The Herschel Supply Pop Quiz was a very likable messenger bag with a lot of limitations that knocked it down in our review. It is soft, comfortable enough to use for short commutes or around school, and definitely stylish. But it is small, less durable, and has limited and hard-to-use organizational features. If for you this bag's "cons" don't detract from its notable "pros," this will be a pleasing and fun messenger bag to use.
Herschel Supply Pop Quiz Review
Cons: Not durable, less versatile
Manufacturer: Herschel Supply
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Pop Quiz did not blow us away in our comfort assessments. First, it was pretty small for users of six feet tall and was easy to pack into an awkwardly shaped load that was less than comfortable to carry. The Pop Quiz does have an excellent and large shoulder pad, making it comfortable on either shoulder. However, it must be worn over the right shoulder to use the cross strap — it is not an "ambi-carrier."
For biking, the cross strap adds load security, for sure, but tightening the cross strap pulled the shoulder strap toward the edge of the shoulder, and ended up pushing on the collarbone, thus feeling both less secure and more strenuous on the shoulder.
The Pop Quiz, as the name suggests, it is more designed as a book bag than a messenger bag. It was relatively comfortable when packed with a few school or office supplies. But the mesh internal organization pockets are weird shapes, with no pen/pencil holders — and mesh does not do well with sharp items like pens/pencils stashed inside: it is both catchy and fragile!
We often preferred this bag over the Kenneth Cole Reaction Risky Business. It was useful for our weekend career development workshops — casual and fun, yet functional. Plus, it had just a couple more pockets than the Kenneth Cole bag — that is, enough to be practical, but still not our favorite.
The bag has a handy and long zipper pocket on the front for easy access to small items, great for your phone and wallet (though not the best for crowded subways, as it puts your valuables in an external pocket behind your back, which is not ideal for pickpocket protection).
Those pesky internal mesh pockets are also centered and too small, making them easy to overstuff, which then makes them bulge, decreasing the carrying style at best and comfort at worst. The external flap buckles don't adjust very much, only about 3-4 inches, making it hard to close with minimal overstuffing. That strap also unthreads easily, almost falling off on a few occasions. The bag has a handy clip and loop for keys, giving you two options for clipping items under the outer flap. You can use the bag's clip if you have a regular keychain, or if your keys are on a keychain carabiner, you can just clip that to the plastic loop.
The Pop Quiz has a nicely padded, separated laptop sleeve inside the main compartment, but no fastener or zipper to secure your laptop or tablet inside. The mesh pockets work great as a fast and easy stash pocket for electronics (but bad for pens/pencils).
Ease of Use
The Pop Quiz was a very limited-use messenger bag in this review, but we did appreciate its simplicity. If it is sufficient for your needs, you will dig it. For example, it is effortless to stow the messenger cross-strap out of the way when you arrive at school or the office; leave it connected, let it slide down the shoulder strap, cinch it close to the back of the pack, and it's effectively out of the way.
The large buckle on shoulder strap improves on/off bike use; you can throw it over your shoulder to mount it, but you can also unbuckle/buckle it easily after you've been wearing it high and tight for cycling.
The main flap buckles are hidden under the flap, which makes it look sleek but can make them hard to find. The boxy shape of the Pop Quiz did not lend well to overstuffing for a big day out in our OGL Load Test.
Wear and Tear
In our OGL Weather Test, water leaked through the zipper on the outer flap, which is not ideal if you stash your wallet or phone in that pocket and live, work, or go to school in a rainy place.
After just a few months of use, this bag was also fraying at the edges, showing signs of wear more than did the rest of the bags in this review.
At a relatively light 1.72 lbs, and holding about 12 liters in our OGL Volume Test, this bag earned an average score for the Volume/Weight Ratio metric.
The Pop Quiz is a great school bag, cleverly designed and named to fit the average student's needs. It will hold a textbook and a notebook with ease, but be sure your locker is close by because this is not an easy bag to overstuff.
At $89.99, this bag is on the affordable side of average in this review. However, for a much better value, with similar size and shape but much more function, check out the Mobile Edge ECO.
The Herschel Pop Quiz is a stylish, simple, and clean take on the messenger bag. It is less of an investment than many of the popular and higher rated bags in this review, so if style is a priority and durability and comfort are less crucial, this might be a great fit.
— Lyra Pierotti