User Review: The North Face Freedom
Design: panel-loading internal frame daypack
Size: appx 2,800 ci
Number of Pockets: one large compartment with a small "wallet" pocket inside the front panel
Max. Load Carried: appx 35 pounds of climbing gear
Height of Owner: 5'9"
I've had this basic panel-loading daypack for nearly 12 years now and it has stood the test of time. The PU framesheet was replaced by TNF under warranty less than a year after it was purchased but since then it's carried everything from weird climbing loads to overnight camp gear and has been beaten up as an airline carry-on.
It's still my primary daypack for hikes and snowshoe trips into Rocky Mountain National Park, seen plenty of abuse at the base of Bozeman's crags and is only now going to get replaced for something a little nicer as my body gets a bit older.
There's nothing sexy or outstanding, other than its pure utility and decent fit. The PU framesheet does a decent job of distributing and isolating heavy and pointy climbing gear, the zippers have never once complained despite some rather beefy week-long travel loads, and the hipbelt and shoulder straps have never let go.
The overall construction is definitely "old" North Face in that there's no extra gadgetry to break or weigh down the pack, the entire bag is heavyweight pack cloth -- no ultra-light ripstop to shred -- and every seam has been stressed and held solid for over a decade.