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.
See how The North Face Borealis compares to other backpacks by other brands. Read our comparision review of The North Face Borealis vs Patagonia Refugio
The North Face Borealis vs Recon
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.
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 than they are a hiking backpack. But with a heavy laptop as well as a tablet, some padding is required to make it more comfortable.
In order to lessen the weight that is put onto your shoulders, is backpacks have a 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.
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.
The Borealis and the Recon are optimal for bicycles that 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.
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.
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.
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 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.