The North Face Base Camp Travel Canister Review
The North Face Base Camp Travel Canister is water resistant and durable yet heavy, deterring lightweight packers. However, its design enables dynamic use.
- Durable materials are very water resistant
- Modularity possible with daisy chains and exterior loops
- Interior organization thorough yet includes open space for gear
- Materials extremely heavy
- No dedicated 3-1-1 pouch for airport security
- Exterior has become discolored
15 oz (425.2 g)
9.5 in x 5 in x 5 in (24.1 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm)
Recycled Polyester, Ballistic Nylon, DWR Coating, YKK Zippers, PVC
Upon first inspection, The North Face Base Camp Travel Canister looks like a shrunken version of The North Face Base Camp Duffel. However, it feels large and heavy to be a capable toiletry container. Will it surprise us, and what else can this thing hold? Let’s find out.
The exterior of the pouch is 300D recycled polyester. It’s substantial and durable. There’s a phthalate-free PVC laminate, which adds extra water resistance. It feels almost industrial—we’re getting heavy FREITAG vibes from it. The materials are slightly discolored in certain spots for reasons we’ve yet to discover. No new ones have appeared, and we can’t determine where they came from.
There’s a layer of 840D ballistic nylon on the bottom of the pouch for added durability and grip. The upper material is durable and water resistant but gets slippery when wet, so the ballistic nylon adds a buffer between the polyester and wet surfaces like a bathroom sink.
Overall, the exterior materials are very durable and water-resistant. We haven’t noticed water inside the main compartment, which is a testament to those materials. However, it comes at a cost; this thing is darn heavy. It’s 15 ounces, which is just under a pound, or 425 grams. That’s a lot for a toiletry bag. At 3.5 liters of capacity, it’s more sling-sized than pouch-sized.
The bag’s YKK zippers are sturdy and easy to operate. The main compartment zipper has a large fabric welt covering it to keep water out, which works well, although it can sometimes take effort to navigate, especially in low-light situations. We’re not sure why they went for a fabric welt instead of an AquaGuard finish on the zippers. The materials are heavy, so this would have saved weight, too.
There are daisy chains across the front and back sides of the pouch. You can attach gear here or hook it onto the interior of your daypack or travel backpack. Two larger loops on the left and right sides also work as handles. While their inclusion looks nice, there aren’t many situations where attaching gear to your toiletry bag makes sense. However, if you are taking the pouch somewhere rugged, like an ATV or snowmobile, it could be helpful to stick it under cargo netting.
Inside The Canister
The interior of The North Face Base Camp Travel Canister is the tale of two sides. There’s the highly organized lid area and then the main compartment with no segmentation. We’ll start with the lid.
There’s a zippered mesh compartment here for smaller, flat items. Since it’s mesh, there isn’t anything to stop things stowed here from getting wet if something exploded elsewhere in the pack. However, it’s an excellent place to lock down the gear you’re worried about losing.
Behind that, we’ve got a liner pocket that doubles as a place to stow the hanging hook and mirror. It pops out and has a hook and loop fastener to attach the mirror. That way, you can see yourself while getting ready if you can’t access a bathroom. When you stow it away, there’s still some room for small items, although things with sharp edges aren’t ideal, as they could damage the mirror.
Two support beams crafted from strap material are between the lid and the main compartment. They hold the main compartment level while you have the pouch hanging from the hook, so nothing comes tumbling out. They can be in the way when getting gear in and out, though their inclusion is worth it for the function they provide.
There’s a divider between the lid and the main compartment made of mesh. It extends briefly into the chamber and attaches at the pouch’s back side bottom. You can throw items here you don’t want in the main compartment, so it’s an excellent way to separate toiletry tools from consumables without occupying too much space with organizational materials. There’s no topper, so in theory, items could tumble out of the top if the going gets rough, though this hasn’t happened in our testing.
On the end of the divider, there are two elastic tabs. They help you hold it so you can grab items from the back area, and you can also stow gear inside the tabs. It’s a good fit for a toothbrush or manual razor, so you know where to find the items you use most often and can grab them quickly. If you place sharp objects like a razor here, remove them once you no longer need quick access to them in case the blade cover falls off.
The rest of the space is yours to work with as you see fit. There’s a ton of room here, so the world is your oyster. The 3.5-liter size is a lot of capacity for a toiletry bag, so you could share it with a partner if necessary. There isn’t an included 3-1-1 bag, so if you’re heading through airport security, you’ll need a removable bag for liquids after you take the toiletry pouch out of your daypack or travel backpack.
In addition to toiletries, you can use this pouch for electronics or as an organizer inside your pack. You can fit a Fuji XT-3 mirrorless camera with a 15-45mm lens here and still have a ton of extra space for another prime lens, cables, or chargers. If you travel with heavy-duty electronic equipment, this is a great place to stow your cables and other devices to keep them dry. The exterior materials don’t have any padding, so it’s best to ensure the pouch is well-protected in transit.
This pack feels like a master of none; however, it can do just about everything reasonably well in the long haul. To complete the saying, “a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” If you like your gear to be dual-use and won’t always need a dedicated toiletry kit, this pouch can do the job for you. You may want to look elsewhere if you want something only for toiletries.
- The materials feel extraordinarily durable but don’t have much flex
- It appears to have excellent water resistance, but the material is already scuffed up
- Internal organization isn’t what we’re used to—we’re excited to try it
- Pack materials are extraordinarily durable and do well against liquids
- Zippers can be hard to close all the way, leaving a hole for water
- Internal organization is thoughtful and not all-encompassing, so there’s room for extra gear