REVIEW – Continuing in the trend of “commuter packs that can hold any screen, so long as it’s skinny”, we’ve got a new contender from an old friend. Add to the required main large, narrow screen sleeve a flexible set of pockets and versatile straps, and you’ve got a winner. This one is from Targus, one of the oldest laptop case makers I’m aware of. Presenting their CityLite Backpack.
What is it?
Streamlined on-the-go style, laptop protection, and backpack-to-briefcase carrying for wherever your day may take you. That’s the website’s tagline, and it fits. You can carry this as a tote, a briefcase, a sling or wear it as a backpack. Let’s dig in.
What’s in the box?
Just the bag.
- Works With 16″ Laptops and Under
- Capacity – 13 Liters
- Weight – 1.94 lbs
- Dimensions – 12.60″ x 17.31″ x 4.32″ (W x H x D)
- Laptop Compartment – 9.84″ x 13.78″ (W x H)
- Tablet Compartment10.50″ x 11.50″ (W x H)
- WarrantyLimited Lifetime Warranty
- Multi-fit cradle fits 12” – 15.6” laptops
- Tablet pocket fits up to 12.9″ devices
- Tuck-away shoulder straps to convert backpack to briefcase
- Contoured, padded shoulder straps & air mesh pack panel for comfort
- Hideaway bottle pocket
- Interior file divider and two zippered compartments
- Trolley pass-through luggage strap
- Metal hardware with soft-touch zipper pulls
Design and features
The CityLight is a minimal pack with maximal yearnings. There’s only a sleeve back pocket, a central pocket that zips around 70% of the opening with a dual zipper plus a slender front pocket, but you can carry it any way you want.
The outer shell is a grey ripstop nylon, but the texture is almost a linen feel. It’s a much thicker fabric than a parka or sleeping bag ripstop. Across the bottom of the front, there’s a darker coloring, which looks like some protectant has been applied. There is no seam, and it doesn’t feel different, but the fabric is many shades darker.
The outermost pocket is a generous size, and there’s enough dimension to put in things like a power supply, gloves, or all the stuff from your pants pockets when you’re going through security.
The center section is very accessible and has sides all around like a packing cube. There’s a slash pocket across the back that could hold a magazine or some files. It’s not too tight, as these things tend to be. The cover that zips out of the way has a net pocket with a zipper that could hold cables, wallet, or an iPad mini in a case. Behind that is a larger zipper pocket that goes all the way down to the fold (where the outside zipper stops).
The rear pocket has a three-part sleeve divider that is trimmed across the top in royal blue elastic. The two outer pieces are double thicknesses of the inner material. The center section is a very soft stretch material. A 1.5” webbing security strap extends from the top center and attaches to the divider’s center with a generous patch of hook-and-loop fabric. In front of this is another thin area that would hold a tablet, a portable keyboard, or a sheaf of papers. It’s not thick enough for, say, an umbrella or clothing.
The flexible nature of the CityLite lends itself well to shifting between a backpack, a sling, a tote, or a briefcase. The straps disconnect individually from the lower corners and can be stored in a panel behind the vented mesh back. For a sling, just connect one of the straps to the lower corner opposite. The briefcase handle, opposite the net water bottle pocket on the right side, as you wear it, pulls out a bit, and has mesh padding underneath, while being stitched and attached flexibly at each end. This makes the load bounce a bit, which makes things seem lighter. The haul loop, which offers tote-bag style carrying is probably the least comfortable of the four carry methods. The handle is 1″ webbing with no padding and no give.
What I like
- Generous cradle holds everything from gamer laptops to iPads
- Laptop and tablet space available
- Straps can be used in several ways
- Flexible hidden net pocket for a drink bottle, small items, phones, etc.
What needs to be improved
- Front pocket is kinda small, for those wanting longer days.
I’ve used Targus cases off and on for decades. Their guarantee and customer service is first class. (I’ve had 3-year-old bags be replaced for no charge for customers.) This kind of support over the long haul is rare among bag manufacturers