Fashion & Beauty

~25L, stylish, simple backpack suggestions?

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  • Oct 24th, 2019 10:28 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
1797 posts
558 upvotes
Edmonton

~25L, stylish, simple backpack suggestions?

I currently have a Herschel Settlement but the 22L volume leaves a lot to be desired especially when my lunch box gets full.

After some research for a backpack bigger than 22L and smaller than 30L, I bought the Fjällräven Vardag 25L backpack at $85 from Hudson’s Bay. Problem is, I developed pain and soreness in my shoulder and back after switching to this backpack. I’m carrying a 1.4kg laptop, 1 inch binder, pencil case, 480mL stainless steel bottle, lunch box, and a few tubes of hand cream. I’ve measured the weight and it’s 4-5kg including the backpack. I’ve adjusted the shoulder straps length so that it distributes weight evenly across the back and shoulders, but it doesn’t seem to change. If I adjust the straps so that the backpack sits even higher than my hips, then obviously my shoulders will start to hurt more. The only thing I can think of is the Fjallraven backpack having less padding/cushion on its straps compared to the Herschel.

Any recommendations on what I should do? Should I adjust the shoulder straps more? Any tips on how to adjust the straps? Should I return this backpack to Hudson’s Bay? I’ve noticed their return policy doesn’t specify it has to be brand new and unused, but the tags have to be attached. I’ve only used it for a day now.

I would be glad to take suggestions on another backpack to buy that’s:
  • bigger than 22L, preferably around 24-25L
  • stylish and fashionable, i.e. doesn’t look like a hiking bag
  • simple compartments, I don’t need a million compartments
  • less than ~$120 CAD
I’ve done some research and I’m considering the Herschel Little America, The North Face Berkeley, and the Timbuk2 Rogue so far. Not sure if there are better backpacks at this price point.

Thank you in advance for any advice.
16 replies
Deal Addict
Apr 7, 2011
1898 posts
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I have a Timbuk2 Rogue and it's good. My biggest complaint is that it's really lacking in key loops, pen sleeves etc. It's really just a big space. If that's what you want then it'd be great for you.
Deal Guru
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Mar 14, 2005
13533 posts
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City of Vancouver
tablo13 wrote: ...After some research for a backpack bigger than 22L and smaller than 30L, I bought the Fjällräven Vardag 25L backpack at $85 from Hudson’s Bay. Problem is, I developed pain and soreness in my shoulder and back after switching to this backpack... Should I return this backpack to Hudson’s Bay? I’ve noticed their return policy doesn’t specify it has to be brand new and unused, but the tags have to be attached. I’ve only used it for a day now...
The backpack has been used, albeit for a day, so u r not supposed to return it as it has been used. Most ppl cut the tags off before using because this is a sign that they used it. I do not want to buy used merchandise. What u r supposed to do is try out merchandise inside ur home to see if it works out, and then return it in new condition. It is impossible for employees to do black light/ CSI investigations on returning merchandise to examine how much unseen DNA or contamination is on there.
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May 9, 2006
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The type of backpacks I like need locks, cut proof and tech, so all the stuff you probably don't want or need. But in terms of hurting your back or shoulders, your backpack should have a good amount of padding on the shoulder straps (but not too much as it can get warm) and a sleeve for the laptop will help disperse the weight more towards your back.

The backpack should be above your hips and right next to your back. Tightening the should straps is the right thing to do. However, what's your posture like? Are you standing straight with shoulders straight? Or hunched over?
Member
Jul 31, 2008
397 posts
200 upvotes
Markham
I think you bought a cheap pack with lousy straps and a poor support system. I also think using it for a day and trying to return it is, well, gross.

I would head to MEC and simply try on a few and see which ones fit your body. Two that I like:

1. Pacsafe make a great bag, and their stuff sack bags are super versatile.
https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5063-717/ ... L-Backpack

2. Not sure if you are male or female, but either way you may like this.
https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5061-452/ ... 27-Daypack

It is always worth putting good money into a pack. Well made ones can last for decades, and you only enjoy them more as you use them.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
1797 posts
558 upvotes
Edmonton
joeyjoejoe wrote: The type of backpacks I like need locks, cut proof and tech, so all the stuff you probably don't want or need. But in terms of hurting your back or shoulders, your backpack should have a good amount of padding on the shoulder straps (but not too much as it can get warm) and a sleeve for the laptop will help disperse the weight more towards your back.

The backpack should be above your hips and right next to your back. Tightening the should straps is the right thing to do. However, what's your posture like? Are you standing straight with shoulders straight? Or hunched over?
Yeah I’ve tried it both ways. If I make the straps tight enough that it sits level to my back with no space, the bottom of the backpack keeps brushing on my waist/hip area and hurts my back. If I make the straps loose enough that it sits on my buttocks, it still hurts. I might be hunched a little bit
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
1797 posts
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Edmonton
mdl.tor wrote: I think you bought a cheap pack with lousy straps and a poor support system. I also think using it for a day and trying to return it is, well, gross.

I would head to MEC and simply try on a few and see which ones fit your body. Two that I like:

1. Pacsafe make a great bag, and their stuff sack bags are super versatile.
https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5063-717/ ... L-Backpack

2. Not sure if you are male or female, but either way you may like this.
https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5061-452/ ... 27-Daypack

It is always worth putting good money into a pack. Well made ones can last for decades, and you only enjoy them more as you use them.
Thank you for your suggestions! Never heard of Pacsafe before but that design is neat. I saw a few other manufacturers like Timbuk2 with their Tuck Pack have that roll up design as well but it was too small for my liking. I know Osprey is a great backpack manufacturer but it looks a bit too much like a hiking daypack to me.
Havo wrote: I have the Fjallraven Raven 20L and the size is good enough for me. I use it for work daily and I use it when I go on vacation as well. They have a bigger variant that is 28L. It has a laptop pouch and a bunch of pockets. You won't notice the pockets much on the outside.
That’s good to hear! I ended up buying the 28L version of that, hopefully this model isn’t as uncomfortable... I saw the 20L model at Hudson’s Bay and the shoulder straps were padded thick! Didn’t try it on though.
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2006
1722 posts
2027 upvotes
mdl.tor wrote: I think you bought a cheap pack with lousy straps and a poor support system. I also think using it for a day and trying to return it is, well, gross.

I would head to MEC and simply try on a few and see which ones fit your body. Two that I like:

1. Pacsafe make a great bag, and their stuff sack bags are super versatile.
https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5063-717/ ... L-Backpack

2. Not sure if you are male or female, but either way you may like this.
https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5061-452/ ... 27-Daypack

It is always worth putting good money into a pack. Well made ones can last for decades, and you only enjoy them more as you use them.
This. MEC has/had weighted bags to let people put into bags to give people a sense of what it will feel like while in the store.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
1797 posts
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Edmonton
maple1 wrote: This. MEC has/had weighted bags to let people put into bags to give people a sense of what it will feel like while in the store.
That's great to hear! So I don't have to bring my backpack with my laptop and other stuff, haha. The only downside of MEC is that they require a $5 membership I guess. However I do know that they carry many brands that aren't available in other stores.

I talked to Fjallraven over Facebook and they decided to randomly send me a 20% off coupon after discussing my problems with the Vardag backpack and asking if the Raven 28 is better. Problem is, it's a coupon code for the US store. I am supposed to be getting a new code that works for the Canada store by Monday.
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Nov 14, 2003
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Gotham
I think the Herschel and Fjällräven bags are poorly designed in terms of ergonomics. The edge of the strap will dig into your shoulder and the other part won't even have contact. These are designed for fashion instead of functionality in my opinion.

I have a small collection of backpacks. I like Arcteryx, Crumpler and Osprey. I'm currently using a Patagonia Refugio 28L pack. It looked poorly constructed at first. I got it for free so didn't complain and used it. I've been using it for about three years and it is comfortable and has worn well.
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Jun 27, 2006
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batcave wrote: I think the Herschel and Fjällräven bags are poorly designed in terms of ergonomics. The edge of the strap will dig into your shoulder and the other part won't even have contact. These are designed for fashion instead of functionality in my opinion.

I have a small collection of backpacks. I like Arcteryx, Crumpler and Osprey. I'm currently using a Patagonia Refugio 28L pack. It looked poorly constructed at first. I got it for free so didn't complain and used it. I've been using it for about three years and it is comfortable and has worn well.
Not a surprise as they are more fashion brands than designed for active pursuits. With that said, there are lots of options out there for the OP but not as many may meet the "stylish" criteria,
Deal Fanatic
May 31, 2006
5811 posts
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Toronto
tablo13 wrote: That’s good to hear! I ended up buying the 28L version of that, hopefully this model isn’t as uncomfortable... I saw the 20L model at Hudson’s Bay and the shoulder straps were padded thick! Didn’t try it on though.
Glad to hear that you settled on the 28L. Let me know what you think when you get it. The straps are well padded and I have not experienced any discomfort when using it. When it wears out, I will probably replace it with the exact same bag.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
1797 posts
558 upvotes
Edmonton
Havo wrote: Glad to hear that you settled on the 28L. Let me know what you think when you get it. The straps are well padded and I have not experienced any discomfort when using it. When it wears out, I will probably replace it with the exact same bag.
Thank you! Have you ever ordered from Fjallraven.ca? I'm not sure where they ship from since their FAQ page leads to the American website. Maybe they don't ship from Canada and ship from Louisville, CO, USA?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
1797 posts
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Edmonton
Havo wrote: I have not ordered from there. I bought mine locally.
Oh okay. For anyone who reads this in the future, the Canadian website ships from Kamloops, BC.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
1797 posts
558 upvotes
Edmonton
After searching for casual urban laptop backpacks under $100 CAD, I ended up between these two backpacks. I initially settled on the Fjallraven Raven 28, but it's over $100 and the design doesn't look as good IRL so I'm thinking of returning it unused.

Patagonia Arbor Classic Pack 25L in khaki ($94 CAD total) vs Timbuk2 Rogue ($89 CAD total, color doesn't matter)

At only a $5 difference between the two, it makes it pretty hard to choose. I feel like the Patagonia Arbor Classic Pack looks better, but its availability is kinda limited. What I mean is that only the khaki version is on sale on Patagonia's website for $50 off, but they cost $15 for international shipping from Nevada, USA to Canada. The Timbuk2 Rogue is regular priced in comparison, no discounts. I can get the Timbuk2 off Amazon, or pay for a $5 co-op membership from MEC and get it there immediately.

Looks like both brands are pretty well regarded on BIFL, any thoughts?

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