Herschel vs. Kanken
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Do you really need a backpack for every occasion? Wouldn’t it be better if you could have one modern model that fits all your needs?

Herschel and Fjallraven are two popular outdoor gear and backpack brands, offering multiple models for every backpack lover. If you’re looking for your next backpack, you’ve come to the right place because in this article, we’ll compare the Retreat model from Herschel vs. Kanken from Fjallraven to help you choose.

Which one should be your go-to if you’re looking for a versatile backpack for everyday activities and occasional adventures? Keep on reading to learn more about these two backpacks.

Herschel vs. Kanken Overview

Kanken comes in more colors and has a removable seat pad. The zipper allows you to fit more stuff into the bag easily. The Retreat model from Herschel has more comfortable shoulder straps and can accommodate a bigger laptop. The material is more rugged but not as water-resistant as Kanken’s material. It’s also more affordable.

The Full Comparison

There’s more to backpacks than cool looks. You want something that would keep all your gear organized and accessible while still being in style.

Herschel Retreat and Fjallraven Kanken fit the criteria as they offer a sleek style. Nevertheless, each backpack offers some features that make it suitable for different users.


Herschel’s Retreat is an excellent choice for everyday use in the office, school, or even shorter mountaineering trips and camping adventures. Thanks to its rugged design, this backpack won’t disappoint you.

But it doesn’t offer the kind of versatility that you get from Fjallraven’s Kanken. As of now, the Kanken comes in 53 colors, while the Retreat comes in only 23. The Kanken also offers the chance to customize your own backpack, so you can mix and match colors according to your favorite team.


Fjallraven, Kanken Classic Backpack for Everyday, Frost Green

While both the Retreat and Kanken are made to last, the Kanken can typically handle more rain showers. However, the Retreat features a more robust and more durable material.

Herschel Retreat is made of coated polyester fabric to withstand everyday use with a signature striped liner for more durability. In addition, it features an internal fleece-lined and padded pocket where you can keep your laptop or other belongings. It also features synthetic leather straps for more elegance and a reinforced bottom to extend the backpack’s durability.

The polyester on the Retreat is abrasion-resistant and can handle more abuse. So if you’re thinking about spending some time hiking, this will be the right backpack for you.

Fjallraven Kanken is made of Vinylon F fabric with polypropylene webbing for extra strength. These two materials make the backpack more resistant to moisture and mold, so you can use it all year long. It also has a laptop sleeve that you can also use to carry any other accessories.

The Kanken’s exterior is designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. It repels water and is easy to clean. But it’s not as strong as the polyester used to make the Retreat.

Dimensions and Capacity

If you tend to carry a lot of gear, you should go for the Retreat from Herschel. This backpack measures 17″(H) x 12″(W) x 6″(D) and has an overall capacity of 19.5 liters, giving you all the space you need to carry the gear you might need for a two-day trip.

On the other hand, the Kanken measures 14.9″(H) x 10.6″(W) x 5.1″(D) with an overall capacity of 16 liters. If you only need a backpack for shorter trips, this should work for you.

If you’re using your backpack for school, your Herschel Retreat can accommodate a 15-inch laptop, while the Kanken can accommodate a 13-inch laptop.

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While both backpacks offer several interior and external pockets, we love the overall opening mechanism of the Kanken more than that of the Retreat.

The Kanken has a zipper that goes all the way to reveal the interior compartment of the backpack. This way, you can fit a small blanket, a jacket, or any other object without having to squeeze it.

In the Retreat, the drawcord closure keeps all your belongings safe, but you’ll only be able to fit an item if it can pass through the opening.


While the Retreat’s material is more elegant, it adds to the overall weight of the backpack. The Retreat weighs about 2.16 pounds the Kanken weighs only 0.66 pounds. This makes it a good choice for those who tend to carry their backpacks for more extended periods.


Herschel Little America Laptop Backpack, Black/Tan Synthetic Leather, Classic 25.0L

The Herschel’s Retreat has shoulder-padded straps that allow you to carry your gear comfortably. This can come in handy, especially that it can carry a lot of gear. The straps on the Kanken are lightly padded, decreasing the overall weight of the backpack. However, this might make the backpack less comfortable to carry for longer periods.

What we love about the Kanken is the removable cushion. This is found in almost every Fjallraven backpack and can be used as a back cushion or seat pad, so you can sit on uneven terrain or a less comfortable chair. This will be a big plus if you’re spending time outdoors or spending a long day at school.


This feature is exclusive to the Herschel Retreat, as the backpack comes in several colors made of eco-friendly material. Each Eco-Retreat is made of 17 recycled water bottles, recycled exterior fabric, recycled straps, and recycled liner.

Fjallraven Kanken isn’t made of recycled material, but it promotes the concept of sustainability. Since this backpack is made of sturdy and long-lasting Vinylon F fabric and comes in a timeless design, you should expect it to last for years without having to think about changing it. It’s also suitable for people of all ages, so several people in the family can use it.


1.   Where do Herschel and Fjallraven manufacture their products?

Both brands make their products in China, and Fjallraven also makes some of its products in South Korea.

2.   Is Herschel More Expensive than Fjallraven?

Herschel’s Retreat is slightly more affordable than Fjallraven Kanken, despite being bigger.


If you’re looking for a durable yet affordable backpack with a bigger capacity, then you should stick to Herschel’s Retreat. The Kanken from Fjallraven is smaller, but the material is more water-resistant. It also comes with a removable cushion that you can use in various ways.