North Face Recon Backpack Review: Is It Right For You?

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By Dan Nolan | August 24, 2021
This article will help you know more about the North Face Recon backpack. This North Face Recon Backpack review shows how it can benefit you.

About The North Face Recon Backpack

Are you looking for a large capacity backpack? Maybe what you are looking for is the North Face Recon backpack. It has a capacity of 13 liters and can fit a 15-inch laptop.

It is the best choice for those who are searching for a pack with multi-purpose like going on hikes, short trips, or even fit for work. In one North Face Recon backpack review, the backpack was given a rating in the following categories, with a score of 10 as the highest.

Ease of Use
Laptop Protection

One of the most recommended laptop backpacks is the Recon. It scored high in ease of use, storage, and water resistance but just fell short in some other significant categories.

The high scores it got from the reviews only indicate that the bag has a high-quality value. It is a combination of cautious storage and organization. The upper compartment is a stable space for mobile phones and other electronics, while the main compartment is a space for clothes, books, and other basic needs.

What is North Face

North Face Backpacks are made out of a love for the outdoors. North Face is renowned for creating the best backpacks in the market, and by combining the demand of the environment and the essential need of the user, they were able to create an amazing product for athletes, hikers, and all types of outdoor lovers.

Backpacks with a semi-solid frame

These backpacks have a semi-solid frame that contains a thin aluminum frame and covered with EVA foam. It acts as a guard to keep the things inside the bag protected. Furthermore, the bag is waterproof, including the zipper, which is made of Polyurethane.

Multiple media-specific organizational pockets

These backpacks were made to sustain the needs of the tech expert people, always to have on-hand fully equipped and organized pockets to hold gadgets and other fragile items. The bags have pockets with fleece lines both in the main and front compartments for laptops and tablets. This is to protect them from bumps and nicks.

Backpack for the outdoors

These backpacks were made with durability and versatility. They were made with unique features like padded belts and a system called OPTIFIT. This system is in charge of dividing the weight of the bag across its multiple pressure points so that the stress is also distributed.

Made for the avid commuter

The brand’s most common backpacks are designed to ensure the commuter’s life easy and comfortable wherever he or she may go. The bags have a 360-degree bike loop, which is reflective to enhance visibility at night or not fully lighted areas. Moreover, an additional feature to hold the helmet was added in the front, a stash pocket.

Key Advantages of Getting these Recon Backpacks

The brand makes sure to manufacture backpacks that will benefit its avid users, from female-centric features to durability and innovative multiple organizational pockets. The following are the common advantages of purchasing a backpack.

  • These backpacks were made to compliment the male and female body figures, and it is one of the most noticeable features for each line of bags. Thus, the bags were made to promote support and comfort according to the individual.
  • The company prides its bag to be durable and only made with strong materials. Longevity is the feature that they are known for.
  • Because of its specialized organized pockets, the user needs not rummage through his backpack to find the things he is looking for.
  • The pockets are specially designed to hold laptops and tablets. These pockets are lined with fleece to protect the items from bumps and bruises.

Description of North Face Recon Backpack

This Recon is specially made for school or works with 30L of storage space. The FlexVent™ back panel is designed with padding that is breathable and supports the lumbar area, there’s a removable waist belt in case the user will have to carry heavy stuff or commute via bicycle.

The zippered pocket which is located behind the main compartment can handle laptops of up to 15”. Mesh pockets can also be found on the front and each side of the bag. The large one is for loading stuff in a hurry, and the other two are for water bottles.

An additional feature on the front pocket is the organized compartment for pencils and pens, chargers for easy access, and a padded sleeve for tablets and other gadgets.

Features of this Recon Backpack

  • This suspension system FlexVent a yoke made from custom shoulder straps, incredibly comfortable, with a padded back panel and a very breathable lumbar panel. This one is for optimum breathability throughout the day.
  • A compartment that is extremely protective for laptop
  • A large compartment for books and binders
  • A front compartment with organization interior of the extra padded sleeve for tablets, a pendolier, and more secure-zip pockets. 
  • A reflective bike loop, a 360 degrees reflectivity shoulder straps and tabs for water bottle
  • Two external mesh water bottle pockets and a quick-draw pocket for smartphones.
  • The front stash pocket can be extended with daisy chains
  • The top handle is also padded for comfort
  • The sternum strap has a whistle buckle
  • The waist belt is removable
North Face Recon Backpack 2

Fabric Details

  • 400D nylon observed by the president but not the durable water repellent (NF DWR) finish
  • Select colors: Polyester

The North Face Recon Backpack Features

This Recon represents convenience and safety. Their bags were made for regular commuters and feature extendable front stash pockets to support helmets, and they have 360-degree loops for reflectivity in dim lighting areas to enhance visibility.

FlexVent Suspension System

This backpack comes with a fully furnished FlexVent suspension system intended for better support and a degree of comfort. It consists of a classic yoke shape design, which helps in enhancing the complete balance of the bag.

Furthermore, the bag comes with special injection-molded shoulder straps to minimize the strain on the shoulder with the aid of a padded mesh back panel.

Safety Features Ensured

It best suits frequent commuters because of its safety features. The backpack has reflective light loops for bikers in case they are biking at night time. The shoulder straps have 360-degree reflective loops the same with the bottle tabs.

Moreover, to add versatility to the bag, it has a removable waist belt and it even has a laptop sleeve.

Multiple Media centered compartments

One of the amazing features that this backpack is famous for is the multiple pocket design that is made to help secure the safety and organization of gadgets and other media-related items.

The main and front compartment has two fleece-lined pockets or a flap top sleeve, which is designed to hold large gadgets such as laptops and tablets. Moreover, the daisy chains where various things can be lashed on were added to the front stash pocket.

The North Face Backpack Benefits

Formerly designed as a lightweight bag for small day hikes, this backpack was redesigned to a go-to option for most commuters due to each amazing versatility. The layout of the space inside is perfectly done to be an everyday bag.

The company put an extra effort to attain durability and protection of every item that is put into the bag, and for the bag to last for years despite everyday use.

Recon Durability

Recon received a high rating in shower test or water resistance; hence it is best recommended for those living in rainy areas.

It is made of a durable, water-resistant coating so the items inside can resist heavy downpour, and the seams are stitched very carefully. The coating should also be reapplied for bags that had been used for some time.


According to some reviews, this backpack is best worn while riding a bike or walking. The padded shoulder straps offer more suspension to maximize comfort. The shoulder strap is best designed for heavy loads, which are also supported by a sternum and waist strap. The belts help scatter the weight to make it easier to carry, and the weight is not stuck to one side.

The preferred fit can be adjusted, or belts can be removed to make it comfortable, especially when the weather is warm.


It has a capacity of 31-liter that can fit in important stuff, and it weighs 2.5 lbs. The front stash pocket offers additional space and a small-sized pocket for small items in case the main compartment is full.


It has multiple uses that allow different items to be stuffed inside the bag. The external pockets are the best option for outdoor activities like hiking and climbing. When outside or climbing up a trail, these two compartments can hold the jacket and water.

The laptop sleeve can serve as a hydration bladder. It can withstand activities in the woods. It serves as an efficient bag for camping, hiking, or any other trip. For users who carry a lot of stuff around, this can be a perfect helping hand as it can also be used as a hiking pack or a bag for school.

Is North Face Recon Backpack good for school?

It is known to be a versatile pack for outdoor trips, work, or school. It can handle a 15” laptop with a stylish design and can last for years. It consists of 210D Cordura Nylon that can put up the rigors of daily use. You can trust it to last until your senior year due to its durable construction.

The 31-liter capacity can easily accommodate the books and notebooks while the front compartment is intended for tables or a similar size. Just like the other pockets, it is also padded to ensure its safety as possible.

Is North Face Recon Backpack waterproof?

When it comes to water resistance, Recon is one of the best performers. It is designed with a durable water-resistant (DWR) coating that allows the water to bead up and fall immediately. The zippers, which can be a source of leak points, have a special design that serves as protection from water. Thus, it can withstand the downpour.

Recon Backpack Price

The price is squarely in between the price range for laptop backpacks with $99 MSRP. Due to ratings it got, it has been proven that it is an excellent value.

Key Comparison Between the New Release and the North Face Recon Old Version

Although the Recon has been around for some years, it is still one of the top-rated laptop bags by North Face. The North Face Recon backpack has a 30-liter capacity. It will fit any 15-inch laptop, and there will still be a lot of room for other things.

North Face updated the design of its backpacks in 2018. So, there are different versions of the Recon. Here are some key differences between the old and new North Face Recon backpacks.

Just like the North Face Recon old version, the new Recon is a lightweight bag and is ideal for small day hikes.

It comes with a new FlexVent suspension system including an improved back panel. 

New Recon backpack

This suspension system, which is approved by the American Chiropractic Association, offers more comfort even when you’re carrying a lot of load. The FlexVent system has injection molded shoulder straps and a rounded back panel that makes the backpack easy to carry while avoiding any strain on your neck, clavicle, and other pressure points.

Another difference between the older and updated versions of the North Face Recon backpack is straps for the laptop pockets. The older version did not include securing straps for laptops. The updated North Face comes with a sternum strap with a whistle buckle. It also features stretchable water bottle tabs and additional secure zip pockets for small things.

The new and older versions of the North Face Recon backpack are similar in many ways. Both feature the same easy-to-use design that makes carrying the bag easy. The updated Recon North Face is designed to suit the needs of everyday commuters. It comes with a large main compartment ideal for books, binders, and other things. This bag is designed to allow you to organize all your things neatly in different compartments.

North Face Borealis vs Recon: Why Recon is a Stand-Out Choice

The Borealis and Recon are both iconic backpacks from North Face. Both bags are durable and have some similar features. If you are weighing the North Face Borealis vs Recon, here are some reasons why we think the Recon may be a better choice.

The North Face Recon is designed for ultimate comfort and offers a lot of space to store your stuff. This isn’t just a laptop backpack, the Recon is multi-functional; it is ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities. This bag offers a 30-liter space with multiple compartments. The Recon is reputed for its versatility and comes with a lifetime warranty from North Face.

The Borealis features a practical and classic design that makes it ideal for packing just the essentials. This bag has a capacity of 28-liter and features a lot of pockets apart from the padded laptop compartment and extra padded tablet sleeve. The Borealis can hold a 15-inch laptop and comes with a versatile bungee cord system for additional storage space.

Although the Borealis and the Recon are made from similar materials, the latter is a more attractive option for people on the move. The Recon is ideal for outdoor hiking and also for college campuses. It is ideal for people who need extra space for books, clothes, and other items. The Borealis is a great bag, however, the Recon offers more space and has a more ergonomic design, making it a more attractive option.

How Well-Rounded is the North Face Recon 18 Backpack?

The North Face Recon 18 backpack is a popular option for travelers who prioritize having a lot of space. It is also suitable for everyday use. This is a true all-in-one backpack.

The Recon has a capacity of 30 liters. The main compartment features a dedicated laptop compartment with padding and protection. There is also a secondary compartment and one on the back.

With this bag, you can carry a lot of gear, not just your laptop. There is enough space to hold clothes, toiletries, and other smaller items. The North Face Recon is versatile. It can be used for school, on long trips, or just for your daily rounds in the city. The backpack has a classic design with 360-degree reflectivity to keep you safe if you’re moving in the dark. There are also mesh pockets on the bag for your water bottles and small zip pockets. If you need more water storage space, the laptop sleeve can serve as a hydration bladder.

Northface jester backpack cta

This North Face bag has an American Chiropractic Association-approved FlexVent suspension system that is padded and designed to be light on the shoulders. This bag also features a sternum strap and a removable hip belt to distribute weight evenly. The spine channel of the Recon is ergonomically fitted to provide extra back support. The straps are designed to be comfortable.

This bag also features two stretchable external water bottle pockets. What's more, the bag has durable water resistant (DWR) coating.

The North Face Recon is an ideal backpack whether you are a student, hiker, camper, on-the-go person, entrepreneur, or anyone in-between.

North Face Recon Backpack 2018 Models: Are They Still Relevant Bags?

The Recon is arguably one of the best backpacks in the North Face collection. In 2018, a new model of this backpack was released. The North Face Recon Backpack 2018 continues to be one of the top options on the market years after its release. There are many other excellent backpacks on the market. However, the Recon stands out. Here are a few reasons why the Recon is still a relevant backpack today.

The FlexVent suspension system on the 2018 North Face Recon backpack is endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association. There aren’t many other backpacks on the market that can boast of this. It is super light, durable, and offers plenty of space.

The Recon weighs about 2lbs and has a capacity of 30-liters. The padded handle makes it easy to carry around. The new model of this North Face bag comes with external stretch mesh water bottle pockets and easy-to-grab U-pull zippers. It has fleece-lined pockets both in the front. The large main compartment, which includes your laptop pocket, features thick padding to protect your device from impact damage. The Recon also features 360-degree reflectivity which enhances visibility at night or in dark places.

The new Recon backpacks are designed to complement both male and female body shapes. With this bag, you are sure of comfort and support. The durability of the Recon, its ergonomic design, huge capacity, and multiple compartments are the key reasons why this backpack continues to be a popular option for hikers, students, and everyone else.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best North Face backpack for college?

North Face has many great bags that are suitable for college students, and the Recon is one of them. Although this bag is often used for outdoor activities, it can be used for school. With a 30-liter capacity, the Recon can hold your laptop, tablet, all your college books, and still have space for other items. The extra padding offers protection for your laptops, tablets, and other gadgets.

The ergonomic suspension system and injection molded shoulder straps of the Recon mean you can carry it around all day long without any strain on your neck and shoulders. Also, it is water-resistant.

Can North Face backpacks be washed?

Yes, North Face backpacks can be washed. No matter how much you try to keep it clean, your backpack is bound to get dirty with time. Do not machine wash your North Face backpack. Instead, clean it by hand using a damp cloth soaked. Hang the backpack and let it dry afterward. It is not advisable to place the whole bag in water.

Which North Face backpack is the biggest?

The Router Transit Backpack is the largest in the North Face collection. This bag has a 42-liter capacity. The Router Transit Backpack comes with a lay-flat laptop compartment and multiple fleece lined pockets to store all your stuff.


If you have an active and busy lifestyle or do you love outdoor activities, this backpack is perfect for you. It has two large compartments that can accommodate almost all your stuff for a day or a long trip. The large compartment is intended for 15” laptop and the 11” is for tablets.

The other pocket, which is the second compartment is an organizer that keeps things and stuff in place and safe. It will be easy to find your wallet, cellphone, pens, electronics, and other important stuff.

It has a spacious capacity and made of durable materials that can last for years. It has a lot of organized storage for various purposes. It is also versatile when it comes to usage, as it can be best for trails and work. It has excellent water-resistant, comfortable, and easy to carry. Even though it has not received any awards yet, the North Face Recon backpack review will help you with the information you need about if this backpack is reliable and excellent and why it is recommended for most laptop users or outdoor enthusiasts.

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