The Best North Face Backpacks In 2023

Last updated: Today

Erin Carpenter

Top 5 Best North Face Backpacks 2023:

  1. The North Face Borealis Men’s Backpack
  2. The North Face Recon Backpack
  3. The North Face Jester Backpack
  4. The North Face Women’s Surge Backpack
  5. The North Face Vault Backpack

North Face is a well-known name for its renowned outdoor clothing products, footwear, and accessories. They have undoubtedly earned such a high place in the industry because of the quality, durability, and effort they put into making their products.

One of their trademarks is the specialized backpack that is sure to sustain and adapt to any situation.

So, no matter whether you are a passionate traveler, mountaineer, or just a regular college student – you need the best North Face backpack.

These rucksacks are the most convenient when it comes to carrying your personal belongings and keeping them safe on all of your travels, hikes, outdoor activities, or everyday commute to your job, college, or school.

To be honest, they do more than just help you carry your stuff, with all the specialized features they possess.

For that purpose, we’ve dissected the five best North Face backpacks and described them for you.

See Also: The Best Survival Backpack

5 Best North Face Backpacks In 2023: Detailed Reviews

After many hours of testing, these are the five North Face backpacks that made it to our list, based on characteristics that you can check out in the next section.

We’ve made sure to cover all types so that you can find your pick among these, and here’s a closer look at them.

1. The North Face Borealis Men’s Backpack – Editor’s Pick

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Our first pick, the Borealis Men’s model, was built so that it can sustain everything, from hunting to hiking.

Let’s break down the features.

It was built from a premium combination of materials – mesh, nylon, and polyester that come in all colors. When we say “all,” we literally think so; there are as many as 38 different color varieties, from the basic black and white to the camo print.

We liked its all-purpose design. There is a quality zipper closure around the large main compartment with many pockets and a sleeve for laptops of all sizes. Those of you who like hiking will be happy to learn that there is also a hydration port for drinking water hands-free.

Bottles of water can be stored in secure mesh side-pockets. They can stretch to fit bottles of around 32oz.

So, as you can see, this backpack can store anything that you want, and there is plenty of space. But that’s not even its strongest feature!

The shoulder straps feel incredibly comfortable thanks to the FlexVent injection, meaning they contain PE foam. You can wear this backpack for hours, even if it is overloaded, and you won’t feel fatigued.

Finally, there are several buckles for securing the rucksack to your body – two on the side corners, and one on the back for your waist.


  • Versatile
  • Many different styles
  • The deepest laptop sleeve (17 inches)
  • The largest capacity (32L)
  • Has a hydration port
  • Extremely comfortable


  • No cons here!

2. The North Face Women’s Surge Backpack – Best Round-Shape Backpack

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We consider all the North Face backpacks unisex, so the name of this model might be a bit misleading.

The thing is that the models that they make for men tend to be bigger, so you should pay attention to the dimensions of the backpack you want to buy, having in mind your height.

Other than that, we don’t see any significant differences.

This model is roundish, compared to the other models, and a bit shorter. You either like this shape, or you don’t. We did, and the color that we got was New Taupe Green Light Heather with Twill Beige highlights. Other than that, there are 18 color varieties that you can pick from.

Its size does not come at the cost of its capacity. It has a large main compartment where you can store books or any other stuff, a padded, fleece-lined tablet sleeve, and a lie-flat dedicated laptop compartment. The maximum size of the laptop you can carry is around 15 inches.

The model that we got was 100% polyester. If you opt for another but color, the materials might also change, e.g., there are nylon ones. Both of these are durable and easy to maintain.

The straps (that are also a bit shorter with this model) are made with the FlexVent suspension system that perfectly aligns with your shoulders and prevents any pain.


  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Suitable for college & everyday use
  • FlexVent injection foam in the straps
  • Mesh ventilation on the back


  • Doesn’t have a rigid base (cannot stand upright)

3. The North Face Recon Backpack – Best Backpack for Travelers

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The third pick on our list is the best bet for those of you who are looking for a decent capacity (30L) combined with a sleek design.

The North Face Recon backpack does not look robust but can hold a lot of stuff.

Firstly, there is a large main compartment that contains a padded, fleece-lined 15-inch laptop sleeve and sturdy zipper closure. 

Although this laptop pocket is advertised as “15-inch,” we’ve managed to put a 17-inch laptop without any problems there, which came to us as a pleasant surprise.

On the outside, there are two water bottle pockets made from stretch mesh, an external fleece-lined pocket for sunglasses or smaller gadgets, and a front stash pocket that can stretch on the sides for some additional items.

Oh, and it even has a pen holder! We always like to see lovely little details like this one.

The backpack itself was made of 100% polyester.

Again, North Face went out of its way to ensure that your comfort is on the maximum level.

There is the padded air-mesh back panel with a spine channel and PE sheet for back support, along with the BackSaver bottom panel with compression. This ergonomic design basically protects all of your body parts that can strain from wearing a backpack.


  • A lot of pockets
  • Breathable mesh on the back panel
  • Secure hip belt
  • Comfortable
  • Comes in 19 stylish variants
  • Large main compartment


  • If you want a backpack for hiking, some other models might be better
  • A water bottle dropped out a couple of times outside of the pocket

4. The North Face Jester Backpack – Best Budget-Friendly Backpack

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It’s a fact: North Face products are not really cheap, though this is normal, considering how quality and durable they are.

One of the products that can be categorized as “inexpensive” is their Jester backpack model.

It is also their best-selling model, and, naturally, we had to check out whether its main selling point and the most significant advantage was the lower price.

We were happy to learn that it’s not the case; all of its characteristics, instead, account for its success.

It has a slightly lower capacity than other North Face backpacks (26L), but this is a small disadvantage for such a bargain. You can still fit pretty much anything that you want, including the laptop, books, binders, clothes, etc.

That’s why this backpack is great for everyday use like for college & school, but also for trips that do not require a lot of packing.

One thing we must admit we didn’t like was the bungee cord in the main compartment. Once you fasten it, it somehow blocks all the other pockets inside, so that you have to untie it first, and then access your other items.

The front accessory pocket is easily accessible, though, and it has an integrated key clip, combined with two mesh water bottle pockets on the side and a removable hip belt for support. 

The laptop that can fit inside this backpack should not be bigger than 15 inches.


  • Available in over 30 different color varieties
  • Contours to your spine nicely
  • High-quality polyester
  • Stylish
  • FlexVent suspension system
  • Suitable for everyday use


  • Gets a bit tight when it is 80+% stoked
  • The bungee cord makes the inner pockets inaccessible

5. The North Face Vault Backpack – Best Backpack for Students

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The North Face Vault model is again one of those “roundish” backpacks that are a bit smaller. Compared to the similarly priced models, Vault stands out for its functionality.

The company has rolled out this model to be the best for regular outdoor activities, such as cycling, or for students who need a lot of specialized pockets.

While it may look small at first, its capacity is actually 28L, which is more than enough for most of the uses.

It features a lot of pockets and sleeves. The main compartment is large, and there is a laptop sleeve that is around 15 inches deep. Then, there is the second compartment with a secure zippered pocket, a Velcro pocket, and two pen pockets. Oh, and there is also a smartphone compartment!

Therefore, one can organize all of the school supplies and gadgets for everyday use.

In addition, this backpack is equipped with a reflective bike-light loop, water bottle tabs, and a reflective shoulder strap, that create 360 degrees of reflectivity.

Again, the type of polyester that you’ll get varies with the color (we got 600D, but there are also 1200D, 450D x 300D, etc.).

The ventilation of the material is excellent, as it is the case with all North Face backpacks.

However, its main strength lies in its ergonomic design. The comfortable back panel is made from padded air-mesh and contains a PE sheet for extra back support. 


  • Ultra-sturdy zippers
  • Contains a lot of pockets
  • Great for students
  • Suitable for kids


  • The pockets are difficult to clean and dry
  • Narrow opening on the front pocket

Why Do You Need A North Face Backpack?

Now, you may think that you need a new backpack – but you’re asking why precisely the North Face?

Well, the attention to detail, the comfort they provide for their customers, and, ultimately, the durability of their backpacks is beyond any other manufacturer.

1. Attention To Details

North Face backpacks have many features patented by the company, which makes you appreciate that extra-effort they have put into making the best backpacks.

Our favorite are the following two:

  • The FlexVent Suspension System – What this actually means is that, when the technology is implemented, a sort of free space inside the material is created. It is then filled with PE (Polyethylene) foam that adapts nicely to your body and reduces any pain and fatigue. You will feel as if you own a personalized backpack because it molds according to your spine! The “Vent” part means that there is ventilation to reduce sweating and warm feel on your back.
  • Fleece-lined pockets – Fleece pockets are not unique to North Face backpacks nowadays, but they did it first, and no one has managed to utilize them in the way North Face has. They protect all of the delicate and small items you want to carry, e.g., sunglasses or keys and pens.

2. Comfort

Thanks to the FlexVent system we’ve just explained, and smart padding, your back, shoulders, and neck won’t hurt when you’re wearing a North Face backpack, even if it is fully loaded.

Sweatproof technology is also something that cannot go unmentioned. A North Face backpack will be equally comfortable for summer and a winter hike, hours of walking, or instead of a suitcase.

3. Durability

These backpacks can take hours in the sun, snow, rain, and any other weather conditions, can be washed dozens of times, and they’ll still be like you’d just bought them.

We’ve heard the rumors that they can sustain even natural disasters.

Jokes aside, the testimony to the durability of the North Face backpacks is the fact that they are covered under a lifetime warranty. It cannot be longer than that!

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should destroy the backpack on purpose, but under normal conditions, you’ll be able to use your warranty.

Factors To Consider When Buying A North Face Backpack

Now that you know why North Face, let’s see what you should consider so that the model that you choose is the best for you.

1. Material

Usually, there would be a need to elaborate on the materials and present all of the available options to our readers.

However, North Face has chosen the unique formula and combination of materials that have proved to be the best, and it goes like this:

  • Polyester, sturdy & easy to wash
  • Mash breathable, used for pockets and the side that goes along your back
  • Nylon, extremely durable

2. Capacity

The capacity (or storage space) of a backpack is measured in liters (L) that it can take.

All of the North Face backpacks can be categorized as midsize to large backpacks. The smallest is around 27L, and our biggest capacity pick is 32L.

Our advice is to go for the bigger ones, as it’s better to have a large capacity, even if you don’t intend to use it all the time. 

By the way, this also accounts for the size of the backpack. So, you might want to check the dimensions if you’re planning to use your backpacks as hand luggage.

3. Design

While all North Face backpacks look really good, and we are adamant that there is no bad-looking one, everybody has their preferences.

All of our top five picks differ to a bigger or lesser extent in their shape, so you get to choose between a round or square one, with a big logo, different color varieties, etc.

Our Final Words

At the end of our expedition, all that is left is to proclaim the best North Face backpack.

So, the best choice overall is the Borealis North Face backpack. It can sustain anything, from a strenuous hike to a long journey and will be a precious companion for all your adventures.

The runner-up is the North Face Recon backpack – a great everyday choice, but suitable for outdoor activities, such as cycling. It also makes an excellent choice for hand luggage.

If you’re shopping on a budget, you might want to check the North Face Jester Backpack.

About Erin Carpenter

Erin Carpenter has over 15 years experience in the diamond industry working with Artic Canadian Diamonds, Anglo-American Diamonds. She is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as USA Today, Forbes, The New York Times and more.