If you are a backpack person, then you probably have a backpack for every occasion. But, do you have a high quality cool looking everyday backpack? If not you’ve come to the right place, because that’s exactly what both Herschel and Fjallraven focus on.
Granted, they also have packs for other occasions and we’ll mention those. But even those backpacks have a very modern and sleek design, unlike those by other manufacturers. And they are also packed with features, so you will get a lot of use out of them.
Fjallraven is a more versatile brand, and we’ll check out very different types of backpacks from them. Herschel, on the other hand, makes more modern everyday backpacks, and so we’ll mostly look at those bags from them.
But I’m sure you can find something you like. Now you just have to join me in this backpack battle: Fjallraven vs. Herschel.
What To Look For
Type Of Backpack
The two brands make backpacks for very different purposes. With Fjallraven, there is some variety, or in other words, there are everyday packs, travel packs, hiking packs etc. But there isn’t a lot of variety within a category itself, especially the hiking one.
So we are going to check out packs for three different purposes from this brand – for everyday, for travel and for the outdoors. If you are looking for something from one of those three categories, feel free to jump to the Fjallraven section of the review with the quick navigation above.
Herschel, on the other hand, focuses more on making backpacks for everyday, especially the ones for laptops. They do have a few other alternatives, but the largest part of their product range is designed for safe transport of your electronics.
If you are looking for such a backpack, then you will probably prefer Herschel. We will take a look at three different backpacks from their line – a pack for everyday, for outdoors (their version) and an awesome laptop pack. To check them all out, use the quick navigation and jump to the Herchel section of this comparison.
I’ll be blunt – if you are on a budget, you might as well just skip the Fjallraven backpacks. Yes they are high quality, they are made well and they will probably last you a decade – but that all comes at a price.
The good thing is that they are much cheaper on Amazon than if you order directly from Fjallraven. The (largest) Raven, for example, runs for $60-70 on Amazon, as compared to some $120 on the manufacturers site. So, you can get them for a somewhat affordable price, but Herschel still offers much better deals.
You should have a rough budget by now, and if that budget is under $100, then definitely check out the Herschel packs first. On the other hand, if you don’t mind spending a little bit more money, you won’t regret investing in a Fjallraven backpack.
In this section we are going to check out some backpack from Fjallraven. If you’re interested, scroll down for detailed reviews of them. If not, feel free to jump straight to the Herschel section of the review. :>
Raven Backpack – Great For Everyday
The Raven backpack is available in three different sizes – the Mini, the 20 and the 28. The latter two backpacks include numbers in their names that refer to their overall capacity, while the smallest backpack has a capacity of only 7 liters.
But, the Raven Mini is actually a backpack for kids (just like the Kanken Mini), which is kind of obvious from its size. It’s a great choice for your little one to carry school stuff in, but that’s about all you can get from it. And since it is a children’s backpack, it doesn’t have a laptop sleeve – but I think you guessed that.
The larger two Ravens are for adults, and they are very much alike. Both are made from recycled polyester and organic cotton, which are very durable materials.
The two adults backpacks also have a laptop sleeve that can fit your average 15” laptop. That sleeve is in the spacious main compartment, which also features a smaller, zippered pocket for your other necessities.
There is also a separate front compartment with an organizer panel, as well as another zippered pocket on the very front of the backpack. And there are two side pockets, for your water bottles, umbrellas and whatnot.
Overall, it’s a very standard pack, and as such it’s great for your day-to-day activities. You could use it for school or for work, and you would be able to stay organized, but also look chic. And you can get the pack in a lot of different colors, which is always a bonus.
Kajka Backpack – Great For The Outdoors
The Kajka packs are awesome for some shorter backpacking trips or longer hiking/trekking trips. They are large, sturdy and well made, and have a harness that will just make you feel safe.
The entire harness is padded and ventilated, which is very important with these large outdoorsy backpack. You want to stay comfortable (and dry) regardless of how many pounds you have on your back, and you always want to avoid sore or strained back. And these packs will help you do that.
On the inside, all of them feature a laptop sleeve and a few smaller pockets. There are also exterior pockets on the Kajka backpack, and they will help you stay organized whether you are going away for 2 days or 2 weeks.
There are about 5 different sizes (ranging from the 55 to the 100) of the Kajka backpack, as well as a kids’ version. However, the most popular ones are the Kajka 65, the Kajka 75 and the Kajka 85. The numbers in their names refer to their respective capacities, and it’s best if you choose one depending on your own personal needs.
The pack is easily adaptable, so even if you get the largest one, you can make it fit your body perfectly. And the hipbelt will help make sure that the load of the backpack is divided evenly across your entire torso. I guess the only downside of it is their high price tag – north of $300. If that’s a bit steep for you, I suggest you check out these Osprey backpacks.
The Travel Pack – Great For Travelling
If you are looking for a new carry on, this is the perfect bag for you. It looks sleek and modern, its size is accepted on most airlines as a carry on, and it’s perfect for a weekend getaway.
The Travel Pack is everything you want it to be and more – except cheap. It is made of recycled polyester and organic cotton, and it also features a padded leather handle.
The bag opens up clamshell style, and it features zippered dividers on both sides. One side also has several pockets on the divider, which will help you organize your smaller items. The electronics compartment is closer to your back, and it has sleeves for both your laptop (up to 15”) and tablet.
The capacity of the smaller bag is 20 liters, and the capacity of the larger bag is 35 liters – which is a big difference. However, when you go check out their prices on Amazon, you can see that there’s only a $2 difference between the smaller and the larger bag. If you ask me, get the 35 Travel Pack – it is much better value for money.
This Fjallraven bag also features a carry handle on the side, as well as the option to hide the shoulder straps, so that you can treat it like a plain overnighter. Overall, it is high quality bag, with a ton of useful features that make it a great carry on. So, if you need one of those, definitely consider getting the Fjallraven Travel Pack.
And now it’s time to see what Herschel has to offer! Just like in the previous section, we are going to check out three backpacks, for three different types of activities. Stay tuned to find one for yourself!
Pop Quiz Backpack – Great For Everyday
You might have hated pop quizzes when you were still in school, but you’re not going to hate this pack. For one thing it’s available in a ton of different colors and prints, so you’ll easily find something you like. But, it’s available in only one size – the 22 liter one.
The pack is equipped with a padded laptop sleeve, which will fit all laptops that are up to 15”. And it also has an internal media pocket for your smartphone (or iPod if you still use it) with a headphone port, so that you can listen to music and make calls, but with your phone safely tucked away in the pack.
There’s also a mesh organizer in the front zippered pocket, as well as a fleece-lined compartment specifically designed for your sunglasses. And a key clip in the front pocket will ensure that you never have to look for your keys at the bottom of your bag and save you precious time.
Overall, the Pop Quiz is a solid, good looking day pack. It’s great for college, school and even work, because it allows you to organize all of your belongings and its capacity is just enough for day-to-day activities. Prices are different depending on the color you choose, but you can still get some variants for less than $50, so it’s pretty affordable as well.
The Barlow Backpack – Great For Outdoors
The Barlow is Herschel’s version of a sporty backpack, but with their signature stylish design. It is available in two sizes – medium and large. The main difference between the two (apart from the storage capacity) is in the size of the laptop sleeve. The medium Barlow can fit laptops that are up to 13”, while the large one is designed for laptops up to 15”.
Both packs are made of 210D Nailhead Dobby nylon, which is very sturdy material. And the packs also feature water-resistant coating, so that you can have some peace of mind even in heavy rain. What will also help with that is the integrated rain cover made of ripstop, and with its own zippered compartment.
The Barlow features a spacious main compartment, with drawcord closure. There are also plenty of compression straps on the exterior of the backpack, which will ensure that your gear stays in place. And the side water bottle pockets further help with organization, and they allow you to always have your hydration handy.
As for the carrying comfort, the pack has a sturdy looking harness. It is padded and ventilated, and so are the shoulder straps. But, the Barlow is missing a hipbelt, which would really help deal with its load – after all, this is a large, hiking backpack. However, there is a sternum strap at least, so you know the shoulder straps will always stay in place.
The Dawson Backpack – Something Different
If you are bored with standard looking backpack, then it’s time for something different. The Dawson backpack has an unusual design, at least when compared to most other Herschel backpacks. But what’s really different about it is that it has prominent exterior front pockets.
The two pockets on the front of the backpack not only make it look really good, but they also increase its functionality. And they allow for excellent organization, since you can use them to store all of your smaller items. There is also a padded laptop sleeve inside the backpack, but it’s good only for laptops that are 13” or smaller.
The bag features drawstring closure, coupled with buckles that have magnetic clips. And these elevate the design of the bag, and make it look even better. But even though the bag looks really good, there are some flaws to it. The back panel for one thing is very plain, it is lightly padded but it’s not ventilated, so there might be some excessive sweating in the warmer weather.
Overall, this backpack is definitely different than what your average pack looks like. And I think its design would be great for women, as it is not too casual, and could fit into any wardrobe. Also it’s just as large as a regular purse, and it could definitely pack all of your essentials.
Fjallraven Vs. Herschel: Which Backpacks Are The Best?
If you are looking for an everyday bag that you can comfortably carry your laptop in, I think Herschel is the way to go. Their packs are more affordable, and there are so many different products in their range. But, there is also a lot of color and design variety when looking at individual products, so that everyone can choose something they like best.
I particularly liked the Pop Quiz backpack, because it has a very neutral design. It’s a great everyday pack that you can carry your laptop in, but there’s also a few other design features that you can really appreciate. The extra pockets and the padded shoulder straps are just some of them.
- 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)
On the other hand, Fjallraven has more different types of backpacks. For example, most of Herschel’s packs come in one size, but we saw that Fjallraven usually has every product in several different sizes. Not everyone needs a hiking backpack with 75-liter capacity, and at the same time some people won’t find that enough – with Fjallraven, you can choose exactly the size of the bag that you need.
I was the most impressed with their Travel Pack. I know it’s kind of tough to compare it to anything from Herschel’s range, but it really is an excellent carry-on option. You can choose between two sizes, but I think you will get the best value for money if you get the larger bag. And you could also get more use out of it, since if has significantly larger capacity.
- EVERYWHERE: The Travel Pack is the perfect companion for business trips or short holidays. Features a double-access zippered compartment that fits the Travel Toiletry Bag (sold separately) for quick-grab essentials during flights.
- FUNCTIONAL: Stash your laptop (up to 15") in the padded sleeve, your everyday items in the main compartment with zippered mesh cover and three inside pockets, and easy access items in the flat zippered front pocket and the fleece-lined phone pocket.
- COMFORTABLE: The padded shoulder straps and leather handles provide easy and comfortable carrying. The bag is padded all around for sturdiness and protecting contents.
- DURABLE: Meet the material: G-1000 HeavyDuty Eco. It's a tougher version of the G-1000 Original you know and love, plus it's made with recycled and organic materials.
- PRACTICAL: 35 L of storage space for everything you need (and some things you don't.) Measures 18.1" (46 cm) x 12.6" (32 cm) x 10.6" (27 cm), which meets the carry-on requirements of most airlines. Weighs 3.6 lbs.
You can also notice that it’s really hard to say that one brand is just better than the other. That’s because both brands have different focuses and make backpacks for different occasions. We wouldn’t compare Herschel to Osprey, right?
Both Fjallraven and Herschel make high quality backpacks, and you should choose a brand that you feel you can get the most out of. Once you do that, head over to Amazon and check out the prices of the backpack – you won’t find them cheaper anywhere!