Updated January 2020:
I’ve used quite a few backpacks during my time as a motorcyclist. At one point, I had gone nine years without owning a four-wheeled vehicle with only motorcycles in the garage. During that time I had a chance to try out a few different styles and brands and even the misfortune to lowside while wearing the one in the lead photo (this picture was taken months after the mishap).
Below you’ll find a list of 10 moto-centric backpacks that carry their own unique features and style. While it’s hard to say that the best motorcycle backpacks will be the same for you as anyone else, it is, at the very least, a chance to peruse some packs you may not have heard of before. So, here it is, in no specific order, the top 10 best motorcycle backpacks.
Kriega is a British company founded in 2000 by Dominic Longman and Michael Cottam created to build high-quality motorcycle backpacks and now, other pertinent moto-luggage. Kriega’s current line of backpacks available in the U.S. include six models, five of which get their name from the liter capacity of the bag itself, ie: R25.
Most of the backpacks are made with a combination of 1000D Cordura and 420D nylon rip-stop with reflective panels included throughout. My only gripe, which some may prefer, would be that the Kriega bags are basically one large compartment. The different bags will include some combination of one outside pocket, an inner zip pocket, and an inner laptop/tablet pouch. They also have compression straps on the outside to cinch everything down to a small and compact package. Kriega also offers back protectors, hydration bladders, and extra external storage which can be fitted to many of their backpacks.
One of Kriega’s most noteworthy attributes though, would be the Quadloc harness system with which you strap the bag to yourself. I have ridden over 10,000 miles and had one lowside with the Kriega R25 that I use on a daily basis. Every time I throw on the R25, I’m reminded of how easy it is. Whether you’re wearing all of your gear, helmet, jacket, gloves, etc., it’s easy to get your arms into the straps. With the Quadloc system, pack weight is transferred to the chest and body, reducing fatigue to the shoulders and back, and while it doesn’t transfer all of the weight off of your shoulders with a heavy load, it certainly helps. Check out Kriega’s entire backpack line here.
I’ve noticed a whole slew of motojournalists using the Velomacchi Speedway 28L bag recently. And why not? Velomacchi blends style and functionality together to create a great looking bag with a quality feel.
The Speedway 28L is waterproof and uses a roll-top design with 1000D competition fabric throughout its construction. The Speedway has five pockets for storage as well as an emergency medical information pocket on the right shoulder strap. Also on the right shoulder strap next to the metal clasp, is a flat plate to mount an adhesive GoPro mount or something similar. Velomacchi uses a magnetic sternum coupler to clasp the shoulder straps together and while it is a sleek design, I have heard of it getting clogged up fairly quickly by dust in an off-road situation. Thankfully, I was also told the clasp is easy to clean out.
If you’re looking for something more stylish than your everyday backpack while being functional and waterproof, check out Velomacchi Speedway 28L. See the full Velomacchi line of product here.
The Ogio Mach 5 has had a few different iterations over the years and has been popular since its inception with a full focus on aerodynamics. Guys who choose to commute on sportbikes will thank the aerodynamic design of the Mach 5. When donned and strapped tight, the Mach 5 does exactly what it’s designed to do, slices through the air without pulling you around like some backpacks do in strong winds.
The Mach 5 zips open from the front to retain the no-drag profile on the back. Inside, as with most Ogio backpacks, you have plenty of storage options with various pockets, pouches, laptop sleeves, a removable helmet carry strap, and even a padded interior helmet visor sleeve.
Planning to go somewhere fast, but need to bring along a few well-organized essentials? Check out the Ogio Mach 5.
The Hurricane is a new model from Nelson Rigg. Nelson Rigg may be better known for its soft motorcycle luggage, tank bags, and motorcycle covers – and rightly so, given that they have been producing the stuff since 1972.
The Nelson Rigg Hurricane comes in 20L and 40L capacity and features a fully waterproof UV coated 24oz Tarpaulin PVC outer layer with seams that are heat welded. The Hurricane opens from the top in typical “dry-bag” rolling fashion. With compression straps and MOLLE panels on the outside, it is easy to strap on other essentials or to lash the bag itself onto a motorcycle.
The shoulder straps are fairly basic but beefy, and the Hurricane offers a chest and waist straps to keep things cinched down in bumpy environments. One of my favorite features of the Nelson Rigg Hurricane is the air purge valve which makes compression easy, something those of you with experience using dry bags will find a welcome addition.
The Oxford B-25 is a fairly basic 25L capacity, waterproof backpack with a roll-top design, welded seams, and water-resistant zippers. The B-25 has one large main compartment with two outer zippered pockets as well as two mesh pockets on each side. Compression straps located on the outside are easily adjustable. Reflective piping is also used for greater visibility at night. Oxford delivers a simple waterproof pack at an affordable price with the B-25. The B-25 is available in black, white, and hi-viz yellow.
Another company more widely known for motorcycle luggage and accessories, SW-Motech has made a name for itself within the ADV community and beyond. The SW-Motech Triton 20L is a 20L capacity, waterproof, roll-top backpack. The Baracuda includes a padded laptop compartment as well as other compartments for smaller items. On the outside of the bag you will find a large zipper down the center for quick access into the bag’s main compartment without having to unroll the top.
Fancy yourself a MotoVlogger? The GoPro Seeker is the optimal pack if your planning on bringing and using all of your GoPro cameras and accessories. While the Seeker’s 16L of storage capacity is small in comparison to others on this list, it more than makes up for its small size in features.
The GoPro Seeker is compartmentalized to hold five GoPro cameras up top, as well as extra batteries, SD cards, chargers, etc in other pockets. Some pockets are complete with elastic straps to keep things from bouncing around while packed. The outside of the Seeker is just as feature-rich: an integrated chest mount, and shoulder mount are included for standard GoPro mounting plates and the left side of the pack is also set up for unique shots using GoPro’s 3-Way gimbal.
While GoPro doesn’t claim the Seeker is waterproof it does use the term weather-resistant. Probably best used during drier rides.
The Nac Pak Hydrapak Shape-Shift Bag from Klim is a medium-sized backpack, perfect for those day trips that might turn into overnight stays. The Nac Pak carries both your small or medium laptop and your tools. Additionally, the included 3L Hydrapak Shape-Shift bladder will ensure that you stay hydrated. The water bladder is completely reversible, so you don’t have to worry about gunge and gunk growing in the Hydrapak. The Shape-Shift top opens wide, so it’s easily filled. Then just fold over the lip and slide the clip on for a spill-proof seal. The Klim Hydrapak Shape-Shift also can be frozen, so you can get a cool sip out on the hot trails. Want something a bit warmer on those chilly days? The Shape-Shift can hold up liquids up to 140° F.
The Nac Pak uses thick padded shoulder straps, an adjustable sternum strap with a rescue whistle built into the buckle, and a waist strap with a small pouch. Just be careful when loading down the removable tool pouch, this bad boy could get heavy really fast.
If you’re an experienced adventurer, you know that hydration bladders don’t last forever. A fall that lands you on your back can cause a pressure spike that even the best welded seams cannot contain. The Enduristan crew is a team of seasoned riders. They designed the Hurricane series with an entirely separate external pocket for hydration bladder storage. Your main storage area is designed to be completely waterproof. Being keen on fluid transport, they also incorporated a pair of side holsters for one-liter fuel bottles. The central chest buckle and waist strap help to keep your payload centered and off your shoulders. If you’re hitting the trail and would prefer your stuff staying dry, look no further than the Enduristan Hurricane series. The additional capacity of the 25L Rucksack includes a bottom pocket for low-center-of-gravity tool storage and a rear entry upper-security pocket for valuables.
The Patriot 15 is a small pack designed to stay glued to your back as you blast down your favorite road or trail. It features an integrated SAS-TEC CE Level 1 back protector to shield your spine from the road or trail as well as any contents of your pack. The adjustable, elastic harness design is where the Patriot really shines. The clasp meets in the center of your chest, leaving your shoulders completely isolated from any restraint. The straps feature elastic sections so no matter how you bob and weave around your bike, the bag will not move. The Patriot is hydration pack ready and is equipped with a myriad of inner storage pockets.
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