Best North Face Backpack for College

10 Best North Face Backpack for College – Reviews and Guide

Whether you are a college freshman excited to start your college life with a quality backpack or just to look for a new replacement, you are at the right place. 

North Face, being one of the leading brands for backpacks among people of all ages and professions, provides one of the highest quality you can ask for in a backpack! But among their wide range of choices, these are some of the best north face backpack for college.

And don’t worry if you don’t have much knowledge about these bags, we won’t leave you behind! Our small guide will lead you to understand this world of classy backpacks and get into it without hesitation. 

10 Best North Face Backpack for College Review

Judging on different factors and features, these are our top picks from the brand. We made sure it has something for everyone.

1. The North Face Jester Backpack

The North Face Jester Backpack

Amidst all those backpacks for adults and college life, we present you with the best north face backpack for high school! This backpack, made of high-quality polyester, is a versatile and lightweight carry loved by many. You can truly understand its worth once you own and use one for yourself.

But for now, let us tell you why we love it. It has a good amount of padding and support on the shoulder, making it excellent for school and college students carrying heavy books without any pain.

Its patented Flex Vent suspension system makes it sturdy, so it stands on its own for easier packing or unpacking. It has a big 27.5 liters or 60.6 pounds storage as well.

Moreover, the padding on the laptop sleeve is perfect for carrying your laptop in without any risk of damaging it, even if you accidentally dropped the bag. Plus, its flexible material allows room for more.


  • Made of high-quality polyester
  • Durable and flexible
  • Good padded support for carrying heavy loads
  • Padded laptop sleeve protects it from drops and damages
  • Lightweight and can stand upright on its own


  • Not enough compartment for organization
  • Bag's oval shape may make it hard to fit some books

2. The North Face Vault Backpack

The North Face Vault Backpack

This one is for those who prefer more space and pockets for organization. It has the same modern and minimalistic look as a standard North Face backpack.

It has a larger 15-inch compartment or sleeve for holding your laptop. And so this means your books and binders won't have any problem fitting this bag. It has the same Flex Vent technology as well for more flexible and padded shoulder straps.

And thanks to this, you are getting much more comfortable and breathable support on your shoulders. Besides that, its material is also 100% polyester, including the print, so there is no compromise on the quality as well.

Back to the organization space, it has many organization pockets inside the front compartment along with an extra padded sleeve for your tablet or other electronic devices. The mess pockets on the side can carry water bottles, umbrellas, etc.


  • Large compartment that can fit books and binders with ease
  • 100% waterproof
  • Completely made of 100% polyester
  • Comes with many internal organization pockets
  • Extra padded sleeve for tablets or other electronic devices 


  • Can't stand on its own

3. The North Face Borealis Backpack

The North Face Borealis Backpack

Made of 600D, 400D, or 300D polyester and 210D Cordura nylon ripstop, it is an update to their classic version. This one has much more accessible pockets, an elastic bungee system in the front, and more.

Its two mesh water bottle pockets come extended so you can use them for multiple purposes and carry more. Moreover, for extra safety and support, it has a sternum strap and a whistle buckle.

The backpack's capacity or volume is 28 liters, which is ideal for college and school students. It also has a decent amount of organization pockets, including zip pockets in the front compartment and a fleece-lined pocket outside for electronics or small items.

Besides that, you can easily remove the waist belt for customization or a better fit. It is waterproof as well, but the level depends on the color.


  • Organization pockets on the inside and out
  • Mesh water bottle pockets are multipurpose
  • Large 28 liters volume
  • Comes with additional safety and support features
  • Waist belt is removable for customization


  • Not properly water-resistant
  • Waist belt can feel uncomfortable when strapped in

4. The North Face Women's Jester Backpack

The North Face Women's Jester Backpack

While the first Jester backpack isn't that bad choice for women, if you are not sure, then this one has been specially designed for women. It looks quite identical to the original one but with some tweaks and differences.

So you are getting the exact quality and feel except more suitable and comfortable for you and your body structure. It measures 19.25 inches in height, 12.5 inches in length, and 9 inches in width.

Besides that, it has a 28 liters capacity volume, which is slightly more than the original Jester. Its 100% polyester approach also makes the backpack entirely waterproof.

The backpack also comes with a padded mesh back panel and the same padded shoulder to make them weightless and more comfortable to carry for a long time without any strain. It also includes a 15 inches long laptop sleeve.


  • Made of 100% polyester
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Extra padded support to carry load easily for a long time
  • Waterproof and flexible
  • Comes with a 15 inches laptop sleeve


  • Storage capacity can be small for some

5. The North Face Surge Backpack

The North Face Surge Backpack

This 31 liters North Face backpack is ideal for traveling in different environments and weather conditions or for a really durable college backpack. It is mainly because of its construction material.

Made of 100% nylon, it is totally water-resistant and moisture-proof. This means you don't have to worry about rain or other ways of water contact to leak and damage your books and textbooks.

Moreover, the nylon also makes it very tough and durable. And along with the brand's signature Flex Vent technology, you are getting that super comfortable padded straps and back that also help to reduce the weight.

Its pockets of two Tekserve fabrics not only protect your electronics from water or moisture damage but also conceal them from view. It also comes with a decent amount of internal and external pockets.


  • 100% water-resistant and moisture-proof
  • Very durable in harsh conditions
  • Long-lasting and perfect for adventures
  • Super comfortable padded straps and back
  • Fabric pockets fully conceal the items


  • Front pocket doesn't go all the way down

6. The North Face Recon Backpack

The North Face Recon Backpack

Designed specifically for women, it is very similar to the Surge backpack we reviewed. It has the same tough and high-quality nylon construction as the previous one.

As a result, it can make for the most durable and best north face backpack for college students, and in this case, for women! Your electronics, books, and binders are also safe from water as it is completely water-resistant.

It has a similar dimension as other female-targeted backpacks from the brand, which is 19.25 inches in height, 13 inches in length, and 7 inches in width. Its volume is 30 liters.

Moreover, it has added safety features such as the whistle buckle and the sternum strap. Its main or front compartment comes with a laptop compartment that is highly protective just for the purpose.


  • Comes with a large 30-liter storage volume
  • Safety features
  • Highly protective compartment for the laptop
  • Long-lasting quality and water-resistant
  • Highly comfortable


  • Needs support to remain upright
  • Can be a bit weighty 

7. The North Face Women's Borealis Backpack

The North Face Women's Borealis Backpack

The Borealis model is one of the classic favorites among the people and those who are fans of the brand. And this one has been designed just for women.

Its construction is mainly nylon but includes polyester as well. And which leaves up to the standard marks of the brand, making it both flexible and tough.

Other than that, this north face backpack size is about 19.75 inches in height, 13.25 inches in length, and 9.75 inches in width. Its tall height allows enough room to carry your laptop, books, and more.

Additionally, it has great support features for comfortability along with pockets you can access easily. Its long 15 inches laptop sleeve with fleece lining provides added protection to the device.


  • Easily accessible pockets
  • Flexible and tough
  • Comes with great support features for comfortability
  • Fleece lining sleeve provides added protection to the laptop
  • Specially constructed to support a woman's body structure


  • Side mesh pockets are very fragile
  • Zipper can let water in

8. The North Face Jester Backpack Zinc Grey/Vaporous Grey One Size

The North Face Jester Backpack Zinc Grey/Vaporous Grey One Size

In our north face backpack review so far, it is the “one size fits all” version of the Jester model and is perfect for school, college, traveling, etc. Its grey on black color is flattering and stylish no matter the gender.

Its material is synthetic, or polyester to be more specific. So you are getting a flexible backpack with room to squeeze in more stuff if necessary.

Besides, it has an adjustable 15-inch long shoulder drop. This makes it great for people of any height without any issue of it being too tight or loose. 

It also ensures its lightweight and comfortable quality. Plus, the one size, being one of the best selling models from the brand, you can expect high quality and durability that will last you for many years.


  • One size fits all genders
  • Adjustable long shoulder strap makes it good for all heights
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Durable and high quality
  • Flattering and stylish color and design


  • Can be too small to carry a lot of things

9. The North Face Women's Jester

The North Face Women's Laptop

If the previous women's Jester backpack in our north face backpack review disappointed you, then here is a great one we highly recommend. It shares many similarities with the other but has overall more attention to details for women.

First off, its flexible shoulder straps have a women-specific design for it to be able to fit a large variety of body structures and types. There is the reflective bike-light loop, shoulder strap webbing, and water bottle tabs for added safety, which all create a 360-degree reflection.

Moreover, their standard sternum support strap and the whistle buckles add to the safety purposes. There is no compromise on the comfortability level as well.

From the top handle to the shoulder strap, it comes padded for you to be able to carry it with ease. The elastic bungee system on the front provides another storage area apart from the pockets outside and inside.


  • Women-specific flexible shoulder strap fits all female body types
  • Comes with safety and support features
  • Padded top handle
  • Elastic bungee system on the front provides additional storage
  • 360 reflections bike-light loop makes one visible in low-light 


  • Doesn't have many pockets in the main compartment

10. The North Face Youth Recon Squash School Backpack

The North Face Youth Recon Squash School Backpack

For all the middle schoolers out there, this one is just the thing you are looking for. You will be getting the appreciated high-quality backpack, which is perfect for kids and teens alike.

It is exactly half the size of their adult Recon model, which makes its volume 17 liters. This is ideal for fitting a standard 9.5 inches length x 12 inches height folder. Which is perfect of just about anyone.

Besides its large main compartment, it has a few zippered pockets on the outside for the kids to store their small trinkets and belongings they desire. Plus, it has a name labeling system inside to make sure it doesn't get lost.

The backpack is ideal for most kids aged around six to ten. Its all other features, including the sternum strap and reflective details, have been altered and designed specifically for kids.


  • Ideal volume for a backpack
  • Has extra outer pockets with zippers
  • Comes with a name labeling system on the inside
  • Best for most kids aged around six to ten
  • Includes most other features as the adult version


  • Might be too small for above three graders

How Long Do North Face Backpacks Last?

North Face backpacks are popular for their high quality and durability. But it can be hard to determine how long they really last as it depends on not only the backpack but also the way you are using it and how long normally.

A standard model backpack of the brand with proper care can last you years. Some can even last you a decade or two! But the average could be around five years for a typical north face.

North Face Backpack for College

There are also very high-quality travel or adventure backpacks that can last you more than a decade with care if used as an average college backpack. So it depends on multiple factors and the person using as well to determine its lifespan fully.

What to Look for Before Buying?

Here are some of the basic to important features you should remember and look out for before buying.

The Types

As you probably know, with a large market, there are different types of north face backpacks for all sorts of occasions. There are ones for school, college, travel, hiking, and work and have special construction for that environment.

But on a subcategory for most of the above types, there are ones specifically for women. These typically have features like the waist strap being able to adjust to most women's body structure comfortably.

North Face Backpack for College

While all of the mentioned types share the same features, they are ideal for that environment. From the size capacity to the number of pockets, the manufacturer tends to keep it in mind.

However, depending on certain preferences like more pockets, or more comfortability, you can also go with the others.

The Material

The backpack material not only determines how durable it is but also if it is waterproof. And among the other good backpack brands for college, nylon material is fairly common due to its overall good performance in most environments.

Besides that, polyester is another popular choice mainly due to its flexibility it adds to the backpack. This not only means your backpack is less likely to tear from stretch but also makes it more adjustable to fit more or bigger books.

Lastly, if it is important to you, look for backpack material, including the zipper that comes with a waterproof coating. It is not an absolutely necessary feature, but if you are carrying electronics like your laptop inside, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Capacity or Volume

It is a very common problem among buyers, especially online, to find the backpack volume to be too small. So make sure to understand how much a certain volume can carry.

If you are still unsure, a great way for online buyers is to watch review videos of the product to get a more visual idea. A typical 32 liters volume is quite ideal for college students carrying larger books or binders. Twenty-eight liters is a standard volume for most students and even travelers. 

 North Face Backpack for College

For kids, any volume between 15 to 20 liters can be the proper amount to carry their binders and books. However, these are general estimations, so make sure to understand them properly before buying.

The Designs

One of the other major reasons it is so popular among young adults and college students is the wide variety of designs. Every backpack model comes with different color combinations and patterns to reach and be more appealing to people.

So remember to go through the designs or colors available before stopping at a decision. This also makes it unique to the person and their personality.


Having a lot of pockets gives you the freedom to organize and store things to your liking. And if you are into keeping things organized then, this is a very important feature to look out for.

North Face Backpack for College

However, depending on the design and placement of the pockets, it can hinder the space in your main compartment or make it look bulky, or even cause you uncomfortableness while carrying. So it is necessary to inspect it properly when it comes to backpacks with a lot of pockets.


Lastly, when it comes to comfortability, nothing is essential than the soft padding on the back panel and the shoulder straps. These can help to reduce the pressure of the weight of the bag on your shoulders.

North Face Backpack for College

Besides that, for extra comfortability, a waist belt with padding is the best way to reduce most of the weight, especially if you carry your heavy backpack around the campus for hours. Plus, a padded top strap makes it possible to lift heavy backpacks with your hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are North Face backpacks good?

North Face backpacks are perfect if you want a high-quality, sustainable backpack. And its higher price makes up for its ability to last years longer than most other bags you can find on the market.

2. Can I put a Northface backpack in the washing machine?

The manufacturer's advice is not to submerge the backpack completely in water. And the best way to maintain them is to clean the dirty area with a washcloth and then let it air dry.

3. Are North Face backpacks bulletproof?

No, they are not bulletproof. However, their padded compartments for electronics do protect them really well.

4. What is the whistle buckle on the North Face backpacks for?

Some backpacks from north face come with a whistle on it buckle. This is for safety measures, whether you are in the city or the wild.

5. Which North Face backpack holds the most?

The Jester model's unisex version provides one of the largest storage, with the Surge, Borealis, and Recon coming next in line.

Final Words

Now that you know what the bests are, it is up to you to decide which is the best north face backpack for college is for you. We hope you found one similar to what you had in mind.

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