The Best Herschel Backpack [Review and Buying Guide]

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Herschel Supply Company creates and sells “retro” backpacks that fit a variety of lifestyles. Originating in 2009, Herschel today finds its home base in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company has designed and produced a wide variety of bags for different activities and styles throughout the years, from the rugged adventurer’s bag to the sleek city commuter. 

Designed to be functional and stylish with attention to detail all at once, there is a Herschel bag for nearly anyone. While the Herschel Classic Backpack is the best overall winner, read on several product reviews and comparisons of various bags to find the best Herschel backpack for you.

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS rating  price
Herschel Classic Backpack Herschel Classic Backpack
  • Materials: Cotton lining; double polyester exterior
  • Size: Classic: 16.5″(H) x 12″(W) x 5.5″(D), 24L, Mid-size: 18 liters. XL: 30 liters
9.7
Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack
  • Materials: Polyester/leather (depending on which color you choose)
  • Size: 17.5″(H) x 11.75″(W) x 6″(D) (22L)
9.7
Herschel Settlement Backpack Herschel Settlement Backpack
  • Materials: Striped fabric liner; polyester outer; leather
  • Size: 17.75″(H) x 12.25″(W) x 5.75″(D) (23L) Smaller size option holds 17L
9.6
Herschel Heritage Backpack Herschel Heritage Backpack
  • Materials: Polyester outer fabric; rubber; cotton lining
  • Size: Classic: 18″(H) x 12.25″(W) x 5.5″(D), 21.5L Small: 16.25 x 10.5 x 4.5 (14.5L) Mini: 11″ (H) x 8. 75″ (W) x 4. 25″ (D) (7L)
9.5
Herschel Thompson Backpack Herschel Thompson Backpack
  • Materials: Polyester outer material
  • Size: 17.25″(H) x 10.5″(W) x 6″(D), 17L
9.4
Herschel Retreat Backpack Herschel Retreat Backpack
  • Materials: Polyester
  • Size: 17″(H) x 12″(W) x 6″(D), 19.5L
9.5
Herschel Nova Herschel Nova
  • Materials: Polyester; Cotton lining
  • Size: Mini: 9L Small: 5” x 10.25” x 14.25” (14L) Mid-size: 16″(H) x 12″(W) x 5.5″(D),18L
9.5
Herschel Novel Duffel Bag Herschel Novel Duffel Bag
  • Materials: Polyester
  • Size: Mid Volume: 33L Classic size: 11.75″(H) x 20.5″(W) x 11″(D), 42.5L
9.7
Herschel Trade ABS Dual Spinner Herschel Trade ABS Dual Spinner
  • Materials: Hard shell exterior; Polyurethane wheels; neoprene handles
  • Size: 21.5″(H) x 14″(W) x 9″(D), 6.35 lb / 2.88 kg, 34L Mid-size option: 23” (H) x 15″(W) x 9″(D), 7 lb / 3.2 kg, 40L Larger: 29” x 10.6” x 16.89”, 72L Largest: 33.8” x 11.4” x 18.1”, 12 pounds, 99L
9.7
Herschel Barlow Backpack Herschel Barlow Backpack
  • Materials: Recycled nylon exterior; recycled polyester lining
  • Size: 19″(H) x 11″(W) x 7″(D), 27L
9.5

Product Reviews 

Herschel Supply Company Classic Backpack: Most Timeless Option

Herschel Classic Backpack
2,524 Reviews
Herschel Classic Backpack
  • HERSCHEL COLLECTION: Click on our brand logo at the top of the page to explore the full collection from Herschel Supply.
  • MEN/WOMEN/UNISEX: Herschel’s Classic X-Large backpack was made for everyone. Take it to work, school, or on a weekend adventure.
  • COMFORTABLE CARRYING: Padded, contoured shoulder straps and breathable air mesh back padding, designed for a more supportive and comfortable commute to work or school. The Classic XL also makes for a perfect airplane carry-on.
  • BUILT TO LAST: Created from a durable polyester fabric, the Classic XL is made to last through every adventure you take it on. The design is classic yet modern, making it a timeless addition to your wardrobe.
  • 30L CAPACITY: 17. 5” high and 12. 5” wide. From your passport to your heavy textbooks, there’s plenty of space to fit everything you need for school, work or travel.

The Herschel Classic Backpack is truly the most timeless choice of all among the bags in Herschel’s lineup. The Classic Backpack is appropriate for business attire and casual wear alike, making it a perfect match for the office or big city outings.

The Classic Backpack features a front pocket for easy storage and a larger interior pocket with corded zippers for quick access.

The exterior fabric is double rip-resistant polyester. The lining is a simple striped cotton fabric, and dimensions are 16.5 x 12 x 4.4 inches with a total volume of 24 liters. For more variety, Herschel also offers a smaller mid-volume size with 18 liters of total space and an XL version that holds 30 liters. These options make the Herschel Classic a great bag if you’re looking for versatility in size.

The Herschel is a unisex bag that will always look classy. The bag also features air mesh back padding for more ventilation on hotter days to keep you cool, as well as cushioned shoulder straps that contour for extra comfort.

Pros

  • Fashionable matches business attire or casual wear
  • Decently sized with various size options
  • Durable polyester exterior
  • Comfortable padding

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • No laptop sleeve

Herschel Pop Quiz: Best Herschel Backpack for School

Sale
Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack
2,656 Reviews
Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack
  • Signature striped fabric liner
  • Padded and fleece lined 15 inch laptop sleeve
  • Front pocket with internal mesh organizers and key clip
  • Waterproof zipper detail
  • 17.5 inch x 11.75 inch x 6 inch (HxWxD)

The Herschel Pop Quiz is the best Herschel backpack for school, as it is equipped with a fleece-lined, cushioned laptop sleeve built in for safe, easy storage of your computer on the go.

Measuring 17.5 x 11.75 x 6 inches with an internal volume of 22 liters, it is slightly smaller than the Classic Backpack, but it is still well suited for carrying books and school supplies. 

With an easy zip closure, you can quickly access the main compartment of the bag, and there is also a front pocket with a key clip as well. Inside the bag are utility pockets and a water bottle storage area. There are even a sunglasses pocket and a media pocket with headphone output port.

Pros

  • Has an internal padded laptop sleeve
  • Key clip in mesh pocket (in front pocket)
  • Headphone area and sunglasses pocket
  • Utility pockets inside

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Only one size option

Herschel Settlement Backpack

Sale
Herschel Settlement Backpack
2,631 Reviews
Herschel Settlement Backpack
  • Fully lined with Herschel supply's signature coated cotton-poly fabric
  • Up to 13˝ laptop sleeve pocket
  • Full grain leather zipper pulls
  • Single front pocket with key clip
  • Internal media pocket

The Herschel Settlement Backpack is a runner-up for the classiest option among these fashion-forward backpacks. The Settlement also features a 13-inch laptop sleeve, making it another great option for students on the go. 

There is also a key clip inside the front pocket, as well as a convenient headphone cord port out of the internal media pocket so you can easily listen to your favorite tunes.

The volume of the classic Settlement is 23 liters, which is a good size to fit the essentials. There is also a smaller option that holds 17 liters if you’d like a more compact bag.

Pros

  • Stylish and timeless
  • Holds 23 liters (classic size) or 17 liters (smaller size)
  • Key clip included
  • Laptop sleeve included
  • Headphone cord area for easy music

Cons

  • Not waterproof

Herschel Heritage Backpack

Sale
Herschel Heritage Backpack
2,978 Reviews
Herschel Heritage Backpack
  • Fully lined with Herschel Supply's signature coated polyester fabric
  • Interior sleeve pocket can hold up to a 15" laptop.
  • Additional front compartment with a key clip
  • Internal media pocket with headphone port for added storage options.
  • 17.75x11.75x5

The Herschel Heritage is the best compact option for those busy days when you still want to look stylish. It boasts many of the same useful features as its larger cousins while being a more compact, lightweight, practical option perfect for carrying only the essentials.

There are three available sizes. The “mini” is super tiny, with an internal volume of only 7 liters. The Heritage also comes in a mid-volume size featuring 14.5 liters of storage space. Lastly, there is the classic 21.5-liter option.

Even with a 21.5-liter volume, the Heritage is smaller than the other Herschel bags thus far in this product round-up. However, it does not skimp on features. It includes a 15-inch laptop sleeve. It also has a key clip inside the front pocket and a headphone port in the media pocket as well.

Pros

  • More compact option but still stylish
  • Several size options if you’d like even smaller bags

Cons

  • Not a great choice if you need lots of space
  • Not waterproof

Herschel Thompson

Herschel Thompson Backpack
106 Reviews
Herschel Thompson Backpack
  • Signature striped fabric liner
  • Dual water bottle pockets
  • Adjustable drawcord closure
  • Clip-fastened adjustable webbing strap
  • 6x10.5x17.25

The Herschel Thompson is the best mid-size option in this product round-up. Its smaller stature makes it perfect for the most hectic days when you need a bag that doesn’t mind getting thrown around or crammed into small spaces, but it still holds a respectable 17 liters of stuff.

Featuring comfortable shoulder straps, the Thompson is ready for all-day wear. 

While the main compartment of this bag has a drawcord closure, the Thompson does have a hidden zipper pocket at the back. There is also a laptop sleeve inside for those headed to classes, as well as a key clip to keep your keys secure. The bag also features two small water bottle pockets outside the bag for your hydration needs.

Pros

  • Great mid-size option
  • Comfortable shoulder straps
  • Water bottle pockets
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Key clip

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Only one size option
  • The main compartment has a drawcord closure, which is less secure than a zipper

Herschel Retreat Backpack

Herschel Retreat Backpack
5 Reviews
Herschel Retreat Backpack
  • Herschel Supply Retreat Light 19,5L
  • 413813-uk-2278585

The Herschel Retreat Backpack is the most versatile in terms of fashion and durability combined. This backpack has a mountaineering style that also fits into the space of a city commute or a college campus.

The Retreat features a magnetic strap closure as well as a drawcord and cinch straps for added security. The main compartment has 19.5 liters of space, making it a solid middle-ground option for volume thus far in the product round-up.

The bag’s cushioned, contoured shoulder straps make it comfortable all day even with some weight on your back.

Pros

  • Looks stylish but also rugged at the same time
  • Laptop space 
  • Holds 19.5 liters (not too big and not too small)
  • Contoured shoulder straps

Cons

  • Not waterproof 
  • Only one size option

Herschel Nova

Sale
Herschel Nova
1,096 Reviews
Herschel Nova
  • Pockets: 1 slip, 3 exterior
  • volume : 18L ; Front storage pocket with key clip ;Front storage pocket with key clip

The Herschel Nova is the best Herschel backpack for work. With various size options, an included laptop sleeve, a secure zip closure, water bottle pockets, and padding across the back, the Nova is a fashionable, comfortable, compact option perfect for a work commute.

The Nova’s small size option holds 14 liters, while the mini option holds only 9 liters and is extra compact. There is also a mid-size option that can carry up to 18 liters.

The Nova features a 13-inch laptop sleeve, so it’s a solid option also for the college days as well. The bag also conveniently features two water bottle pockets. The shoulder straps and back of the bag are padded for extra comfort.

Pros

  • Features two water bottle pockets
  • Extra padding for comfort
  • Laptop storage 
  • Three size options

Cons

  • Not waterproof

Herschel Novel Duffel Bag

Sale
Herschel Novel Duffel Bag
655 Reviews
Herschel Novel Duffel Bag
  • HERSCHEL COLLECTION: Click on our brand logo at the top of the page to explore the full collection from Herschel Supply.

The Herschel Novel Duffel Bag is the best Herschel backpack for weekend trips. The Novel Duffel Bag comes in two size options, a smaller (yet still large) 33-liter volume option and the more expansive 42.5-liter version. This makes the bag great for carrying plenty of clothes and fits comfortably in an airplane carry-on space.

The Duffel Bag is a fantastic traveling companion, as it features a shoe compartment storage space and durable polyester fabric. The reinforced carrying handles and padded shoulder strap ensure that the bag stays secure and comfortable. A bag is also a versatile option as you can carry it at your side or draped over one shoulder.

The waterproof zipper helps keep your belongings safe and secure even in the rain.

Pros

  • Two size options, both great for traveling
  • Waterproof zipper
  • Shoe compartment 
  • Versatile (can carry at your size or over a shoulder)

Cons

  • The entire bag isn’t waterproof (just the zipper)
  • Somewhat expensive

Herschel Trade ABS Dual Spinner

Sale
Herschel Trade ABS Dual Spinner
156 Reviews
Herschel Trade ABS Dual Spinner
  • Two-way exposed zipper
  • Split design with zippered mesh storage and garment cross-straps
  • Retractable three-stage locking trolley handle
  • Four multi-directional muted polyurethane wheels
  • 21.7x9x13.78 ; 34 L / 2075 Cu. In.

The Herschel Trade ABS Dual Spinner is our pick for the best Herschel backpack for airline travel and the more durable option. Built with a molded ABS plastic hardshell exterior, the Herschel Trade ABS Dual Spinner is sure to hold up to rough handling in an airline terminal.

The Dual Spinner is available in four size options: 34 liters, 40 liters, 72 liters, and 99 liters for those who need even more space.

This bag features a padded locking trolley handle, making it easier to deal with when navigating an airline terminal. The wheels are waterproof and rotate in all directions, making movement and turning around even easier. The bag also boasts a two-way zipper so you can easily access your belongings inside the bag. There is also a TSA-approved combination zipper lock.

Inside the bag, there is a zipper mesh pocket as well as cross straps, perfect for keeping clothes flat.

Pros

  • Durable option (molded hardshell exterior)
  • Wheels rotate for easier navigation
  • Four size varieties
  • Easy clothing storage inside
  • Wheels and a retractable trolley 
  • Padded handle 
  • TSA-approved combination zipper lock

Cons

  • Heavier, not practical for daily use (meant for airplane travel)

Herschel Barlow Backpack

Herschel Barlow Backpack
1 Reviews

The Herschel Barlow backpack is the best option for the environmentally conscious, as the exterior of the bag is made of recycled nylon fabric. At the same time, the interior is lined with recycled polyester. The Barlow is also a solid option for students or daily commuters, as it has a 15 inch laptop sleeve and an easy clip closure with drawcord system.

This bag features compression straps and added stability and comfort when carrying heavier items on your back. There is also a sternum strap for added support and to reduce swaying. With its padded mesh backing, the Barlow will stay comfortable even over the long hours.

Lastly, the Barlow is marketed to be water-resistant, so it is a great option if you may run into some light rain.

Pros

  • Made of recycled nylon and polyester
  • Water bottle pocket on interior
  • Air mesh back padding
  • Laptop sleeve
  • Compression straps and sternum strap
  • Water-resistant

Cons

  • Only one size available

How do these Models Compare?

Size

Many of Herschel’s bags come in various size options, so you can choose the size that best fits your needs.

Some of the smaller bags in Herschel’s lineup include the smaller Herschel Settlement size option (17 liters), the small (14.5 liters) or mini (7 liters) Heritage, the Thompson (17 liters), and the small (14 liters) or mini (9 liters) Nova. The smallest overall are the mini Heritage at only 7 liters, and the mini Nova at 9 liters.

For a more moderate size, look at the Herschel Classic (24 liters) or mid-size (18 liters) options, the Pop Quiz (22 liters), the regular Settlement (23 liters), the classic Heritage (21.5 liters), the Retreat (19.5 liters), and the mid-size option of the Nova (18 liters).

The largest Herschel bags in this product round-up are the Barlow at 27 liters, XL Classic at 30 liters, the mid-volume Duffel at 33 liters, the classic Trade ABS Dual Spinner at 34 liters, the classic Duffel at 42.5 liters, the mid-size ABS Dual Spinner at 40 liters, the larger ABS Dual Spinner at 72 liters, and the largest ABS Dual Spinner option at a whopping 99 liters.

More: The Best Waterproof Duffel Bag And How to Find It

Price

Of all the bags in this product round-up, the least expensive option is the Herschel Thompson, coming in at $45.49. Herschel’s Classic backpack is only slightly more expensive at $49.99.

Within the $64.99 to $69.99 price range, you have the Herschel Heritage, Nova, and Settlement. At $79.99, you can get the Herschel Pop Quiz, and at $89.99, there is the Herschel Retreat and Novel Duffel.

The most expensive options are the Herschel Barlow at $139.99 and Herschel ABS Dual Spinner at $189.99.

More: The Best North Face Backpack and How to Find It

Functionality

When comparing the functionality of these Herschel bags, consider your lifestyle and the purpose of the pack. 

If you are looking for the perfect daily commuter, you may want to look at decently sized bags but not overly large and feature various characteristics that make the bag useful. For example, a water bottle holder may be a desirable feature in a daily bag, so the Pop Quiz, Thompson, Nova, or Barlow may be your best bet.

For backpacks with music in mind, check out the Herschel Pop Quiz, Settlement, and Heritage, as these bags feature a headphone port out of the media pocket so that you can access your music player easily.

If you need to carry a laptop, the best options are the Pop Quiz, Settlement, Heritage, Thompson, Retreat, Nova, and Barlow. These bags feature a secure, padded laptop sleeve to keep your computer in place throughout the day.

The best option for secure airline traveling is hands-down the Herschel ABS Dual Spinner, with its secure lock, multi-directional wheels, locking handle, and durable outer covering that will keep your belongings protected.

More: Osprey Aether 60 vs Osprey Atmos 65: The Search for a Backpack

FAQ

Are Herschel Backpacks Made with High Quality and Durability?

Herschel is known for creating bags with high quality in mind. The company even backs them with a limited lifetime warranty that will replace or repair any bag purchased from an authorized retailer for the life of the bag if there is a manufacturing issue. 

While the most durable bag we discussed is the ABS Dual Spinner, with its molded plastic exterior, the other bags are made primarily of polyester. Polyester is a rather durable, rip-resistant fabric often used in creating outdoor bags, so you can count on any of these Herschel bags lasting a long time.

More: Osprey Porter 46 vs Osprey Farpoint 40: Which Is The Better Backpack To Have

Can You Take a Herschel Backpack on an Airplane with a Carry-On Bag?

Any of the bags we reviewed, including the classic size of the Herschel ABS Dual Spinner, will fit in an airplane carry-on space. In fact, Herschel markets the ABS Dual Spinner as their “Carry-on Hard Shell Luggage” option, as it meets the standard size requirements of all the major airlines.

How Can You Wash and Clean a Herschel Backpack?

Herschel recommends that you “spot clean” the dirty area using a combination of mild soap and warm water with a soft toothbrush or wet rag. Then, allow the bag to air dry over time. The company states that their backpacks are best not placed in a washing machine or dryer, causing damage.

More: Full Review of The Osprey Daylite: Is It A Good Daypack?

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a comfortable, daily bag, the Herschel Classic is the winner, with its timeless, uncomplicated design, quality fabrics, and moderate storage capacity. This is a bag that truly fits nearly any lifestyle and will match any outfit.

For a more hefty bag, look at the Herschel Novel Duffel or Barlow, which offer more volume in a stylish design as well. For durability, you can’t beat the Herschel ABS Dual Spinner, built for airline travel.

We hope this product round-up has helped narrow down the choices when searching for your next backpack. It turns out that there is a Herschel bag for nearly anyone for any purpose, and you can even buy several to have a versatile collection. Happy shopping!

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Tim Fox

Tim Fox

Since the age of 10, Tim, a writer at Outdoor With J, has enjoyed camping in the great outdoors. Although he loves the peace and quiet of the outdoors, he also likes his creature comforts. Tim’s mission is to make camping a fun and comfortable experience for all. You can find more about him here

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