Review: Fjällräven Foldstack No.3

I bought a new bag yesterday.

I don’t consider myself a bag addict, for the same reason I don’t consider myself a pen or a notebook addict: every single one of each I own is something I own for a particular reason.

I’m just a geek, that care and that wants to find the best for what I am trying to solve.

Some people have one bag, and are happy with that, while others, like myself prefer to have more than one. I currently have three bags and backpacks, if I exclude those related to overnight traveling and hiking.

Two bags and one backpacks. I have a backpack & bag pair from Osprey, both of them are orange, and they are the same model; the only difference is that one of them is a backpack and the other is a bag. The reason I got both of them was that had them pre-packed for different situations, one for work and the other for everything else; the only thing I had to move over was my laptop.

I have been looking for and researching a new bag for a while now. At least a year. The reason is that both my bag and backpack are made to be able to hold a laptop up to 15”. They are great for most things, but horrible when you only need to carry a few things.

The result is that I stick what I need in my coat pockets. Do you know how stupid an overstuffed coat looks? Yeah. That’s why I am looking for a new bag.

My new bag is not large, just enough space the essentials:
– iPhone charger.
– A pair of Apple EarPods.
– iPad mini.
Nock.co Hightower.
– Hobonichi Planner.
– A book.
– Passport.
– Power bar bar.
– Paracetamol.
– Batteries.
– (And probably a Fujifilm X100T, when I finally buy one).

I went for a a Fjällräven Foldstack No.3(I got the navy blue one). It is a high quality product from a great company, even though they are Swedish. Most of their stuff looks great, the only product I think looks bad is the very popular Känken backpack. My mother have winter clothes and backpacks from Fjällräven that was bought in the 60s and 70s that have been used for two or three generations that are ready for at least another one, and probably more than that.

The design is simple and functional. I think it is the perfect bag for the essentials. I’m going to get to why in a moment. But first a little bit about the process that ended with the Foldstack No 3.

I didn’t really know what I was looking for. The only thing I had written down was: “look for a small bag for the essentials”. But what I wanted became pretty clear as I looked at countless options. It had to be around the same size as a A4 page. The reason is that this looked like the sweet spot between having enough room and too much; the latter always ends in me bringing way too much junk. And I wanted something simple: in terms of design, in terms of how to open and close it, and in terms of the compartment system.

I’m in general not a fan of complicated compartment systems, unless they are designed very well, which most aren’t. But there are exceptions, like for example Tom Bihn, and some Osprey products, but not all, including some I own. The Foldstack No 3 has a very simple two compartment system: a large main compartment, that you can expand with a push button on each side, if you need extra room & a small zip pocket on the outside.

I always keep my passport, EarPods and a few AAA batteries for my Bose QC 15 Noise Cancelling headphones. The kind of stuff you want easy access to. And I keep the rest in the main compartment. There is more or less just enough room for what I want to bring everywhere, with some room to spare, but not enough for me to get the: “what else can I put in here” itch.

Which is exactly what I wanted from this bag. I’m very happy with it so far.