Considered a legend of The North Face’s line of core backpacks, The North Face Recon is a popular and reliable pack with a remarkable amount of capacity and organisation. The stalwart brand, which has been around for years, has put a lot into this beauty, with a combination of high-quality materials and highly considered smart features.
Materials vary according to the style and colourway of this 31-litre backpack, but you can expect a uniformly excellent choice of comfortable and protective builds with longevity at the forefront. As far as fabric goes, this may mean a 600D polyester, 500 and 420D nylon, or 210D cordura nylon ripstop. For most bags, the standard is a 1680D ballistic nylon base, used for extra ground support and durability.
On the front of the pack, a North Face half dome logo represents one of two brand signatures. The other being a product model on to the side. Tracking towards the bottom, you’ve got a reliable bike loop which has reflective detailing for high visibility at night, reiterating the everyday use of The Recon. Heavy duty daisy chain webbing that runs down the front can be used for attaching any extra gear, making this pack great for use in just about any situation. Completing the front face is a small stash compartment for easy access items, protected by sturdy weatherproof YKK zips that unzip seamlessly with a satisfying smoothness.
On either side of The North Face Recon, mesh pockets have been included with an elasticated cuff to fit a wide range of water bottle sizes. And just on top of these pockets, a little loop has been included for clipping and tying on additional gear, also with some reflective detailing for people who may be hiking or biking at night and want extra visibility. Flip the pack over to the back and you’ll find what is possibly the best harness systems developed for an everyday backpack. North Face calls this the FlexVent suspension system, centered around a heavily padded back panel with super comfortable mesh pads and a middle channel for maximum airflow and extra breathability, both vertically and horizontally.
The shoulder straps are similarly heavily padded with airmesh, and feature custom injection moulded foam which is not unlike memory foam. Flex zones offer incredible support in any situation, alleviating the hot spots commonly found on the clavicle or collarbone to help prevent any pressure point or neck strain when carrying heavy loads.A sternum and hip strap offer extra stability and load control for those long hauls. There’s even an emergency whistle attached to the sternum strap, considering extreme circumstances which may arise on the occasion you’d need to draw attention to yourself. Notably, hip straps can also be removed if you find them too flappy or distracting. The bag can be further tightened with compression straps as well, so you can bring the weight closer to your body for a more stable centre of gravity. There’s little wonder as to why, along with other North Face bags, The North Face Recon has been endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association, certifying products engineered to carry heavy loads while ensuring maximal ergonomic support.
Looking inside, The North Face Recon features numerous compartments to help you customise your load. On the smaller end, a stash pocket on the front of the bag is ideal for anything needing quick access like a jacket, gloves or hat. Compression straps can be used to secure this cargo, so you have a bit of space to fit bigger items as well. Above this is a small fleece-lined zippered pocket for more delicate things. Again, it’s for immediate access, but has the added benefit of superior protection for something like a phone or a pair of sunglasses. A handy compartment dedication to organisation has been included to keep smaller items like pens and keys from getting lost in the cargo. Here, you’ll also find a slip pocket, pen slots, a zippered section that also houses a key leash, and a foam padded tablet pocket for small tablets.
Behind these is an even larger compartment with plenty of space for things like textbooks, jumpers and lunch boxes, offering a generous amount for those who want easy access to more substantial cargo. Lastly, there’s a foam padded laptop compartment that’s big enough to fit a 15” laptop and suspend it so it doesn’t fall to the base of the bag. This helps with protecting the device against any accidental drops, avoiding the base so shocks are of no issue. If you don’t have a laptop to put in the bag, you can use this compartment to store a hydration bladder, feeding the sipping tube through a special port at the top. This highly considered function has obviously been geared towards those on a long weekend hike or on a lengthy daily commute.
THE NORTH FACE RECON | WHO IS IT FOR?
While hikers may get the most out of this pack, The North Face Recon fits a broad range of uses thanks to intelligent design and an abundance of storage solutions. Durability is key here, giving you peace of mind while protecting your cargo in any situation and making sure you have clear access at all times. It’s a technical, reliable and organisation powerhouse of a bag that is rightfully positioned amongst the most popular products North Face has ever created.
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