Are North Face Backpacks Waterproof? A Cinematic Investigation (August 2023)

Most North Face backpacks are not completely waterproof, but many models are highly water-resistant or come with waterproof covers. 

In the world of outdoor gear, The North Face is a brand synonymous with quality, durability, and ruggedness. Like Orson Welles’ monumental Citizen Kane, the brand has become a symbol of excellence in its field, a titan that stands tall among its peers. But does this excellence extend to one of their most popular products: backpacks? More specifically, are North Face backpacks waterproof?

Allow me to take you on a cinematic journey, a gripping narrative that explores the depths of this question. There will be highs and lows, plot twists, and perhaps even a dramatic conclusion.

Act I: The Unveiling

Imagine a scene from the silver screen: a mysterious figure enters the stage, carrying an assortment of North Face backpacks on their shoulders, each brimming with unique features and designs. These backpacks are not merely bags, but characters in our tale.

Our protagonists:

  • Borealis
  • Jester
  • Surge
  • Recon
  • Router

These five backpacks, like the ensemble cast of Robert Altman’s Nashville, represent different aspects of the North Face brand, each with strengths and weaknesses. The question on everyone’s mind: are they waterproof?

Many North Face backpacks are made with durable, water-resistant materials like nylon ripstop or coated polyester. These can withstand light rain and splashes well.

— Waterproof backpack North Face

Act II: The Investigation

Our journey to unravel this mystery leads us to the battleground of specifications, where numbers and facts clash to determine the truth. We find ourselves in possession of a table – nay, the table – that holds the key to the answer we seek.

BackpackMaterialWater Resistance Rating (mm)
Borealis600D Polyester / 500D Nylon1000
Jester600D Polyester1000
Surge500D Nylon1200
Recon600D Polyester / 500D Nylon1000
Router500D Nylon1200

The table, like the monolith in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, reveals a profound truth. The water resistance ratings of these backpacks suggest that they possess the ability to withstand a moderate amount of water exposure. But like the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, the table raises more questions than it answers. Are these ratings enough to proclaim them as waterproof?

Read: North Face waterproof backpack

Act III: The Revelation

As we delve deeper into the abyss of knowledge, we learn that a truly waterproof backpack is a rare gem. In the realm of outdoor gear, there exists a scale that measures the water resistance of fabrics:

  • Water-resistant: able to repel light rain and moisture
  • Water-repellent: able to withstand moderate rain and wet conditions
  • Waterproof: impervious to water, even under pressure

Our protagonists, like the antiheroes of a Scorsese film, are not without flaws. While they possess water resistance ratings that make them capable of fending off moderate rain and splashes, they cannot claim the coveted title of “waterproof.”

This truth is further emphasized by the absence of taped seams and waterproof zippers, crucial elements in a truly waterproof backpack. These features, like the missing piece of a puzzle, are essential in preventing water from entering the bag through stitch lines and zipper paths.

Act IV: Understanding Waterproofing Technologies

To determine the waterproofness of North Face backpacks, it is essential to understand the technologies employed by the brand. The North Face incorporates various waterproofing techniques and materials into their backpack designs, ensuring protection against the elements.

1. DryVent™ Technology

One of the prominent waterproofing technologies used by The North Face is their proprietary DryVent™ technology. This innovative feature provides a reliable waterproof barrier while allowing breathability to keep your belongings dry and well-ventilated. The multi-layer construction of DryVent™ shields your gear from rain, snow, and moisture, making it suitable for various outdoor activities.

2. Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Finish

North Face backpacks often come with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish. This treatment is applied to the outer layer of the backpack, causing water to bead up and roll off the surface instead of seeping through. The DWR coating enhances the water resistance of the backpack, preventing moisture from saturating the fabric and keeping your gear dry in light rain or drizzle.

3. Seam Sealing

To further enhance waterproofing, North Face backpacks feature seam sealing. This involves applying a specialized tape or sealant to the seams of the backpack to prevent water ingress through stitching holes. Seam sealing is particularly effective in heavy rain or wet conditions, ensuring that your belongings remain protected even in the harshest environments.

Act V: Field Performance and Customer Experiences

While understanding the waterproofing technologies used in North Face backpacks is essential, it is equally important to assess their real-world performance. To gauge the effectiveness of these backpacks in various conditions, let’s delve into the experiences of customers who have put them to the test.

North Face backpacks incorporate advanced waterproofing technologies to protect your belongings from rain, snow, and moisture. With features such as DryVent™ technology, DWR finish, and seam sealing, these backpacks offer reliable waterproofing performance in a variety of outdoor scenarios.

Read: Are NorthFace backpacks waterproof

1. Rainy Hiking Adventures

Many hikers have reported positive experiences with North Face backpacks during rainy excursions. The combination of DryVent™ technology, DWR finish, and seam sealing has proven effective in keeping their gear dry, even during prolonged exposure to heavy rain. The sturdy construction and reliable waterproofing of these backpacks have earned them praise among outdoor enthusiasts who prioritize protection in inclement weather.

2. Winter Sports and Snowy Conditions

When it comes to winter sports and snowy conditions, North Face backpacks have shown impressive performance. The waterproofing features, coupled with the brand’s expertise in cold-weather gear, make these backpacks highly suitable for snowboarding, skiing, and other winter activities. Users have commended the backpacks’ ability to keep their belongings dry, even in wet snow or slushy conditions.

3. Everyday Use and Commuting

Apart from outdoor adventures, North Face backpacks are also favored for everyday use and commuting. The waterproofing technologies incorporated into these backpacks provide peace of mind during unexpected rain showers or accidental spills. The DWR finish, in particular, ensures that water beads off the backpack’s surface, minimizing the chances of moisture seeping into the contents.

Act VI: The Resolution

So, our protagonists are not invincible. But like the heroes of a classic Western, they have virtues to be admired. The North Face backpacks, while not waterproof, are water-resistant, a quality that can protect your belongings in most everyday situations and moderate rain. Their durability, comfort, and style have won them a legion of loyal followers.

For those seeking true waterproof protection, there exist options such as rain covers or dry bags, accessories that can elevate a water-resistant backpack to the rank of waterproof.

Epilogue: Frequently Asked Questions

In the final act of our tale, we address the lingering questions, the echoes of curiosity that remain.

Q: Are all North Face backpacks waterproof?

A: No, North Face backpacks are not waterproof, but they are water-resistant and capable of protecting your belongings in moderate rain.

Q: Can I make my North Face backpack waterproof?

A: While you can’t make it completely waterproof, you can improve its water protection by using a rain cover or placing your belongings in dry bags.

Q: What is the difference between water-resistant, water-repellent, and waterproof?

A: Water-resistant fabrics can repel light rain and moisture, water-repellent fabrics can withstand moderate rain and wet conditions, and waterproof fabrics are impervious to water, even under pressure.

The credits roll, and our journey comes to an end. As the music swells and the lights dim, we leave the theater with a newfound understanding of the North Face backpacks’ relationship with water. They may not be waterproof, but they can still stand proud as icons of the outdoor gear world, just as the great films of cinema history stand the test of time.


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