Best Motorcycle Backpacks
All backpacks are not created equal
Updated September 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, our 10 picks for the best motorcycle backpack.
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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.
Velomacchi Speedway 28L
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.
Ogio Mach 5
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 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.
Klim Nac Pak Hydrapak
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.
USWE Patriot 15L With CE-Certified Back Protector
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.
Is it OK to wear a backpack on a motorcycle?
This is a valid concern, and the best answer is: Yes, you can wear a backpack on a motorcycle, but you need to be aware of what you are putting into it. Large, heavy, awkwardly-sized objects would not be good to land on in an accident. However, small, light items are easily carried. In fact, most of the Motorcycle.com staff wear backpacks on just about every ride. They are too convenient for carrying additional clothing layers or picking up items when running errands to ignore. Finally, you need to look at the weatherproofness of any backpack you are considering if you live in a place prone to rain.
Why do bikers wear backpacks?
Most motorcycles have limited storage capacity, and backpacks offer a convenient means of carrying small necessities. It is particularly important in areas where the temperatures can vary widely, allowing the rider to don and doff layers as necessary.
What features should I look for in a motorcycle backpack?
Like any backpack, a motorcycle back pack should have a large central cargo area for its main storage compartment. However, having a couple of small pockets to help store items that might get lost in the void of the large section is important. Perhaps the most important feature of a backpack is the ability to carry a hydration bladder to avoid dehydration on long summer rides. Additionally, water resistance or waterproof pockets are a nice feature to keep delicate items, like small electronics, dry in a storm. Finally, having a strap layout that keeps the pack from bouncing around on the rider's back is essential.
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Updates: Removed discontinued products and updated links. Added FAQ and Additional Resources. May 2023
Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at Motorcycle.com. An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.
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