Herschel Supply Co. is a very popular company that’s famous for their backpacks. Turn on the TV to any high school show, and all you’ll see are Herschel backpacks. Or just walk past the nearest school - they’re all the rage with the cool kids.
But they are also pretty popular with adults, for their streamlined design and useful features. So, if you’re thinking it’s time to finally get yourself a Herschel pack, we couldn’t agree more!
Read on to find out what we think the best Herschel backpacks are, and how they compare to other brands.
The Ultralight Daypack by Herschel Supply Co. is a very interesting daypack option. This pack is collapsible; when you want to store it, you can fold the entire pack in its top pocket. Which makes it excellent for travel; you can bring an additional bag but without using any extra space in your suitcase.
This Herschel backpack is made from ripstop nylon. It is very durable and water resistant, so it’s a great versatile option. It features adjustable drawcord closure and and a clip-fastened storm lid for easy access to your items.
And it has an internal storage sleeve, a front storage sleeve, dual water bottle pockets and a self-storage pocket, for easy organization. In addition to that, the Ultralight Daypack comes equipped with a sternum strap, a hipbelt, a hydration compatible port and the Prusik loop system.
That last one is basically just daisy chain on the shoulder straps, which allow you to attach anything to them with a carabiner.
The downside is the backpanel; in order to make this pack so lightweight and packable, Herschel had to sacrifice the breathability and support of the backpanel. Meaning that you don’t get padding or ventilation on any part of the pack’s harness. Everything is made from the same lightweight material.
If you’re looking for a portable Herschel backpack, this is definitely one of your top options. It is amazing for travelling since it can literally fit into the pocket of your jacket. It takes up virtually no space, and it is an additional bag that you can bring on your trip - great for exploration of new cities.
But, it’s definitely not the best option if you want a premium backpack that you can carry around every day.
The Herschel Classic Backpack is the best option for lots of people. It’s a very simple school backpack, with a decent price tag. It is frequently discounted and certain styles are always cheaper than others, so you can usually find a good deal on it.
This Herschel backpack is timeless because it has that very basic backpack design that will never go out of style. Streamlined shoulder straps, pockets and shape make the Herschel Classic something that will be in style forever.
It is made from polyester, which is a pretty sturdy material. And it has a storm flap that will help protect your belongings in wet weather. That’s pretty useful, considering that the Classic pack does not have any water resistant features. It also lacks padding and ventilation on the backpanel, so it’s definitely the most comfortable Herschel backpack you can buy.
The main compartment of this pack is very big and can fit a lot. It has a small slip pocket inside, which is super close to the headphone port - you can keep your phone there and listen to music while it’s inside the pack. However, that’s about the only internal pocket you get, which is a shame.
Especially since there’s only one more external zippered pocket. There are two additional water bottle pockets on the sides, but they’re less useful since you can’t completely close them.
Overall, the Classic Herschel backpack is a good choice if you want something simple and timeless. It has the basic features of any school backpack, but it does lack some modern day commodities like a laptop sleeve. Check out the other Herschel backpacks for something more feature-packed.
If you want a Herschel backpack suitable for both the indoors and the outdoors, consider the Mammoth. It is made from 210D Nailhead Dobby nylon with 1,500mm water resistant coating, so it can survive pretty much anything you put it through.
The pack features a padded and ventilated backpanel, which makes it suitable for all sorts of weather conditions. It will keep you cool and dry during hot summer days, and it won’t get soaking wet in the rain or snow. Plus, you get a rain cover with the Mammoth, for extra protection on rainy days.
And it’s not just the materials that make this pack suitable for the wilderness. It’s also the features; the Mammoth has a strap and clip system, as well as a port that are all compatible with hydration bladders. And you can put the bladder in the 15” laptop sleeve.
There are two stretch side pockets on this pack, designed to hold water bottles. And there’s also a large zippered pocket on the front panel, for any items you want to have easily accessible. This is a feature you can use both in the office and on the trails, so it’s pretty cool.
You also get plenty organization features inside the backpack, in addition to dual use laptop sleeve. There’s a key clip and a few pockets inside the backpack, which are handy features to have on any backpack.
And you also have a sternum strap, which will keep the backpack from moving too much while you’re walking around with it. Overall, this is a great Herschel backpack; the minimalistic exterior and highly functional interior make it a viable option for all sorts of adventures. Even if it’s just carrying books to class.
The PopQuiz backpack is easily one of the most popular Herschel backpacks (full review here). And that’s because it is a great option for school - it’s large enough to fit all your books, notebooks and tech inside, and it looks pretty cool on the outside. It is also available in lots of colors and prints, so that everyone can pick up a design they actually like.
It’s not the most feature-packed backpack out there, but it checks all the basic boxes. The shoulder straps are padded and ventilated, there are two big external pockets, an internal laptop sleeve and a headphone port so that you listen to music while your phone is safely in your backpack.
In addition to that, the front pocket of the pack features an organization panel with a key clip, pen slots and several pockets for all your smaller necessities. And what I really like is that the zipper to this pocket is barely noticeable, thanks to the storm flap.
The storm flap also protects the main compartment - not just from thieves, but from any rain that ming be drizzling down the pack. Which is a legit concern, since the exterior of the Pop Quiz is not water resistant.
I’m also not a fan of the fact that the backpanel is not ventilated at all and that you don’t even get a sternum strap. But I can get over those things, since they’re not a necessity in this type of backpack. Water resistance, however, is something I generally look for in any bag.
The Barlow is one of the lesser-known Herschel backpacks, but still a versatile option. It is the backpack you get if you want to be able to carry it everywhere, from Monday morning classes to trails in the woods. It is made from a mixture of 210D Nailhead Dobby nylon and 300D polyester, with 1,500mm water-resistant coating.
This makes the Barlow a very durable backpack, able to withstand even the harshest of conditions. Like hiking in a snow-storm. In addition to that, you get a rain cover with this backpack, so that you can shield it from wet weather if you don’t feel like risking it.
The great thing about this Herschel backpack is that it looks very stylish, but has some seriously rugged features. The drawcord closure is typical for outdoorsy backpacks, as are the external compression straps. They help you tighten up the pack when it’s not entirely full, which makes it much more stable while you’re carrying it around.
It also has a sternum strap that helps this stay put on your back. And the backpanel is pretty amazing; with heavy padding and breathable mesh throughout both the backpanel and the harness, the Barlow backpack will be comfortable to wear in all sorts of weather conditions.
The pack doesn’t disappoint when it comes to storage and organization either. There’s a 15” laptop sleeve with a key clip inside, as well as side water bottle pockets. The laptop sleeve is inside the backpack, and there aren’t many other internal pockets to speak of.
But that’s pretty much the only downside; if you want a backpack that’s suitable both for the outdoors and the classroom, the Barlow is definitely one of the top options.
In addition to making awesome school backpacks, Herschel is also pretty popular for their packs for travel. And their Travel Backpack is a really cool option for all tech-savvy people. It has a TSA friendly laptop compartment in the back, which will help you go through checkpoints in a matter of minutes.
That compartment is heavily padded and lined with fleece, and it will protect any 15” laptop from scratches. The padding also helps with impact resistance; in case your backpack falls or you drop it, your laptop shouldn’t get damaged.
The main compartment of this Herschel backpack is very spacious and features several storage sleeves. This is very helpful if you’re travelling with lenses, hard drives or action cameras, since all the padding helps protect your tech.
There is also a front compartment with an organizer panel, for all the smaller items you like to have handy. You can use it for your passport, wallet, keys and whatnot.
This backpack also features dual water bottle pockets and an additional front compartment for any last minute items you remember to pack. The luggage strap in the back allows you to mount this on top of your suitcase, and means you don’t actually have to carry it on your shoulders at the airport.
Additionally, the lower part of the backpanel is both padded and ventilated, so it should keep you comfortable even during hot summer days. The only downside to the Travel Backpack is that it doesn’t feature a hipbelt or a sternum strap. These features are nice to have on packs like this, which tend to get heavy when they’re full.
Another popular option in this range of Herschel backpacks is the Dawson backpack. It is a very stylish everyday backpack, perfect for those of you that really like to keep everything about your outfit trendy. The Dawson is also available in several different colors, so you can easily get something that suits your usual style. In addition to that, it is discounted in the basic styles.
The pack has a 13” laptop sleeve, which is the perfect size for almost anyone with an ultrabook. The sleeve is heavily padded, and it will protect your computer from any scratches or bumps.
The Dawson also has very secure closure. It features a buckle belt with magnets, in addition to the drawstring in the main compartment, which will put off most thieves.
The backpanel is very basic, without any additional padding or ventilation. But that’s not such a big deal because this backpack is so small and lightweight. With a capacity of 20 liters, you’re hardly going to put enough stuff in it to need additional carrying support. Unless you decide to pack a couple of bricks in this Herschel backpack.
There are two external pockets on the Dawson. They both have magnetic closure, so even the items inside should stay perfectly safe.
Overall, this is a great backpack for all of you that carry smaller laptops, and don’t need anything too large for your stuff. Maybe you work out of the nearest coffee shops, or don’t need books and notebooks for your classes. But you still want a bag that’s stylish.
Little America is another really popular backpack from Herschel and we have reviewed it in detail before. It’s actually one of their best-sellers, and a backpack that many people choose to get because it is very versatile. The exterior or the backpack is made from 600D Polyester, which is a very sturdy material. It features drawstring closure with magnetic buckles, so the main compartment is very secure.
The interior of this backpack has the classic Herschel lining, and features a padded laptop sleeve. It will fit laptops up to 15”, which is okay for most people. One thing I really like about the laptop sleeve is that it is lifted from the bottom of the bag. That way, if you happen to bang the bottom of this backpack on something, your laptop is not absorbing all the impact.
There is also a pretty spacious external pocket on the front of the bag, suitable for most of your smaller necessities. And you will find a slip pocket inside, which can fit your phone or pens. This pocket is located just below the headphone port, so it’s actually the perfect spot for your smartphone - you can listen to music without taking out your phone.
The backpanel and shoulder straps are heavily padded and covered with breathable air mesh. This should keep you comfortable most days, even when your Little America backpack is filled to capacity.
Overall, the Little America backpack is one of the reasons why Herschel is such a popular brand nowadays. This is one of the crowd favorites, and it’s easy to see why. It’s comfortable, spacious and very stylish.
Above is our pick of the best options Herschel has to offer. However, because their range is so extensive, I thought it was worth mentioning a couple of other options you might want to consider.
This is one of the simplest Herschel backpacks they have to offer and is great for anyone looking for something no fuss (similar to the Fjallraven Kanken if you know it).
It has a simple "school backpack" style design with a large zippered opening. Inside is a slot for a laptop or tablet, and on the front a simple pocket to store your smaller items.
It has padded shoulder straps, but no hip belt. So, it's not ideal for heavy weight.
All in all a no fuss pack.
This Herschel backpack is very similar to the Little America with the faux-leather straps on the outside, giving it a very old-school look.
It also has the drawstring on the top of the interior, which is accessible via a flap on the top of the backpack. Again, the Retreat backpack is quite simple, like most Herschel backpacks, but it is a slightly different design to the others, in case you like options.
Just like any decent backpack company, Herschel makes packs for all sorts of situations. They are best known for their classic school packs, which are definitely the most popular bags from this Brand.
But Herschel also makes some really good travel backpacks. I’ve shown you a few of those in this review, and they are really great options for those of you that actually need packs for travel. They are sturdy, durable, comfortable to wear and specifically designed for travellers with a lot of tech.
In addition to that, there are also packs with features suitable for outdoor adventures. If you want a backpack that you can wear to work but also on some hikes or when camping, the versatile backpacks are a pretty good choice.
They feature hipbelts, sternum straps, rain covers and very durable exterior, which is more than suitable for the outdoors. But they also look rather stylish and cool, so they’re also great for school or work.
Most Herschel backpacks feature laptop sleeves, and they’re normally compatible with 15” or 13” laptops. However, none of the backpacks in this review are suitable for 17” laptops. If you were hoping to find a pack like that, I suggest you check out my post on best backpacks for 17” laptops.
The vast majority of the packs featured here have padded laptop sleeves. They will protect your computer from any scratches, and they provide pretty good impact resistance in case you drop your backpack with a laptop inside.
With some of the more versatile backpacks, this sleeve can also be used to store a hydration bladder. In packs like Barlow and Mammoth, you get several features that are designed to help you set up a hydration system inside your pack. This does mean you can’t carry both your laptop and your hydration bladder inside the backpack, but how often do you actually need both at the same time?
Some backpacks in this review are packed with features, and others are really simple. So, what suits you better - a basic backpack that you can carry your laptop in, or something with a luggage strap and an organizer panel?
You should always know which features you are actually going to use a lot. And don’t ever compromise on those features, because you won’t get as much use of the backpack you buy. That in turn means less value for money, and that’s something that we should always try to avoid!
Therefore, be sure to check all the pro/con sections of the backpacks you are considering. Some features that stand out are always noted in the pro section, while the con section holds all those features I wish a backpack had.
If you’re having a hard time choosing one backpack that’s right for you, go for one of our top choices. Each pack featured in this section is best for a specific purpose, and will not disappoint!
The Pop Quiz is definitely my favorite option as a bag for school or work. It has a 15” laptop sleeve, a spacious main compartment, multiple pockets and an organizer panel in the front compartment. This will is more than enough for school and work, and it will let you carry all items you deem necessary. The storm flaps will keep water out of the main compartment and front pockets, which is pretty cool since the bag is not waterproof.
Maybe you want a versatile backpack that you can use for almost everything? In that case, I would suggest the Herschel Mammoth. It is made from very durable materials, there’s padding and breathable mesh on the backpanel and harness and it comes with both a sternum strap and a hipbelt. The backpack features a laptop sleeve inside, multiple pockets and it’s compatible with a hydration system.
If you want something exclusively for travel, I would have to recommend the Travel Backpack. It has three large compartments, one of which is designed for your laptop and TSA friendly. The main compartment can fit either a lot of clothes or a lot of tech, depending on what you normally carry. The luggage strap in the back lets you mount it on top of a suitcase, and the organizer panel keeps all of your smaller items in place.
And there you have our top three backpacks from Herschel. Head over to Amazon to see their prices. Heads up; you can find some really good deals on certain colors, so be sure to check for that.
If you think that Herschel might not be the best option for you, go to one of our related posts. You can see how they compare to other brands like JanSport and Fjallraven.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!