Fjallraven Kanken Toiletry Bag Review
The Fjallraven Kanken Toiletry Bag’s minimalist design works well in this small package, though there’s only one spot to lock down tiny gear.
- Nice size for the essentials
- Organization doesn’t get in the way of use with larger gear
- Elastic loops hold your toothbrush upright for drying
- Lighter stains show on fabric
- Won’t always stand on its own when not fully packed
- Zippers must be fully open to reach opposite side
5.64 oz (159.9 g)
6.3 in x 9.25 in x 3.94 in (16 x 23.5 x 10 cm)
G-1000, Recycled Polyester, Organic Cotton, Polyamide
Here at Pack Hacker, we’ve gotten our hands on many Fjallraven Kanken products, and, for the most part, we’re pretty happy with them. We like the durability and versatility of the line and that the wallets, daypacks, pouches, and slings we’ve tested are easy to use, with organizational features that come in handy without getting in your way. Fjallraven created the Kanken Essentials line of accessories for outdoor life, travel, and everyday use, so what’s not to love?
Sporting the same Greenland Wax and boxy construction—and of course, the adorable arctic fox—as its Kanken relatives, we’re excited to be testing the Fjallraven Kanken Toiletry Bag. So how does it stack up? Let’s find out!
Out of the box, the boxy shape and size of the Fjallraven Kanken Toiletry Bag may remind you of your childhood lunchbox. Only this time, when you open it up, you may find organic shampoo, handmade soap, and your favorite lip gloss instead of Handi-Snacks and Lunchables.
The durable material Fjallraven uses for its toiletry bag is waxed G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco S., a blend of recycled polyester and organic cotton. It’s coated with Greenland wax to add water resistance, which comes in handy on a toiletry bag. Polyethylene foam padding beefs up the bag’s exterior so it can stand on its own, for the most part, and hold its shape. It stands up best when fully packed, as the sides can collapse slightly if you only carry a few things.
While we’re testing the Black colorway, as of this review, it’s also available in True Red, Navy, Arctic Green, and Frost Green—a lighter, dustier shade of the hue.
We do have to mention the fabric’s soft feel seems to attract lint and pet hair, almost as if the arctic fox curled up on the front logo was calling to its friends. Speaking of the logo, its circular red-and-white design is displayed prominently centered on the front of the bag with the Fjallraven Kanken name and the adorable animal as it is on every Kanken product. Fun fact for those new to Fjallraven Kanken bags: Fjallraven means “the arctic fox,” and Kanken means “to carry,” so you put those two together, and you’ve got a line of fun bags you can carry around sporting an adorable little fox. Thanks, Wikipedia!
Flip the bag over, and you’ll see a tiny Swedish flag waving at you from the left edge of the back panel, a nod to Fjallraven’s hometown of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden.
Looping around the top of the bag are two zippers, one to open each of the two compartments in the Kanken Toiletry Bag. They’re only one-sided, so you have to open them all the way to get gear on the right side of the bag instead of just peeking inside one small spot. It’s not a huge bag, though, so it’s not that big of an issue. The zippers are sturdy and work well, even when we try to squeeze them past lotion bottles that may be a hair too tall for the bag.
In between the two zippers is a sturdy webbing strap stitched in on itself to form a handle that’s easy to grasp, whether you’re carrying it to the washroom or tugging it out of your travel backpack. There is only one handle, though, so if you’ve packed it sideways, you’re out of luck, just as an FYI.
And that’s it for the outside, folks. Let’s head inside and check out how you can pack it up.
Inside The Bag
As we mentioned above, there are two sections to the Fjallraven Kanken Toiletry Bag. We’ll start with the front compartment adjacent to the foxy logo.
A light gray liner makes it easy to see everything you’ve packed when you look inside. Spanning the front panel is a mesh zippered pocket. It’s the only zip pocket in the toiletry bag, so if there are tiny travel accessories like lip balm, toothbrush, hair ties, and cotton swabs you want to bring along, this is a good place for them. It’s the only area where they’ll stay contained if the bag tips over or is upside down. The mesh is pretty flexible, so it can protrude quite a bit into the remainder of this compartment. That’s great for filling it up with small gear, as long as you realize you may have to dig through it to find your contact lens case on the bottom.
Opposite the mesh pouch are two slip pockets. They’re each about 4 inches wide by 3 inches tall, and they work well for bottles, whether for lotion, shampoo, or hair spray. There’s one more slip pocket on the left side of the bag. It’s barely 2 inches square and fits a travel-size tube of toothpaste nicely. And on the right, there’s one more organizational feature: two elastic loops.
Located on the side of the bag, they hold gear vertically. That’s great for keeping your razor in place while you travel and for drying your toothbrush without lying it on the hotel counter. If you’re doing this, you probably won’t be able to zip the compartment back up unless your toothbrush has a very short handle, so this is a “when you’re at a destination” characteristic, not a “while you’re traveling” feature.
Outside of this organization, there’s still some extra space where you can stand another travel toiletry bottle or stash a hairbrush, although there’s space for that in the other section, as well. If you pack a brush here, it’s good to face the bristles away from the mesh so they don’t get caught when you try to pull it out.
Now let’s check out the rear section. This one is slightly shallower than the front area, with the divider between the two attached behind the carry handle, not in the center. Inside, you’ll find a plasticky white patch with the Fjallraven name and a bonus: a line to fill in for your name and another for your contact information. In this time of AirTags and Tile trackers, you may still appreciate this analog way of reconnecting with your bag if you leave it in your Airbnb bathroom when you leave. Or not. You do you.
Underneath the patch are two more slip pockets. While these are still 3 inches deep, the one on the left is only 3 inches wide, while the one on the right is about 5.5 inches wide, making it a good place for a bar of soap or a makeup compact. Outside these pockets, there’s room for your hairbrush, if you didn’t stick it in the front area, or anything else you need to toss in here.
While you can pack enough gear for a trip of up to a week in its lunchbox-size footprint, whether it’s large enough for longer-term travel is probably more dependent on your minimalist packing acumen than a statement on the bag’s capabilities. We think its minimal organizational features and small package work well together. If you prefer a wide open space, this may not be the best toiletry bag for you, although the available pockets easily tuck out of the way if you only want to use a few.
- Digging the Kanken style in a toiletry bag
- Like the inclusion of elastic to hold a toothbrush upright for drying
- Seems like a happy medium between organization and open space
- Nice to have a place for a toothbrush to dry, though the bag has to stay open to do so
- Fabric attracts lint and hair
- Mesh pocket great for tiny gear