This is our review of the versatile Targus Work + Play Cycling Backpack, designed specifically for people who cycle commute to work. Checking out the backpacks produced by market-leader Targus is a no-brainer for most people researching the best cycling backpack. But once you start your research, you could be forgiven for becoming a little confused, because Targus offers a lot of similar products. But don’t despair! It’s pretty simple, once you look closer.
Targus has taken an excellent core product and made modifications and tweaks to it, to turn it into a collection of products that are optimized for specific purposes. So, for example, there is the Targus Work + Play Fitness Backpack, which is optimized for gym goers. And the product we are reviewing, the Targus Work + Play Cycling Backpack, which is optimized for cyclists. Specifically, it has webbing on the back for attaching your helmet and other bits and pieces, such as a lock. And it is lighter and more aerodynamic than the rest of the collection, for obvious reasons.
Plus, it comes with a bright orange waterproof cover that you can whip out in the event of rain. This is stored away in a zippered compartment right at the bottom, so that you can forget all about it – until you need it!
Overview of the Targus Work + Play Cycling Backpack
Essentially it’s a large, well-made, intelligently designed cycling backpack. It has multiple compartments to ensure that you are not constantly searching for things. So, basically, it’s a very useful backpack for those who cycle to work regularly, and like to keep their stuff organized and accessible.
Organization inside the Targus Work + Play Cycling Backpack
The best feature of this cycling backpack is that it has several compartments for your various belongings, so that you can set up a system that makes the transition from bike to work more seamless. There is for example a padded compartment for your laptop (up to 16″), which holds your laptop snugly against your back. There is no way your laptop is slipping out of this compartment. This is important, as I know from experience – I have had a laptop bounce out of my pannier and land in a puddle. Not good.
Plus, you can stash your shoes at the bottom in the shoe compartment, keeping potential smells locked safely away! You could also use this separate compartment for bringing home wet and smelly clothes.
Also, internal straps enable you to keep your work clothing snug and separated.
On one side is a spacious water bottle holder, and on the other wide is a nice little zippered compartment that would be ideal for keys. This graphic gives an idea of how Targus conceives the various compartments could be used. However, each cyclist will be different, and come up with their own system of storage.
I saw one review that said there were so many compartments, this backpack should come with an instruction manual. But no, I think that is the fun of this thing. When Maggie (Mrs. Average Joe Cyclist) first got it, she was so excited to find all the various compartments and figure out how she could arrange her stuff! In an upcoming video, Maggie will demonstrate how she packs all her stuff into this cycling backpack.
Webbing on the Outside of the Targus Work + Play Cycling Backpack
This is a feature we have not encountered with other cycling backpacks we have reviewed. It is very handy for attaching items for easy access, such as helmet, light, or bike lock.
Comfort of the Targus Work + Play Cycling Backpack
This backpack has a padding system and mesh shoulder straps to keep you as comfortable as possible while cycling. The shoulder straps are ergonomically designed, and the chest strap helps to keep the weight comfortably distributed. I found it comfortable to wear, even fully loaded.
Bottom Line on the Targus Work + Play Cycling Backpack
This is an intelligently designed cycling backpack that gets the job done. For many people, it will provide an ideal way to get your gear to and from work, without the frustration of battling to find your stuff because it’s all mixed together. Our only complaint/suggestion is that it would be nice to have a choice of a brighter color. However, when it rains, the rain cover is a nice bright orange, so this will certainly help to keep you visible in the rain.
Specifications of the Targus Work + Play Cycling Backpack
Works With: 16″ Laptops and Under
Protection Level: Good
Capacity: 24 Liters
Collection: Work + Play
Dimensions: 12.19″ x 18.50″ x 8.65″ (W x H x D)
Weight: 2.76 lbs
Laptop Compartment: 10.43″ x 15.24″ (W x H)
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty
Take a look at this product on the Targus website.
For a review of a similar cycling backpack, see our review of the Craft Cadence Cycling Backpack.
If you want to compare cycling panniers, see our comparison of 7 of the Best Cycling Panniers.
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