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The North Face Recon

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: The North Face Recon daypack (under 35l)

Great bag for edc (everyday carry) and day hikes. Comfortable, durable, and well designed.


  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Compartment organization


  • Not very water resistant
  • No way to secure straps

I have two of these packs, one for everyday and a back up in case something happens to the 1st. They've held up really well and hold an obscene amount of stuff.

For example in the smaller front pocket I keep: my bushcraft knife, backup folder knife, a couple of SAK's, my Leatherman OHT, Fenix pd 32 flashlight, work gloves, 100 feet of para cord, a Zippo, fluid for said Zippo, a knife sharpener, calculator, fire steel, two pens, a stethoscope, e-shears, thermometer, and my Oakleys in their hard case.

Remember that's just one compartment, it's not even the largest compartment, and it's not crowded in that compartment. I could fit easily another 10-15 things in there, if I could figure out anything else I needed to carry.

Despite its ability to carry a lot, the pack isn't huge, just efficient. The straps distribute weight well and there is a hip belt that if you don't want to use it, it can be tucked away into pockets on the bottom of the bag. Pack has seen a lot of abuse and held up well.

The only bad thing I can say about the Recon is that most of the bag is only semi water resistant. The only exception to that is a small waterproof compartment near the top for electronics, wallet, etc.

Overall a great pack and one that would serve everyone from the outdoor enthusiast to the daily commuter well.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $99 (US)

I think you could, if you planned carefully, use this pack as a weekender. If you had one of those new crush-able mats, and a very small tent, bivy or tarp. The only limitation I see would be carrying enough water. Unless you hike near water and have a filter.

I recommend this pack. If you run into one for sale, buy it. You won't be sorry.


  • Very well built and long lasting.


  • The chest strap could be longer. I am 5'6"
  • I weigh 145 lbs. I am not big. The strap is too short.

I have owned my Recon for about 6 years. It has been to 14k and slightly more. I've hiked in Colorado, New Mexico, California, Oregon, and Washington. Here in the East I have been on almost every trail in the Smokies and surrounding National Forests and Wilderness Areas.

The Recon is just about big enough for an overnighter, if you have one of those new stuff sack type mats. I have hiked with this pack in all kinds of weather and although the pack is not waterproof, a small pack cover works great.

Straps are adjustable, but the chest strap could be longer. Your back will get sweaty in warm weather carrying any backpack. There just isn't enough space for air to get between you and the pack. No more sweaty than any other backpack I have carried. It is a good pack, it rides well and you can adjust the straps. In my opinion the shoulder straps are just right in width.

The mesh back is perfect for holding a towel and your garbage bag. The small part of the pack has plenty of pockets, including a cell phone pocket. The larger part is really big for a day pack. It's just one big sack on the inside.

I think this pack is good if you carry some wet weather gear, a decent 1st aid kit, some paracord, matches, a knife, snacks and water. I carry my Panasonic G3 in the big part and there is still a lot of room even with the Frog Togg poncho and 1st aid kit. The staps hold on good enough to do some climbing and it is narrow enough. But it's mainly useful for a larger load day pack/weekender.

Mine is an older pack that is yellow and black. I don't think that color is avaliable any more.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $60

This is a versatile high quality pack that will take all the abuse you can throw at it.


  • Plenty of pockets and organization features
  • Very solid and supportive structrue
  • High quality and durable build


  • The organizational pocket could have been designed slightly better

I don't have enough good things to say about this pack. I use this primarily for my everyday carry needs, but I do intend to test it out on the trail as well.

Let's start with the quality of the pack. This pack is very solidly built. All of the zippers are very functional and solid. I wouldn't ask for better clips for the compression straps. They are sturdy and strong.  

The pack has a very solid back panel. The back panel is sturdy enough to protect you from any protruding gear and the padding provides plenty of comfortable support. The shoulder straps are sturdy and comfortable.

The floating pocket on the front and the water bottle pockets are fantastic. The water bottle pockets fit my 32 oz. Nalgene bottles perfectly. The floating mesh pocket on the outside is perfect for a rain jacket or a warming layer to access quickly.

The pack has great organizational pockets. One on the top that is lined with a very soft material for your phone or sunglasses or just small tid bits. The admin pocket is fantastic. Although it is geared towards electronics I still find it very useful for organizing all my smaller items. All of the sleeves and pockets are fleece lined which makes them great for electronics.

The main compartment is large and spacious with plenty of room for the big stuff. The main compartment has a sleeve that can be used for a hydration bladder or a 15" laptop I believe.  

Whether you are using this for everyday commutes or as a laptop bag or for the outdoors this bag is just about perfect. I would recommend this bag for sure.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $99

I like the front load style. I like that it's made for a woman's frame. I am a day hiker and it is well suited for this.


  • Well built
  • Front load style
  • Good size


  • Would like more of a frame
  • Would like it to be a little more waterproof, live in the NW

I like the fit of this pack, I'm not a very tall women. The straps adjust easily, but would like it if they were wider.  The size is perfect for a day hike, which is what I bought it for.  I like the front load style, easier to organize for day use. 

I've only had this pack for a month, but have enjoyed it so far.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $109

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Price MSRP: $89.00
Current Retail: $108.95-$109.00
Historic Range: $19.73-$139.00
Reviewers Paid: $60.00-$99.00
Weight 2 lb 8 oz / 1135 g
Capacity 2015 cu in / 30 L
Dimensions 18.5 in x 13 in x 8 in / 48 cm x 34.5 cm x 20 cm
Fabric 420D Nylon, 1680D Ballistics Nylon
Price MSRP: $89.00
Current Retail: $109.00
Historic Range: $42.93-$124.95
Reviewers Paid: $109.00
Weight 2 lb 8 oz / 1135 g
Capacity 2015 cu in / 30 L
Dimensions 18.5 in x 13.5 in x 7.5 in / 48 cm x 34.5 cm x 20 cm
Fabric 420D Nylon, 1680D Ballistics Nylon
Product Details from The North Face »

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