winona-based brand Sanborn Canoe Co.). Fjällräven’s product selection is more tightly curated than that of general outdoor stores such as REI, and something about the neat stacks of primary-colored outerwear and hiking gear makes it feel as friendly and practical as Ikea (don’t worry, the shop is much easier to navigate).
The store carries Fjällräven’s full product line—except for its tents, which will arrive next spring—as well as gear from like-minded brands such as Brunten (portable generators), Primus (camp stoves), and Hanwag (German-made boots), as well as Stanley thermoses, wood-framed sunglasses, and handmade axes.
In the 1950s, the brand’s founder, Nordin Åke—then 14 years old—built his first framed backpack using strong cotton fabric, a wooden frame, and leather straps. With the intention of making the outdoors more accessible, he launched Fjällräven a few years later, creating gear and equipment that could withstand harsh conditions while remaining lightweight and practical. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, the brand introduced condensation-free tents and functional sleeping bags as well as highly durable outerwear, including its Greenland Jacket designed with the brand’s signature waxed fabric, and down-filled parkas.
Fjällräven is perhaps best known for its iconic Kanken backpack, made of water-repellant fabric in 30 cheerful colors, which was originally designed for Swedish schoolchildren in 1978. More under-the-radar but equally remarkable is the company’s admirable commitment to ethical, sustainable manufacturing standards, including the distinction of being the first brand to introduce traceable down feathers in production, meaning customers can be assured that all waterfowl involved were treated humanely.
Mall of America, Bloomington