Investing in a good motorcycle backpack is essential if you’re planning on swapping your car for a motorcycle on your daily commute. In fact, a good pack will come in handy when you’re out on any pleasure cruise too. No matter what you’ve got to stow, or whatever environment you’re riding in, there’s a specially designed backpack out there to suit your needs. With so much choice on the market, which one do you choose? What brands should you be looking out for?
Luckily, we’ve put together a list of the best motorcycle backpack options out there, from small and lightweight models to larger, more heavy-duty bags. Every single bag on this list is worthy of your consideration, but since fitting everything into a small and compact bag isn’t as easy as throwing all your stuff in the trunk, you’ve got to think cleverly about what space you need and what you really need to pack. You don’t have to pack light if you’re armed with the right tool for the job, so here are the best motorcycle backpacks on the market that offer the best bang for buck and cleverest storage solutions!
What Is The Best Motorcycle Backpack On The Market?
#01. Ogio No Drag Mach 5 Backpack
Our favorite motorcycle backpack on the market has to be the OGIO No Drag Mach 5. It’s a beautifully designed backpack with an incredible aerodynamic shape that provides zero drag. The shot molded shape has minimal air resistance and is completely waterproof too. The outside is excellent, but the interior is just as interesting, with a large 24 liter storage compartment that has a padded laptop sleeve, room for a tablet, and even shoe storage! It has plenty of storage and it can be expanded and packed down depending on what you’re carrying. There are sternum and waist straps, as well as conventional shoulder straps for added comfort, with quick release buckles. Another cool bonus is a special helmet strap for carrying your helmet safely.
One of the most commented on features of this motorcycle backpack is just how incredibly waterproof it is. Even the hardest downpours won’t penetrate through the waterproof shell of this element-proof bag, keeping all your valuables safe and secure. Plus, there have been numerous reports of riders actually crashing while wearing one of these, and the goods inside (including laptops and other delicate items) emerged completely damage free. In fact, some riders have also insisted that the bag acts as an effective back protector, so that’s a nice added bonus. If you like this pack but want other options, the OGIO Mach 3 motorcycle backpack also gets good reviews, but we just happen to prefer the Mach 5 instead! It’s a seriously waterproof motorcycle backpack.
- Up to 24 liters of carrying capacity
- Expandable, weather-resistant shell
- Fleece lined interior with organizer panels
- Sleek aerodynamic design
- 1 year manufacturer’s warranty
#02. Shoei Backpack 2.0
Sleek, understated, and aerodynamic in design, the Shoei Backpack 2.0 is a smart and compact little bag that ticks almost all of the right boxes. At approximately 22 to 23 liters in volume, the Shoei 2.0 has ample storage space, with a wide range of pockets including a 17” laptop sleeve, side pockets with padded panels, a smart internal organizer to keep your electronics and small items in place, and side pockets with a stretch netting for a wide range of goods. What’s more, there’s a very useful three-point buckle flap/cradle helmet holding attachment to keep your lid safe when you’re not wearing it. There’s also reflective piping, and adjustable shoulder straps with chest and hip straps too to keep that bag snug to your back and closely fitted while you’re hammering through corners.
The major downside to this otherwise excellent motorcycle backpack is the fact that it isn’t waterproof. Buying an elastic outer shell to fit this wouldn’t be much of a hassle but ideally something like that should’ve been included by the manufacturer. Alternatively, you could go to town on it with a stick of waterproofing wax or a spray-on waterproofing agent. If you live in a dry climate though, or only want this for mild summer riding then it’s a worth option. Just a shame it isn’t waterproof. It seems like a massive oversight. Despite this, it has practical storage, is comfortable to wear, and looks the part.
- 22/23L carrying capacity
- Clever helmet holder for handsfree helmet carrying
- Padded pockets to keep your valuables safe and secure
- Adjustable, padded shoulder, chest and waist straps
- Overall weight of 2.2lbs
#03. SW Motech Triton 20L
If you’re in need of a motorcycle backpack that can really withstand the elements then the SW Motech Triton is what you need. Constructed from a tough waterproof shell with strong welded PVC seams and reflective, high-visibility piping, the Triton can seriously keep the rain out. The back of the bag is built around a comfortable and breathable molded back panel for a close fit to the rider’s back, with fully adjustable padded shoulder straps, and support straps for the chest and hips too. Inside, the backpack boasts a dedicated laptop pocket for computers with a 17” screen size, an easy access front pocket for smaller items, and a spacious 20L main pocket. With a series of compression straps on the exterior, compressing the pack down to a compact and aerodynamic package is no problem at all.
The only downside is that the actual interior space of the main compartment could’ve been designed a little better to make more use of the space, but this is a motorcycle backpack and not the trunk of a car, so anyone expecting to carry larger loads probably won’t be traveling by motorcycle anyway. All in all, it’s a great bag that can withstand the elements and offers more versatility and practicality than many others on the market, all for a fair price tag. It’s compact, tough, durable, and boasts some sleek and cool aesthetics too. Highly recommended.
- 20L carrying capacity
- Waterproof material with PVC welded features
- Accommodates laptops up to 17”
- Fully adjustable shoulder, chest, and waist straps
- Molded back cushioning for added comfort
#04. Alpinestars City Hunter Backpack
The aerodynamically appealing City Hunter backpack from Alpinestars is everything a competent motorcycle backpack should be: it’s lightweight, it’s durable, it’s rainproof, has plenty of storage, and it’s very comfortable to wear. Weighing in at just 2.2 lbs, this spacious backpack is made from tough but lightweight 420D nylon that’s reinforced with 420D rip-stop nylon for extra strength. The approximate storage capacity of this bag is about 25L which is plenty for commuting or day tripping motorcyclists, with separate compartments for a laptop computer, 2 large external waterproof pockets, and a large main compartment with an internal organizer that boasts a fleece lined sleeve for a smartphone or tablet. It’s a very practical and organized little bag.
The straps are also strong and sturdy, and comfortable on the shoulders. They’re fully adjustable with a simple tighten and loosen system to get the best fit for your shape. There straps also include a chest strap and a waist strap too. Overall, it’s an aerodynamic and aesthetically pleasing little backpack which has more storage space than you would expect. The only negative point is the price. While we really rate this backpack, it could be a little bit cheaper if truth be told. However, it is Alpinestars branded, and you do have to pay a premium for the brand name which is a bit of a shame. Apart from that, it’s hard to fault this little motorcycle backpack that does exactly what it advertises.
- 25L carrying capacity
- Lightweight 420D Nylon construction
- Rip proof Nylon reinforced bottom
- Fleece lined smartphone/tablet sleeve
- Shoulder, chest, and hip straps
#05. Nelson-Rigg CB-PK30 Black Compact Backpack
This inexpensive motorcycle backpack should be tucked away under every motorcyclist’s seat for emergencies! As the title suggest, the Nelson-Rigg CB-PK30 Black Compact Backpack is seriously compact. In fact, it’s small enough to pack down into little carry pouch that will genuinely fit into the palm of your hand. It’s small when you don’t need it, but when you do it offers an impressive 30 liters of storage space in a strong, durable, and incredibly lightweight package. What’s more, the CB-PK30 is designed to carry a full-face motorcycle helmet, making a great option for riders who have to carry their helmets with them.
Constructed from a durable Tri-Max nylon material with embroidery style stitching, the CB-PK30 is small, lightweight, and incredible portable. If you’re looking for a bargain backpack that folds down small enough to fit into your pocket or under your seat then this is an excellent choice. Since it’s a lightweight bag, it’s not going to be the best for carrying bulky or precious items on your ride. It’s not a great everyday bag, but it’s super useful for emergencies and for carrying light goods. It’s the price we like the most, and for the cost it’s totally worth having one of these tucked away for when you really need it.
- 30L storage space in a small, compact package
- Collapses small enough to fit in a pocket
- Ultra-lightweight but durable construction
- Full motorcycle helmet backpack
- 1-Year Warranty
#06. American Kargo Trooper
This motorcycle backpack from American Kargo is one of our favorites. It’s an excellent multi-purpose backpack that was designed to do everything. It’s larger than some of the other packs on this list but that’s one of its major strengths: it’s big and tough, can store a lot of stuff in it, and it’s ridiculously comfortable too. It features all that you’d expect and more, from the obvious things like interior and exterior pockets, laptop and tablet pockets, and space for a water bladder to more niche storage areas like a first aid kit pocket, a special place for goggles and other eyewear, and it also has a cool helmet fixture too.
Built from a solid PVC backed 600D fabric and held together with a sturdy and element-proof double needle seam construction, the American Kargo Trooper pack is as tough as they come. In terms of actual storage space, the bag boasts approximately 50 liters of usable storage, which is quite a lot. To help make the load manageable, the bag features a cool butterfly harness which boasts a series of adjustable straps that help take the weight off of your shoulders and neck, redistributing it across the chest and waist. The straps are complimented with quick release buckles and padded supports. The harness also allows for exceptional freedom of movement and increased functionality, which is very important when you’re on a motorcycle.
- 50L carrying capacity
- Exterior helmet storage
- Audi cable routing loops
- Special 4 way adjustable harness for increased comfort
- Reflective panels and high visibility piping
#07. Badass Moto Gear Travel Backpack
If you’re looking for a practical motorcycle bag that doubles up as a useful motorcycle helmet backpack, then this product from Badass Moto Gear is something you should definitely consider. This lightweight, tough and durable pack is a heavy duty motorcycle bag that has ample storage room, fully adjustable straps, a cool contoured and aerodynamic shape, and a special detachable mesh bag that can hold a full face motorcycle helmet too. While the helmet function is great, the rest of the bad boasts some exciting features too. This backpack boasts expandable mesh pockets, a vented accessory pocket, a padded laptop sleeve and a spacious and a cushioned main compartment that offers plenty of storage, with heavy duty loops on the exterior for you to attach other light luggage to.
Doubling up as a practical daypack for those who like to ride and hike, or ride and picnic, this bag features a number of pockets that are ideal for storing water bottles or trail mix in. This travel backpack is waterproof enough to withstand light showers but probably stand up to a heavy downpour, but even so, it’s a great accessory for any motorcyclist. It has a compact and aerodynamic shape, with straps that will comfortably fit almost any rider (even with gear on) and comes complete with reflective piping details for additional visibility at night. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a waist or sternum strap, which is a little disappointing, but overall it’s an excellent motorcycle backpack.
- Approximately 20 liters of storage space
- Multi-purpose backpack that can be used for a variety of tasks
- Detachable full face helmet bag and storage
- Padded laptop pocket
- Overall weight of 1.45 lbs
#08. OGIO International Throttle Pack
The International Throttle pack from OGIO is a tough and versatile piece of luggage that has been expertly designed to either be worn by a motorcyclist, or strapped down to the bike. It’s quite a large bag and has a bit of bulk to it, which is either a blessing or a curse depending on what you need it for. It can comfortably store a laptop (in a cool sub-divided pocket) along with other goods without much effort at all. That said, when its fully loaded it would’ve been nice for it to have a waist strap to help spread the load evenly, but it sadly doesn’t have one. That’s a small complaint though.
The bag itself is made from a fully waterproof ripstop polyester with a welded top roll arrangement, decorated with a reflective print for improved visibility at night. The polyester construction keeps the weight down and all in it weighs a very impressive 1.9 lbs. As for straps, the OGIO International Throttle Pack boasts comfortable, padded shoulder straps and a tough sternum strap, and also comes equipped with a smart strap containment system that keeps everything tied down and secure, with no straps flapping all over the place. One of our favorite features of this back is the fact that it was also designed to be strapped to a motorcycle, and comes with plenty of anchoring points and compression straps to keep your load as compact as possible.
- 9L (1700 Cubic Inches) of practical storage space
- Top loading entry to main compartment
- Specially designed fleece-lined laptop sleeve
- Tablet sleeve, phone pocket, with rain hood
- Two internal organization pockets
#09. Kriega R20 Backpack
The Kriega R20 is a versatile and practical motorcycle backpack that offers an adaptable fit, serious storage capabilities, and a compact and convenient package. It’s not one of the cheapest options on the list but the price is more than justified. The secret to the Kriega R20’s success lies in the bag’s special QUADLOC-lite harness system, which allows for a unique and almost-tailored fit to any rider’s body shape. The clever harness is also carefully angled away from areas that are usually susceptible to becoming uncomfortable, such as under the arms and on the shoulders. This special design allows for excellent freedom of movement, and totally secure storage that truly hugs the body.
The bag is made from 1000D Cordura with 420D nylon ripstop, and HYPALON abrasion resistant textile, with water-resistant YKK zippers, and reflective detailing. It’s easy access for gloved hands and offers a wide range of securing methods, including a waist strap. Other cool features include the ability to accommodate a back protector (CE level 2) or a camel pack hydration bladder. With 20 liters of useful and practical storage, wrapped up in a aesthetically pleasing package, the Kriega R20 is a backpack worth considering for daily bike commutes and more.
- 20L storage capacity
- Internal meshed pockets
- QUADLOC-lite harness for excellent freedom of movement
- Removable straps
- 10 year guarantee
#10. Viking Moto Motorcycle Backpack
Viking Bags sell some exceptional products, but our favorite motorcycle backpack is the Viking Moto Motorcycle Backpack. This product is built from tough and durable Cordura material and leather, partnered with reflective piping to keep you visible when riding in the dark. The bag itself has an aerodynamic design, and features a series of fully adjustable straps to keep it tight to your body, with shoulder, waist and chest straps. The backpack has two easy access side pockets for smaller storage, as well as a two larger compartments with ample storage-enough to fit a 15” laptop and other goods-and an internal organizer. There’s also a removable rain cover, an external D-ring, mounting straps, and a carrier handle.
The bag is comfortable and easy to wear, as well as being easy to put on and take off when wearing gloves and other protective gear. For the price, there are few downsides. One complaint that many owners have is the fact that it’s not particularly expandable, and the outer shell isn’t particularly pliable if you’re trying to pack something that doesn’t quite fit the standard dimensions. And it’s not the biggest bag in the world. That’s a small complaint, and a minor one at that. All in all, this is an excellent bag.
- 8L storage space for compact and aerodynamic stowage
- 15” laptop storage capacity
- Plenty of straps for excellent weight distribution
- Heavy duty Cordura construction
- Protective eyewear pocket
Bonus: OGIO Rev RSS
As a bonus, we have another OGIO motorcycle backpack. This one is a little different to the other OGIO offerings listed above but we thought we’d include it because it’s a great little bag and if you’re looking for something small, compact, practical, and from a brand you can trust you should give this one a look. It’s not a hard shell motorcycle backpack but it’s built from a heavy duty 840D junior ballistics poly material with 600D poly reinforcements, and comes with armored features that guarantee to keep your goods safe. For example, there’s a dedicated laptop compartment that can hold laptops of up to 17 inches, iFOM foam panels to protect the other pockets, and a crush proof Tech Vault pocket too. If you want to keep your electronics and other valuables safe, then this isn’t a bad choice.
In terms of rider comfort, there’s a very plush Hybrid Unibody Backpanel that cushion’s the riders back, fully-adjustable and extra-padded shoulder straps with a separate sternum strap to help find the best fit. It’s a little heavier than most of the other options on this list with an overall weight of 3.5 lbs, and it’s a little smaller than you might expect, but generally it’s a tough, durable, and reasonably weather-proof bag that is comfortable to wear, comes at an affordable price, and looks the part too. Other cool features include a neoprene grab handle, a quick access phone pocket, and zippered side utility pockets.
- Approximately 30L carrying capacity
- Armor protected laptop compartment
- Hybrid Unibody Backpanel (HUD) for added comfort
- Zippered external and internal pockets
- Adjustable shoulder and chest straps
Why You Should Use A Proper Motorcycle Backpack
Motorcycle-specific backpacks are expensive – there’s no escaping that fact. The price tags are pretty steep when compared to your regular run-of-the-mill backpacks. It’s tempting to sling one of those cheapies over your shoulder and call the job done, but the truth is that regular backpacks just don’t measure up to a specially-designed riding backpack. They’re flimsy, don’t provide adequate weight distribution and body support, they’re uncomfortable over long distances, don’t have any kind of aerodynamics, and many of them aren’t waterproof at all.
Motorcycle backpacks are built to be tough and sturdy, with enough durability to be man-handled over the top of thick protective clothing. They’re designed to be strong, but also with protective gear in mind, so they can fit nicely over the top, without riders having to perform any advanced acrobatics and body contortions to get them on and off!
Conventional backpacks aren’t designed for motorcycle riding body positions. They’re great for standing up and walking around, but when you’re sitting on a motorcycle, the weight of the pack needs to be distributed differently. A proper motorcycle backpack will take the weight off of your shoulders and neck and re-distribute it to the hips and back using clever straps and well-designed padding. This helps keeps you from getting fatigued, allowing you to concentrate on the road in front of you instead.
In truth, a lot of modern backpacks are waterproof…but not that waterproof. A regular backpack can withstand a bit of rain, but when you’re riding along through a downpour at 50 mph and over, you need something that can withstand some serious water. That’s why you need a motorcycle-specific pack, that’s waterproof in its own right, and also comes with a separate rain shell for heavy downpours too.
These are just a few of the reasons why investing a little more in a motorcycle backpack will pay dividends in the long run.
What To Look For In A Motorcycle Backpack
When you’re searching for a backpack for your motorcycle, there are a lot of factors to consider. If your bag’s uncomfortable then it’s an unwelcome distraction; if it can’t keep the water out then it’s useless; if looks like it will break after one use then there’s no point buying it; and if it doesn’t look great then you’ll never use it! Here are the top things you need to look out for when selecting a motorcycle backpack.
Like with anything that gets worn on the body, comfort is key. If you buy an uncomfortable backpack, every time you go for a ride wearing it is going to feel like punishment. Ideally, you’re going to want a backpack that hugs your body nicely, equally spreading the load of whatever you’re carrying, pressing it tightly against your body without flapping around everywhere. Aerodynamics are very useful, particularly for sports bike riders, and a nice refined shape with plenty of straps to keep everything nice and close is what you really need. Also, you want something that you can take on and off easily without getting caught up in the straps. Finally, you want it to feel good when you wear it – if it’s uncomfortable, it will affect your riding ability! You don’t want to get distracted by flapping straps, bad weight distribution, or neck and back pain.
Being fully exposed to the elements is one of the benefits of riding a motorcycle: you can feel the wind rushing past you and the sun beating down on you. It’s great! But it also means that you’ll get rained on. Getting your body wet is one thing, but getting your stuff wet is twice as annoying – and that’s why it’s a wise idea to invest in a waterproof motorcycle backpack. Depending on your locale, you might be able to get away with a water-resistant bag, but if heavier downpours are a regular feature of your ride then you may want to search for a fully waterproof bag, with tough water-resistant zippers and fixings, with additional waterproof shells, and special seams. If you want to battle the weather, you’d better use the right gear for the job.
Similarly, you’re also going to want a motorcycle backpack that’s tough enough to handle whatever task you set it. Are you in need of a heavy duty bag to carry a serious bit of weight at speeds up and down the highway every day? Or do you need something that only has to carry a packed lunch to and from work which is only a mile or two across town? There’s a backpack out there designed and built for every kind of situation imaginable – but it’s up to you to do the research to get the one that suits you best. There’s no point splashing out on a heavy duty bag that can’t be destroyed by conventional weapons if you just need something to stick a Thermos and a sandwich in.
Naturally, you’re going to want to buy a motorcycle backpack that you actually like the look of. If you don’t like the way something looks, then you’re not going to wear it and it’s going to have been a huge waste of money. Similarly, if you’re hunting for a bag to head to work with you might benefit from something with muted tones and a more professional look. Obviously it all depends on where you work and if you care what your boss or co-workers think of you. Some workplaces like to see their employees arrive looking ready for business, so consider that if you’re looking for a motorcycle backpack to wear to and from work.
It’s all very well looking at a backpack and weighing up the pros and cons of how it looks, feels, and how well it can keep the elements out, but if doesn’t have the storage space you need, or the right kind of storage space, then it’s a useless thing. What do we mean by that? Well, let’s say you work in an office and need to bring a laptop in with you every day. If there’s no laptop sleeve inside the bag you want to buy, then it won’t be any good to you. Do you need one big storage area for big items or lots of little ones to keep things separate? These are important things to consider when purchasing a new motorcycle backpack.
The storage space is one thing, but the way you wear it is also something else to think about. Do you want straps that go over one shoulder? Would you prefer Velcro straps or buckles? What about big zippers for ease of access when you’re wearing your gloves? If it’s a bag that you’re going to be taking off and on regularly throughout the day, you’ll want it to be easy to put on and take off – preferably without you requiring someone else’s help or making a fool of yourself in the process. Food for thought!
Again, these bags aren’t cheap. Good motorcycle gear never is. To take the sting out of spending all of that money, it’s worth searching for a bag that does everything you want it to do and more! Since you’re spending money, you want the best bang for your buck, right? So let’s say you want a bag that can take you and your laptop to work Monday to Friday, then you might as well search for something that has enough versatility to transform into grocery carrier for that quick outing on Saturday morning, and maybe to slide a camel-pack and a few snacks into for your big Sunday ride too? Finding a motorcycle backpack that can perform a wide range of tasks is the best way to get a great return on your investment!
Motorcycle Riding Backpack FAQs
Q: How To Mount A Backpack On A Motorcycle?
A: If you’re wondering how to carry a backpack on a motorcycle, then the answer is to carry it on your back! However, if you’re wondering how to strap a backpack to a motorcycle, then the best way is to use a bungee cord to tether your backpack down to the back part of your seat, using whatever mounting points are available, from the passenger bar and other fixed lugs you can find. A properly secured load shouldn’t be able to move independently from the motorcycle, not even a bit.
Q: Is A Waterproof Motorcycle Backpack Actually Waterproof?
A: Defining “waterproof” can be tricky. Almost all bags can successfully withstand a light shower unless stated otherwise, but when it comes to heavy downpours even the most “waterproof” bags can let water in. Real waterproof bags will be made out of special materials and will feel like the kind of bags that ocean divers use. Those are great options if you’re looking for a truly waterproof bag.
Q: Are Motorcycle Backpacks Safe?
A: Yes, and no. Unfortunately, no two motorcycle accidents are the same and there have been times when a motorcyclist has sustained further injuries by wearing a backpack, but there have also been times when wearing a backpack has helped prevent riders from sustaining serious injuries. Generally, most paramedics will advise against wearing anything that could become a further complication. Most modern bag manufacturers have taken this on board and designed bags with sturdy back protectors that should avoid complications in an accident. If you’re still worried, we recommend getting a motorcycle backpack that you can easily strap down to the seat instead.
Q: Can I Wear A Backpack With A Pillion?
A: You could, but it won’t be comfortable for the pillion, or that safe either. If you have a backpack and you’re taking a passenger, it’s better to let your pillion wear it instead.
Q: Can I Wear Any Backpack On My Motorcycle?
A: Yes, you can. There’s absolutely nothing stopping you from wearing any old backpack on your back while you ride your motorcycle but you will definitely benefit from wearing a properly designed motorcycling backpack instead. Regular backpacks don’t offer the right kind of back protection, aerodynamic shaping, strap tethering controls, or motorcycle-specific weatherproofing than you’d find with a proper motorcycle product. Comfort is key, really. A properly designed bag with the correct weight distribution and straps with padding in the right places will drastically improve your riding comfort and overall ride experience. If there’s a correct product for the job that retails for a reasonable price, why not use it?
If you’re looking for the best motorcycle backpack, then we highly recommend the OGIO No Drag Mach 5 backpack. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing and wonderfully designed, but it also offers impressive aerodynamics, ample storage space, comfortable and adjustable straps, and of course, it’s incredibly waterproof. Those are just a few of the highlights of this exceptional bag, but it’s the combination of comfort, weatherproofing, and all ‘round practicality that gives the OGIO No Drag Mach 5 the edge, and what makes it the best motorcycle backpack currently available in our opinion.