How to Break in a North Face Backpack (Helpful Tips)

North Face backpacks are heavy-duty backpacks designed to accompany their wearers on adventures. From hiking to backpacking and even regular school use, these backpacks are pretty versatile. However, any new backpack needs to get properly broken in to reduce stiffness before you can truly feel comfortable wearing it around.

Today, we break down, step by step, how to break in a North Face backpack. We’ll also share tips on what to avoid when breaking in your North Face backpack so that you can keep it in the best condition possible. 

Northface Backpack Stiffness

Breaking it in for Comfort

One of the main reasons we break in our shoes, backpacks, and other accessories is to ensure that they’re comfortable when we wear them. There is nothing worse than spending a day lugging around a heavy backpack full of books or gear, only to end up with heavily chafed underarms or shoulders.

Therefore, one of the first steps of breaking in your North Face backpack is to adjust its fit to your needs. Use the strap adjusters to adjust the straps to your preferred height.

Try on the backpack and walk around, paying attention to any places where the straps might rub against your bare skin. Take note of this so you can adjust again until you’re fairly certain you won’t experience chafing when you put the backpack on.

Breaking in the Backpack for Weight

Next, you’ll want to break in your backpack as it will be when you use it in real life. This means you need to fill it with belongings that you will be carrying around on a regular basis.

Add a decent amount of weight to the backpack – whether it’s books, camping gear, or other supplies – and practice walking around with the weight enclosed.

This will help you get used to the feel of the weight with the backpack on. It will also break in your backpack’s material by gently stretching out the fibers and making them a little bit less stiff.

Breaking it in Through Regular Use

This is perhaps the most effective way to break in any accessory – with regular and frequent use. The more you wear your North Face backpack and fill it with your belongings, the more it will get broken in and more comfortable to wear.

Spend a few days wearing the backpack around your house or to school – wherever you plan to go for the day. Make sure it is filled with as much weight as you would normally carry, and get some good use out of it.

Throughout these few days of breaking it in, make sure to frequently use the zippers, clasps, and buckles. Open and close the backpack regularly to get in some wear on those parts of the bag. This should season the backpack at least a little bit before you take it out hiking or use it for something else.

Using Fabric Softener to Reduce Stiffness

If all else fails, you can also try softening your North Face backpack with a fabric softener. This isn’t necessarily going to change the backpack or make it feel more used, but it might soften the straps a bit at least.

North Face backpacks are durable, which is why the backpack straps and material are sometimes stiffer than we might prefer. You can soften your backpack, though, by soaking it in fabric softener and water for a day, then rinsing it out and letting it fully air dry.

If you choose to treat it with fabric softener in your washing machine instead, make sure to use cold water, gentle cycle, and let the backpack air dry to avoid shrinkage.

What to Avoid When Breaking in Your North Face Backpack

When breaking in your backpack, try to avoid washing it to break it in. Putting a nice backpack in a washing machine and dryer might cause it to shrink or get bent out of shape.

You should also avoid stretching or pulling on the backpack very hard, as this can lead to tearing or damaging the fabric. It can also make it more difficult to wash when it comes time to clean your backpack.

Final Thoughts

North Face backpacks are highly durable, but with this durability comes a bit of stiffness. You’ll probably want to break in your backpack before you start wearing it on a regular basis to improve its all-around comfort.

Practice using the backpack for a few days, adjusting the straps, and even soaking it in a fabric softener solution if you need to soften the fabric. In the end, the best way to break in a backpack is to use it often and give it time.