Intriguing Design: The North Face ‘Urban EDC’ Backpack

Pop-open pockets, protective compartments made for electronics, and ingenious ‘ejector tabs’ that help remove media devices… this is not your average commuter backpack.


We saw the stealthy Access Pack earlier this year at the Outdoor Retailer trade show. A company rep called it the brand’s “urban play,” and she invited us to crack it open to look inside.

The North Face is targeting ease of use with this backpack, which was designed for students and professionals overrun with electronics, cords, and office gear.

Access Pack Open Compartments
Laptop fits in a rear compartment, pop-open access is in front

In addition to a nice fit (and a sleek look), the pack stands out for its uber-organizational facets. The most intriguing is something the company calls “ejector handles” that, when pulled, lift your devices out of the snug compartments like they’re on springs.

We tried it out at the trade show. A nested iPhone literally popped up from its ensconced pocket when we pulled the tab. Joking, we asked the company where the pack’s batteries go.

In truth, the ejector system works with nylon pulls and slack fabric in pockets, all neatly stitched and concealed in a system The North Face invented.


Another cool touch, the main compartment opens in a clamshell-like fashion. You hit a button and it pops open the front compartment, giving quick access to everything inside.

Urban Commuter Pack

A lightweight steel frame gives the pack structure. It is significantly padded, absorbing body blows in a busy subway car or a minor tumble off a table. A chest strap cinches it close for bike commutes.

Built for the laptop-toting student or urban worker, the pack is stocked with protective, fleece-lined pockets made for laptops, phones, and tablets. There are pockets for pens, glasses, headphones, books, chargers, and other cords.

Access Pack open

The 22-liter Access Pack is made of weather resistant 500D nylon material and water-resistant zippers.

It comes to market this month for $235 on The North Face. Try one on if you’re an urban dweller looking for the ultimate in organization on the go.

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.