The North Face brings you a lightweight backpack for the OCD backpacker. With 8+ pockets (we counted 10 pockets) it will keep you organized on your next adventure. It touts North Face’s Optifit suspension system too. Right away we noticed several things. Read on to find out how the Banchee 50 backpack performed.
The North Face Banchee 50 liter backpack (also available in 65 liter) is truly a backpack for the highly organized. There are pockets on pockets then there are pockets within pockets. On the side there are pockets then on the other side, you guessed it, more pockets. Do you really need all these pockets? Well, we sure put them to use. The Banshee is rated at 50 liters but we feel that it is closer to 55 liters. We were able to stuff it with our 4 season tent, sleeping pad, 15-degree bag, clothes, food, dog food, first aid kit, and all the other goodies that go along for a backpacking trip.
We really loved the versatility of the pack. Fully loaded with ~30lb of gear was no problem. Stripped down and used as a day pack was just as rewarding. There are several compression straps strategically located around the pack to really dial in the load carrying. Speak of strategical adjustments – the OptiFit system is no joke. Basically, it is an adjustable suspension system to dial in the perfect length for your back and width for your hips. On top of that, there is an incredibly comfortable lumbar support. At first, we did not know what to make of it, but after a few miles of hiking, it adjusted to our body perfectly. This alone was a worthy reason to pick this bag up.
The Banchee is not the lightest backpack out there. Several other packs come in under 3 lbs, but most of them don’t have the ability to carry the 45lb load, and with as much comfort, as the Banchee. At 3lb 7oz for the L/XL model we tested, we felt that was a very fair weight. Especially given all the pockets, suspension and durable materials used.