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Herschel Little America vs. Retreat: Full Comparison & Reviews 2024

Herschel Little America vs. Retreat: Full Comparison & Reviews 2024

    Picking a durable and stylish backpack is one of the most important back to school purchases you can make. The Herschel Supply one of the best backpack brand around the world. Their backpacks are pretty popular with students, for their streamlined design and useful features. Turn on the TV to any high school show, and all you’ll see are Herschel backpacks.Two of the brand's most iconic and requested silhouettes are the Retreat and Little America backpacks. Both backpack styles are very similar in design, carrying capacity and style. So what’s the difference between them? Which one is best for you? In this article, I will explain the similarities and differences between Little America and Retreat backpack to help you make a decision with confidence.


Herschel Little America vs. Retreat: Overview

1. Herschel Little America Backpack

Official Price: $83.99 - $130

Colors: 21 Options

User reviews: 4.8/5.0

The Herschel Little America backpack is a reversed mountaineering backpack for urban and everyday use which inspired by old-school mountaineering design standards.  The exterior of the backpack is made from 600D Polyester, which is a very sturdy material. It features a drawstring closure and magnetic exterior straps. The lack of zips means you can pack a lot into the Little America, without worrying if you’ll be able to get it closed. The interior of this backpack has the classic Herschel lining and features a padded laptop sleeve. There’s also plenty of padding on the bottom and along the straps. This means you don’t have to worry when you place it onto hard surfaces – your laptop will be nice and safe.


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. The back has breathable pads that give this backpack greater comfort, rigidity and airflow on the back that will prevent sweating on the back. Herschel's Little America backpack comes in multiple sizes, so you can go larger or smaller depending on your needs. It comes in 36 different colors and it is water resistant.

Durable and sleekBulky when full
Soft fleece lining and false bottom in laptop compartment Lacks organization—especially for smaller gear.

Two internal pockets to carry sunglasses, 

smartphones, Mp3 players or any device

Output for audio cable or charger from 

inside the main compartment

Front pocket with separator hook for keys

Zipper on the front pocket for added 


Carry comfortably with adjustable EVA-padded shoulder straps
Back entry zipper offers easy access

Dual water bottle pockets expand to fit 

different sizes

The back has breathable pads

2. Herschel Retreat Backpack

Official Price: $48.99 - $110

Colors: 23 Options

User reviews: 4.4/5.0

The Herschel Retreat backpack channels the same classic mountaineering aesthetic. It is very similar to the Little America with the faux-leather straps on the outside, giving it a very old-school look. The Herschel Retreat backpack is made with 100% recycled EcoSystem™ fabrics. Featuring two contoured shoulder straps, a flap closure with drawcord closure, magnet fastened straps with metal pin buckles, and signature striped liner, this bagpack offers it all.


The Herschel Retreat backpack doesn't go overboard with special pockets, and instead keeps most of its volume dedicated to its main compartment – though there is a front sleeve and media pocket with a headphone port. The size should allow you to fit a number of school books with ease, while the padded, fleece-lined laptop sleeve can fit up to 15-inch laptops. The front storage sleeve is ideal to keep things well-sorted. It comes in four sizes and 23 colors.


Durable yet lightweight construction for 

comfortable wear

Not enough pockets

Dual buckled strap detail provides a stylish 


Front pocket won't keep anything secured
Padded and fleece lined sleeve protects your device

Front storage sleeve can storage for your 

small essentials

Internal media pocket with headphone port

Dual water bottle pockets expand to fit 

different sizes

Back entry zipper offers easy access
Carry comfortably with padded and contoured shoulder straps

Where to Buy Herschel Little America Backpack and Retreat Backpacks? (3-4% cashback) (1.5-2% cashback) (9.5-11.5% cashback) (3.5-4% cashback) (1.5-2% cashback)

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Herschel Little America vs. Retreat: Differences

Before diving into my in-depth discussion, look at the table below to get a key specs of them.

Herschel Little AmericaHerschel Retreat

Mid-Volume; Standard

Mini; Small; Standard



17"(H) x 11"(W) x 5.25"(D)


19"(H) x 11.25"(W) x 7"(D)


11.5"(H) x 9"(W) x 5"(D)


15.5" (H) x 11" (W) x 5.5" (D)


18"(H) x 11"(W) x 6"(D)


Mid-Volume: 21L

Standard: 30L

Mini: 10L

Small: 17L

Standard: 23L

External PocketsFront storage sleeveFront pocket with hidden zipper and key clip
Laptop Sleeve

Mid-Volume:  15""/16"" laptop

Standard: 15"/16" laptop

Mini: No

Small: 13"/14" laptop

Standard: 15"/16" laptop 
Water Bottle PocketsYes

Design and Materials

Both the Herschel Retreat and the Little America are top-loading backpacks. This means that their main compartments can only be accessed from the top like a “bucket” or rucksack without the use of zippers. Both bags use the same adjustable drawstring closure mechanism to secure the contents inside. The Retreat and Little America also feature magnetic strap closures to keep the leather straps in place when the bag is closed. 

The backpanel and shoulder straps of Little America 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. Unfortunately, the Herschel Retreat’s backpanel doesn’t have a breathable mesh. Materials on the Little America and Retreat are the same. Both are made from polyester and feature either faux-leather or rubber straps.

Capacity and Size

The Herschel Retreat backpack offers three different sizes for you to choose from, that is Mini size, Small size and Standard Size.  The capacities are 10L, 17L, and 23L respectively. The Herschel Little America only offers two sizes: Mid-Volume and Standard Size. The capacities are 21L, 30L respectively. It is easy to see that Herschel Retreat has a smaller overall carrying capacity.

Front pocket

The Herschel Supply Co. Little America has a much larger front pocket with zip closure and a key ring in it. Most smaller necessities can fit here. The slip pocket inside is best for your phone or pens.

Compared to the Little America front pocket, the front pocket on the Retreat is substantially smaller. What's more,  the front pocket sleeve of Retreat does not zip close like the front pouch pocket from Little America backpack. So it only can be used to put things of little importance, like a Kleenex package or a glasses case.

Laptop Compartment

Both the Retreat (except mini model) and Little America feature the same fleece-lined laptop sleeve and internal media pocket with headphone port. Whether you choose Mid-Volume or Standard size, the Little America can accommodate laptops up to 15"/16" laptop, so does the standard-size Retreat Backpack. While the Small size of Retreat backpack can only accommodate laptops up to 13"/14" laptop. The Retreat Mini backpack does not have laptop sleeve.

Another great feature on both backpacks is the internal media pocket with headphone port. The owner of the backpack can thread the headphone cable through a small port on the side of the backpack while wearing it.

Bottom Line 


Both Herschel Retreat and Little America backpack are made with 600D Fabric which is a very robust and resistant material. They are very similar, with those two straps and a drawstring that you use to close the bag. They have the same main pocket and  wool laptop compartment(excpet Herschel Retreat mini model) for greater laptop protection. Plus, both backpacks also have an internal media compartment. Here you can store your smartphone and then you can continue to listen to music through an earbud port, while your smartphone is safely stored in the backpack. Furthermore, both backpacks are available in numerous colors.


The front pocket has differences, while on the Little America it is a pocket with a zip closure and leather or rubber straps and has a hook for your keys, on the Retreat it is a direct pocket without a zipper and a key holder. In addition, the Little America's back is padded for greater comfort and breathability, which is not the case on the Retreat.

Herschel Little America vs. Retreat: Which One Should You Choose?

It's easy to see that the Retreat Backpack is a smaller and more affordable version of the Little America backpack. If you need a backpack that has a large capacity and is more comfortable to carry, the Herschel Little America backpack is more suitable for you. If you have a limited budget and don’t usually carry too many or too heavy things, you can save some money by choosing a Retreat backpack.

2023-12-07 19:55185