The North Face Borealis vs Borealis Classic: Differences and Comparison

The North Face Borealis vs Borealis Classic: Which One To Choose?

Today we will talk about two backpacks by the popular brand The North Face.

We have chosen two famous backpacks, the Borealis and the Borealis Classic, and now we will try to understand together which one would be the better choice according to your needs.

Table of Contents:


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1. The North Face – The Brand

The North Face - The Brand

The North Face was established in San Francisco, in 1966, by the Tompkins, a married couple who loved nature and the mountains.

They started with a small retail store of sports equipment and today they are focused in satisfying all the needs of their fans around the world.

In fact, their unforgettable motto which is very well-known among us outdoor lovers is: “Never stop exploring”!

Now, without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at the two backpacks we have picked for this comparison!

We’ll examine them taking into consideration three main aspects: their design, materials and functionality, and finally we’ll try to decide which one would be the better choice.

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2. The Borealis Backpack

The Borealis backpack that we will discuss here is the men’s version. The women’s version of this model can be found on the official The North Face website and also on Amazon.

We also need to remind you that The North Face backpacks can undergo changes over time both in terms of design and functionality.

Therefore, if you notice that some of the features described here do not match those found in your backpack, it may be that you simply have a different version, newer or older.

2.1 Design

Borealis Backpack - Design


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The Borealis backpack has a capacity of 28 liters and a weight of about 1220 grams.

Looking at it from the front, we observe the following details: a zip closure that gives access to a small fleece-lined pocket, the famous “The North Face” logo, and finally, the characteristic elastic cords.

The latter represent a practical and additional system for storing objects outside.

Borealis Backpack - Front Pocket


Continuing towards the back, we discover a front pocket (see image above) with zip closure and equipped with organizer, ideal for example, to put a mobile phone, pens, handkerchiefs, etc. And here, we can also find a practical padded lining, for a tablet.

Borealis Backpack - Other Compartments


After this pocket, we can see a further compartment (see image above) always with zip closure and comfortable, for example, to put books in.

Then, we have another large compartment, where inside there is a padded pocket designed to accommodate a laptop of up to 15 inches. The compartment just mentioned has a width of about 33.7 cm and a length of about 45 cm.

Laterally, the backpack has two mesh pockets that are perfect for carrying water but can easily be converted into a type of multi-purpose pocket.

In addition to these, we can also note the presence of two side straps designed to keep firm the inside contents of the backpack.

The Borealis backpack features the new FlexVent suspension system designed specifically to maximize comfort.

In fact, the backrest is characterized by the presence of a renewed padded mesh panel and breathable lumbar panel to which are added two custom-made injection-molded shoulder straps.

Other accessory elements, but certainly of great utility, are the padded upper handle, a strap at the height of the sternum with interlocking buckle and a removable waist belt.

2.2 Materials

If we talk about materials, Borealis is made of Nylon, Cordura and Ripstop fabric, which make the backpack capable of withstanding the common signs of wear, as well as those generally caused by (bad) weather.

Resistance and sturdiness are qualities that one expects from a backpack designed by The North Face, a brand that for over fifty years has been dealing with making equipment and accessories for all lovers of the outdoor world.

2.3 Functionality

The Borealis is a very versatile backpack that easily adapts to different types of use.

For example, it is perfect as a backpack to take to school, given its good capacity and the presence of some fundamental details.

Among these, we recall the presence of a rigid backrest, sturdy shoulder straps and straps at the sternum and at the waist that allow the weight to be optimally distributed, thus making daily use comfortable.

Other elements that make it ideal as a school backpack are for example the two padded compartments, one for a laptop and the other for tablets.

But the backpack is also perfect for mountain walks, short beach holidays and for any other activity where you need capacity, practicality and comfort.

3. The Borealis Classic Backpack

Now it’s time to take a closer look at another backpack that, like the previous one, is one of the most appreciated products of the American brand.

As you may have guessed we are talking about the Borealis Classic backpack.

In this case, we will also study the model in question by taking into consideration three main aspects, namely the design, materials and functionality.

We also need to remind you that for the Borealis Classic there is only one version for both, men and women.

3.1 Design

Borealis Classic - Design


Check It Out On

The Borealis Classic backpack has a capacity of 29 liters and a weight of about 1166 grams.

Starting from its front side, we immediately encounter a small upper pocket with zip, large enough to store a cell phone, keys and handkerchiefs, etc.

Below it, there is the famous logo, and lower down, the characteristic elastic cords. The latter, as we have seen, serve as an “open” external pocket.

Continuing towards the back, we can see a front pocket with organizer, where we can put a cell phone, its battery charger, pens, etc.

In fact in this same pocket, we have pen holders, and other smaller open pockets, including one with a zip closure, and another, with Velcro closure.

After this front pocket, we have a large main compartment where inside there is a pocket designed to accommodate a laptop of up to 13 inches inside.

In some models, a potential pocket for the tablet is located on the main side of the laptop pocket.

Sideways the Borealis Classic has also two mesh pockets that are perfect for carrying water, but can easily be converted into a type of multi-purpose pocket.

In addition to these, we can see the presence of two side straps designed to keep the contents of the backpack firm.

To make daily use comfortable, there are two injection-molded shoulder straps with the addition of a layer of PE foam.

In the back, we can find a padded air-mesh panel equipped with a channel for the spine PE layer to ensure greater support to the back.

Other accessory elements of great utility are the upper handle, a strap at the height of the sternum and a storable ventral belt.

3.2 Materials

Similarly to Borealis, here we also have some materials known for their strength and resistance such as Ballistic Nylon and Ripstop fabric.

These materials make the Borealis Classic a solid accessory designed to last for years.

3.3 Functionality

If we talk about functionality, the differences from the Borealis are really minimal.

Both are quite roomy, although the Classic has a greater capacity, and both are characterized by the presence of numerous pockets and compartments.

Therefore we can say that this model, just like the Borealis, lends itself to being a super versatile and perfect backpack for intensive use in your everyday life.

That said, the Borealis Classic backpack is the ideal travel companion for any type of adventure both in the city and outdoors.

In fact its good capacity of 29 liters, as well as the rigid back and the comfortable straps, transform the backpack in question into the perfect accessory to take to the gym, to the pool, for short excursions and to school.

4. Main Differences Between The Borealis and The Borealis Classic

After taking a separate look at the Borealis and Borealis Classic, we are convinced that in order to better understand which of the two is actually the most right for our needs, it is necessary to study their main differences.

Always referring to the latest versions of the models under examination, we found some details that distinguish the Borealis from the Borealis Classic.

The two backpacks in addition to having a different capacity, also have a different weight. In this regard, we can see that the Borealis has a liter less capacity but it has more weight than the Classic.

Other differences that we have encountered during this analysis are: two larger side pockets in the Borealis compared to those we can find in the Classic, as well as the presence of a practical fleece-lined pocket, ideal for example for storing the most delicate objects.

In the Classic there is the same pocket (the one above the logo on the front side) but without the fleece lining.

Another element that differentiates them is the upper handle, which is padded in the Borealis, whereas in the Classic it is not.

Not only that, the Borealis also has an extra compartment that is exactly halfway between the front and the main one.

In addition, the dimensions of the laptop pockets are also different: in the Borealis 33.7 cm x 45 cm, and in the Borealis Classic 34.2 cm x 26.6 cm.

Remaining on the subject of internal organization, in this case we can find some differences between the two backpacks.

The most obvious is related to the shape of the Borealis, which makes it seem even more spacious than the Classic.

Although in reality, as we have seen, the latter is characterized by a greater capacity (1 liter more). This perception of “greater breadth” is determined by the structure of the Classic itself, which would seem to be slightly more compressed than the Borealis.

5. Conclusions: Which One To Choose?

During this article we took a close look at the latest “versions” of The North Face Borealis and Borealis Classic backpacks.

Although the two models, as we have seen, are very similar in design, in terms of functionality they differ from one another due to the presence of some small details.

In the Borealis we have seen how this is characterized by the presence of a well-padded upper handle, an extra compartment, as well as its internal structure “perceived” by many as less compressed compared than the Classic.

So, which one to choose between the Borealis and the Borealis Classic?

Whether we talk about design or functionality, between the two, we prefer the Borealis model.

Although the two models are very similar in terms of design, the Borealis is externally presented in a more compact form, which we sincerely appreciate more than that of its colleague Classic, which on the contrary would seem to be “expanded” at the bottom.

Also, even on the functional side, some elements of the Borealis seem as having greater accuracy of details than those of the Classic.

An example is the extra compartment which is absent in the Classic. In our opinion, the presence of this third compartment allows for a better organization of the internal spaces, which also translates into a tidier and consequently more efficient backpack.

However, in the end, this remains only our personal opinion. We’re just talking about some features that for some people may be important and for others may not.

It is now up to you to understand which of the two is of your interest and meets your needs.

At the end of this comparison, we are sure about two things: the two backpacks by The North Face, in addition to having accurate details, are also made to last for many years. Aspects that we believe make them perfect travel and adventure companions.

At this point, which one is right for you, the Borealis or the Borealis Classic? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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