How to Clean Kanken Backpack (6 Tips)

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An Uncomplicated Guide with 6 Steps on How to Clean Kanken Backpack

Do you love your Fjallraven Kanken backpack as much as I do? The iconic Swedish design is not only stylish but also durable and functional.

However, if you’re anything like me, you probably tend to neglect cleaning your backpack until it’s visibly dirty or smells funky.

These backpacks are designed to be durable and not contribute to the issue of fast fashion and waste. So, the question is: how to clean a Kanken backpack?

Fear not! With a little effort and some simple steps, you can easily clean your Kanken backpack and keep it looking and smelling fresh.

Cleaning a Fjallraven Kanken

You can absolutely wash your Kanken backpack, but with care.

Your pack can withstand a lot of debris and water and may not need as much "washing" as you think.  Simply dust it off after each hike to avoid having to wash it.  The biggest problem will likely be mold from food left in the bag or if you let it sit overwinter in a closed closet. 

From least to most damaging ways to wash:

1. Avoid placing on exterior walls or closets where mold will occur

2. Hand spot clean with cloth, old toothbrush

3. Hand wash with soapy water

4. Soak in tub with soapy water

5. Machine wash on gentle cycle

Never place it in the dryer.

Get it to dry completely by hanging it up to air dry indoors.

comprehensive guide on how to clean Kanken backpack:

1. Empty Your Backpack

The first step is to empty your backpack and remove any loose debris. This includes any crumbs, wrappers, or papers that might be lying around. Once you’ve emptied the backpack, shake it gently to remove any remaining debris.

2. Spot Clean Stains

If your Kanken backpack has any noticeable stains, it’s best to spot clean them before washing the entire backpack. Use a damp cloth and a mild detergent or stain remover to gently rub the stain. Be careful not to use too much water, as this can damage the backpack’s material.

3. Hand Wash Your Backpack

Fill a sink or bathtub with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Submerge your Kanken backpack in the water and use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub any remaining dirt or stains. Pay special attention to the straps, zippers, and pockets. Rinse your backpack thoroughly with clean water and gently squeeze out any excess water.

4. Machine Wash Your Backpack (Optional)

If your Kanken backpack is extremely dirty or has a strong odor, you may want to machine wash it. However, before doing so, make sure to check the care instructions on the Kanken website to ensure that your specific model is machine washable. Use a gentle cycle and cold water, and place the backpack in a pillowcase or laundry bag to protect it during the wash. Do not use bleach or fabric softener.

5. Air Dry Your Backpack

Once you’ve finished washing your Kanken backpack, hang it up to air dry. Do not use a dryer or expose the backpack to direct sunlight, as this can cause damage or discoloration. Instead, hang it in a well-ventilated area and wait for it to dry completely.

6. Apply a Waterproof Spray

Kanken backpacks are made from durable and water-resistant material, but applying a waterproof spray can help keep your backpack looking new for longer. Before applying the spray, make sure that your backpack is clean and dry. Follow the instructions on the spray can and apply a thin, even layer over the entire backpack. Allow the spray to dry completely before using your backpack again.


In conclusion, cleaning your Kanken backpack may seem like a daunting task, but it’s essential to ensure that your backpack stays in top condition. By following these simple steps, you can easily clean your Kanken backpack and keep it looking and smelling fresh. Happy cleaning!

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Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.