The question, “Are North Face backpacks waterproof?” is quite clear and requires a direct response. 

 And that’s what you are going to get.

But first, let me quickly touch on North Face as a brand to enable us better appreciate the context of this question. 

The North Face is an iconic brand that has been in the game of producing some of the finest outdoor products ranging from backpacks, to clothing, footwear and outdoor gears since 1966.

It started with equipment for hikers and climbers but over time became a popular go-to choice of various athletes and extreme weather enthusiasts and then, everyday users.

Also widely regarded as a reliable outdoor recreation product brand, majority of their backpack offerings coming with a lifetime warranty.

In fact, their name is coined from the north face of the Half Dome in Yosemite, which is regarded as the coldest, iciest side of a mountain. 

What’s more? Their first shop opened on a beach – the San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. 

In light of this, when you think about a brand like North Face, it not unreasonable to expect their packs to protect your possession from getting wet or soaked in water.

They really should have waterproof backpacks, right? Well, let’s find out.

are north face backpacks waterproof: woman in a canoe
Credit: Canva

Water resistant vs waterproof backpacks

When you visit your favorite online shop, whether that’s Amazon, or any other major e-commerce platform, you’re unlikely to find North Face backpacks that are waterproof. 

are north face backpack waterproof - amazon search results

What you are likely to find instead are North Face backpacks that are made with water resistant materials. 

But anyone who’s familiar with water-resistant and waterproof backpacks knows there is a difference. (The Borealis and the Recon backpacks seen in the picture are made of water resistant fabrics; they are not waterproof).   

With waterproof backpacks, you can submerge them in water or exposed them to a sustained torrential rainfall, yet the inside of the bag would stay completely dry!

These kinds of bags usually come with waterproof fabrics, zippers, roll tops and sealed seams and thus are great for water-based activities in the event your bag takes the plunge.

Water-resistant backpacks on the other hand can also hold up well in rain, and drizzles; however, when exposed for too long, water would eventually seep into the bag either through the fabrics, zippers or seams.

are north face backpack waterproof - waterproof zipper

What About North Face’s Online Shop?

Having paid Amazon or your favorite online retailer a visit, you find out that the question, “Are North Face backpacks waterproof?” remains unanswered.

How about going to North Face’s website itself? 

Well, we visited their site, and soon find out that it is not exactly theming with waterproof backpacks either. 

Although they claim to sell some as seen on their FAQ page, that is not what we found. 

are north face backpacks waterproof - FAQ

Based on our research,  we have found only one waterproof backpack by North Face – The Waterproof Rolltop Bag.

This is the only waterproof backpack that you can buy from North Face in 2021.

The Waterproof Rolltop Bag – North Face’s only waterproof backpack

Summary: Built to provide impenetrable moisture barrier, the North Face Waterproof Rolltop bag is a terrific bag for the urban warriors in need of failsafe dryness

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If you’ll be operating in extreme or unpredictable weather conditions, this sleek pack will keep your gear dry wherever the adventure takes you.

Made with 100% Nylon, it features a waterproof pack body with roll-top closure, polyurethane (PU) zippers and fully taped seams, which means your belongings will stay completely dry in wet conditions.

With users affirming to how well it remains cool and dry even in rain and snow, you can’t go wrong with this one.

What we also love

With 35L of storage and an external mesh pockets in front for easy access, this bag will keep your cameras, medical supplies and critical supplies like food in its waterproof dry haven.

What’s not so great

I would not recommend this pack if you tend to carry tons of stuffs around as it can get heavy.

So to answer the question… Are North Face backpacks waterproof? Not really since they only have one. Instead, they are mostly water resistant.

If you are looking for waterproof backpacks and from reputable brands, let me share a couple of the best waterproof on the market with you below.  

Best Waterproof Backpacks

If you simply can’t risk you gear getting wet, a 100% waterproof bag is your best bet.

They are able to provide all round protection to keep out moisture against torrential weather and activities such as kayaking, fishing, hiking, rafting trip, or anything that means spending a lot of time near or on water.

If you want a waterproof backpack for different occasion such that it can go to the office, yoga, hiking on a weekend, or sometimes a getaway, these bags are a good place to start. 

YETI Panga Backpack 28

Are the North Face backpacks Waterproof: YETI Panga backpack 28
Credit: YETI

Summary: Insanely well designed and100% submersible, the Yeti Panga backpack will keep your gear completely dry in any wet adventure. 

A 100% waterproof gear made from high-density nylon and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), it can stand being drenched in the oceans, the freezing rain or occasional snow.

It also features 100% airtight HydroLok zipper that when fully closed (zipped all the way up to the very end) allows no water, mud, or liquid of any kind inside.

Perfect for mountain biking, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, fishing, boating, and just about anything else you can imagine, the Panga would keep your expensive gears like camera, lenses, drones, laptop as intended-dry

What we also love

This fine bag also has looped attachment points where you can secure accessories as well as an adjustable sternum strap, waist belt, user manual, YETI sticker pack, warranty registration card, and zipper lubricant. 

What’s not great

The Yeti bag is high-priced, is small in size and comes in only one color (storm gray). 

FE Active Cloubreak Backpack

Are the North Face backpacks Waterproof: FeActive Cloudbreaker 30L Dry bag
Credit: FE Active

Summary: The perfect waterproof backpack for any water activity made from ecofriendly PVC material. 

Whether it’s morning commute on a cold day or an extreme outdoor activity, this waterproof 30L pack will take torrential downpours and temporary submersion in its stride.

The pack is constructed out of thick marine grade 5mm ecofriendly Vinyl Tarpaulin with high frequency welded stitching and an IPX8 rating which means you can submerge it in water and not worry.

The roll-top design offers waterproof storage with an internal pocket for your gear, ranging from your gadgets, and clothes to your wallet.

There’s also a water-bottle pocket on the outside, so you can stay hydrated on the go and a bungee cord in front to attach a jacket, yoga mat, etc.

What we also love

The breathable straps and padded back with mesh lining technology and chest straps which help increase carrying comfort.

Plus, it weighs just 2 pounds, has an impressive 30L capacity and is incredibly well made for an affordable pack.

What’s not great

It doesn’t have a laptop sleeve inside for better organization.  

Bottom Line

There are many reasons why you might need a strong waterproof pack. You could be transporting your laptop to work in the rain, or cycling with possession you’d want to stay dry.

Going off on a hike is another situation where you would definitely be considering a dry bag.

Hopefully, I have addressed the question, “Are North Face backpacks waterproof?” adequately. And I hope the piece goes some way in helping find the best waterproof pack for your next adventure, or even just for regular use.

What do you think of my guide on waterproof backpacks? Are there any that you would have liked to see or recommend?

I love hearing from you, so make sure to leave us a message in the comments below.

By the way, if you are on the hunt for a backpack with great protection for your laptop, check out my comprehensive review on the best laptop backpacks.  

 This article is not sponsored in any way by any company. These backpacks have been independently selected by myself and my team. And the only thing I receive is a small commission from our affiliate program if you buy any of them through the links and buttons on this page. It doesn’t cost you a penny. But it really helps me out as this money goes to paying for maintaining the website, editing software, my time, team and everything else that goes into preparing this post.  

10 thoughts on “Are North Face Backpacks Waterproof? Best Waterproof Backpacks Alternatives [2021]”

  1. I have never wondered about the difference between water-resistant and waterproof before. I thought that water-resistant would be ok for heavy rain, but I guess it isn’t always. Waterproof it is then, from now on 😉
    I absolutely love the YETI Panga Backpack 28! It looks so sturdy, and you can tell that no drop of water is going to get into that one. Even if it only comes in one color, I like the color, it looks great! I can imagine that the YETI Panga will last for many years.

    • Hey Christine,

      Most people do not really consider the differences between water-resistant and waterproof bags. But outdoor enthusiasts do due to how often they come in contact with water, hence the need for a pack that completely keeps out water even if submerged in water by accident.

      While water-resistant bags work well for day-to-day use, it’s not always the best for heavy rains. The YETI brand is known for its killer coolers, drinkware and backpacks that are durable, insulated and leakproof and the Panga is no exception.

      The reviews are rave-worthy and I must agree with you, it looks good and will last.


  2. Great review on waterproof backpacks. It is very hard and expensive as you mentioned to find a waterproof backpack. I spent over 20 years with the Canadian Military and none of our backpacks were waterproof however they were tough and could handle -50 degrees celsius with no problem. To keep the wet out all we would do is put a plastic garbage bag inside to make it waterproof.

    On the other hand, if one is looking for a pack to carry their laptop in while walking to the office, I can see where a waterproof backpack may be more favourable for sure. Especially if you’re not having to worry about freezing temperatures.

    I am amazed how the Yeti’s zipper can close up watertight, that is so cool.
    It would be nice to know how well they fit on your back and how much weight they can carry comfortably.

    Loved your review my friend keep up the great work.

    • Hey Rick,

      That’s quite resourceful – using plastic garbage bags to keep your pack waterproof at the Canadian Military.

      To answer your question, the YETI is 5lbs and quite heavy when stuffed to the brim. Remember, it’s a cooler first and backpack second – so you’ll feel weighed down when worn for a very long time.

      However, if you want something to walk for two or three miles down the beach, lake, or mountain trails, it is fine since it is not the biggest pack on the market.


  3. Hi Femi

    I must admit, I didn’t know you could even buy a totally waterproof backpack but can definitely see a need for one. Some of these look great. I like the North Face one the best – it also looks like it could double as a pillow.

    The last backpack I had wasn’t even water-resistant as I discovered when I took it to T in the Park (a music festival in Scotland) where it often rained!

    Looking forward to checking out more of your tips.



  4. Hey, Femi! Thanks a lot for sharing another awesome post. I’ve been looking for more information about the difference between waterproof and water-resistant backpacks and as always, your site what my #1 place to go. And thanks for sharing your top waterproof backpacks. That YETI Panga backpack looks awesome and I would like to get one in the future as well. I usually carry a lot of valuable items in my backpack like a laptop, chargers and other electronics that simply can’t get wet under any circumstances. Thanks again for your recommendations and keep up the great work with your website!

  5. Hi Femi!
    Thanks for this informative and such a detailed article as always!
    I like the Yeti backpack and it’s design and color.
    Although it is not big enough, I think it will be OK for a hiking trip. I usually don’t take to much with me on a hiking trip to make it easier to carry.
    Before I didn’t think about the difference between waterproof and water resistant materials, and thanks to your article, now I know it!
    All the best,

  6. Hi Femi,
    the site is beautiful and I am very glad that I came across it because I am looking for quality and waterproof equipment for my tours. It’s the first time I’ve heard of The North Backpacks and I’m thrilled with how they look and how good they are.
    I need a phenomenal Active Cloud Break backpack. It’s great that it can hold as much as 30 liters because I often go on hiking tours and I have to take a lot of things with me. It looks quality, beautiful and practical. This Waterproof Rolltop Bag is also really cool, especially color!
    Thank you for providing such useful information on where to buy quality equipment. Just keep going!

  7. Hey Femi,

    A great review as always my friend.

    I must admit that I am a North Face fan, so I was immediately intrigued.

    It’s funny actually, I’ve never really thought about the difference between water-resistant and waterproof, and I guess I’m not alone in that.

    I am someone who regularly goes on long walks and hikes, and in various weather conditions.

    I also happen to cover numerous types of terrain, and it’s not unheard of for us having to wade through a stream on many of our walks.

    But, I guess I have always had “water-resistant” equipment with me, and so I just assumed that the contents of my backpack was going to end up wet if I was met with inclement weather conditions.

    I’m glad to see that there are a few waterproof backpacks to choose from here.

    It does surprise me though that a company as big as North Face only has one waterproof backpack, but that’s good enough for me.

    I know that the weight of the bag wouldn’t bother me, so this seems ideal.

    Thanks as always Femi,


  8. I’m surprised that North Face only has one waterproof backpack. They are such a large, and well-known brand, and I have purchased a variety of their gear over the years.

    My current pack is only water-resistant and has been travelling with me in over 35 countries over the last twenty odd years. It is 70L large and I need this much space as I’m often away for a minimum of 2 to 6 months at a time., and travelling through various seasons and terrains.

    It really sucks when you are hiking and it rains for days on end, and you’ve got a pack full of clothes, a camera, a laptop, and various other accessories. Often, my friends and I would be seen with big rubbish bags slung over our packs, just to ensure the contents stay dry.

    I think my days of carrying a large pack are over, and so a smaller version, maybe the 55L Earth Pack, will be the next one I purchase.
    I’ll let you know when it happens.

    Thanks for the information 🙂


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