The North Face Borealis vs Recon: Two Laptop Bags

This review of the North Face Borealis vs Recon was written for those who have difficulties telling the difference between the features of the two backpacks. Both are laptop backpacks that can also carry a tablet. They are padded in order to protect your electronics, and can be used for bicycling.

Prices vary slightly between the two, so we will cover why they are different so that you can make a purchasing decision. But before we do this, we will go over the similarities.

The North Face Borealis vs Recon

Preview
The North Face Borealis
The North Face Borealis Backpack, TNF Black, One Size
The North Face Recon
The North Face Recon Laptop Backpack, TNF Black, One Size
Title
The North Face Borealis Backpack, TNF Black, One Size
The North Face Recon Laptop Backpack, TNF Black, One Size
Price
$105.98
$98.95
Fabric
400D Nylon With Non-PFC Durable Water-Repellen
Nylon with non-PFC DWR finish.
Volume
28 L
30 L
Weight
2 Lbs 11 Oz
2 Lbs 7.7 Oz
Dimensions
19.75" X 13.25" X 9.75"
19.25" X 13"
Laptop Sleeves
15"
15"
Backpanel
FlexVent™ suspension system
FlexVent™ suspension system
Features
Women-specific version available | Removable waist belt | Front elastic bungee system
Removable waist belt | 360 degree reflective bike-light loop
More Information
The North Face Borealis
Preview
The North Face Borealis Backpack, TNF Black, One Size
Title
The North Face Borealis Backpack, TNF Black, One Size
Price
$105.98
Fabric
400D Nylon With Non-PFC Durable Water-Repellen
Volume
28 L
Weight
2 Lbs 11 Oz
Dimensions
19.75" X 13.25" X 9.75"
Laptop Sleeves
15"
Backpanel
FlexVent™ suspension system
Features
Women-specific version available | Removable waist belt | Front elastic bungee system
More Information
The North Face Recon
Preview
The North Face Recon Laptop Backpack, TNF Black, One Size
Title
The North Face Recon Laptop Backpack, TNF Black, One Size
Price
$98.95
Fabric
Nylon with non-PFC DWR finish.
Volume
30 L
Weight
2 Lbs 7.7 Oz
Dimensions
19.25" X 13"
Laptop Sleeves
15"
Backpanel
FlexVent™ suspension system
Features
Removable waist belt | 360 degree reflective bike-light loop
More Information

Design similarities between the North face Borealis and North Face Recon

Room for electronics

Both the Borealis and the Recon have a 15 inch laptop sleeve. It is lined with fleece to protect against scratches. In order to protect against drops and bumps, the sleeve is also highly padded. In the front compartment of these backpacks, you will find a tablet sleeve.

Comfort

These backpacks have a padded mesh panel. This helps to enhance the comfort of carrying a lot of gear. Granted, they are more of a day pack then they are a hiking backpack. But with a heavy laptop as well as a tablet, some padding is required to make it more comfortable.

The North Face Recon Backpack

In order to lessen the weight that is put onto your shoulders, is backpacks have removable hip belt. The weight gets transferred from your shoulders to your hips. The hip belt also helps to stabilize the backpack for when you are riding your bike or jogging.

External pockets

The external pockets on these two backpacks are different from each other. However, they both have mesh Side Pockets where you can store your water bottles.

Bicycling

The Borealis and the Recon are optimal for bicycles who want to stay safe. Apart from the fact that they have a hip belt to stabilize the backpack, they also have a reflective bike light loop. This helps to keep you say while you were on the road at night.

Compressions

These The North Face backpacks have compression straps at the top and bottom sides. This further enhances the stabilization of your gear. Tighten these up to the max after you have inserted your content.

How are the Borealis and the Recon different?

We are glad you asked. In fact, there are few subtle differences that are not easily distinguishable.

Front stash pocket

The Recon has a front stash pocket where you can store your larger gear. You can simply stuff it with large items such as basketballs and large overcoats. This allows you to store a lot more gear than the Borealis because you don’t have to use the main compartment for these things. The stash pocket does not have any zippers, so be sure to keep it out of the rain.

External bungee cord

The Borealis has an external bungee cord along the front of the backpack. You can hang things off of it such as a bicycle helmet or trekking poles. Any external gear that you can tie off to the bungee cord is appropriate.

The North Face Borealis Laptop Backpack - Bookbag for Work, School, or Travel, TNF Black, One Size

External top pocket

The Recon has an external fleece-lined top pocket. This is very useful for your cellphone or your sunglasses. The fleet will help prevent damage to your screen or delicate items. The Borealis does not have this extra Pocket at the top.

Size

Of the two, the Recon holds the most volume. Here are some quick specs.

North Face Recon

  • Weight: 2 lbs 10.68 oz
  • Dimensions: 19.25 x 14 x 9.5 inches
  • Volume: 31 liters

North Face Borealis

  • Weight: 2 lbs 12.45 oz
  • Dimensions: 19.75 x 13.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Volume: 28 liters

North Face Borealis vs Recon: Price

The Recon is only $10 more expensive than the borealis on Amazon. See below for current prices.

The Verdict

The Recon is the most advanced backpack, but the Borealis has the most color options. We love the front stash pocket of the reckon because it is so stretchy and can hold a lot of stuff. The external top pocket is also a nice feature, and we love the fact that it is lined with fleece. The Recon is also slightly on the larger side and holds three more liters than the borealis.

For only $10 more, you can have a more advanced backpack in the Recon. However, if the look of a backpack is important to you, the Borealis has a lot more color features and we feel that it is the most attractive.

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1 thought on “The North Face Borealis vs Recon: Two Laptop Bags”

  1. Both backpacks have the fleece-lined pocket at the top of the front side.

    Aside from this detail, they are both great packs. It just comes down to whatever your preference is;
    the front stash pocket on the Recon, or the bungee cords on the Borealis.

    Both packs have a slightly different shape. The Recon fits better on my back. Try them both and see what suits you best.

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