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The North Face Snow Leopard Pack

rated 4.5 of 5 stars

The Snow Leopard Pack has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best expedition packs for 2020.


Price Reviewers Paid: $180.00-$460.00


6 reviews
5-star:   4
4-star:   1
3-star:   0
2-star:   1
1-star:   0

As good as it was when I bought it 35 years ago. Some flaking on the inside and that’s a DIY fix with waterproofing treatment. Tried and true. Doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that newer packs have, and that’s a plus due to its simplicity and easy adjustability.


  • Easily adjustable
  • Top and side access makes it fast to find or store gear
  • Snugs down with minimal effort
  • Rugged


  • Hip belt is dated compared to modern gear.

Bought my blue with yellow straps Snow Leopard in ‘84 or ‘85. It's been around the world with me, hauled 75 lbs of gear around Central America for a summer, been hitchhiking throughout the American West, and logged into the thousands of miles in California, Colorado, and Wyoming backcountry. Never even broke a strap. 

Frame stays are easy to bend to fit your back. Shoulder strap adjustments are quick.


35 years using this pack. Great for international trips and general backpacking use.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Around $400


Welcome to Trailspace, Peter. Thanks for sharing a review of your stalwart pack. If you have any pictures of yours to show others in your review, those would be great to see too.

2 months ago

That is so funny. I have the same pack. I used it and my Gregory from the mid 1980s. I too loved the Snow Leopard. Mine was also bright blue with yellow straps.


  • Plenty of room
  • Comfortable
  • Sturdy


  • None

I dropped it off at the North Face shop today because the weatherproofing was flaking off on the inside of the pack. I am not sure what they will do.

It is a strong comfortable pack with easy access to all parts.It has been all over the mountains of California and southern Arizona with a trip to New Mexico, Colorado, and Kenya. It never let me down. With the exception of the weatherproofing, it still looks brand new.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $300-400 range


Welcome to Trailspace, David! Thanks for sharing a review of your Snow Leopard. It's always nice to hear about gear that has held up for so long. If you have any pictures of your pack we'd love to see some in your review. I hope you'll update us on how TNF deals with the weatherproofing too. Thanks!

3 years ago
David Hickenbottom

The North Face has reviewed my pack and said it was caused by normal wear. When I said it was in good shape and that it has been in storage for a long time they said they would replace it. I sent in my Gregory pack the same time. I am waiting on the outcome of that case.

2 years ago

Good luck with the packs, David!

2 years ago


  • The North Face Snow Leopard pack I paid $460 for in 1986.
  • And it's blue with yellow straps and it's a fricken AWESOME pack.


  • Nothing, the only things wrong with this pack:
  • The waterproof lining inside is flaking off.
  • And I replaced two buckles, and that's in 31years of ownership. I can't complain. It's an all-around awesome pack

The North Face Snow Leopard men's internal backpack I picked up in 1986 at EMS Sporting Goods in Pinkham Notch, Gorham, New Hampshire the day before I hiked the Tuckerman Trail. It was $460, and it was the best $460 I ever spent.

The backpack is grade A+++++ Nothing less then awesome.

It's now 31 years old and the straps are as strong as the first day I tightened them up in the store and in 31 years I have only had to replace two load buckles, the waist/hip buckle and one of the small buckles, and the waterproof lining on the inside is flaking off.

Keep in mind this backpack is 31+ years old. I dragged this pack through muddy streams and hills and on a sled. I hiked Mt Katahdin on the AT in Maine, the Tuckerman Trail in Gorham, New Hampshire, Franconia Notch, the Cathedral Trail, stayed at Emerald Hut in N.H. Countless hikes in six years of Boy Scouts right up to getting my Eagle Scout badge in spring of 1989 with no regrets of buying this backpack.

And I still own the North Face Snow Leopard backpack to this day. This is one of the three things I own that I will not part with for any amount of $$$$$ not even for millions. The second thing is my first walking stick. The third is my Leatherman Surge that's been on my side now for 11++ years.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $460 in 1986


Welcome to Trailspace, Joel! It sounds like you've had a lot of great use out of this pack over the past 31 years. If you have any pictures of it in use, those would be great to see in your review.

4 years ago

I've had this pack since 1988. It has completed the AT, the Vermont Long Trail, the Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier including a summit of Rainier, and it has seen every inch of around 400 miles of trail and summit in the Catskill Mountains of N.Y.

To this day, it has never torn, zippers have not broken, stays have stayed true to my body.

It is still (other than the clear faded colors) as good as new.


  • Single deep duffle bag design
  • Two water bottle pockets next to hips allowing access without removal of bag
  • Solid Cordura construction


  • None

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200


Welcome to Trailspace, yoyodog! I love to hear about gear (especially packs) that is still performing well after many miles of adventures. It sounds like your Snow Leopard is one of those. Got any pictures of yours you'd be willing to share in your review?

4 years ago

Bought this pack at a North Face Outlet in 1990. Although I have used it for some backcountry camping, I have primarily used it for travelling around the world. It is now 2002 and this pack has criss-crossed Europe (twice), been through Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Thailand. Been on safari through 5 different countries in Africa and has Never, Ever let me down! The zippers have never once failed to perform, even when the bag is bulging with equipment.

The only criticism I have is the lack of multiple external pockets. The two zippers that run the length of the bag on either side allow full access to gear, no matter where in the depths of the bag it is stored. And there are depths to this bag!! The expanding top allows for a continuous growth of clothing and equipment without having to constantly re-pack.

I am headed to South America for 4 months and my Snow Leopard would not be accompanying me if it wasn't in great shape. The Snow Lep, as my friends call it, has been one of the most duarable and solid items I have ever purchased. Highly Recommended!!

Design: Top-Loading Expedition Pack
Size: 800-1000
Number of Pockets: 4
Max. Load Carried: 80 lbs
Height of Owner: 5' 11"
Price Paid: $220

I bought this pack at the North Face outlet in 1990. I *think* it was called the Snow Leopard?

I got a heck of a lot of use out of it, BUT both shoulder straps ripped out of their sockets (repaired by WindyPass)--it was a really frail design. My other beef is that the top pocket really flops around when hiking/skiing, so the pack always feels unstable and wobbly.

I switched to a cheap Lowe last year, and it makes the weight feel less onerous, and ride with more stability.

I trust that since 1989 North Face packs have been redesigned, but I would never recommend this one.

Design: Huge (expedition?) pack
Size: 6000-7000 cc?
Number of Pockets: 2 external, 2 on top
Max. Load Carried: 100 lbs.
Height of Owner: 6'2"
Price Paid: $180?

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