Fjallraven: Swedish Gear Manufacturer Brings Tradition to the States

 As soon as I saw the double-barrel shotgun, I knew Fjällräven was 0n the right track. The start of a hike through some of Colorado’s most beautiful backcountry wouldn’t be the same without a shotgun start.

I was at the North Canadian trailhead, near Walden, Colorado, for the inaugural Fjällräven Classic USA, a three-day, 20-mile backpacking trip. The idea was simple: find 20 stunning miles of hiking trail and invite friends to come along for the trek. The company would provide food and water along the way and offer a shuttle service from Denver and Boulder to the trailhead. All I had to do was pack a backpack and join them.

At the trailhead, Carl Hård af Segerstad, brand communications manager at Fjällräven, addressed the crowd of hikers. A tan, well-built man with a thick, full beard, Carl looked like he was born to wear the company’s clothing. A few words of welcome in Swedish, followed by the shotgun blast, and the first of three waves of hikers was off.

Fjällräven launched its first Classic in Sweden 12 years ago. Since then, more than 2,000 people from around the world have traveled to Swedish Lapland every year to hikethe 112-kilometer Kungsleden trail. The folks at Fjällräven hope this first U.S. hike will evolve into a similar tradition. The goal is to get novice backpackers on their first overnight. The $200 registration fee covers food and water on the trail, plusbeerand a barbeque at the end. And, of course, the ease and camaraderie of hiking with more than 100 new friends.