North Face Recon Backpack Review: Men’s & Women’s Compared

When looking for a backpack, both flexibility and function need to blend to create the perfect backpack for you. Finding a backpack that is suitable for work, travel and weekends is hard, but this North Face Recon backpack review will dig into why the Recon is an excellent choice for anyone. 

Unique Features Of The North Face Recon Backpack 


The dimensions of North Face Recon backpacks are roughly 19.25 inches by 14 inches by 9.5 inches for adults and 19.25 inches by 13 inches by 7 inches for youths. This changes slightly depending on the type of Recon but is a good general guide. Such sizing makes it both comfortable and easy to carry around during your daily routine. 

Carrying Capacity  

For a compact bag, the North Face Recon backpack has a carrying capacity of 31 liters for adults and 17 liters for the youth schoolbag. While this is great for fitting everything you need, it is important to remember that just because it can hold that much does not mean that you should.  

Inside The Bag

There are plenty of excellent features to utilize with the North Face Recon backpack. It is full of various multi-media centered compartments and other highlights, including: 

  • A padded 15-inch laptop sleeve 
  • A spacious sleeve for a tablet or Chromebook 
  • An internal organizer for pens and other daily debris 
  • Zippered pocket for your phone 
  • Two water bottle holders 
  • A clip access front pouch for headphones or other items 

And plenty more to keep you organized and prepared. 

Color & Style Options  

In terms of color and style, the Recon is not the most stylish; it does come in a wide range of colors, however. Adult Recons have between 20 and 35 color options to choose from, but there are only 5-10 youth options. We love the color options for adults but hope for more pattern and color choices for teens and kids 

Material Quality

As for materials, the Recon uses 600D Polyester Toile, 500D Nylon Oxford Slub, 420D Nylon, 210D Cordura® Nylon Ripstop, Polyester Jacquard Camo. This means that the Recon is exceptionally durable and water-resistant, thanks to the finish. The zips, which may seem like a leak point, have covers that help prevent water from getting inside during downpours.  

Design & Comfort 

According to plenty of customers, the North Face Recon is easy to adjust and exceptionally comfortable to wear. The FlexVent Suspension System back panel and spine channel are endorsed by the American Chiropractic Organization and come with plenty of safety features to protect you while out you are on the road.  

Our Review Of The North Face Recon Backpack

One of the best backpacks on the market, the North Face Recon is an organized and functional way to stay equipped for anything. This water-resistant backpack is comfortable to carry thanks to the ACA-certified FlexVent Suspension System and spine channel.  

Padded shoulder straps and a removable waist belt increase comfort and help you stay balanced whether walking or biking to work. A 30-liter capacity for adults and a 17-liter capacity for children makes this backpack perfect for carrying textbooks, laptops, tablets, water bottles, and stationary from home to work or your weekend getaway.  

Whether you consider yourself to be organized or unorganized, the various multi-centered pockets are designed to hold all your precious items. A fleece padded laptop sleeve will protect your laptop, while a smaller sleeve can hold a tablet or Chromebook and other books or essentials.  

Various external pockets can hold your headphones, two water bottles, and stationary while you rush to class. In terms of safety, there are reflective details to help you stand out and a sternum strap whistle to call for help in a crisis. The top handle means that you can just grab your bag and go while cramming into crowded public transport. The combination of nylon, fleece, and polyester protects your things from being damaged by collisions, jostles, and heavy rainfall.  

While each edition of the Recon shares similar features, there are minor differences between them. The biggest differences lie between the adult and youth backpacks; the youth ones are 2.5 inches smaller and have half the carrying capacity of the adult Recon.  

The adult Recon backpacks have more color options, giving between 20 and 35 colors, while the youth Recons only have between 5-10. The youth Recon has an internal name label, more reflective details for safety, and extra back and shoulder support for growing bodies.  

In terms of price, the women’s North Face Recon backpack as well as the unisex are typically priced around $100. In contrast, the Daypack Recon is priced around $120, and the North Face Recon Squash backpack is often around $50.  

It is vital to consider your personal preferences before choosing the Recon that works best for you. Whether you prefer the women's, men's, unisex, or youth edition of the Recon, we are confident that you will feel confident and prepared for years to come. 

1. The North Face Women's Recon Backpack 

THE NORTH FACE Women's Recon Backpack,...
  • The FlexVent suspension system features a...
  • Women-specific shoulder straps are flexible...
  • Dedicated, highly protective laptop...
  • Large main compartment for books and...


  • Many color options 
  • Practical and functional 
  • Adjustable 
  • Built with women in mind 
  • Worth the investment 


  • Not as pretty as other similar bags 
  • Expensive 

2. The North Face Recon School Laptop Backpack 

The North Face Recon Laptop Backpack, Summit...
  • Iconic 30 liter backpack updated with a...
  • The FlexVent suspension system features a...
  • Dedicated, highly protective laptop...
  • Large main compartment for books and...


  • Plenty of colors to choose from 
  • Practical and functional 
  • Adjustable 
  • Good size and carrying capacity 


  • Not as stylish as other bags 
  • Not for college budgets 

3. The North Face Unisex Recon Backpack 

The North Face Unisex Recon Backpack Daypack...
  • The FlexVent suspension system features...
  • External fleece-lined pocket for sunglasses...
  • The FlexVent suspension system boasts custom...
  • Front stash pocket with stretch side panels...


  • Convenient 
  • Functional 
  • Good size 
  • Good carrying capacity 


  • Expensive 
  • Only one color option 

4. The North Face Youth Recon Squash School Backpack 

The North Face Youth Recon Squash School...
  • Main compartment is big enough for all their...
  • External, secure-zip pocket keeps gadgets and...
  • Comfortable stitched-foam back...
  • Mesh water bottle pockets can double as...


  • Good size and carrying capacity for kids 
  • Extra support for growing spines 
  • Reflective details for safety 
  • Internal name label 
  • Durable and functional 


  • Not as many color and pattern options 
  • Not as stylish 

Price Guide & Sales Expectations 

While prices may change depending on your area, you can typically find Recon backpacks sold at around $100. This can be a little steep for some, but certain North Face Recon backpack sales could see the price drop to around $75 or $50.  

You may be able to find a discount for North Face Recon backpacks in the paper or by using coupon collecting sites like Honey to get the most bang for your buck. 

Comparing the Recon with Other Backpacks

North Face Recon Vs Borealis Backpack

Two of North Face’s most popular backpacks, the Borealis and the Recon, share many features and similarities, such as the removable waist belt and laptop protective sleeve. In terms of North Face Recon vs. Borealis backpack differences, the Borealis is more stylish while the Recon is larger in dimension. 

North Face Recon Vs Surge Backpack

Another comparison that is often put against the Recon is the Surge backpack. In the North Face Recon vs. Surge comparison, they both have some shared features, but the Surge is smaller, heavier, and has a larger carrying capacity than the Recon. Also, the Surge is TSA-friendly, making it an excellent option for travelers. 

North Face Recon Vs Other Brands  

The Recon is typically cheaper than an Osprey, which can cost between $50 and $500; however, Osprey is typically better for hiking rather than trips and work. The Recon is also not as fashionable but just as functional as a Fjallraven Kanken or another similar brand. However, the Recon is more water-resistant than most backpacks from these two brands. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What is the whistle on the North Face backpacks for?

The whistle on North Face backpacks is typically for emergencies. If you find yourself in trouble, you may need to use the whistle to signal for help or medical aid. 

How long do North Face Recon backpacks usually last?

A product’s warranty is a good indicator of its durability – Recon backpacks are covered for up to two years. However, regular cleaning and maintenance will extend the lifespan of your Recon. 

How do I clean the North Face Recon backpack?

According to North Face’s website, it is best for you to spot clean the Recon backpack with a damp cloth and avoid submerging the backpack in water for cleaning purposes. 


Overall, the North Face Recon backpack is an excellent choice for those looking to organize their work and school supplies on the go. It may not be the most fashionable, but the Recon is incredibly comfortable and durable enough to keep up with your hectic schedule. 

  • Updated October 26, 2021