Best North Face Backpack in 2021

From a humble beginning in a little shop in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood to one of the most trusted brands worldwide, The North Face product line has helped outdoor athletes explore some of the most extreme places on earth. Beyond sports and outdoor adventures, The North Face brand includes an extensive line of high quality and reliable backpacks for everyday use. This comparison of the best North Face backpacks will help you choose the best one for your needs.

What You Should Know Before Buying North Face Backpack

About North Face brand

The North Face brand began in 1966 as a small retail store owned by two hiking enthusiasts selling mountaineering equipment. The brand later expanded into designing and manufacturing its brand of mountaineering and extreme skiing apparel and equipment.

Since then, The North Face brand has invested in innovative designs and technology to deliver an extensive line of high-performance sports apparel, equipment, and backpacks. The North Face backpacks feature an uncompromising quality and fit that suits your outdoor activities and lifestyle.

What should I look for in a North Face backpack

What sets this brand apart from the competition? Most users will tell you that their North Face backpacks lasted forever. That speaks a great deal about quality and durability, as well as functionality.

The commitment to innovation has helped the brand attract a wide customer base beyond their traditional outdoor adventurers and athletes to professionals and college students. Here are some of the features you can expect from The North Face backpacks.

Backpack Construction

Backpacks made by North Face use multiple fabrics, innovative internal frame technology and compartment organization to improve the durability and function of the bags. That is why your North Face backpack lasts so long and keeps going for years.

Fabric

One of the most common fabrics that you will find on The North Face backpacks is 600D polyester. It is a high-quality and durable fabric that comes in a variety of colors. One of the reasons why it is common is that it is affordable, and it delivers top performance in durability and wear-resistance in whichever activity you use the backpack. Other fabrics that you can expect to find on a North Face backpack include Cordura and Nylon Ripstop.

Ventilation

Regardless of how you use your backpack, the back panel design helps a lot with comfort when carrying the pack. North Face backpacks feature a padded back panel with a breathable mesh to help keep your back and the contents of your rucksack dry from sweating. The packs also feature breathable shoulder straps that help with comfort and provide grip, so the straps do not slip off your shoulder.

The polyester and nylon fabric used on the North Face backpacks is gentle and will not wear out your clothes with friction. However, the effectiveness of the air mesh is generally dependent on the user experience.

Capacity

The North Face features a wide backpack variety for every use, and each model comes with its different capacity. The North Face backpacks for everyday use with the largest sizes are the Router Transit with 41L for men and North Face Surge with 31L for women. In my review, the Terra backpack has the largest capacity of 65L. However, it is a travel backpack and not for everyday use.

Technology

The North Face backpacks feature a FlexVent suspension system, the technology North Face uses to create a flexible internal frame for their packs. It features a foam-padded back panel with breathable mesh for ventilation and custom injection-molded shoulder straps for ultimate comfort.

The larger backpacks such as the Terra 65L feature the OptiFit suspension system that delivers top performance in back panel ventilation, weight distribution, and fit. The technology allows you to adjust waist belt and shoulder straps to fit your body and improve the weight distribution and comfort of wearing the pack.

What’s the Best North Face Backpack?

The North Face brand has a wide variety of backpack models and what I like most about this brand is their custom-designed backpacks for women.

I have narrowed down the reviews to the five most popular packs, and I have added variety with the North Face Duffel bag for air travel. The backpack reviews come with their pros and cons and an FAQ section at the end. Please let me know which is your favorite North Face backpack in the comments section below.

1. North Face Recon Backpack

Specs
Price: 💲💲
Capacity: 30 Liters
Size: 19.3 x 13 x 7 in (48.9 x 33 x 17.8 cm)
Fabric: 600D Polyester, 1680D Ballistic Nylon.

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I begin these reviews with the iconic Recon backpack. It is the best North Face backpack on my list, and it offers more space capacity and better organization for college, work, and hiking than the Jester and Borealis bags.

It features a dedicated 15-inch laptop compartment at the back, which on the downside, does not have any padding to protect your machine. The main section has more space than the Jester backpack, with a deep and compact shape that helps distribute the weight evenly.

Another feature I like on this backpack is the expandable stash front pocket, which I find more convenient to use than the bungee cord. It has daisy chains for added lash points, and for your small items, the backpack comes with a top half organization pocket. The back and shoulder support is top-notch with its FlexVent suspension system, which provides padded comfort when carrying the pack.

Pros

  • High-quality construction with durable fabric,
  • Generous capacity for multipurpose use,
  • Includes sternum and waist straps for support,
  • Available in a wide range of attractive colors,
  • Excellent weight distribution

Cons

  • No padding in the laptop compartment

2. North Face Jester Backpack

Specs
Price: 💲
Capacity: 27.5 Liters
Weight: 1.6 lb (0.7 kg)
Size: 19.8 x 13.3 x 7.5 in (50.2 x 33.7 x 19.1 cm)
Fabric: 600D Polyester Emboss, 600D Polyester Print, 300D Heather Polyester

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The budget-priced Jester is a highly rated North Face backpack designed for college students. It features a compact design that gives it excellent weight distribution when you load it with your college books. The front pocket offers better organization, while the main compartment gives you 28L of space for books and binders and a padded 15-inch laptop sleeve. On the downside, it is oval-shaped with a narrow opening, which limits its capacity to carry large binders and hardcover books. The men’s version of this backpack features a 29L capacity.

On the upside, the Jester college pack features a comfortably padded back and lumber panel to give you back support with flexible shoulder straps to help you carry it for long periods. The backpack uses 600D polyester construction, which gives it durability and maintains its bright colors.

Pros

  • Comfortable back and shoulder support,
  • Lightweight and versatile,
  • Padded laptop sleeve protects laptop against impact,
  • High-quality construction and design

Cons

  • Small capacity for large books,
  • Shallow front pocket

3. North Face Women’s Borealis Backpack

Specs
Price: 💲💲
Capacity: 28 Liters
Size: 19.8 x 13.3 x 9.8 in (50.2 x 33.7 x 24.8 cm)
Lining: Polyester

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The Women’s Borealis is one of the more popular women-specific backpacks made by North Face. It is similar in some ways to the Jester backpack that we looked at previously, and it is also perfect for college use. For example, they are both 28L capacity, and both are perfect for school and everyday carry. They both feature the FlexVent suspension system that includes padded back and lumber panels for back support and custom molded shoulder straps to fit women. They also both support 15-inch laptops and have an elastic bungee cord system for external storage.

However, the Borealis is a premium backpack with higher quality construction with its nylon ripstop fabric and enhanced organization. It comes with a dedicated laptop compartment, which leaves the main section for books and clothes.

The Borealis has a front organization compartment with a padded tablet sleeve and a zipped pocket. It also features a fleece-lined pocket for small items and two expandable water bottle side pouches. The backpack is durable with excellent ergonomics and weight distribution for a daypack.

Pros

  • High-quality fabric construction,
  • Excellent impact protection for your laptop,
  • Ergonomic fit for women,
  • Features a dedicated laptop compartment

Cons

  • Small capacity for large books,
  • Uncomfortable waist belt

4. North Face Medium Berkeley Duffel

Specs
Price: 💲💲
Capacity: 49 Liters
Size: 23.5 x 12 x 11 in (59.7 x 30.5 x 27.9 cm)
Fabric: 600D 100% Recycled Polyester with Non-PFC Durable Water-repellent (non-PFC DWR)

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The North Face weekend duffel is the perfect bag for the gym, weekend trips, and as a carry on bag for air travel. The signature style of this duffel bag includes removable back straps to carry it as a backpack. It also features a padded shoulder strap and two padded haul handles with an attractive leather connector to grab and go.

Besides the classy design and comfortable carry options, the bag comes with a generous 49L main compartment with a wide opening to help you pack and access your contents easily. It also features a zippered side pocket for shoes and two zippered front pockets for convenience. Another fantastic feature is that the bag uses 100% recycled 600D polyester. It is a durable and attractive alternative that has less environmental impact than traditional polyester.

Pros

  • Attractive design with convenient organization,
  • Perfect size for carry-on,
  • Environmentally friendly,
  • Good value for the money

Cons

  • Uncomfortable shoulder straps

5. North Face Terra Backpacking Backpack

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲
Capacity: 65 Liters
Weight: 4 lb (1.8 kg)
Size: 24.8 x 13.4 x 10.6 in (63 x 34 x 26.9 cm)
Fabric: 210D Nylon with non-PFC Durable Water-repellent (non-PFC DWR), 600D Polyester

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Backpacking is an exciting way to travel on a budget where you have to carry all your traveling possessions in a backpack such as the North Face Terra backpack. While backpacking is the best way to have an authentic experience of the people and culture of the places you are visiting, it also means that you need a particular backpack that can carry everything you need comfortably.

The Terra comes in 55L and 65L capacity, and they also have a 55L capacity backpack specially for women. Since it is such a big backpack, the priority would be on comfort and load distribution. To help you with this, the pack features adjustable shoulder straps and a waist belt that helps to adjust and equalize the weight distribution on the go. The back panel is cushioned with padded foam and breathable mesh for comfort, while the waist belt and shoulder straps give you support and a secure fit.

The main compartment and extra pockets are features that I also like about the Terra. The main section opens up with a J-zip, and it gives you easy access to the contents. Its several other pockets help you organize your stuff, and it comes with a floating lid to store your sleeping bag or tent.

Pros

  • Large capacity for all your necessities,
  • A comfortable suspension system for carrying,
  • Hydration pack compatible,
  • Great quality and value for the money,
  • Lightweight with excellent weight distribution

Cons

  • Too large for a carry-on bag

The North Face brand is popular with experienced adventurers and people who need an everyday backpack. Their high-performance packs with innovative designs and affordable prices are attractive to a wide range of users. A casual browsing of their products on Amazon will tell you how highly rated these backpacks are.

However, if I had to narrow it down to one North Face backpack, I would recommend The North Face Recon Backpack. It shares similar features with the Jester and Women’s Borealis, except that it has a larger capacity, which makes it more versatile for multiple uses.

Questions and Answers About North Face Backpack

Do all North Face backpacks have a lifetime warranty?

The North Face provides a lifetime warranty to all its North Face branded backpacks. The warranty covers manufacturing defects in workmanship and materials for the lifetime of the backpack. However, the warranty does not cover normal wear and tear.

What’s the best North Face backpack for backpacking?

The North Face Terra is the best bag for backpacking. It delivers top performance in comfort for carrying large loads and generous space for all your gear with several compartments. The Terra backpack is available in both the 55L and 65L capacity models, and they also have a specially designed 55L model for women.

What’s the best North Face backpack for hiking?

The North Face Jester model is an excellent option for a day hike. At 28L capacity, it gives you sufficient space for food, water, and some clothing. It is a lightweight backpack with durable construction for the outdoors. If you are considering a longer hike, I recommend the Terra backpack, which has more capacity.

What’s the best North Face backpack for school?

North Face Borealis is the best backpack for school. Although it is smaller than the Recon pack, the Borealis offers better features for college students, such as the dedicated laptop compartment with impact protection. It is also lightweight with excellent ergonomics for carrying your books all day.

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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