Targus Sport 26L Backpack Review
At a Glance
It’s been a long time since I’ve carried a backpack – I’m typically more of a messenger bag person – but spending a week with Targus’ Sport 26L made me realize that backpacks have come a long way since the days of one-pocket Jansports. Targus makes lines of bags, backpacks, and cases that center around functions such as Protection, Ergonomics, and Security and this philosophy is evident in the Sport 26L: a comfortable, sturdy bag with plenty of pockets and no wasted space.
The Sport 26L has two main compartments: a padded section that is designed to fit laptops up to 16” and has an elastic strap to hold electronics in place (and also features a dedicated tablet slot), and a second compartment that has a variety of pockets and container pouches. The main laptop section also has a small pouch which, given the icon on the front, is obviously intended for holding iPods and MP3 players. (It is worth noting that the standard black version of the 26L also features a path to thread the cord of your headphone through the shoulder strap; the gray version reviewed here does not). The second compartment features a clip (which I used to hold my key chain), as well as several pockets, a zippered pouch, and a mesh pouch to hold a variety of smaller items safely. Admittedly, I would have liked some reinforcement in these pouches, as they had a tendency to sag a bit when stuffed with heavier items.
Additionally, the 26L features two mesh water bottle compartments (one on each side), a smallish zippered pouch on the front of the bag for easy access, and a soft-lined pouch in between the larger compartments which is ideal for more fragile items such as sunglasses. Altogether, the bag has an interior dimension of 15.24” x 1.65” x 10.5” which was more than enough room for my day-to-day items. The bag itself feels well-constructed; it’s made from durable nylon material and the clasps and zippers all function well and feel sturdy. Likewise, the stitching is of good quality.
The top of the bag has a foam handgrip, and although there is some light padding along the bottom, I’d still watch how hard you set it down. Hands down, my favorite part of the bag is the mesh padded back and shoulder straps which made the 26L a dream to wear. Even when I had packed it full of various items, it never dragged or felt heavy on my shoulders and the mesh padded back kept everything comfortable and breathable. My other favorite part? The extraordinarily reasonable price. At $40, the 26L is just slightly more expensive than a Jansport Superbreak, and has a lot more to offer.
Things I carried in this bag: one Dell XPS 13” ultrabook, an MP3 player, two smartphones (with charging cables), three issues of Rolling Stone, a large checkbook sized wallet, a toiletries case, one large faux-fur hoodie, two notebooks, a scarf, a sunglass case, lunch, emergency migraine medicine, Kleenex, keys, pepper spray, and granola bars.