Herschel Nova mini backpack review

I would never describe myself as a backpack kinda girl. Backpacks made me feel and look like a high school kid. But backpacks have gone through a wonderful revolution. They’re no longer bulky, saggy, uncomfortable and ugly. Designers unleashed let their skills onto backpacks and created practical, yet beautiful backpacks for everyone. So I caved, and bought myself the Herschel Nova mini backpack a few months ago. Oh boy, this backpack is everything I’ve ever needed and I don’t know why it took me so long to find it. It’s perfect and this is my review, check it out you backpack lover!

Product: Nova mini backpack in light grey crosshatch.
Brand: Herschel
Rating: 9
Promise: ‘Offering compact carrying for your essentials, the practical Herschel Nova™ mini backpack is enhanced with dual top carrying handles and slender shoulder straps,’ according to the Herschel website.
Price: €59,99 at Thelittlegreenbag.nl (they have some on sale) or $54,99 at Amazon or $50 at Dillard’s


I’ve wanted a Herschel backpack for years, but the earlier and classic designs are way too big for my size. I was pretty bummed about that, as I do love the Herschel esthetic. That’s why I settled on a Fjällräven Kanken backpack with a laptop compartment, as the Kanken is smaller and more elegant on my frame. The Kanken backpack is a bit too big for quick runs to the city or hanging out with friends. A while back a Google search helped me discover the Herschel Nova mini backpack, and I fell in love immediately. I have to be honest and say: ‘This is the best backpack ever!’ Where has this backpack been all my life!?

Let’s talk design first. The Nova backpack line has three sizes: Mini, XS and Mid. The mini is the smallest one and is 11 inches tall, 8 inches wide and 4,75 inches deep. This comes down to 28 cm tall, 20 cm wide and 12 cm deep. The backpack can hold 9 liters of stuff, which is perfect if you want it to hold all your essentials. The backpack has two carrying handles, an internal storage sleeve, a front storage pocket and adjustable shoulder straps. It’s also water resistant. What I personally like about this backpack is that it’s very structured, but it still looks cute.

Meaning that the Herschel Nova mini backpack isn’t saggy. It stays in shape even if you put heavier things in there, which keeps it looking cute at all times. I call this backpack ‘cute,’ as the somewhat round shape at the top and the size aren’t too in your face. You notice the backpack and you can see that it looks amazing, but it isn’t overpowering. The backpack is casual enough to wear through daily life, but I’ve also brought it to business meetings. Which I think is possible because of the light grey color and the gold zippers. It’s a very neutral, yet somewhat chic combination.

They also have up to 31 colors to choose from, it’s amazing! I went for the grey and gold combination because it’s the most neutral version. I like being able to bring this backpack everywhere I go, dressed up or casual looking. I almost went for the Lavendula crosshatch color, but I was able to stop myself. I might buy that one in the future if another bag breaks down. Because that lavender color is just so beautiful in my opinion. It makes me happy just looking at it, haha!

The Herschel Nova mini backpack fits a lot of stuff, which I didn’t expect. I thought it would be able to hold my essentials as promised. Meaning my keys, wallet, phone and maybe some beauty items. But I was pleasantly surprised when I just went for it and was able to fit way more items into this backpack. I’m able to fit my:

– Key case
– Wallet
– Two Iphones with the small headphones
– Canon M50 or a make-up bag, depending on what I need more that day
– Ipad
– Agenda
– Water bottle 0,5 liter
– A pack of tissues
– Nose spray and my meds
– Small mirror
– Miscellaneous beauty products like lipstick and powder
– A foldable grocery bag

Yeah, that’s eleven items I can fit into this backpack. It definitely holds more than the usual list of essentials. It still holds it form and doesn’t feel like it’s weighing me down either. The shoulder straps never dig into my shoulders, but I guess that’s also because I’m not carrying very heavy items. When I bring my camera and Ipad it does crank up the weight, but it’s not annoying me. It still feels like a small backpack and it keeps my electronic devices save. As this backpack has enough padding to keep everything in place.

herschel nova mini backpack reviewPIN IT!


There aren’t many cons to this backpack, but you know I keep it real. These are the points I think can use some improvement. First of all, the zipper isn’t very easy to zip open. Good for pickpockets, but not handy when you quickly want to reach in and grab something. I often have to use some force to open the zippers. Which makes me a bit nervous because I don’t want to break the zipper. Another thing I would have added is a zipper to the internal storage sleeve. That would make me feel a bit more secure storing my phone or wallet in there.

Another thing I don’t really get are the two carrying handles. Is it a design thing or was it meant to be practical? The handles don’t seem to have a function, other than to just look cool or cute? It does make it easier to carry the backpack with your hand, as it distributes the weight over two handles. But hey, it’s a backpack: ‘Why would you ever want to carry it in your hand for a longer period of time?’ No, this isn’t really a bad thing. I just don’t get it and I’m curious to hear if there is any logical reason for adding two handles.

The verdict

This Herschel Nova mini backpack review wouldn’t be complete without the verdict. And it’s a really positive one, as you might be able to tell by my review. This backpack is perfect for people with a smaller frame, who don’t want to look like pack mule. It’s a ‘cute’ and very simplistic looking backpack which I think is great. You want a nice and stylish backpack, but you don’t want it to overpower you or your outfit. It also fits way more items than just your essentials and I would definitely buy it again. If you are looking for the perfect every day backpack, I think this could be the one.

What do you think about the Herschel Nova mini backpack, would you buy it?


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