Review: The North Face Fovero 70 Backpack

The North Face Fovero 70
$290, 70L/4,272 c.i., 5 lbs. 7 oz. (men’s S/M)
Sizes: men’s S/M (fits torsos 15-20 ins.) & L/XL (torsos 17-22 ins.), women’s XS/S (torsos 13-18 ins.) & M/L (torsos 15-20 ins.)

Backpacking for three days in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains with my 15-year-old son and two of his buddies who were taking their first backpacking trip, I hauled up to about 40 pounds, including much of our team gear and food. For that kind of backpacking, I want a pack that’s built for heavy loads and has a high degree of organization. The Fovero 70 rose to the challenge in comfort and has exceptional access for backpackers who like to compartmentalize.

The North Face Fovero 70 harness.
The North Face Fovero 70 harness.

With a 2mm, perforated plastic framesheet, spring steel wire perimeter frame, and two aluminum stays, the proprietary OPTIFIT suspension flexes very little on the vertical axis, for excellent support carrying 40 to 50 pounds, while flexing slightly on the horizontal axis, so that the pack moves somewhat with your torso as you walk. (Note: The North Face describes the Fovero as capable of hauling up to 70 pounds, but I’d suggest that’s well beyond the comfort range for most backpackers.) I found the well-padded shoulder straps, back pad, and hipbelt, made with breathable, perforated EVA foam, adequately comfortable with 40 pounds inside, and certainly capable of carrying more than that. The simple torso adjustment has five inches of range for dialing in a good fit, and the hipbelt’s pads are adjustable (using a lever inside the zippered pocket), with about three inches of play on each side—a nice feature for people with bigger waists. While there’s no cutting-edge technology in this suspension system, it’s built for the maximum weight that most backpackers would carry.

The North Face Fovero 70 front.
The North Face Fovero 70 front.

This top loader has better access and organization than many packs in this category, starting with nine well-designed pockets: on each side of the hipbelt; in the lid (including a zippered interior pocket that stores the rain cover); on the sides (mesh bottle pockets); two roomy, zippered front pockets that are supremely convenient; and a voluminous “beaver-tail” (AKA stuff-it) front pocket for a wet jacket or rainfly. A J-shaped, two-way zipper runs down one side and around the bottom, giving quick access to much of the main compartment and the sleeping bag compartment. You can unclip the interior divider if you prefer not having a separate compartment for you bag. (I unclip it to maximize interior space.) With the Fovero, whether I needed a jacket, water filter, snack, bottle, or to pull out my tent before emptying my pack (say, in rain), I could do it quickly and easily. With a big pack, I consider that a critical design element. Lastly, the removable lid converts to a daypack with two unpadded, mesh shoulder straps (but no waistbelt or sternum strap) for light summit trips.

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The North Face Fovero 70 lid daypack.
Fovero 70 lid daypack.

Wrap-around compression straps on top, sides, and bottom (which held my full-length, foam sleeping pad) create superior load control. It has some nice features like adjustable straps for attaching trekking poles or ice axes and a whistle in the sternum strap. With 420-denier ripstop nylon in the bottom and sides and 210-denier ripstop nylon in the front and lid, the pack’s durability compares with many other models of similar capacity and weight. The Fovero comes with a rain cover stored in a zippered mesh pocket inside the lid—not the most logical place, since you’ll want to make sure the cover is completely dry before returning it to that pocket, where you’re likely to have items you want to keep dry.

The North Face Fovero 70 side.
The Fovero 70 side.

For backpackers who routinely carry 40 to 50 pounds and like a high level of organization, the Fovero 70 is a winner. A larger version, the Fovero 85, is $310.

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See all of my reviews of backpacks and backpacking gear, including my review of models very similar in capacity and weight, the Osprey men’s Atmos AG 65 and women’s Aura AG 65.

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NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.

—Michael Lanza

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside, which has made several top outdoors blog lists. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter, or enter your email address in the box in the left sidebar or at the bottom of this story. Click here to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Follow my adventures on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Youtube.


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Leave a Comment

7 thoughts on “Review: The North Face Fovero 70 Backpack”

  1. Hello Michael, I really enjoyed your review and dig your , “The Big Outside” and articles. And those pics you share are killer. I’m looking for a new backpack and I have a question if’n ya don’t mind. I’m looking for a strong, high denier count or cordura fabric that will take punishment and last. Would this North Face pack hold up to some degree or should I look for a different pack. Does any come to mind? Any who, I appreciate your coolness, happy trails, kick up some dust, tickle your toes in some cactus and be well my friend. You Rock!!

    • Hi Tim, with a mid-size or large pack, I usually carry a 3-liter bladder, to have large water capacity, just in case. Some backpackers may only carry a 2-liter bladder, but the 3-liter is only marginally heavier and gives you that extra capacity. Good choice for a backpack. Have fun.

  2. Hello Michael,

    I am considering purchasing this pack for some upcoming conservation work I will be doing where I will be backpacking and camping for 9 days at a time. My question for you is how large is the detachable daypack? I need a daypack that is large enough to carry water, extra clothes, and a first aid kid. Do you think this pack would serve that purpose? Thanks for this informative article! I look forward to your response

    • Hi Mackenzie, good question. I’m trying to get an answer on the precise cubic inches of the lid pocket/detachable daypack; I’ll share that in these comments if I get it. I would describe it as very spacious for a lid pocket… but it’s still a lid pocket on a large backpack. It would hold a lightweight shell, a midweight base layer shirt or piece of insulation, a bottle and some snacks–maybe also a first-aid kit if all of your stuff is very compact. It lacks a waist belt or sternum strap, so I don’t think it’ll carry more than about five pounds comfortably.

      That said, many lid pocket/detachable daypacks are not even as spacious as this one, and some are carried just on a waist belt, without shoulder straps, which can get uncomfortable if you hike very far. If you need a larger daypack, I suggest you look at carrying a lightweight one attached to your backpack (and the Fovero 70 carries significant weight very well). See my favorite daypacks in this review:

      Good luck, thanks for commenting.

    • Hi Mackenzie, I just got a response from The North Face. They said the lid pocket is 11 liters. My previous comment in response to your question provides more detail on what will fit in that pocket.