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The North Face Borealis Sling Backpack Review
Bagpacks

The North Face Borealis Sling Backpack Review

The North Face Borealis Sling is a versatile and functional pack that is perfect for day hikes and short overnight trips. Its comfortable and adjustable shoulder strap allows for easy carrying, and the pack’s compartments provide ample space for all your essentials.

One of the standout features of the Borealis Sling is its hydration compatibility. The pack comes with a built-in sleeve and clip to hold a hydration bladder, making it easy to stay hydrated on the trail. The pack also has a side water bottle pocket and a bungee cord on the front to hold additional water bottles or other items.

The pack’s main compartment has a top-loading design with a drawstring closure, making it easy to access your gear. The interior also has a smaller zippered pocket for organizing smaller items. The front pocket is a great place to store snacks and other items you want to access quickly, and the pack also has a small zippered pocket on the shoulder strap for additional storage.

Overall, the North Face Borealis Sling is a great pack for day hikes and short overnight trips. It’s comfortable to wear, has plenty of storage options, and is hydration compatible. Plus, its durable construction and stylish design make it a great option for any outdoor adventure.

Pros

  • Space-efficient compartments
  • Loaded with external attachment points
  • Well-padded harness system ensures comfort

Cons

  • Water bottle pocket too small for most bottles
  • Strap’s device pocket a tight fit for an iPhone 13
  • Non-ambidextrous strap design limits carrying styles

Technical Details

  • Capacity6l
  • Weight (oz)10.6 oz (300.5 g)
  • Dimensions12.99 in x 7.28 in x 4.72 in (33 x 18.5 x 12 cm)
  • Notable MaterialsRecycled Nylon, Recycled Polyester, Ripstop Nylon, DWR Coating, YKK Zippers, Duraflex Hardware
  • Manufacturing Country Indonesia

External Components

Let’s start with the Borealis Sling’s bungee, which is the element that stands out the most. It’s true that this isn’t the first sling to include a bungee mechanism, but neither is it a frequent component of the design. There isn’t much slack to deal with, but you can adjust it through the bottom cinch. It won’t work for something as heavy-duty as a pair of sneakers, but it will work for a packable jacket or some gloves.

The webbings that are flanking the bungee system can also be seen if you look attentively at the sides. There are six loops total, three on each side, the top and bottom being smaller. The fact that the loops are present at all is more important than their size, most likely. For a sling of this size, it’s great to see so many exterior attachment points, and we have no doubt that some of you will put them to inventive use.

The top grab handle is the following feature listed for the Borealis Sling. Given its size and relative thickness, softness, and padding, it is actually comfortable to handle. Despite being pretty ordinary, this might be one of the bag’s more intriguing aspects. There are daypacks with handles that are thinner and smaller, if you give it some thought. The kind with just a loop in between the shoulder straps, you know? The handle of the Borealis Sling surpasses those.

The Borealis Sling has a side bottle compartment that was added by The North Face. Nevertheless, this is unquestionably one of the poorer components in the set. Simply put, it’s too small for the majority of bottles, including the 18-ounce Hydro Flask that we often use to test bags. Those water and/or snack bottles from the convenience store do fit. We like to use it to hold our smartphones the best, though. This is a good choice if you don’t mind storing your smartphone in an open pocket.

Given the possible weight you may load onto the Borealis Sling, the harness system is somewhat substantial, but that is to be expected. Both the strap and the back panel have thick padding, with the latter having two foam panels. The back panel can flex and conform to the user’s back thanks to the central space, which also allows air to pass through for breathability.

Fit Notes

This means that if you wish to wear the Borealis Sling in front or on your back, you truly can either wear it over your left shoulder or on your right shoulder. Simple swinging of the pack supports horizontal configurations. When you wear the Borealis Sling across your front and over your right shoulder, it is especially comfortable to carry. This places it in front of you in a shelf-like posture where it is simple to access the majority of the compartments.
The strap does contain a quick-release buckle right below its padded portion, it’s important to note. Many slings include one of these, but because of the Borealis’s very huge size for a sling, it is especially helpful.

Inside The Sling

The first pocket we’re taking a look at is the front quick-grab pocket. Its opening is off to the left side, meaning it’s easily accessible when the pack’s sitting horizontally in front, as we suggested earlier. The interior is lined with soft fleece to prevent damage to easily-scratched items like smartphones and sunglasses

Overall, we’re happy with how feature dense the Borealis Sling is. We sometimes see backpacks, slings, totes, and other bags that don’t quite maximize the available space they have, and it can come off as missed opportunities. We’re not saying all bags should be loaded to the brim with features, but if its value you’re after, it’s a factor that’s hard to ignore—and the Borealis Sling manages to hit that.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Digging the external pockets
  • Back panel is extremely cushy
  • Interested to see how water bottle pocket holds up in use

2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • A few loose threads where the shoulder strap attaches—nothing looks horrible, but not great to see
  • Really digging the convenient and intuitive storage
  • Super comfortable back panel, though we wish the shoulder strap was the same

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