Work/life balance is an in thing these days, and for good reason. It's not healthy to obsess over work 24 hours a day, but at the same time you can't pay your bills if you're at home playing Mario Kart all the time. While the concept of the 'work bag' is pretty common, but Targus's new £65 Work + Play Fitness Backpack is, as the name suggests, designed to cover all the bases.
More specifically, it's designed to accommodate your work stuff and your gym stuff, without mixing them together throughout the day — regardless of whether you go to the gym before or after work. It is filled with a crazy number of pockets and compartments to store all your things. So many, in fact, that when I first opened up the bag I immediately looked back at the label I'd ripped off to see if there were any sort of instructions included.
It's that kind of bag. While a regular single compartment backpack might be difficult to sift through if you put a lot of stuff into it, the W+P Fitness is the kind of bag you'll lose stuff in simply because there are so many compartments to take advantage of. I lost my laptop stylus last week, and I'm still not sure if it fell out of my pocket or if it's still rattling around the deep, dark depths of this bag.
The main compartment (right at the back of the bag) does have labels on the inside, though, designed for all the different things you might be used at work or at the gym. There's a laptop sleeve (which is pretty self explanatory regardless), a pocket designed for phones and charging cables, a mesh pocket for whatever, plus two removable bags for toiletries (you need to clean off after a workout) and dirty clothes.
One of the most interesting things here is that the outer compartment is split into two sections separated by a waterproof sheet. This means the two sections share most of the same space, but remain separated by that barrier so you're not mixing your work and play stuff. I was told it was mainly designed for storing your exercise shoes, but really you could use it for anything. It all depends on what you keep in the other section and how important it is you keep everything separate. naturally if you do keep shoes there then you don't want them mucking up all your other stuff.
The rest of the bag is filled with a bunch of unlabelled pockets that seem to be designed to let you figure our for yourself. One on the outer compartment has a slot perfect suited for a small tablet, while I found another was ideal for storing pens. There were no dedicated pen slots that I could see, and they have to be kept somewhere. There's also a hook, should you need to hang the bag up somewhere, like the inside of a locker, a changing room clothes hook, or the back of your bedroom door.
While I comment on the immense void that is the inside of this bag, that's primarily in jest. Having a lot of space to keep things separated is rather nice, even if it feels like some of the compartments are overkill at times. Even so, the main thing I noticed was how comfortable it is to carry around, even if it's full of stuff. My regular backpack is a single main compartment, and when you fill it up you can really feel it on your shoulders - especially if it's on your back all day. The P+W is a different story.
It's not a situation where you forget you're even wearing it, but the weight distribution is quite nice. Even with most of the compartments filled with various bits and pieces, I never found it uncomfortable to keep on my back. Even on the days where I had to pack it full to the brim with everything I needed to get through the day, because I'd been forced out of my home office by the guy who'd come round to replace my decrepit shower.
Towels, various body cleaning products, spare clothes, and all the stuff I needed to get a day's work done fit in here comfortably, and I barely even noticed the extra weight. Even cycling with a bag full of stuff was nice and comfortable, which I couldn't really say for my previous bag.
So if you're looking for a nice backpack with lots of room for lots of things, this one does quite well - particularly if you are wanting to hit the gym or something similar on your way to or from work.
- You can buy one for £65
- A large bag with lots of room for lots of things.
- It's a bit too much room if you're only carrying a little bit of stuff around.
- It feels like the bag needs an instruction manual at times.
- Dedicated slots for work equipment (laptops etc/) and spaces to help keep your gym stuff separate. Also includes little features that keep your shoes separate plus bags for toiletries and dirty clothes.
- Comfortable to wear with even weight distribution, even if you're carrying a lot of stuff around.
- It's not ugly, which is always a bonus.
- It's an all round nice bag, provided you don't misplace smaller objects in its many, many pockets.