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Riding a motorcycle along the open road is one of the best feelings in the world. Whether your bike is built for speed or is more suited to cruising for long distances, no other form of transport gives you the same sense of freedom. However, riding is not without its difficulties, and having a safe space to store your belongs while riding is one of them.
Pockets can only carry so much and can become bulky and uncomfortable very quickly. There is also the risk of damage to your items if you involved in a collision. Panniers are a great answer, but not every bike is designed to carry them. and they can cause drag, making your bike less aerodynamic.
The best solution is to invest in a motorcycle backpack, but with so many to choose from it can be difficult to know where to start. Should you choose a hard shell backpack or just go with a basic trekking backpack? Luckily, our panel of motorcycle enthusiasts and backpack experts have compiled a list of the best motorcycle backpacks to point you in the right direction.
The Best Motorcycle Backpack
The AXO Commuter Backpack includes a spacious inner pocket that is large enough to hold a standard helmet. The bag is made from heavy-duty nylon and features large tooth plastic zippers on all the major pockets. It is designed with rider comfort in mind and has a padded back and padded shoulder straps. As well as the main pocket the bag has enclosed saddle bag pockets and side mesh pockets. It also has sliding webbing adjustment straps and belts to help you create the perfect fit.
Made from heavy-duty nylon
Includes large tooth plastic zippers
Padded back and shoulder straps
Adjustable belt and shoulder straps
Can hold a standard helmet
- Weight8 oz
The multifunctional Mardingtop 25L/35L Tactical Backpack is designed for everything from camping to daily use and is ideal for motorcycle use. It is made from water-resistant 600D polyester and uses YKK zippers on all the main compartments. The large back compartment can be used as a hydration compartment. It can hold a 2.5-liter water bladder, with the tube being fed through a purpose-built hole near the grab handle at the top of the bag. Alternatively, the compartment is ideal for carrying a laptop up to 17 inches. The webbing on the bag can be used to attach small items, a bedroll, tent, or similar item. The bag also features adjustable shoulder straps, a chest strap, and a waist strap so you can create the most comfortable and secure fit for your needs.
Dimensions: 20.5” x 12.2” x 10.2”
Holds up to 35 liters
Can hold a 2.5-liter water bladder or 17” laptop
Made from water-resistant 600D polyester
Includes mole webbing and YKK zippers
Adjustable shoulder, chest, and waist straps
Multiple compartments and pockets
Padding on back and shoulder straps
- Weight2.6 lbs
The OGIO No Drag Mach 3 Motorcycle Backpack is single shot molded to create a streamlined exterior that will not deform from wind shear. The backpack is water resistant, and the shoulder gasket is designed to fit your body perfectly, increasing its aerodynamics. It includes bolstered back foam for comfort and increased ventilation. The soft neck shoulder strap makes it comfortable to wear while riding and does not damage the exterior of your helmet. The straps are fully adjustable, padded, and feature quick release buckles.
The backpack also features 360-degree reflective piping, removable off-center hip belt, large main compartment, and a fleece-lined zippered personal electronics pocket. Additionally, it has a dedicated shoe storage compartment and a concealed aerodynamic carry handle.
Dimensions: 6.7” x 12.6” x 18.9”
Capacity: 1350 cubic inches
Aerodynamic and water-resistant design
Padded back and shoulder straps
Fully adjustable shoulder, chest, and waist straps
Multiple zippered compartments
360-degree reflective piping
- Weight2.7 lbs
The multi-purpose OGIO International Throttle Pack is designed to be worn either on your back while riding or to be easily and securely attached to the motorcycle. It features a completely waterproof welded toll top construction that includes reflective screen print to increase visibility. The backpack has dual compression straps for use with vertical or horizontal racks and a quad attachment setup to allow it to be connected to other backpacks.
The strap containment system ensures that everything remains secured, even had high speeds. The backpack also features removable shoulder straps for comfort, a two-way adjustable sternum strap, and numerous internal and external pockets and compartments.
Dimensions: 11” x 7” x 20”
Made from water-resistant polyester
Top loading with additional external zippered pockets
Includes dual compression straps
Includes strap containment system
Includes removable shoulder straps
- Weight1.9 lbs
The OGIO 123008.36 No Drag Mach 1 Motorcycle Backpack features a single shot molded exterior that is water resistant. The design also means that it the backpack will not deform from wind shear. It is aerodynamic with the shoulder gasket conforming to the body. The shoulder straps are specifically designed for riding and are fully adjustable, padded, and ergonomic. The backpack also features an off-center hip belt that does not scratch your gas tank and a removable no slip sternum strap.
Dimensions: 19” 12.5” x 6.5”
Capacity: 1350 cubic inches
Single shot molded water-resistant exterior
Aerodynamic and ergonomic design
The main compartment includes several smaller storage areas
Fully adjustable shoulder, sternum, and waist straps
- Weight1 lbs
The Viking Moto Motorcycle Backpack is constructed from heavy-duty Cordura and includes reflective piping to ensure you can be seen at night. The molded body improves its aerodynamic capabilities, while the adjustable shoulder, sternum, and waist straps ensure a perfect and comfortable fit. The backpack comes with a removable rain cover to keep everything dry while riding in poor weather conditions and has a number of different sized compartments.
The main compartment can fit most 15” laptops or similar devices with ease and the detailed organizer makes it easy to find small items like your keys and wallet.
Dimensions: 12.5” x 5” x 18”
Molded from heavy-duty Cordura
Includes removable rain cover
Adjustable shoulder, sternum, and waist straps
Fits 15” laptop or similar device
- BrandViking Bags
- Weight5.5 lbs
The Motorcycle Travel Backpack with Helmet Holder by Badass Motogear is a lightweight bag that is designed for riders but is also ideal for camping and trekking. The durable bag comes complete with adjustable straps, reflective piping, and a detachable mesh bag that is large enough to hold a full-face helmet. It also contains a padded laptop sleeve, multiple small exterior zippered pockets, and a large vented accessory compartment.
Lightweight and durable
Adjustable shoulder straps
Detachable mesh helmet bag
Includes padded laptop pocket
- BrandBadass Motogear
- Weight1.45 lbs
Made from five different nylon and poly-nylon blends the Harley-Davidson Mens Skull Backpack is designed to be durable and long lasting. The bag features a Bar & Shield ghost print and contrast color piping. It has six pockets of varying sizes and comes complete with a headphone port for an MP3 player. The backpack features a foam-lined laptop pocket. Leather zip pulls, and a leather handle.
Dimensions: 11.5” x 22” x 9”
Nylon and poly-nylon construction
Durable and long lasting
Six pockets of varying sizes
Foam-lined laptop pocket
- Weight2.85 lbs
If you are looking for the perfect combination of bags for a road trip, then the Heavy Duty PVC Motorcycle Cooler Bag and Backpack might be just what you are looking for. The two bags can be connected together or carried separately; the cooler features multiple straps for attaching to your motorcycle. The backpack is spacious and features adjustable padded shoulder straps, multiple pockets with zippers, and a studded exterior pocket. The cooler features a soft-sided cooler compartment with zipper. The trunk bag has two end pockets and chrome stud accents to make it stand out from the crowd.
Backpack dimensions: 15 ½” x 16 ¾” x 17 ½”
Cooler dimensions 15” x 9” x 9 ¼”
Can be used separately or together
Adjustable padded shoulder straps
Multiple pockets with zipper closures
- BrandRiders discount
- Weight5.3 lbs
The OGIO Rev RSS Backpack comes complete with an armor protected dedicated laptop compartment with RSS. It is ideal for most 17” laptops, while iFOM integrated foam panels keep your valuables and electronics protected. Multiple pockets with zippers keep all your belongs secure and easy to find. The backpack comes with a Hybrid Unibody Backpanel for additional comfort and features padded adjustable shoulder and sternum straps for the perfect fit. The backpack is made from 840D junior ballistics poly and 600D poly and is finished off with a soft touch neoprene grab handle.
Dimensions: 19.5” x 14” x 1.5”
Capacity: 1900 cubic inches
Made from 840D junior ballistics poly and 600D poly
Dedicated laptop compartment with armor protection and RSS
Integrated foam panels
Multiple zipper close pockets
Adjustable shoulder and sternum straps
- Weight3.5 lbs
The Vuz Moto Dry Tank Backpack can be used as either a tank bag or a backpack. It features six magnets to help it attach to any metal tank and transforms into a backpack with very little time or effort. The tarpaulin bag is fully waterproof and large enough to hold a standard size full-face helmet and it features adjustable shoulder and chest straps. Additionally, the backpack comes with a bottle opener and six D-rings for attaching extra storage.
Dimensions 18” x 8” x 11”
Capacity: 22 liters / 5.8 gallons
Multi-purpose bag for the tank or wearing as a backpack
6 magnets for attaching to any metal tank
Holds standard helmet
Adjustable chest and shoulder straps
- Weight2.55 lbs
The no drag mold design of the Motorcycle Backpack by CUCYMA makes it perfect for wearing when riding, even in windy conditions. The backpack is made from water-resistant nylon with a carbon fiber reinforced body. It includes reflective piping for improved visibility at night and improves aerodynamics by conforming to body shape. The backpack also includes bolstered back foam for increased ventilation and soft neck shoulder straps to prevent helmet scratching. The straps are all adjustable and the sternum strap is removable. The zippers are electroplated, so they are wear and corrosion resistant.
Dimensions: 20” x 14” x 7”
Capacity: 30 liters
Made from water-resistant nylon and carbon fiber
Molded design for resistance to wind shear
Bolstered back foam
Soft neck shoulder straps
Adjustable shoulder and sternum straps
- Weight3.5 lbs
The ergonomic, hard shell Advocator Waterproof Motorcycle Backpack is ideal for use in any weather. The large main compartment has multiple storage areas and can easily fit a 14” laptop. There are two smaller side pockets that are perfect for water bottles. The backpack has protective pockets for personal electronics and fluorescent labeling to improve nighttime visibility. It also has padded shoulder straps and fully adjustable shoulder, chest, and waist straps.
Dimensions: 18.1” x 11.8” x 5.9”
Capacity: 20 liters
Hard shell with additional rain cover
Fits 14″ laptop in the main compartment
Additional side pockets
Padded shoulder straps
Adjustable shoulder, chest, and waist straps
- Weight1.9 lbs
The rugged Harley Davidson Molle Backpack comes complete with a hide-away rain hood so it can be used in any weather. It has three sections and two front pockets and includes built-in organization and a section that is padded and perfect for a laptop.
Dimensions: 16” x 10” x 5”
Includes hide-away rain hood
Three sections and two front pockets
Padded section for laptop
- Weight2.51 lbs
The Nelson-Rigg Black Compact Backpack packs away to fit into the palm of your hand when not in use. When fully opened it offers a 30-liter storage capacity and is large enough to carry a full-face motorcycle helmet. It is constructed from Tri-Max nylon, which makes it extremely strong and lightweight. The backpack comes complete with its own built-in storage bag.
Dimensions: 5.5” x 2.2” x 3”
Capacity: 30 liters
Folds away into its own storage bag
Made from Tri-Max nylon
Strong and lightweight
Fits standard full-face motorcycle helmet
- Weight4 oz
Best Motorcycle Backpacks Buying Guide
Buying the right motorcycle backpack for your needs is important and the one you need will depend as much on what you want to fit in it as much as anything else. If you buy one that is too small it will be of little use, too big and you could find that you start carrying more than you need or fit it hard to get a comfortable fit. In this section of the guide, we explore the features of motorcycle backpacks in more detail and consider the key features you should look for when purchasing the backpack that you need. We also explore the difference between backpacks that are designed for motorcycle use and regular backpacks. Finally, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about motorcycle backpacks.
Features to Look for When Buying a Motorcycle Backpack
With such a wide range of backpacks available it can be difficult to know what makes one stand out from another. The best way to create a short list of the best motorcycle backpacks that best suit your needs is to understand the features that you need to look for when buying a motorcycle backpack.
The first, and the most important feature of any motorcycle rucksack is usability; is the backpack you are considering fit for purpose? To answer this, you need to consider the main reason why you are purchasing a backpack and what it is you need to carry in it. If you are going on a road trip, then you are going to need a lot of space and potentially mesh or straps for carrying additional items. If you are looking for something for your daily commute, then you probably don’t need as much room, but you may need to consider whether it can safely carry a laptop and has room for a change of clothes or your work shoes.
Other Key Features to Consider
Durability – Your motorbike backpack is going to be open to the elements and to the dangers of the road. It needs to be hardwearing and durable. Look for high-quality materials that are specifically designed for riding. Check the stitching and the zippers as well. Choose metal zippers that have corrosion resistant coatings, and which are covered where possible. A poor quality backpack could lead to your possessions being easily damaged in an accident or scattered across the road if the backpack is not designed for prolonged exposure to the elements.
Wind resistance – The open road can get windy, even on a good weather day, and particularly if you are riding at speed. You need a moto backpack that will hold its shape, sit tightly to your back, and that will not flap around in the wind causing drag and potentially becoming a hazard for you and other road users. A lot of motorcycle riders choose a hard shell backpack for this reason.
Water resistance - Choose a backpack that is weatherproof or that comes complete with its own rain cover to create a waterproof motorcycle Backpack. This is the only way to ensure that your belongs do not get soaked through in bad weather or unexpected rain storms.
Fit – It is not just the size of the riding backpack that is important, but also how well it fits the rider. Always go for a backpack that has adjustable shoulder straps. Ideally, you also want adjustable waist and chest straps so you can ensure a secure fit as well as a good fit.
Comfort – If the backpack is not comfortable, then it is not going to be used very often, so comfort is very important. Look for wide padded shoulder straps that do not cut in at the neck. Padding on the back of the backpack is also important. Not only does this make it more comfortable to wear, but it also provides a little extra protection in the event that you come off the motorbike.
Weight – The empty bag needs to be as light as possible. Remember that it will soon gain weight once it is full and all that weight will be focused on your back. Weight distribution is another key aspect to consider. If the bike backpack does not distribute the weight of the contents evenly, then you could find yourself leaning to compensate. As well as being uncomfortable, this is potentially dangerous.
Why You Should Use a Motorcycle Backpack
While there are plenty of excellent backpacks out there, it is always best to choose one that is specifically designed for motorcycle use. The main reason for this is the design. A motorcycle backpack is designed with the needs of the rider at the center. This means it is designed to be comfortable when in a riding position. It is designed to deal with a host of weather conditions and to be durable enough to deal with regular use and even the occasional fall.
Motorcycle backpacks are also shaped with their purpose in mind. Many are designed to be able to fit a helmet in or for one to be attached to it. They are shaped to reduce drag and to perfectly balance the weight that they are carrying.
Regular Backpacks vs. Motorcycle Backpacks
One of the main reasons riders consider going for regular backpacks instead of motorcycle backpacks is cost. While it is true that a regular backpack is usually cheaper to buy, this does not equate to it being good value for money.
Regular backpacks are not designed to be worn over protective clothing. This means that even if they are adjustable, they are likely to be difficult to take off and put on and are likely to be uncomfortable when worn.
Weight distribution is another consideration with a regular backpack. In a normal design, the weight is distributed on the neck and shoulders. This can increase rider fatigue and rider discomfort. A purpose designed motorcycle backpack redistributes the weight so that it is uniformly distributed to the hips and back. This makes it more comfortable to use, particularly on a machine built for speed, and it reduces rider fatigue.
Regular backpacks are not always waterproof and very few are abrasion resistant. This reduces their usefulness and their durability under normal riding conditions. Motorcycle backpacks are designed with both and often also include a separate rain cover for heavier winter weather.
Best Motorcycle Backpacks FAQ:
Q: Are motorcycle backpacks water resistant?
A: Most motorcycle backpacks are made from water-resistant nylon or poly-nylon blends. This makes them suitable for use in the rain, although they should not be submerged in water. Those motorcycles that are not completely water resistant usually have a rain cover that can be easily attached in the event of rain. Generally, such covered are stored in the hood of the backpack.
Q: What should I keep in my backpack?
A: This depends on the size and style of backpack you have purchased and what you need to carry with you on your journey. Most motorcycle backpacks are suitable for carrying at least your essentials, including phone, license, and other driving documents, wallet, keys, a change of clothes, shoes, or a spare helmet. Check the capacity and dimensions of the backpack before you purchase it to ensure it will fit everything you need. Larger electronic devices should only be carried in your motorcycle backpack if it is designed to hold them safely and securely. Such a backpack will have additional internal padding or a purpose built pocket specifically for carrying a laptop or iPad. Check the size of that pocket or padded area before you buy.
Q: Can I use a motorcycle backpack with a passenger?
A: If you have a pillion passenger, it is safer if they wear a backpack. If you wear it, you increase the chances of your passenger falling off the back of the motorcycle if you stop suddenly or collide with an object. It is also probably more comfortable for both you and the passenger if they are carrying the backpack, so it is not squeezed in between you both.
Q: Are motorcycle backpacks safe?
A: As long as they are worn correctly with the weight evenly distributed then a motorcycle backpack is safe. It becomes unsafe if it is uncomfortable and takes your concentration away from the road, if it is not properly secured and could come loose, or if the weight distribution is uneven and you are having to lean to the to compensate. It is also unsafe for you to wear the backpack and then have a pillion passenger behind you.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick is the AXO 29101-02-000 Red Commuter Backpack. It includes a spacious inner pocket that is large enough to hold a standard helmet. The bag is made from side heavy duty nylon and features large tooth plastic zippers on all the major pockets. It is designed with rider comfort in mind and has a padded back and padded shoulder straps. As well as the main pocket the bag has enclosed saddle bag pockets and side mesh pockets. It also has sliding webbing adjustment straps and belts to help you create the perfect fit.