Are North Face Backpacks Good for Hiking? (2023)

hiking with a north face backpack

I grew up going to school with North Face backpacks, and I remember my mom always telling me how expensive they were. But she also said that they were worth it because they lasted forever. As a matter of fact, I still have the same backpack sixteen years later. But for me – I always wanted one because all the other cool kids in school had one.

So what’s the deal with North Face backpacks for hiking? Are they worth it? Or is it just a fashion statement? Let’s find out!

What Are North Face Backpacks?

North Face is an American outdoor recreation product company. The company was founded in 1968 by Douglas Tompkins and his wife, Susie Tompkins Buell. They were land conservationists and known as adventurous people who loved the outdoors.

The name and its logo were actually inspired by Half-Dome, in Yosemite National Park (which, by the way, is one of my favorite parks).

So even though North Face was originally created as a climbing/hiking outfitter, you’ve probably seen their gear used for non-outdoor activities, like everyday school life.

Did their product change? No, not really.

But in the late 1990s, North Face had become sort of a status symbol in the US as modern streetwear, as with Timberland Boots. If you were around back then, you probably know what I’m talking about. Eventually, they were sold in the year 2000 to VF Corporation and went through a bit of a rebranding to focus more on that audience.

wearing a north face backpack while hiking Yosemite national park
A hike through Yosemite with my trusty North Face backpack. (Vernal Falls/Mist Trail)

What’s So Great About North Face Backpacks?

Over time, many people forgot that North Face was more than just a trendy clothing company. They still produce high-quality outdoor gear, and their backpacks are no exception. In fact, North Face backpacks are some of the best on the market.

Like I said before, I’ve had my North Face backpack for over sixteen years, and it’s still going strong. In fact, it looks almost exactly the same as it did when I first got it (except for a few scuffs and scratches, of course).

old north face backpack
My North Face backpack, still going strong after 16 years.

But it’s not just me- I’ve talked to people who have had their North Face backpacks for over a decade, and they say the same thing. These backpacks are built to last.

Let’s get into the specifics.

Are North Face Backpacks Good for Hiking?

Absolutely! North Face backpacks are some of the best on the market for hiking, and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a new backpack. I’ll go over a few important reasons why North Face backpacks are worth bringing on your next hike.


One of the reasons that North Face backpacks are good for hiking is because they are comfortable to wear. The straps distribute the weight evenly, and the padding makes it comfortable to carry even when the backpack is full. As a matter of fact, when I was younger I used to fill it up with weighted plates, as a make-shift weighted vest. But I wouldn’t recommend that.


Another reason North Face backpacks are good for hiking is because they are durable. I’ve had mine for sixteen years, and it’s still in pretty good shape. I’ve used it for camping, hiking, school, work, and even as a carry-on bag for flights. And it was never meant to be used the way I’ve used it. It’s been through a lot, and it still does its job perfectly.

Designed For Hikers

Not only are they built well and comfortable to wear, but they also have a ton of features that are specifically designed for hikers.

Some of these features include:

  • A hydration reservoir
  • Pockets for holding a water bottle, snacks, and other gear
  • Loops for attaching gear to the outside of the backpack
  • A rain cover

These features make North Face backpacks some of the best on the market for hiking. And if you don’t think you’ll ever need all of those extra features, they do make simpler backpacks for everyday use and lighter trips.

The Best North Face Backpacks For Hiking

In terms of backpacks, North Face offers a bunch of different options for both men and women. They have everything from small day packs to larger overnight packs. And they offer a variety of features, like hydration bladders and rain covers.

I won’t cover them all here, since there are too many to list. But I will share one of the more popular, all-around & multi-purpose backpacks from North Face:

The North Face Surge Backpack

The North Face Surge Backpack is a popular backpack that is perfect for day-hiking, school, and even everyday use. It’s comfortable to wear, thanks to the removable waist belt for a perfect fit. The shoulder straps and padded mesh give great support. And lastly, with a 31-liter volume, it’s large enough to hold everything you need, but not so large that it’s cumbersome.

If you want something a bit more for the outdoors, you can check out their hiking-specific backpacks on their website.

Are North Face Backpacks Good for Your Back?

North Face backpacks are generally well-made and designed to be comfortable for wearing through longer periods, so they could be a good option for people who are looking for a backpack that will be gentle on their back.

Like I said earlier, I used to stuff my North Face backpack with weights, which is not such a great idea for your back. As long as you don’t do that, you should be fine!

Is a North Face Backpack Waterproof?

North Face backpacks are mostly made to be water-resistant, and only a few of them are actually waterproof. If your hiking plans include wading through some rivers, you’ll want to make sure you get a backpack that is explicitly advertised as waterproof.

Water-resistant vs waterproof is an important distinction because water-resistant means that the backpack will still be able to protect your belongings from light rain or snow.

However, if you’re planning on being in more extreme weather conditions, or around a lot of water, you’ll want to make sure you get a backpack that is completely waterproof.


The right backpack will be comfortable to wear, have enough space to hold all of your gear, and have features that are specifically designed for hikers.

North Face backpacks offer all of these things, at a reasonable cost, which is why they’re some of the best on the market.

So, if you’re looking for a new backpack for your next hike, be sure to check out North Face!

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