In the latest number of Fjällrävens spring and summer edition the first pages are seriously pointing out that lightweight materials and lightweight gear isn’t a must to have a great time in the outdoors.
“Lightweight” isn’t lightweight anymore…
“To chase experiences and not grams”
Even though there’s some truth to this I can’t instantly start thinking that Fjällräven and simliar “heavy weight” material brand are starting to feel some pressure of the lightweight community. All this boils down to that they want to point out that their gear is super durable but still “lightweight enough” to not make you feel cumbersome on your trip. Sustainability is their leading word. I don’t blame them at all. I love that Fjällräven are one of the leading companies towards environmental sustainability just like Patagonia. That is one big factor for me when buying new gear. They must be durable enough to last for years but yet lightweight. On that last point Fjällräven fails but not according to them.
“But lightweight isn’t everything”
On the next text filled page in the latest number they’re pointing out that it’s well know for Fjällrävens items to be passed along from generation to generation. I still feel that many of my lighter weight items would still be able to do just that.
Fredrik Hyltén-Cavallius, product developer,”For us lightweight isn’t everything, really, and we think that the products of the future will separate on this point. Our focus has always been on simple light and functional tents.”
Well yeah. I can’t argue with that but that’s just saying that, all of our stuff will outlive everyone and everything. Sustainability again. I dig that stuff but lighter items be it a tent, a pair of pants or a jacket will still last for a very long time if you care about it. A “heavy duty item” will surely suffer the effect of time if not properly cared for.
I personally own two Fjällräven jackets, a heavy duty sweater, pants, a backpack, duffle and have previously owned a tent (my kids have a small Kånken each) and I can still say that my Patagonia items and similar brand feels just as durable as the Fjällrävens ones even though they’re much lighter and more often have smarter features. Right now, writing this, I even wear my Fjällräven Sörmland Roundneck Sweater, but I would never bring it on a backpacking trip.
What I’m going for with this is that you can be outdoors with both traditional, heavier, items or more lightweight stuff. But from my personal experience I prefer the lightweight option as I feel more comfortable and get to experience more with it as it’s less cumbersome. I do hope that these traditional brand takes a serious look at the cottage manufactures and changes their direction towards lighter but still durable items. I’d love a super lightweight Fjällräven jacket/pant on one of my future trips. But right now I can’t see that happening.
So, I chase the experience with grams. Even though it takes me some more time preparing before going on a trip rather than just visit the local outdoor shop and buy everything they have on the shelf to feel safe and secure.
Lightweight isn’t less durable, if you’re not setting of to go to war with those items which I guess is not the case for most.
All the quotes in this article are freely translated.
Wonder why the try to justify their product strategy instead of promoting it. From my point of view, Fjällräven always was the traditional, natural extra-tough outdoor gear company with a unique design … which is still completely okay! Seems that the market is pushing it a bit too far when it comes to lightweight gear. I love Fjällräven for their products even though I’m with you: “I would never bring it on a backpacking trip”. What is also okay – and probably this proverb fits here: a cobbler should stick to his last …
I totally agree! They are great at what they do and I for one think that they have a very solid customer base.
That was my thought exactly when I read the catalog. They do make a good salepitch though, and almost made me want to buy Fjällräven gear depite my transition to lightweight backpacking.
Completely agree, I had the same impression when I saw their advertisement on youtube, when they where presenting various products and always repeating something like “that’s why lightweight is not enough” (or something like that, don’t remember exactly). I found it was a weird way of defending their products, especially considering that their market target is not exactly the lightweight backpackers! It almost seemed to me that they acknowledged that their products are in a way back in time and have a hard time competing with new technologies.
Yes, and still their products are very popular for the majority of hikers/backpackers. But I gess they want us all 🙂