If you live in Norway, Sweden or Denmark, you probably already know the importance of a weather-proof Scandinavian backpack. In these countries, the difference in temperature from south to north is huge, which means we know a thing or two about designing backpacks.
I constantly encounter the shifts in weather from fine to wet to dark to extremely cold. It has become pretty much a necessity to carry sturdy, weather-resistant gear no matter wherever we go.
If you are visiting Norway or any other Scandinavian country, take my advice – buy a proper Norwegian backpack (of course in addition to getting a great Norwegian sweater).
Scandinavian and Norwegian backpacks are especially designed to work in adverse weather conditions. Nordic brands usually possess unique characteristics like resistance and permeability to keep your belongings safe.
Visiting Norway anytime soon? Head over to my complete travel guide to Norway!
The 10 Best Norwegian and Scandinavian Backpacks
Functionality and practicality are a big part of Scandinavian fashion. Below, I have outlined the 10 best Norwegian and Scandinavian backpacks, and all are waterproof and ideal for use when travelling, hiking, skiing, or cycling – activities that all tourists indulge in when visiting a Nordic country.
I have decided to list these according to size.
So, the first 3 backpacks I recommend below are the smallest, then there are four medium-sized Nordic backpacks, before the final three, which are the largest backpacks.
I hope this was a helpful way to structure the post!
The smaller Scandinavian and Norwegian backpacks can be used as a daypack. They are usually used to carry little things like cell phones, wallets, eyeglasses, water bottle, keys, lunch box, tissues, camera, light jacket, tablet, etc.
These backpacks are perfect for a day’s hike and can even be used as a daily pack while shopping, going to work or school, or sightseeing.
#1 Fjällräven – Kånken
The Fjällräven brand was born in a small town in Örnsköldsvik (Sweden) with a mission to promote life in the open air. The brand never fails to sync with nature by creating simple and practical outdoor clothing and equipment.
It is probably the most popular brand of all Scandinavian backpack manufacturers, and I am sure you have seen these backpacks around before. Fjällräven deals in a wide range of lifestyle products, with ‘Kånken’ being their most well-known backpack model.
Features of the Fjällräven Kånken backpack:
- Long and adjustable shoulder straps.
- Excellent quality Vinylon F fabric makes it water-resistant and durable
- End-to-end zipper that allows opening the pack entirely
- Super-light in weight and spacious
- Internal foam mat, two flat side pockets and a zipped pocket on the front
- Reflective built-in label
- Available in 40+ colours
- Suitable for children as well as adults
Pros: Can be carried as a backpack or a bag via convertible grab straps.
Cons: Being a small backpack, it has limited capacity.
#2 Sandqvist – Roald backpack
Founded in 2004 by three Swedish friends, Sandqvist is a brand that specialises in manufacturing functional backpacks, bags and accessories that can are meant for outdoor adventure activities.
Which is perfect for Norway!
The philosophy of Sandqvist is to make timeless bags that will last for ages combining sustainability and care for the environment.
The most famous amongst their backpacks is the Roald backpack from the Ground series. It is a practical yet robust bag that incorporates modern design with a casual touch. I love how it mixes the recycled polyester and leather elements with a cotton canvas body.
Features of the Roald backpack:
- Separate 15-inch laptop/ tablet sleeve
- Two external pockets with zippers
- Spacious inner compartment with up to 18 L capacity
- Adjustable and padded shoulder straps
- Constructed of water-resistant material
- Trekking pole attachment
- Numerous organisational pockets
- Available in different trendy colours
Pros: The bag leans nicely against the back, making it perfect as a unique travel companion.
Cons: The laptop compartment doesn’t have the best padding.
Below you can find a complete review of the backpack, just click play!
#3 66°North – Tangi
This is the final of the three smaller backpacks I recommend, before moving onto the medium-sized ones.
66°North (66 degrees North) was started as an initiative by its founder Hans Kristjánsson to provide clothing to the Icelandic fishermen and workers who had to work in harsh climatic conditions.
Since then, it has manufactured apparel which caters to various outdoor activities. They have designed a variety of kinds of backpacks from sports bags to waterproof outdoor backpacks.
Tangi is one of their most popular backpacks and probably the best. This Scandinavian backpack is ideal for travelling, camping, cycling, and other outdoor adventure activities.
- Made with three layers of fabric
- Front elastic cord helps in attaching small gears like hiking shoes
- Smart lock system along with the zipper
- Separate laptop sleeve
- Multiple compartments to keep belongings organised
- Waterproof design
- Adjustable shoulder straps
Pros: Works perfectly in snowy and rainy weather.
Cons: The cord can get tangled at times and can be troublesome to set up.
I personally love their tagline “Keeping Iceland warm since 1926”, which becomes apparent in their video below!
Moving on, the medium-sized Scandinavian and Norwegian backpacks listed below make for a perfect travel companion.
These can be used for short weekend trips or even for a week’s trip if you are a light packer. They also work ideally as a hand-luggage pack when you want to take full advantage of the airlines’ bag size restrictions. If you like to keep things organised, need a hip belt, but still want a lightweight backpack, go for one of these without thinking twice.
#4 Douchebags – The Hugger
The brains behind the wheels of the Douchebags brand are the co-creators’ Swedish freeskier Jon Olsson and Norwegian product designer Truls Brataas.
Their expertise in different fields became a reason for Douchebags’ success in creating a fully compressible and lightweight bag.
My favourite part about their brand is the name. If you’re wondering where they got the idea from, someone actually sent this name to the duo as an online suggestion, and they decided to go with it!
Douchebags’ Hugger is a utilitarian carry-on backpack that is their iconic bestseller. I guarantee that you’ll see it around Stockholm, Gothenburg, Oslo and Bergen when you visit.
The Hugger is a Scandinavian backpack designed for skiers, mountaineers, or athletes, which can be used in warm and cold climates.
Features of the Hugger backpack:
- Cabin friendly design
- Easily accessible padded laptop pocket
- Main compartment with integrated Rib Cage construction
- In-built metal hooks to attach adventure gears
- Spacious top pocket
- Fully openable main compartment
- Hook-up system to easily affix to roller bags
- Stands upright without support
- Visible sleeve to carry IDs
Pros: Can be used as adurable boot bag, a handy duffle, and a smart backpack.
Cons: Leans a bit on the pricier side.
#5 Klättermusen – Ull Backpack
What is it with Swedish brands and insisting on using their non-English letters in brand names?
Klättermusen was founded in 1975 in Åre, Sweden, and since then they have worked hard to develop materials and new unique innovations that help travellers in their active life outdoors.
Their focus is on innovative design and durable products that makes one feel safe in any weather. Their slogan “Maximum safety for you, minimum impact on nature” shows how environmentally-conscious they are and that reflects in their products.
Ull is Klättermusen’s lightweight ski touring backpack perfect for outdoor adventures. Ull actually means “wool” in both Swedish and Norwegian.
Features of the Ull backpack:
- Sternum straps for free movement and stability
- Separate safety pocket inside the backpack for avalanche tools and other gear
- Detachable backplate that makes the backpack even lighter.
- Easy access to the hydration system
- Padded rear and ventilation channels for increased breathability
- Loop webbing on the exterior of the backpack that helps in attaching and detaching equipment easily
- Cinch closure system for easy one-handed access to belongings
Pros: The backpack’s shape can be optimised by adjusting the compression straps.
Cons: Lack of separate chambers in the main compartment.
#6 Rains – The Mountaineer backpack
Rains is a Danish rainwear brand that specialises in making water-resistant backpacks and other accessories with strong built and durability.
Since they entered into the industry in 2012, they have recreated and reimagined the traditional raincoat or any rainwear item in a revolutionary way. Rains’ backpacks are guaranteed to withstand the test of time and the harshest of the weather.
Out of all their gears, the Mountaineer backpack by Rains is simply the best. The best part of this Scandinavian backpack is that it can accommodate items for up to a week long trip, making it perfect for travel.
Features of the Mountaineer backpack:
- Large main compartment that has multiple easy-access zip pockets
- Padded shoulder straps and adjustable chest strap to ensure extra comfort
- Separate sleeve to store laptop or tablet
- Elastic cord for external storage
- Mesh water bottle pocket
- Front pocket with zippers
- Several attachments loops
Pros: The waterproof fabric of the backpack is designed to withstand water or any harsh rainy weather.
Cons: Due to the great storage capacity, it can feel really heavy and slow you down.
#7 Norrøna – Lofoten pack
Norrøna is a family-owned Norwegian brand that have been making top-notch outdoor products since 1929.
Founded by an adventure enthusiast Jørgen Jørgensen (the most Norwegian-sounding man ever), Norrøna today designs a gear range including backpacks, tents, clothing, and sleeping bags.
Their products are designed for experienced polar explorers, freeride skiers, mountaineers and adventurers.
The Lofoten backpack is their most durable free-ride ski pack, named after the beautiful Lofoten isles in northern Norway. This Norwegian backpack is effective at blocking out inclement weather to reach to your belongings.
- Big main compartment easily accessible through a zippered entrance in the back
- Separate sectioned compartment to carry avalanche equipment
- Bottom compartment for carrying crampons and ropes
- Water-resistant zips
- Aluminium framed back
- Compression straps, hip belt, and chest strap
- Dedicated hydration pocket
- Integrated helmet net
- Ice axe attachments
Pros: Provides excellent back stability
Cons: Relatively expensive for a 30 L Norwegian backpack.
Next up: larger backpacks from Norway and Scandinavia.
If you are travelling for more than a week or two, choose one of these large Scandinavian and Norwegian backpacks. They usually have a compartment for keeping laundry separate and are equipped with shoulder and hip straps to keep the weight balanced.
These are ideal for carrying multiple days’ worth of clothing as well as adventure/ camping gear.
Travellers who spend their time backpacking around the world or going for extended hikes will love to use these Scandinavian and Norwegian backpacks.
Side note: I am not, and have never been a backpacker – but have heard great things about these from people who are, and know they work well on hikes and ski trips lasting several days.
#8 Bergans of Norway – Helium W 55
Bergans of Norway is a Norwegian brand that started its roots in the year 1909. They are mainly an outdoor brand which excels in making apparel for trekkers, skiers, climbers, travellers and extreme adventurers.
They are also a trustable and a leading brand when it comes to durable backpacks! With the Norwegian armed forces even using their patented and versatile backpacks, their products have become a national importance statement.
Out of the various commendable items manufactured by them, the Helium W 55 backpack remains at the top of the list. This Norwegian backpack is used extensively by the passionate outdoor enthusiasts.
Features of the Helium W 55 backpack:
- Equipped with the QuickAdjust™ PRO system that makes it lightweight and more functional
- Ventilated mesh in the back, shoulder straps and hip belt
- Versatile suspension system to distribute weight effectively
- Numerous attachment points for ski, ice axe, poles, and other adventure gears
- Hydration system enabled to drink water on the go
- YKK zippers
- Top opening with snowdrift collar
- Detachable top lid feature that reduces backpack weight by 0.15 pounds
- Stretchable, high-quality mesh side pockets
Pros: Bendable aluminium back moulds to exact curvature of the back, providing excellent support.
Cons: The fabric stitched around this Norwegian backpacks’ metal frame slides up and down, making a constant squeaking noise.
#9 Haglöfs – Roc Summit 45 backpack
Haglöfs is a Swedish brand and amongst the world’s largest producers of outdoor items – which is impressive considering so many people haven’t heard of them.
Started by Wiktor Haglöf, the brand mainly produces three niche products: hardware, apparel, and footwear.
The Roc Summit 45 backpack is an outstanding product that works well when skiing, hiking, mountaineering, or another winter/ snowy activities. This compact and versatile Scandinavian backpack has a capacity of 45 litres.
Features of the Roc Summit 45 backpack:
- Hydration system compatible with internal sleeve and hose routers on both shoulder straps
- Spacious front pocket for safety equipment
- Side compression straps that function as ski carry
- Large compartment and big external pockets for easy accessibility
- Detachable lid with two pockets
- Durable sternum strap with a safety whistle
- 1-Motion™ opening system that enables opening while wearing gloves
- Interact™ support system for good support
- Ice axe attachment available
Pros: Perfect backpack for activities that require to carry a lot of gears and equipment.
Cons: The backpack lacks interior sleeves to keep the belongings organised.
#10 Helly Hansen – Vanir
Last but not least, the Norwegian brand you’ll find everywhere – even in Disney World (I remember selling Helly Hansen when I worked there)!
Helly Hansen’s story began in 1877 when the sea captain Helly Hansen discovered a way to tackle the severe climate and below-zero temperatures. The company successfully created breathable backpacks, popular among sport-lovers, hikers, and practically anyone who relishes the outdoors.
The brand incorporates waterproof technology into their apparel. To date, sailors all over the world appreciate and recommend their Norwegian backpacks. They are precisely manufactured and designed for the most challenging travel days using coarse linen composition soaked in linseed oil.
Vanir is Helly Hansen’s most unique and versatile backpack. Compact and practical simultaneously, this Norwegian backpack is suitable for anyone who loves weekend adventure hikes and other outdoor sports.
It’s incredibly comfy to wear, and while it’s the perfect size for a day’s hike, there’s room for more if you need to stretch things out to a couple of days.
Features of the Vanir backpack:
- Large main compartment covered by a top lid
- Hip belts to provide extra support and comfort
- Expandable front pocket that can accommodate a lot of belongings
- Equipped with a bladder sleeve at the back of the pack
- Adjustable sternum strap with whistle
- Trekking pole attachment
- Ventilated back panel
- External daisy-chains for increased carrying capacity
Pros: A full opening allows you to reach the objects stored in the main compartment easily.
Cons: Limited use during the winter season due to the lack of ice axe attachment loops in this Norwegian backpack.
Scandinavian Backpacks FAQ
These are the 10 best Scandinavian or Norwegian backpacks that I would suggest you check out if you are planning a trip to Norway or any other Nordic country – or if you’re just looking for a great backpack.
In the comment section below, let me know if you have any questions, or if there are other Norwegian backpacks in mind that you would like me to add to this list.
Below I have listed some of the questions I have gotten already, to hopefully make choosing a backpack easier for you!
Sandqvist is a Swedish brand, founded in 2004.
The Roald backpack by Sandqvist is water-resistant, not waterproof.
There are many options for travelling, but it is best to use a large backpack that sits comfortable on your back, like Helly Hansen’s Vanir or Bergans of Norway’s Helium W55 backpack.
Fjällräven, Sandqvist, Helly Hansen, Haglöf and Norrøna are all Scandinavian brands.