The North Face Backpacks:
Tough Enough for Expeditions
With 40 years of innovation and exploration setting the foundation of its business, North Face backpacks are one of the most reliable brands backed by a solid reputation for tough gear.
From its humble beginnings in San Francisco in the late 1960s, The North Face took on the challenge to manufacture technical mountaineering equipment and provide high-perfromance climbing gear and backpacks.
The company name derives from the “coldest, most unforgiving side of the mountain” illustrated by the half-dome logo that continues to be a recognized symbol of high quality and durability. Not too surprising for a California outfit, the inspiration came from the Half Dome in Yosemite, one of the world’s great natural climbing walls.
Over the last few decades, North Face backpacks have scaled the Himalayas on expeditions and conquered remote corners of the globe.
Today, The North Face offers a wide range of outdoor gear, sportswear, tents, sleeping bags and footwear. All of their efforts reinforces the company mantra to Never Stop Exploring. Pushing the boundaries of outdoor product innovation, allows you to push the boundaries of exploration.
A full range of North Face backpacks are available from expedition packs for remote, mountaintop treks; performance packs for technical climbing; backpacking journeys to Asia or Europe; and day trips to local outdoor getaways.
Environmental and Social Responsibility
The North Face commits to a strong alliance of sustainability and conservation to protect the planet and those who enjoy exploring it. Part of its business approach is to develop products that incorporate environmental, economic, philanthropic and social factors into its everyday practices. The company asserts that sustainable principles are part and parcel of its brand heritage.
To stand by their commitment, The North Face concentrates on several programs:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Design and innovate sustainable products.
- Eliminate waste in operations.
- Inspire employees, customers and communities to Live the Brand.
The company encourages community participation for employees and ensures strong fair labor standards at factories and stores around the world. Each department is evaluated for annual sustainability goals.
With a passion for product innovation, technologies and fabrics merge high performance with the elimination of harsh chemicals and excess materials to reduce waste. The overall effort is to integrate sustainability as an advantage by making positive changes in an emerging global economy.
The following accomplishments showcase the efforts of The North Face towards practicing the above principles:
- The company offsets its North American operations energy use with 100% wind energy by purchasing certifiable credits. It also cooperates with the EPA Climate Leaders program to benchmark and reduce its carbon footprint.
- Employee activities are offset through a forest restoration program that encouraged land conservation.
- A founding partner of the Conservation Alliance over 20 years ago, the company started the Legacy Fund with a US$ 1 million grant to protect threatened wild places.
- For local communities assisting The North Face to explore global summits, two programs were launched. The Himalayan Cataract Project seeks to cure blindness in Nepal mountain villages. And another project that teaches lifesaving climbing and rope techniques to Sherpas.
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North Face Backpacks: Best Seller Selections
According to the manufacturer, this assortment of North Face backpacks represent some of the best selling models on the market. Whether you’re looking for a sturdy day pack for urban use or a hiking pack for the wilderness, give these popular backpacksa first glance.
North Face Surge
(Urban, School, Day Hikes – 2170ci/35L)
Are you an urban warrior? The Surge gets rave reviews for being a functional laptop computer bag with lots of padding and secure straps to keep your machine upright and well protected.
The North Face Surge
Organize your books, clothes and large items in the main compartment that also has a separate sleeve for the computer. All 15″ portables fit nicely, but a 17″ with a neoprene jacket could be very snug.
A middle section keeps your cell phone and other gear ready for quick access and the front compartment has zippered pockets and a safe place to insert your MP3 player. Many buyers were impressed with the amount of overall padding compared to other brands.
And for those pesky power cables, a small bottom pocket keeps them out of the way and always in the right place.
On the outside there are two water bottle slots and compression straps to tighten up the load when in transit or on long day hikes. Mesh panels and the North Face BackSaver technology give more comfort and a stowable hipbelt provides support for heavy loads.
If you travel by air, be aware that some international flights ask you to check-in the Surge if its overweight, so don’t stuff it to the max and save some hassles.
Colors available: Black, Zinc Gray, Saratoga Green, Deep Water Blue/Basin Blue, Cherry Stain Brown
A durable, full-feature daypack with a dedicated laptop pocket and large capacity for urban gear.
North Face Isabella
(Women, Urban, School – 1700ci/20L)
A cute and comfortable choice, the Isabella gets high marks from petite users tired of the heavy loads of other day packs. At only 1700 cubic inches, do not expect to stuff too many books and a laptop into this downsized version.
The North Face Isabella
Keeping it tight and light seems to be the best trait for a stylish pack that attracts as many fashionistas as functional buyers. A few disappointed buyers thought it was too small for high school and college day users, especially with a laptop over 13″.
A typical daily load consists of a laptop, planner, lunch and sweater. So be sure your requirements match the limitations of this snug fitting day pack.
A bungee system on the outside is handy for a rain jacket or sweater and the small top panel pocket is perfect for lip balm and other small, squashable items. For added safety, the pack has reflective hit spots for those night time journeys back home.
Colors available: Black, Terrazo Pink, Camodil Grey, El Rio Blue, Cherry Stain Brown
It may be slightly overpriced for the capacity, but if you like lightweight and a pack preferred by those with smaller body frames, then the Isabella is worth a look.
North Face Off Site
(Messenger, Travel, Business – 2074ci/34L)
If you need a mobile office, the the Off Site can handle everything from a large laptop, plus printer and power cables, plus files and binders and even a GPS. It swallows all your business travel items and still fits under most economy seats for the perfect carry-on.
Only some 18″ computers stretch this bag to its expansive limits.
One of its unique features includes a slotted back panel that slides over your rolling luggage handle to cruise through airports without annoying slip-offs. Inside the main compartment has dividers to organize your big load and a zippered bottom section keeps cords and chargers out of the way.
A very sturdy and durable briefcase bag, the Off Site is tough, protects your belongings and has a shoulder strap that distributes weight without digging in.
Colors available: Black, Cardinal Red/Molten Red
For frequent travel and business meetings on the run, this messenger bag carries the bulk of the load for the long haul.
North Face Primero 85
(Hiking, Backpacking Trips – 5200ci/85L)
A serious pack for spending a week in the wild or on the road, the Primero satisfies most outdoor enthusiast. Recommended for loads from 40 to 70 pounds, its design technology comes with an X Radial frame suspension that mimics a body’s natural movement. A nice feature that turns long hauls into comfortable hikes.
The North Face Primero 85
Made with a somewhat stiff and durable fabric deemed “ice axe proof” by one user, the large pack diverts weight to the hips and the foam back panel follows the shape of your back.
Probably more weatherproof than waterproof, contents stay dry even under the worst of storms and there’s plenty of room for wet and muddy clothes too. The tough exterior takes a lot of abuse and remains looking new.
A molded foam hipbelt helps to carry the load but some users complain of it loosening with heavy weight and rubbing problems after a few days trekking. Others groused about the lack of an inner liner, chest-pressing straps under heavy loads and uncooperative zippers.
For hardcore types hell-bent on testing the limits of equipment, the Primero may falter a little bit. But for those taking a long road trip or heading to the backcountry, this pack is very suitable.
Slightly big for many women and considered borderline expedition size, check out the other sizes in the Primero series.
Colors available: Black
The North Face Primero 85 ensures a cool, comfortable trek for some serious backcountry adventure with a massive load.
North Face Terra 60
(Light Hiking, Backpacking Trips – 3700ci/60L)
Versatility describes this multi-day, dependable and durable pack with some of the best features in the price range. Adjustable torso and suspension allows all body types to find a good fit.
North Face Terra
This pack seems to go anywhere and deal with anything. Whether its a 10-day run through Central America, a week long urban retreat or hiking the terrain for four days, users dragged the Terra over rocks, slid down hillsides and found it small enough to carry on, not under, the bus.
Tough enough to handle the Himalayas with no holes or tears, the exterior fabric wards off the elements to keep the pack clean and looking new.
Not perfect, users complained that the mesh pockets were too high to retrieve bottles without some help. Others wanted more exterior pockets, some D rings on the straps and a detachable top lid.
Colors available: Cave Black, Sugarpine Green, Atoll Blue
The overall concensus was highly favorable for the Terra, noted as the best deal for the cost. Hard to pass on a pack that gets such high praise and covers the full range of use categories.