The North Face Prophet 52 Pack Review
As The North Face has looked back over the years, they understand that while it is important to grow and offer less technical products for the general consumer, it is also important to continue with innovation and making products for the original customer. With a heritage of making products for mountaineering and hardcore expeditions, The North Face is no stranger to making equipment that can hold up to the toughest environments.
The Prophet 52 is a 54-58 liter technical pack with the climber and backpacker in mind. It is part of the Summit Series which is not just another marketing label, but it means that it was athlete tested to make sure it can hold up to the high expectations of the most extreme outdoors people. The fabric used in the North Face Prophet 52 is the Cordura Bombastic fabric. If you aren’t aware of Cordura yet, it is one of the textile fabric’s that manufactures use when fabric durability is a must. Cordura also makes fabrics for the U.S. Armed forces if that gives you some insight. For added durability of the pack, the bottom of the Prophet 52 has two layers of fabric since this is one of the area’s that gets most abuse. For me personally, the bottom of a pack takes the most abuse.
The Prophet 52 is very lightweight weighing in at 3 lbs 6oz. for a medium and 3lbs 8oz. for a large. This is good when you’re on an ascent and trying to keep the weight down. On the downside of lightweight, you don’t always get a cushy ride you get with a traditional pack. The shoulder straps on the Prophet 52 don’t have a whole lot of padding, which over a 2-day 28 mile backpacking trip had me wanting a little more padding. The same goes for the hip belt. Another area in which the Prophet 52 is able to cut weight is through the 2 removable aluminum stays in the back panel. These stays are pretty easy to remove and put back into the pack if this is something you are interested in.
For pockets and storage, the Prophet 52 has everything you should need. For the main compartment, I found there to be plenty of room for a 650 fill 15 degree sleeping back, a lightweight 2 person tent, an ultralight down jacket, a pair of pants, shorts, socks, backpacking stove and cooking equipment, and food. I also was able to use the internal reservoir pocket for my 3 liter bladder. On the outside of the pack, there are two larger side pockets near the waste, one on each side. There is an elastic band that gives you some tension to keep water bottles and other gear in, but I would like to see a little more tension in the elastic for a more secure fit. There is the standard outside pocket that goes down the center of the pack with a bungee attached to the outside of it. This is perfect for items you want easy access to. I usually store dog leashes, light jackets, and a little food in this area. The top loading cover has 3 compartments to organize your goods in and is easily removable through two clips.
For other forms of outside storage, there are two compression straps on each side of the pack that are red and easily recognizable. This can be good for storing a sleeping pad, tent, skis, etc. There are also bungees near the top of the pack and gear loops at the bottom of the pack which I used for trekking pole storage, but they also could work great to storing climbing gear. To help with visibility, there are reflective pieces on almost every side of the pack. This could be good if you are in an emergency and need to be seen during the night. The Prophet 52 has a narrow fit, meaning it looks more tall and thin on your back verses short and wide. I am ok with both styles, but if you prefer a more narrow fitting pack, this could be a good option.