For Father’s Day, my dad always received a card and then usually something rather boring such as a tie...or tie rack (i.e., to organize all of the past year’s gifts). Looking back, I should have gotten something that fit his personality – quality, utilitarian, and economical.
An optimal fit would have been a piece of gear from The North Face (TNF) like the Surge II Charged ($229; available in Ink Blue, Monument Grey, and TNF Black). From personal experience, their backpacks have been seemingly indestructible. This author has owned one of TNF’s Hot Shot backpacks for approximately a decade and it is as good as the day it was purchased. That cannot be said for some of the competition that could not handle the weight endured by books/supplies and ultimately ripped or disintegrated shortly after purchase.
The North Face’s quality is visibly noticeable in the Surge II Charged backpack’s construction. The core material is composed of both nylon and ballistic nylon that together posses a high tensile strength, thereby, resisting tearing when fully packed. Additionally, the junction between textiles are either perfectly stitched or feature a sturdy zipper (just under 2” in length) for sealing a compartment.
Modern-day fathers have a lot of technology to lug around with them and this bag's functionality has them covered. The Surge II Charged backpack has the following zippered compartments (from front to back):
1. Two, "Napoleon-style" front pockets (~ 11” long by 7” wide) for quick access, while the pack is worn
2. Upper, front, fleece-lined pocket (~ 4” long by 8” wide) for a smart phone or music player
3. Large, middle pocket (~ 18” long by 11” wide) featuring an organizational system of multiple internal pouches and zippered compartments
4. Full-sized compartment (~ 18” long by 11” wide) expands up to 5”
5. Dedicated, padded compartment for both a laptop (up to 17”) and tablet
6. Right side, water-resistant pocket for electronics (~ 8” long by 4” wide)
Compartments 2 through 5 are interconnected by a small cable pass-through and for good reason. As the name “Charged” implies, this backpack includes a Joey T1 battery pack to recharge electronics. The aforementioned battery pack is water-resistant and enclosed in a hardened plastic case. This Joey T1 has a dedicated storage space in pocket 3 and has been exceptionally easy to use.
To charge, one connects the Joey T1 (via the included USB cable) to a smart device’s power adapter and plugs the latter into a wall outlet. The battery pack charges in just over 5 hours and three LEDs on the device indicate the amount of charge remaining. Lastly, one simply plugs their device directly into the Joey’s USB port and can recharge a phone up to 2.5 times or an tablet up to 1.5 times.
Ultimately, the Surge II Charged is money saving in two ways. First, this pack’s compartment 5 is astonishingly well padded on all sides, featuring Neoprene pockets for a laptop as well as a tablet, and has polyurethane built into the zips. So, this backpack protects one’s costly electronics from drops as well as from the elements. Second, the back panel, straps, and winged hipbelt provide such excellent back support (via Atilon and PE foam) so as to be endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association. Thus, the Surge II Charged will not only save one’s back, but also on the expense of doctor visits.
The North Face’s Surge II Charged does it all - organizes, protects, and recharges one’s technology. This backpack is far and above an average backpack by providing a high caliber of manufacturing, being completely functional, and saving cash. The Surge II Charged is an ideal gift for any father, mother (a women’s version is also available), and/or student.
Rating: 5 out of 5