Best North Face Backpack for School: Top Picks for Students

Updated on February 5, 2024

Backpacks are indispensable for students needing to carry their educational essentials from textbooks and laptops to stationery and snacks. Among the myriad of options available today, The North Face backpacks have carved out a reputation for durable, functional, and comfortable gear, suitable for the demands of school life. With a variety of designs that cater to different needs and personal styles, these backpacks combine ruggedness with ergonomics, ensuring that carrying heavy loads doesn’t have to be a burden.

When it comes to school backpacks, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Size and capacity are crucial, as students require enough space to store all their materials without the backpack being too bulky. Compartments and pockets are equally important for keeping things organized. The North Face offers designs with multiple storage options, allowing everything to be easily accessible. Comfort is another key factor, with features such as padded straps and back panels to minimize strain on the shoulders and spine during long days on campus.

Durability is at the heart of The North Face brand, with backpacks made from high-quality materials to withstand the wear and tear of daily use. Consideration of material is not just about longevity, but also weather resistance, ensuring that electronics and books stay dry in inclement weather. Responsiveness to these needs reflects in their thoughtful product design.

As we scrutinize the various models from The North Face lineup, we focus on those that deliver on all these fronts – capacity, organization, comfort, and durability – to identify the best North Face backpack for school use. Our extensive research and product testing have been aimed at uncovering which backpacks serve the daily demands of school life most efficiently.

Top North Face Backpacks for School

We understand the importance of a reliable backpack for the daily demands of school life. North Face offers durable options that blend functionality with comfort. Our selection includes backpacks that are ideal for carrying textbooks, laptops, and other essentials, while providing the support required for busy students on the go. Here are our top picks for North Face backpacks that meet the mark for academic use.

The North Face Vault Backpack

THE NORTH FACE Vault Commuter Laptop Backpack, TNF Black, One Size

We believe the North Face Vault Backpack is a smart pick for students who need a reliable, comfortable, and spacious option for toting their daily essentials.

Pros:
  • Exceptional comfort with well-padded straps for shoulder support.
  • Built to last, showcasing quality materials and construction.
  • Sleek and practical design that's perfect for academic settings or everyday use.
Cons:
  • Limited small-item organization due to fewer pockets.
  • Straps may require an adjustment period to fit perfectly.
  • Not fully waterproof which could be a concern in heavier weather.
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As soon as you slip on the North Face Vault Backpack, the padded straps are a game-changer, distributing weight evenly and reducing strain on your shoulders—even when it’s packed with textbooks and a laptop. Moving from class to class, its resilience shines through; the nylon material and meticulous construction signal it’s more than up to the challenge of a hectic school week.

After several days of use, it’s clear that the organized layout of the main compartments makes it easy to separate electronic gear from notebooks and supplies. However, if you usually carry a multitude of smaller items, the limited number of pockets might make reaching for that USB stick or pack of gum less straightforward.

Rain or shine, the backpack holds its own, but it’s worth noting that in a heavy downpour, some moisture might seep through. It’s not a dealbreaker, but for those who live in wetter climates, be aware that carrying an extra umbrella or rain cover might be wise to ensure everything stays dry.

Navigating crowded hallways and bustling campus grounds, we appreciate how the slim profile of the backpack keeps us agile and unencumbered. It’s a product that gets the essentials right with a no-nonsense approach to design and functionality.

The Jester Pack

THE NORTH FACE Women's Jester Commuter Laptop Backpack, Minimal Grey Dark Heather/Minimal Grey, One Size

If you're seeking a dependable backpack for school, The Jester Pack strikes a balance between comfort and functionality.

Pros:
  • Sturdy construction withstands daily wear-and-tear
  • Deep water bottle pockets help you stay hydrated
  • Laptop compartment keeps your tech safe on the go
Cons:
  • The material can attract dirt, requiring frequent cleaning
  • Stiff back panel might need breaking in
  • Limited pockets may restrict organization options
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The Jester Pack’s robust build quality readily delighted us; it demonstrated its resilience day in and day out. Trekking through the bustling campus, the padded laptop sleeve provided our tech gadgets with a snug and secure sanctuary. Meanwhile, the deep side pockets meant we never had to worry about hydration – our water bottles had finally met their match in both depth and accessibility.

An initial stiffness to the back panel made us pause, but with time, the pack adapted to our contours, offering improved comfort. We noticed, though, that the minimalist grey managed to pick up marks too easily. While this didn’t undermine its durability, it did necessitate regular care to maintain that fresh-out-of-the-store appearance.

We also found ourselves wishing for a few more pockets to stow away all the little essentials that one accumulates. Despite this, we could fit all our books and a good deal more. The backpack’s design, with its precise stitching and sleek lines, meant we moved through crowds with ease, unconcerned about the space we occupied. Our experience with The Jester Pack reassured us of its value as a reliable school companion.

TNF Borealis Backpack

THE NORTH FACE Borealis Laptop Backpack, Asphalt Grey Light Heather/TNF Black, One Size

We believe the TNF Borealis Backpack is a solid choice for students seeking durability combined with comfort.

Pros:
  • Exceptionally organized with ample storage space
  • FlexVent technology offers superior back and shoulder support
  • High-quality materials that withstand rough daily use
Cons:
  • Slightly heavier than some alternatives
  • Premium price might not fit all budgets
  • Waist belt may be unnecessary for school use
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Harnessing years of experience, we’ve found that a reliable backpack is crucial for an organized academic life. TNF Borealis hits the mark with its multitude of compartments, allowing for easy access to a laptop, textbooks, and a bevvy of school supplies. During a hectic week of tests, papers, and extracurricular activities, the Borealis proved its mettle, keeping everything in its place without a strain.

Comfort is non-negotiable on long school days, and we noted that the Borealis’ FlexVent technology lived up to its promise. The shoulder straps and back panel delivered comfort even when the bag was packed to the brim with heavy textbooks.

Durability, in our experience, is where the Borealis sets itself apart. Even when subjected to the daily wear and tear that comes from a school setting, it emerged unscathed, showing no signs of fraying or zipper fatigue that often plagues lesser bags.

Shortcomings are few, but were expected; the additional weight from the robust construction became noticeable on longer treks across campus. The price point, reflective of its quality and brand reputation, may deter some. And while the waist strap provides added support, it remained largely unused in a traditional school setting.

TNF Jester Backpack

THE NORTH FACE Jester Commuter Laptop Backpack, Shady Blue/TNF White, One Size

We found the TNF Jester Backpack to be a top-notch choice for students in need of a reliable, comfortable pack for their daily scholastic haul.

Pros:
  • Supports back with approved design from the American Chiropractic Association
  • Flexible and comfortable carrying with the FlexVent suspension system
  • Organization is a breeze with dedicated pockets and water bottle sleeves
Cons:
  • May be on the smaller side for those requiring extra space for gear
  • Limited pocket distribution can be constrain for specific storage needs
  • The backpack’s slim profile might not suit bulky textbooks or equipment
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Hauling textbooks, a laptop, and supplies across campus has tested the Jester Backpack’s endurance, and it’s passed with flying colors. The FlexVent technology is more than just a fancy term; it genuinely distributes weight evenly, reducing strain on our shoulders and back throughout a long academic day.

The internal layout has been thoughtfully crafted, making it simple for us to tuck away a tablet in the padded sleeve and organize small items in the zip pockets. Quick access to water bottles or other necessities as we scoot from one lecture to another has made the dual-purpose side pockets a much-appreciated feature.

Despite its many benefits, we did notice the backpack is snug when it needs to accommodate bulkier items. While it’s ideal for a typical school day’s load, if we’re looking to pack heavy textbooks or a change of clothes for after-school activities, space becomes a premium.

In summary, the Jester’s sleek design and ergonomic support make it a solid companion for our educational journey. It’s an investment in both functionality and comfort for the everyday student.

Borealis Laptop Backpack

THE NORTH FACE Women's Borealis Commuter Laptop Backpack, TNF Black/TNF White, One Size

We found the Borealis Laptop Backpack to be a sturdy choice for school essentials and electronics, adapting comfortably to a woman's frame.

Pros:
  • Women-specific design provides a comfortable fit
  • Numerous compartments ensure ample organization
  • FlexVent technology offers breathable, padded support
Cons:
  • May not expand sufficiently for large binders or textbooks
  • Straps can appear fragile under heavy loads or when grabbed hastily
  • Higher price point could be a consideration for budget-conscious shoppers
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Considering the variety of backpacks available, the Borealis stands out for its comfort and design made specifically to suit women. Our personal experience is a testament to the thoughtfulness of its construction. The shoulder straps contour gracefully with our body, reducing the strain often felt from carrying heavy loads. This thoughtful design isn’t just for show; it makes a real difference in our daily commute to school or work.

Organization is a breeze with this backpack. We appreciate the ample pockets and compartments, which make it simple to stow away gadgets, pens, and even water bottles. The ease with which we can access our tablet from the padded sleeve is a small detail that counts during the rush between classes or meetings.

While we relish the backpack’s tailored comfort and organization perks, we’d be remiss not to address some of its limitations. For those of us who pack heavy textbooks or need to carry large items, the Borealis can be a bit snug. It is indeed a well-made backpack, but some of us have noticed that when loaded with weighty items, the straps may not instill the utmost confidence. And, while the quality is undeniable, the price might prompt some consideration from those on a strict budget. But for those prioritizing comfort and functionality in a daily carry, we find the Borealis backpack from The North Face to be an invaluable ally.

Surge Backpack

THE NORTH FACE Surge Commuter Laptop Backpack, Asphalt Grey Light Heather/TNF Black, One Size

We recommend the Surge Backpack for students who prioritize durability and organization in their school gear.

Pros:
  • Ample storage options for school essentials
  • Comfortable to carry, even when fully loaded
  • High-quality materials providing lasting use
Cons:
  • Premium price point may deter some
  • Overabundance of compartments might be cumbersome for some
  • Can't claim the manufacturer's warranty if purchased on Amazon
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Strapping on the Surge Backpack, the first thing we notice is its sturdy yet comfortable design, making it a reliable option for hauling textbooks and a laptop. The nylon fabric withstands daily wear and tear, reassuring us that this bag is built to last.

Storage is a highlight; there’s a designated spot for nearly everything. The carefully considered layout means we can stay organized throughout a hectic day. A quick access pocket keeps essentials handy for when we’re on the move.

One thing to keep in mind is the bag’s cost—quality comes at a price. But we feel the investment pays off in the long run, thanks to the backpack’s resilience. However, do remember that if you’re purchasing through Amazon, The North Face’s usual warranty won’t apply. Despite this, our firsthand experience has shown us the Surge Backpack can handle the daily bustle of school life with ease.

TNF Pivoter Backpack

THE NORTH FACE Pivoter Everyday Laptop Backpack, Mid Grey Dark Heather/TNF Black, One Size

We believe the TNF Pivoter Backpack is an exceptional choice for students who value comfort and organization in their daily carry.

Pros:
  • Endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association for its comfortable design
  • The FlexVent suspension system offers excellent breathability and support
  • Simplified organization with various compartments for all essentials
Cons:
  • Some may find the size smaller than expected for their needs
  • Only one large main compartment instead of multiple larger sections
  • May not be suitable for children under 12 due to size and design
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Having recently loaded up the TNF Pivoter Backpack with textbooks, a laptop, and various school supplies, we instantly noticed the comfort the FlexVent suspension system offered. The shoulder straps and lumbar panel distribute weight evenly, which is a lifesaver while we’re on the move between classes. While trekking across campus, the ability to grab a water bottle from the dual side pockets without stopping was particularly convenient.

Within the backpack, the front compartment serves as an organizational hub for small items, thus avoiding the common pitfall of a bottomless bag where things disappear. Meanwhile, the padded laptop sleeve provided peace of mind; our computer was securely cushioned against jostles and bumps as we navigated crowded hallways.

However, we did have to make some choices about what to carry. The backpack’s solo main compartment meant larger items had to share space, which sometimes required strategic packing. Those accustomed to more expansive backpacks might feel a bit limited. Despite this, we found its size adequate for day-to-day essentials.

In our hands-on experience, the TNF Pivoter holds up to daily wear and tear, thanks to its durable fabric. If a smart, compact, and comfortable backpack is on your shopping list, this offering from THE NORTH FACE is worth considering.

Recon Backpack for Her

THE NORTH FACE Women's Recon Everyday Laptop Backpack

We think you'll love the Women's Recon Backpack for its tailor-made comfort and practicality throughout the academic year.

Pros:
  • Customized women-specific fit with FlexVent technology for added comfort
  • High level of organization with multiple storage options and pockets
  • Reflective details ensure visibility and safety in low light
Cons:
  • Smaller than some may anticipate, limiting packing space
  • Only suitable for light travels rather than heavy-duty use
  • At 30L, it might not accommodate all school essentials for some users
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After testing the Recon Backpack on various outings, we’ve found that it balances daily functionality with coziness. The women-specific FlexVent system with contoured straps and back panel does wonders for comfort during a long day of classes or a quick commute.

We appreciate the thoughtful design from The North Face, evident in the comprehensive organization system. From tablet sleeves to a fleece-lined pocket for delicate items, it keeps our essentials neatly ordered and accessible.

While using the backpack, its safety features stood out, especially the whistle buckle and reflective elements that add a sense of security for evening strolls. However, we noticed the size could be too snug for those needing extra room for textbooks or athletic gear. It’s a fantastic choice for light packers who prefer a sleek and manageable backpack for school essentials.

The North Face Recon Backpack

THE NORTH FACE Recon Laptop Backpack, Tin Grey Dark Heather/Asphalt Grey/TNF Black, One Size

If you're in search of a backpack that marries functionality with comfort for school use, the Recon by The North Face fits the bill with its smart features and sturdy design.

Pros:
  • Ample storage space with organization in mind
  • Certified comfort by the American Chiropractic Association
  • Durable material built for long-term use
Cons:
  • Higher price point compared to other brands
  • Can be cumbersome to clean properly
  • Might appear large for those preferring a compact bag
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Our first-hand experience with the Recon has been nothing short of exemplary when it comes to hauling around school essentials. The ample compartments allow for seamless organization of textbooks, a laptop, and all the little accessories we find essential for a day of learning. The large mesh storage pocket is perfect for items we need to access quickly, while the dedicated laptop sleeve offers peace of mind knowing our tech is snug and protected from knocks and bumps.

Comfort is paramount when carrying a backpack day in, day out, and the Recon does not disappoint. The updated FlexVent suspension system with its articulated shoulder straps distributes weight evenly, reducing strain on our shoulders and back. It’s an undeniable boon during a hustle-filled school day when you traverse campus with a loaded pack.

Durability is another area where this backpack shines. After weeks of putting it through its paces, it still looks as good as new. It’s a purchase that feels like a long-term investment rather than a seasonal expenditure, which is significant given the not-so-modest price tag. Occasionally, cleaning can be tedious, especially if you’re dealing with scuffs or stains, but it’s a small trade-off for the overall quality and robustness of the bag.

Overall, we’ve found that the Recon by The North Face rises to the occasion for everyday school use. While it may lean toward the higher end of the price spectrum, you get quality that justifies the cost. If it’s within your budget, this is a backpack that can endure the rigors of school life while keeping comfort and organization at the forefront.

TNF Borealis Backpack

The North Face Borealis Laptop Backpack - Bookbag for Work, School, or Travel, TNF Black, One Size

We think you'll appreciate the TNF Borealis Backpack for its durability and comfort, especially when you're loaded down with books and tech.

Pros:
  • Spacious main compartment holds textbooks and a laptop with ease
  • Ergonomic design with padded back panel for carrying comfort
  • Water bottle pockets keeps hydration at arm's reach
Cons:
  • Can get bulky when stuffed to capacity
  • Hipbelt is a bit minimalistic for heavier loads
  • Aesthetic may not suit everyone's taste
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After slipping on the Borealis backpack, you can immediately tell it’s built with the daily grind in mind. The padded shoulder straps conform nicely, and the airmesh back panel with spine channel really does help keep the weight off your back. When it comes to lugging around a laptop, the padded sleeve is a snug fit for most 15-inch models, giving peace of mind as you move from class to class.

We especially like the front stash pocket—it’s just the right size for quick-grab items. And for those days when you’re racing to beat the morning bell, the reflective loop for a blinky light is a helpful safety feature. The whistle on the chest buckle is a small but appreciated detail, adding a sense of security for late-night campus walks.

As many of us juggle work and study, it’s key to have accessories that match that versatility. The Borealis does so and more, although we’ve noticed it can become unwieldy if you overstuff it. Still, its capacity to organize and protect essentials while ensuring your comfort makes it our go-to backpack for school and beyond.

Buying Guide

Assessing Your Needs

Before selecting a backpack for school, we need to evaluate our needs based on the size and number of textbooks, technology such as laptops or tablets, and any extracurricular gear we may carry. Ideal backpacks should comfortably fit all of our daily essentials.

Durability and Material

We should look for backpacks made with high-quality, durable materials that can withstand daily wear and tear. Water-resistant fabrics are beneficial for protecting our belongings during inclement weather.

MaterialProsCons
NylonStrong and durableLess breathable
PolyesterWater-resistant and lightweightCan wear out faster than nylon
CanvasSturdy and eco-friendlyHeavier and less water-resistant

Comfort and Support

Comfort is crucial, especially if we carry heavy loads regularly. Padded shoulder straps and a padded back panel are a must. A backpack with an adjustable chest strap can also distribute weight more evenly.

FeatureBenefit
Padded Shoulder StrapsReduce shoulder strain
Padded Back PanelIncrease comfort and support
Adjustable Chest StrapDistribute weight evenly

Compartmentalization

Multiple compartments help organize our items and save time when searching for them. A dedicated laptop sleeve is crucial if we carry a computer, and an external USB port can be handy for on-the-go charging.

CompartmentFunctionality
Main CompartmentStore large items and textbooks
Laptop SleeveProtect and separate laptop
Accessory PocketsOrganize small items

Style and Personal Expression

Style should not be overlooked. We should consider a backpack’s aesthetic appeal and how it aligns with our personal taste.

AspectConsideration
ColorMatch with most outfits
DesignReflect personal style
BrandInfluence by personal values

Remember to check for the warranty or guarantee policy which can provide peace of mind and protect our investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

When selecting a North Face backpack for school, it’s essential to focus on features such as comfort, durability, and organization. Below, we answer the most common queries to help guide your choice.

What features should I look for in a North Face backpack suitable for high school students?

In a North Face backpack ideal for high school, we recommend looking for an ergonomic design, padded shoulder straps, a laptop sleeve, and ample compartments for books and supplies. Durability is also key to withstand daily use.

What are the differences between the North Face Borealis and Jester backpacks in terms of capacity and functionality?

The North Face Borealis typically has a larger capacity than the Jester, providing more space for textbooks and a laptop. The Borealis also features a more advanced suspension system for added comfort, whereas the Jester offers basic organizational pockets and is lighter in weight.

Which North Face backpack models are most appropriate for female students and offer the best comfort and style?

North Face designs specific models like the Women’s Recon and Women’s Borealis that cater to a female’s build with tailored shoulder straps and back panels. These models combine comfort with stylish design, suitable for female students.

What makes North Face backpacks a preferred choice for educational use among students?

North Face backpacks are preferred by students due to their resilient materials, comfort in carrying heavy loads, and various designs that suit different student preferences. The brand’s reputation for quality also plays a significant role.

How do the various North Face backpacks cater to the organizational needs of school boys?

North Face backpacks, such as the Pivoter and the Router, offer multiple compartments for organization, including dedicated spaces for electronics, stationary, and textbooks, serving the organizational needs of school boys efficiently.

What are the top-rated North Face backpacks that combine durability with ergonomic design for daily school use?

Top-rated options like the North Face Recon and Surge backpacks are recognized for their robust construction and ergonomic designs. They are built to withstand daily use with features that provide support and evenly distribute weight.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.