Fjällräven’s Famous G-1000 Fabric
By Kaisa, Jonathan, and Marta
This comfortable, versatile, durable and hard-wearing fabric is a key material in much of Fjällräven’s apparel and equipment. In this article, we explore how this fabric was created, what it is, how it’s used, and how to repair your garments to keep them useful for many years to come.
A Timeless Fabric For Explorers
When a Scandinavian expedition explored Greenland in 1966, their provider of very functional backpacks and tents was Fjällräven – at the time, a relatively unknown brand that had been recently founded in 1960 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. At this time other manufacturers made polar exploration outerwear that was bulky and slow-drying, being mostly made of leather, with wool for insulation. Following the expedition, there was an outcry for something better. Åke Nordin, the company’s founder, was inspired by these criticisms to create, using his mother’s sewing machine, a performance jacket: the original Greenland Jacket. The fabric he used came from a piece of leftover tent fabric, which was too heavy to be made into a lightweight tent, but served perfectly for a piece of hardy outdoor clothing. After a bit of experimentation and applying his home-made wax (a combination of beeswax and paraffin) in order to make the fabric more water-repellent, Greenland Wax and the G-1000 fabric were created.
Adaptable For A Lifetime In Nature
G-1000 has since become Fjällräven’s cornerstone material. They use it across their range in everything from trousers to backpacks, jackets and more. It’s a really tough polycotton blend consisting of 65% polyester and 35% cotton. Applying Greenland Wax is done by rubbing it into the fabric and then melting it with a heat source such as an iron, hair dryer or even holding it – at a safe distance – above a campfire. The wax makes the treated fabric more water repellent and durable.
One of the beauties of this fabric/wax system lies in its versatility: it’s highly recommended to be applied across the areas which are more exposed to the wet such as shoulders, chest, upper back and the fronts of the legs. However, you can purposely not apply the wax to more sheltered areas such as the backs of the legs, the part of your back that sits behind a backpack and under the arms. Having this choice makes your garment more breathable and comfortable where you know you need it. Many other hard-shell and soft-shell garments do not share the same versatility as G-1000 clothing. Since it’s easy to customise, it also makes the fabric very adaptable for the conditions you’re in. When more breathability in the fabric is needed, simply wash the garment to remove the wax and start again.
People often ask whether the waxed fabric is waterproof. It’s not, but it is water-repellent and as a result, it’s a lot more comfortable to wear all day in drizzly or showery weather than traditional waterproofs, where you inevitably end up a bit sweaty in even the best kit.
Finally, all G-1000 materials offer UV protection, with the G-1000 Original and HD fabrics also protecting against mosquitoes and other biting insects to keep you comfortable when you’re out in nature.
G-1000 For All Your Needs
To provide more versatility within its range, Fjällräven has developed 5 different versions of the G-1000 fabric with different uses in mind.
- Original: Hard-wearing, durable, ventilating, wind-resistant, offering UV protection, and even mosquito-proof, this is made as your perfect all-rounder within the range. The Raven and Greenland Winter jackets are classic examples, as is the Keb range of jackets and trousers.
- Heavy Duty or “HD”: As you’d expect from the name, this is incredibly tough. It is waxed on both sides of the fabric to make it extra resilient, and is used in items which are likely to get a lot of wear and where strength is a priority over ventilation. It is mostly used on bags, or to reinforce clothing in strategic places (e.g. the shoulders and arms on the super tough Barents Winter Parka, and the knees and seat on the Vidda Pro and Barents Pro trousers), to make it as durable as possible.
- Silent: Popular with hunters and wildlife photographers, this fabric is brushed to give it a lovely soft feel and ensure less sound when moving. Otherwise, it shares the same features as G-1000 Original. The women’s Karla Pro and men’s Nils trousers both use this fabric.
- Lite: Lighter and more flexible than the original fabric, this version uses a gridded ripstop pattern to ensure it resists tearing and remains strong. Lite still gives UV protection, but isn’t mosquito-proof. Great examples can be found in the Skogsö, men’s Sten and women’s Stina jackets: they use G-1000 Original in the shoulders and other more exposed/higher wear areas, while the rest is G-1000 Lite.
- Air: The most breathable fabric, great for summer trekking. It is much lighter and has a looser weave than G-1000 Lite, to give better ventilation. It still offers protection from UV but is purposely not wind or water resistant. The High Coast Shade jackets use this material. The most recent addition to the G-1000 family is a slightly stretchy version of this fabric called G-1000 Air Stretch. It is used in the fantastic new award-winning Abisko Midsummer Trousers and Shorts, in combination with a stretchy polyester fabric. These were designed with warm weather hiking in mind, and in particular the Hong Kong edition of the Fjällräven Classic – an incredible trekking experience!
These different versions neatly exemplify how you can tailor and adapt your G-1000 clothing to suit the conditions with the Greenland Wax: most items made of G-1000 Original and HD materials come pre-waxed to give maximum wind- and water- resistance. G-1000 Lite garments are designed for slightly warmer weather, and so come only lightly waxed, to give a balance between breathability and weather resistance. Garments made to suit summer using G-1000 Air are unwaxed to give maximum ventilation.
As part of Fjällräven’s commitment to reducing their environmental impact, they have now developed Eco versions of each of their G-1000 fabrics, using recycled polyester and organic cotton. Fjällräven is quickly expanding the use of these across their range wherever possible, but not all are made from Eco fabrics yet. The iconic Keb Jacket and trousers, and new Kaipak range are great examples of some of the clothing that uses this more environmentally friendly material.
Easy Repair For Another Generation Of Use
A common question we get from customers is why is Fjällräven clothing and equipment more expensive than other brands. G-1000 plays a role in this because it’s a material which is very durable and has strong eco credentials, so costs more to produce. View the initial cost of any Fjällräven product as an investment; these garments perform really well and are meant to last for years; if they break they are designed to be easy to repair. Fjällräven’s YouTube channel has many helpful guides to help you care for and repair your kit. To get you started, here’s their guide for how to patch a hole in G-1000: