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Which Herschel backpack style is best?

Herschel has been making modern bags with vintage-inspired accents for over a decade. Based in Canada, Herschel creates a timeless collection of duffle bags, tote bags, crossbody bags, hip packs and backpacks.

Herschel backpacks come in a range of styles and sizes in solid colors and select prints. The designs are similar to those of hiking gear, but they have functional everyday features. The Herschel Retreat Backpack is a stylish backpack with versatile size options and stylish accents.

What to know before you buy a Herschel backpack


Herschel backpacks are usually made from canvas or ripstop nylon. Both are durable materials designed for frequent use. Ripstop nylon uses a grid pattern in the sewing to reinforce the bag against rips and tears.

All backpacks with interior tech sleeves have padding to protect laptops and tablets. Most have fleece lining, too. 

Closure method

Herschel backpacks use a zipper or a drawstring closure in the main compartment. 

  • Zipper closures are easy to use and ensure that everything is sealed securely inside the bag. It’s considered the most convenient backpack closure method, and designers use it often. 
  • Drawstring closures open and close faster than zipper closures. Since a drawstring closure does not completely seal off the compartment, items can fall out of the bag if not secured well.


Herschel backpacks come in mini, mid-volume, standard and extra-large sizes. The dimensions for each of these sizes depend on the style of the backpack. For example, the Herschel Classic Backpack is about 11 inches tall and 8 inches wide in the mini size and about 18 inches tall and 13 inches wide in the extra-large size.

Herschel sells backpacks for adults and children, but the only real difference is the size. Most of the backpacks geared toward adults could easily be used by children and vice versa. 

What to look for in a quality Herschel backpack

Extra pockets

Even mini backpacks can fit all the essentials, and they usually sport a front-zippered pocket. This pocket is great for charging cords, hand sanitizer and other easy-to-reach items. In same vein, a water bottle pocket on the side can go a long way when you’re on the go. Exterior or interior water bottle pockets usually have an elastic string to keep the bottle snug and in place. Exterior water bottle pockets separate your bottle from any papers or tech supplies you might store inside the backpack.

Comfortable backing

Contoured shoulder straps are more comfortable than the average shoulder strap. The curves follow the natural line of the shoulder, putting less pressure on the weaker points of your body.

Air-mesh backing is also helpful since it is breathable and dries quickly. It also provides some cushioning around the contents of the backpack, so you don’t have a sharp corner of a book or laptop poking into your back. 

Themed prints

Herschel backpacks are best-known for their array of timeless solid colors, but the company also releases special-edition backpacks with tie-ins to sports or pop culture.

There is an extensive line of backpacks with professional baseball and basketball team emblems. There is also a line of backpacks inspired by “The Simpsons” television series and a “Star Wars” backpack inspired by “The Mandalorian” series.

How much you can expect to spend on a Herschel backpack

Depending on the size and style, a Herschel backpack costs $40-$110 with the average price between $65-$85. 

Herschel backpack FAQ

Do Herschel backpacks use real leather?

A. The leather-like straps on Herschel backpacks are not genuine leather. They are constructed from synthetic leather.

Is there a top grab handle? 

A. All Herschel backpacks have a convenient carry handle on the top. Most of these handles don’t have padding. 

Can you wash the backpack?

A. You can hand-wash your Hershel backpack for spot cleaning with a mild soap, but it should not go in the washing machine. Do not put your backpack in the dryer. 

What’s the best Herschel backpack to buy?

Top Herschel backpack

Best Herschel Retreat Backpack

Herschel Retreat Backpack

What you need to know: Available in several sizes and colors, this canvas backpack features a drawstring closure and faux leather straps that snap shut using a magnet. 

What you’ll love: It’s spacious and stylish with clean lines. There’s a padded fleece laptop sleeve inside and a front storage sleeve. The shoulder straps are padded and contoured for comfort.

What you should consider: There are no water bottle pockets. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top Herschel backpack for the money

Best Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack

Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack

What you need to know: Available in eight colors, this canvas backpack features zipper closures and measures 17.5 by 11.75 by 6 inches in size.

What you’ll love: The rounded top and clean lines make this backpack quite attractive. It has a 15-inch padded and fleece-lined laptop sleeve in the main compartment. There’s a rectangular front zippered pocket and a key clip. It has an extra fleece-lined compartment for sunglasses.

What you should consider: There’s a water bottle pocket on the inside but not on the outside.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Worth checking out

Best Herschel Settlement Backpack

Herschel Settlement Backpack

What you need to know: Available in two sizes and several colors, this canvas backpack features zipper closures with gold-tone hardware. 

What you’ll love: It has a sleek, single-color exterior design, a zippered front pocket, and a key clip. The zippers have pebbled pulls for easier use. There’s a padded laptop sleeve in the main compartment. It has contoured shoulder straps and an air mesh back.

What you should consider: The zipper isn’t as durable as the rest of the backpacks, which impacts the bag’s longevity.  

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Emily Verona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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