North Face is known for making high-quality outdoor gear, and their backpacks are no exception. But there’s one question that we get all the time… are North Face backpacks waterproof?

Fortunately, we’ve got the answer for you.

Join us as we investigate this question, and also take a look at some of the best waterproof backpack alternatives on the market. Let’s get started!

Are North Face backpacks waterproof?

The short answer is no. North Face backpacks are not waterproof. However, they are water resistant. This means that they will be able to protect your belongings from light rain or snowfall, but they are not meant to be submerged in water or exposed to heavy rain.
Are North Face Backpacks Waterproof? : North Face FAQs page

If you’re looking for a fully waterproof backpack, then you’ll need to look elsewhere but if you’re just looking for a backpack that will provide some protection from the elements, then a North Face backpack will suffice.

Read on to learn everything about whether North Face backpacks are waterproof or not. 

What makes a backpack waterproof?

Are North Face Backpacks Waterproof? : Overboard ORIGINAL WATERPROOF BACKPACK

Before we answer the question posed in the title of this blog post, let’s first address what waterproof means.

Waterproof, according to Merriam- Webster, means “impervious to water.” In terms of backpacks, this means that the backpack will not allow water to pass through its fabric and into the main compartment where your belongings are stored.

Another important factor to note is how well the backpack is seam-sealed. Seams are where two pieces of fabric are joined together, and they’re usually the weakest point in any given piece of clothing or gear.

When it comes to backpacks, most of them will have either taped seams or welded seams. Taped seams are going to be more waterproof than welded seams, but both will provide some level of protection against water.  

Are North Face Backpacks waterproof?

are north face backpack waterproof - amazon search results

When you visit the North Face’s website or even 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. What you are likely to find instead are North Face backpacks that are made with water-resistant materials. 

For instance, the Borealis and Recon backpacks in the picture above are made of water-resistant fabrics; they are not waterproof).  This is because the materials that North Face uses for their backpacks are treated with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish.

This finish helps keep the fabric from absorbing water, and also causes water to bead up and roll off of the surface of the backpack. In addition, most North Face backpacks have either taped or welded seams, and the zippers are also water resistant, which adds an extra layer of protection for your belongings.

However, it’s important to remember that these materials are resistant to water, but are not 100% waterproof.

And from our research, we have not been able to find any North Face backpack that is 100% waterproof.

So, while North Face back backs are certainly water resistant, they’re not completely waterproof. This means that they will provide some protection against light rain or snow but they are not ideal for exposure to heavy rain or submersion in water. 

Waterproof vs. water Resistant: what’s the difference?

It’s important to note that there is a difference between waterproof and water resistant.

With waterproof backpacks, you can submerge them in water or expose them to 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.

This means that your belongings might get wet if your backpack is exposed to heavy rain or submersion in water.

Table of Contents

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 North Face Backpacks Waterproof? : YETI Panga Backpack 28

Summary: Insanely well-designed and 100% 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, freezing rain, or occasional snow.

It also features a 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 gear like camera, lenses, drones, and laptop as intended-dry. 

Are North Face Backpacks Waterproof? : YETI Panga Backpack 28

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, small in size and comes in only one color (storm gray). 

So if you’re looking for something that’s relatively affordable with more color varieties, you may want to look at the next option I have included below. 

FE Active Cloubreak Backpack

Are North Face Backpacks Waterproof? : FE Active Cloubreak Backpack

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

Whether it’s a 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 eco-friendly 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.

Are North Face Backpacks Waterproof? : FE Active Cloubreak Backpack

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 

The FE Active Cloubreak Backpack doesn’t have a laptop sleeve inside for better organization. This can be a bit of a drawback because it means that if you’re carrying around a laptop, you’ll need to find another place to put it. That said, the backpack does offer some great features that make it worth considering.

AquaQuest Cloudbreak Waterproof Backpack

Are North Face Backpacks Waterproof? : AquaQuest Cloudbreak Waterproof Backpack

Summary: The AquaQuest Cloudbreak is a well-designed waterproof backpack that is both lightweight and durable.

The AquaQuest Cloudbreak is another great option if you’re interested in the best waterproof backpacks.

This backpack is made from durable 420D RipStop fabric and has a TPU lamination and DWR coating to protect your belongings from any amount of water, making it perfect for day hikes or other outdoor activities.

The backpack is also lightweight (only 1.7lbs) and durable enough to withstand years of wear and tear.

One of the best features of Cloudbreak is how comfortable it is to wear, even when fully loaded. The shoulder straps are adjustable and padded, while the waist strap is both adjustable and flexible to contour around your body. The back panel is made from breathable air mesh which helps keep your back cool and dry even when carrying heavy loads.

And with its 30L carrying capacity, it’s spacious enough to fit your essentials, including two water bottle pockets as well as multiple attachment points on the exterior for carrying gear.

Are North Face Backpacks Waterproof? : AquaQuest Cloudbreak Waterproof Backpack

What we also love

The Cloudbreak is a versatile backpack that can be used for any number of activities.
It’s perfect for hiking, travel, or even as a carry-on bag for planes and trains.

What’s more? The Cloudbreak is available in black, blue, camo, and green colors, so you can make select what best suits you.

What’s not great 

The AquaQuest Cloudbreak Waterproof Backpack does have some drawbacks. One is that it could do with more internal pockets to help organize things a bit better.

And while it’s perfect for everyday use or short hikes, the Cloudbreak is not as heavy-duty as some people might like, so might not be ideal for extended hiking trips. Overall, this is a great backpack and would be perfect for most people’s needs.

Closing Thoughts

Are North Face Backpacks Waterproof?

So, are North Face backpacks waterproof?

The answer to this question is no, North Face backpacks are not waterproof. Instead, they are mostly water resistant. This means that they will provide some protection for your belongings in light rain or snow but they are not ideal for exposure to heavy rain or submersion in water.

But if you’re looking for a fully waterproof backpack, the three waterproof backpacks I have included above are a good place to start. However, if you’re just looking for a backpack that will provide some protection from the elements, then a North Face backpack is a good choice.

Thank you for reading, in the case of comments and questions please use the comment box below.

Have a nice day.

10 thoughts on “Are North Face Backpacks Waterproof? (Best Waterproof Backpacks Alternatives [2023)”

  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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