The North Face Catalyst 60

1 review
5-star:   1
4-star:   0
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0



Bought the pack after doing a shakedown day trip to…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Design: Top loading with Sleeping bag and side access
Size: 60 liters
Number of Pockets: Top lid, internal water bladder and one on a side access pocket
Max. Load Carried: about 55 lbs.
Height of Owner: 5'9"
Price Paid: $200

Bought the pack after doing a shakedown day trip to South Peak in Albuquerque with my old Gregory Shasta. Loaded up I found my waist belt system was finally giving out and exacerbating a bit of sciatica in one leg.

As a bit a a background I've been an active backpacker and mountaineer for almost 40 years now and have owned several packs used from hiking about 2,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail to climbing Aconcagua and Himalaya trekking.

When I found this pack accidentally I was immediately ready to go with its fit. It seemed to be a great stable platform that worked as good as the old Jan Sport frame packs that had the wrap around system for carrying loads.

Anyway, after loading it up and doing a brutal steep off trail 1000' test climb with my buddy Dave I was sold. It stayed with me going up and over boulders and thru brush and distributed the pack weight so well around the waist that comfort was the only term I could use.

On Whitney I found the access to the mesh pocket that was exposed once you zipped open the side panel to be nice to see what you had inside. The sleeping bag access was very good and I liked it from the side. Water bladder pouch was adequate for a 2 liter bag that I use from MSR and the dedicated hole with flap for your tubing to the outside was a nice touch.

On the adjustment piece for your shoulder strap I noted that someone in another review broke theirs and the company refused to replace. (That's not good for TNF as bad PR.) However I did read the instructions and noted their manual exhibited a concern about you forcing the closure of the plastic piece. I almost made the same mistake. It could be something about the design that TNF can fix in another model by providing some indicator marks in the plastic? I would hate to break this attachment point out in the field but most of us only make one adjustment when we buy it to our backs and leave it there.

I hope that the suspension system for the waist holds up over time and it would be good to address field repairs in the manual if anything can go wrong. I'm assuming that most can be done with a sewing awl (Boy I sure miss that old one that Black Diamond used to make as part of an expedition repair kit...I'd buy another one in a second)

The only negatives were a lack of direct lash points for crampon bag, but the neoprene sheet with holes was a passable alternative with my own straps and the pack weight which I felt could be trimmed with use of some lighter weight pack material in select sections of the pack.

I like the pack so much with the Pivotal that I will buy the 75 liter for going up Mustag Atta next year. If TNF needs a field tester...

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

The Catalyst 60 is an award-winning, durable pack for the ambitious backcountry explorer

- Rocky Mountain Trail refers to the men's version

The award-winning Catalyst 60 Backpack from The North Face easily comfortably carries all the gear your need for a four-day hiking trip. Its Pivotal suspension system won the 2005 Backpacker Magazine Editor's Choice Award for the support and free movement it gives this pack. As you walk, bend, step up, lean over, run, climb, or jump, The North Face Pivotal 60 continues to transfer weight directly to your hips and won't throw you off balance like rigid packs can. Top, side, and bottom access points allow you to find your sunglasses without unloading every stitch of gear, and the removable hydration sleeve is perfect for short side trips away from camp.

- Backcountry Outlet refers to the men's version

On Sale. Free Shipping. The North Face Catalyst 60 Pack (Spring 2009 Discontinued) The Catalyst 60 Pack by the North Face is an award-winning, decadent, yet durable pack for the ambitious backcountry explorer.Specifications: [Avg Weight] S: 5 lbs 10 oz (2550 g); M: 6 lbs (2720 g); L: 6 lbs 6 oz (2890 g) [Ext Volume] S: 3950 in3 (65 liters); M: 4250 in3 (70 liters); L: 4550 in3 (75 liters) [Stnd Volume] S: 3350 in3 (55 liters); M: 3650 in3 (60 liters); L: 3950 in3 (65 liters) [Dimensions] S: 26in. x 17in. x 8in. (66 x 44 x 22); M: 28in. x 18in. x 8in. (71 x 45 x 22); L: 29in. x 18in. x 9in. (75 x 45 x 23) [Fit Range] S: 14in.-17in. (36 cm-43 cm); M: 16in.-19in. (41 cm-48 cm), L: 18in.-21in. (46 cm-53 cm) [Fabric] 210D Cordura nylon, 420HT nylon, 840D Jr BallisticsFeatures: Access Top, Side, Sleeping Bag Pivotal Suspension system Molded back panel with E VAP Easily adjustable torso length with interchangeable hipbelt Full-length, right-side zip access to the main and sleeping bag compartments Removable, floating lid with internal mesh zip pocket Contoured cranial cavity Removable hydration sleeve with shoulder straps Mesh organizer pockets inside of side access panel Trampoline sleeping bag divider Adjustable compression system with molded rails that also function as daisy chains Left-side expandable pocket to hold and lash bulky items X bungee Pickpocket Side water-bottle pockets Trekking-pole loops Bottom compression Anatomically cut E VAP shoulder harness Contoured hipbelt with E VAP and airmesh No-slip lumbar pad Hipbelt fit zone with cant adjustment Zip-access, full-front, pleated pocket Suspension locked to straps on hipbelt Sternum strap with Safe T whistle Easy-grip zipper pullsThis product can only be shipped within the United States. Please don't hate us.

- Moosejaw refers to the men's version

An October run on Charlottesville's O-Hill means blazing colors but also chilly temperatures. Stay dry and warm in a pair of lightweight Traverse Pants. These highly breathable, wind-resistant soft-shell pants are made from a fast-drying, recycled polyester and spandex fabric with 4-way mechanical stretch for unrestricted movement. A Deluge DWR (durable water repellent) finish keeps wet weather out. The Traverse Pants pack easily so they are perfect companions for long backcountry excursions. Details: a double-stitched drawcord waistband with a brushed-elastic interior; two zippered handwarmer pockets; 4-panel construction; gusseted crotch for freedom of movement; straight legs that work with Nordic boots or running shoes. Reflective logo on the back right hip. Recyclable through the Common Threads Recycling Program.

- Altrec Outdoors refers to the men's version

The North Face Pivotal 60 Backpack 04Color Shown:NickelWorking with your body's own independent suspension, the Pivotal 60 Pack from The North Face is the first pack to truly address the dynamic relationship between a pack and its user. The essential comp

- US Outdoor Store refers to the men's version

The North Face Catalyst 60


The Catalyst 60 has been discontinued.

previously retailed for:
$152.14 - $388.95

The North Face Catalyst 60 is not available from the stores we monitor. It was last seen December 25, 2010 at Rocky Mountain Trail.

If you're looking for a new weekend pack (3,000 - 4,499 cu in), check out the best reviewed current models.