JanSport and Herschel backpacks aren’t only ideal for school.
You can use them for various light outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and mountain climbing. But which brand should you buy between the two?
In this comparison, you’ll learn about the history of the two brands, some of their best backpacks, and which brand wins over the other in various aspects.
1. The JanSport Brand
JanSport is an American brand founded in Seattle, Washington, by three friends in 1967. Murray Pletz, one of the founders, came up with the idea for the backpacks after winning a design award issued by the Alcoa Company.
Murray had designed an adjustable aluminum backpack frame, the first of its kind.
After the award, he asked his girlfriend Janis “Jan” Lewis, a seamstress, to make a backpack pattern for the frame. He promised to name the company after her if it became a success.
Things went according to plan, and the backpack design was a success, which gave birth to the JanSport Brand.
JanSport official website
Together with Janis and Skip Yowell, the other co-founder and Murray’s cousin, Murray popularized mountain climbing amongst their friends, which led to the popularity of their backpacks.
In 1972, the trio led their friends to climb Mount Rainier in what became famous as the longest consecutive mount climb by a group. The brand still holds the record for the highest number of consecutive yearly group climbs.
The VF Corporation bought JanSport in 1986.
JanSport backpacks were initially a favorite among mountain climbers but are today largely used by college and high school students to carry laptops, books, tech accessories, and other items.
Don’t miss: 8 Backpack Brands from Germany: Our Top Picks
2. FAQs for JanSport Backpacks
Below are some common questions people ask about JanSport backpacks.
What Materials are Used to Make JanSport Backpacks?
The materials used to create JanSport bags include suede leather, polyester, Cordura® nylon, TPU coatings, etc.
Are JanSport Backpacks High Quality?
Made of high-quality materials like Cordura nylon and suede leather, JanSport backpacks are high-quality bags that last a long time, even with intense use.
For example, JanSport backpacks that feature suede leather bottoms usually hold out for a long time, and the leather bottom gets even better as the backpack ages.
Are JanSport Bags Made in the U.S.?
JanSport made its backpacks in the U.S. until the early 1990s when production shifted overseas. Most of the backpacks are now made in the Far East and Mexico.
Are JanSport Backpacks Worth the Money?
JanSport backpacks are affordable, fairly priced, durable, large in size, and include water-repellent features. Yes, they are worth the money you invest in them.
You might also like: 7 Backpacks like the Fjällräven Kånken: Our Top Picks
3. Our Favorite JanSport Backpacks
Below are two JanSport backpacks you probably want to check out.
JanSport Right Pack
The JanSport Right Pack is often compared to the Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack, which is discussed below. The Right Pack boasts a laptop sleeve, two front pockets, a side pocket, and a 31-liter carrying capacity.
The JanSport Right Pack is made with Cordura nylon and has a suede leather bottom. The material construction of the backpack gives it an edge over other products.
The Herschel Pop Quiz on the other hand is made with polyester and a faux leather bottom that can be less durable than suede leather which looks better with age.
JanSport West Break Poly Backpack
The JanSport West Break Poly backpack features a side water bottle pocket, padded shoulder straps, 15-inch padded laptop sleeve, two main compartments, and polyester construction with a TPU coated bottom.
The backpack is pretty spacious, given the two compartments and many pockets. It is the ideal backpack for students and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a bag to stash in as many necessities as possible for the day.
The water bottle pocket comes in handy as you’ll want to always stay hydrated throughout the day. Your laptop will be more protected because the laptop sleeve is padded.
JanSport West Break Poly backpack – image jansport.com
4. The Herschel Brand
Brothers Jamie and Lyndon Cormack started the Herschel Supply Company in 2009. The company is named in honor of the small Canadian village of Herschel, which has been home to three generations of the founders’ family.
Herschel official website
Herschel began as an accessory retail shop selling travel bags, luggage, and backpacks. The company has its headquarters in Vancouver, Canada.
Herschel makes products targeting young people between 18 and 35 looking for fashionable, modern bags that evoke a sense of American nostalgia. The American nostalgia is cultivated through Herschel’s design aesthetics borrowed from the North American Heritage.
Even though most of the brand’s products are made in factories located in China, the brand maintains this heritage and nostalgia.
As a designer and maker of quality bags, accessories, apparel, travel goods, and backpacks, the Herschel brand prides itself as an innovative, detail-oriented, and design-driven company that influences change as a global brand.
Read also: Herschel vs Fjällräven Backpacks: Which Brand is Better?
5. FAQs for Herschel Backpacks
Here are some commonly asked questions about Herschel backpacks.
What are Herschel Backpacks Made Of?
Many Herschel backpacks use ripstop nylon, a tightly woven material commonly used to make camping and hiking backpacks. The tightness of ripstop nylon makes it resistant to wear and tear, making the backpacks highly durable.
Other materials used in making Herschel backpacks include fleece for linings, cotton canvas, faux leather, polyester / recycled polyester, and nylon-polyester blend.
Are Herschel Backpacks High Quality?
Herschel backpacks are made with high-quality materials like ripstop nylon, which can withstand intense usage.
The high quality of the backpacks leads to a lifespan of two-to-five years for the average Herschel backpack. The company stands behind its bags with a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturing and material defects.
Is the Herschel Backpack Waterproof?
Herschel backpacks aren’t 100% waterproof. They are water-resistant. The typical Herschel backpack will keep your items dry in a light shower, but a heavy downpour will lead to some water sipping into the bag with time.
Are Herschel Backpacks Worth the Money?
Like JanSport, Herschel backpacks are affordable, with most models costing between $50 and $100. However, they are slightly more expensive than JanSport bags.
Given that the typical Herschel backpack lasts two-to-five years, we agree that the backpacks are worth your money.
6. Our Favorite Herschel Backpacks
Now let’s take a look at two of our favorite Herschel backpacks.
Herschel Pop Quiz Backpack
The Pop Quiz Backpack by Herschel is one of the brand’s most popular bags. It features a fleece-lined and padded laptop sleeve ideal for carrying a 15-inch laptop and keeping it protected.
The Pop Quiz also has a front pocket organizer and other fleece-lined pockets for carrying items like pens, sunglasses, and keys.
The backpack has a 22-liter carrying capacity, which is smaller than the 31-liter capacity of the JanSport Right Pack, the backpack that the Pop Quiz is usually likened to.
The Pop Quiz comes with a media pocket for carrying your phone to allow you to listen to music as you go about your day.
Herschel Little America Backpack
You might have seen the popular Herschel Little America Backpack with the signature two parallel narrow straps running down its back from the top.
The backpack features padded backstraps, air mesh back padding, magnet-fastened straps, and a padded, fleece-lined laptop sleeve suitable for a 15-inch laptop.
The backpack’s laptop sleeve and front pocket make it ideal for school, but you can also use it for mountaineering because of the streamlined design that allows it to line up well with the height of your back.
7. Conclusion: Which Brand Is Better?
It isn’t easy to decide which brand to buy from between Herschel and JanSport when you are in the market for a good backpack.
Both JanSport and Herschel make high-quality backpacks. JanSport backpacks feature Cordura nylon fabric, which is highly water-repellent. On the other hand, Herschel backpacks feature ripstop nylon, which is highly wear- and tear-resistant.
Herschel backpacks with faux leather bottoms may not be the best rival for JanSport‘s backpacks with suede leather bottoms. Faux leather peels with time, while suede leather often gets better.
If you choose a JanSport backpack, you choose a more affordable backpack. When you choose a Herschel backpack, you must be willing to pay a slightly higher price.
When it comes to capacity both brands have a wide range of options so you can pick the design that has the right volume for your needs.
If it’s style that you are looking for, we think Herschel offers backpacks with a stylish look and a dash of timelessness.
With these considerations in mind, we think that now it’s easier to decide which of these two brands might be better for your specific needs.
Regardless of which backpack you choose between Herschel and JanSport, you will get value for your money. Both brands produce backpacks ideal for traveling and schooling, and you can even take them with you on your mountain adventures.
Read next: The North Face Borealis vs Borealis Classic Backpacks: Differences and Comparison