LAST UPDATED: June 26, 2019
Best Motorcycle Backpacks: The Perfect Bags For Carrying All Your Gear
The top motorcycle backpacks for traveling near and far for work or play
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON June 26, 2019
When you travel on a motorcycle, storage can be a problem, particularly if you don't have saddlebags. The solution is using a backpack specifically designed for motorcycle riders. We did the research, and our buyer’s guide narrows down the best bags on the market. That way, you can spend less time searching for the perfect backpack and more time on the open road.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Motorcycle Backpacks
- They're designed for riding. The best motorcycle backpack is constructed to be as comfortable as possible when you're in a riding position. It also distributes weight more evenly on your body. In addition, they are designed to cope with the elements and many types of weather conditions.
- They're aerodynamic. An aerodynamic motorcycle backpack is designed to reduce drag when you're riding. Nothing's worse than wearing a regular backpack and feeling it tug against your body as you’re cruising down the highway.
- They're practical. If you have a smaller bike without saddlebags, you need something to carry your stuff. Motorcycle backpacks are versatile and can be used for other purposes, including camping and hiking.
- They’re protective. Many motorcycle backpacks feature a padded back panel. Not only does that make wearing them more comfortable, but they also provide a bit of protection in an accident. They have the potential to reduce back injuries in a crash.
Types of Backpacks
There are hundreds of backpacks on the market, and they are geared towards different purposes. Those for general purposes tend to be less expensive than high-quality, motorcycle-specific backpacks. General-use backpacks are typically not designed to be used over protective riding gear and aren’t always water-resistant. They are also designed to carry the weight on the neck and shoulders, which can be uncomfortable for motorcyclists.
Some motorcycle backpacks are intended for commuters who need to carry laptops, iPads, books, papers, and other supplies to and from work or school. A motorcycle commuter backpack should be waterproof, windproof, and have extra padding to protect your belongings. They should also be compact, durable, and easy to carry, whether you're on or off the bike.
A motorcycle touring backpack is tailored towards people who do a lot of long-distance traveling. If you plan on riding across the country, you need a backpack that's big enough to hold a lot of stuff. These types of bags usually have more storage compartments, side pockets, and additional features compared to other types of backpacks.
If you're the type of rider who does motocross or travels frequently on rough or uneven terrain, you will need a rugged backpack that can withstand a lot of bumps and impact. Certain motorcycle backpacks come with extra reinforcements for added protection. They tend to be on the smaller side.
Shoei built its first motorcycle helmet in 1959, and still today every helmet is handmade in Japan. The company also produces backpacks and other equipment geared towards motorcyclists. One recommended product is the Shoei Backpack 2.0.
AXO is from the Italian word "asso", which means “ace” or “the winner.” The "ss" was changed to "X" because the company’s first products were MX boots. The company launched in 1978 and is based in Santa Clarita, Calif., and it designs apparel, footwear, and accessories for motorsport and cycle riding. One top product is the AXO Red Commuter Backpack.
OGIO designs bags, accessories, and apparel for the golf, motorsports and endurance categories. It was acquired by Callaway Golf Company, based in Carlsbad, Calif., in 2017. One popular product is the OGIO No Drag Mach 5 Backpack.
Viking bags was founded in 2007 and is based in Los Angeles, Calif. The company exclusively produces motorcycle saddlebags, tank bags, and backpacks. One of its top products is the Viking Moto Motorcycle Backpack.
Nelson-Rigg USA, Inc. is based in Santa Ana, Calif. The company has been producing motorcycle covers, luggage, and apparel since 1972. One popular product is the Nelson-Rigg Compact Backpack.
Motorcycle Backpack Pricing
- Less than $20: You can spend very little on a motorcycle backpack, but you will get what you pay for. Typically, bags in this price range are foldable and are made of extremely lightweight materials. They have few features and usually have no pockets or padded protection.
- $20-$50: If you spend a little more money, you'll get a motorcycle backpack that has a few more features and is a bit more durable and versatile.
- $50-$200: Many motorcycle backpacks fall in this price range. They come in a variety of styles and designs and are intended for different types of riders. You can find bags for street bike riders, sport bike riders, and others who seek multiple pockets, helmet holders, padded protection for electronics, and other features.
The most important characteristic when choosing the best motorcycle backpack is one that can withstand the elements. A motorcycle rucksack should be very durable and made of high-quality materials. The stitching should be strong, and the zippers should have an anti-corrosion coating. The best backpacks for motorcycle riding will protect your belongings in a variety of conditions if they’re well made.
The average backpack is not intended to withstand a lot of pressure from the wind. Even on a calm day, the wind can be very strong when you’re riding a motorcycle, particularly at high speeds. The best motorcycle backpack will retain its shape, conform tightly to your back, and have minimal wind drag.
- Fit: In order to make sure that a small or large motorcycle backpack fits correctly, choose one that has adjustable straps for the shoulders. If you can, select one that also has waist and chest straps that you can tighten or loosen as necessary. This will ensure that it stays snugly against your body.
- Comfort: This is important because cool motorcycle backpacks are useless if they don't feel comfortable when you're riding. Also, you won’t use a backpack if it doesn’t feel right. Wide, padded shoulder straps prevent a motorcycle backpack from cutting into your neck, and padding on the part of the pack that rests against your back is also helpful.
- Weight: A large or small motorcycle backpack should be very lightweight. The more items you put inside of it, the heavier it will be, causing additional strain on your back. The backpack should also distribute weight as evenly as possible. You don't want it to throw you off balance and compromise safety.
- Capacity: There's a balance when it comes to selecting the best motorcycle backpack. It must be large enough to hold your gear but small enough to have a relatively low profile. Most backpacks are categorized by liters. For example, 10- to 20-liter backpacks are on the smaller side, while those over 30 liters are probably too large to carry comfortably on a motorcycle.
- Waterproofing: The obvious benefit of waterproof motorcycle backpacks is that they keep your belongings dry. Some types of motorcycle backpacks also come with rain covers to prevent water from seeping through. Either way, a waterproof backpack will keep your materials from getting soaked in bad weather, such as a torrential rainstorm.
- Versatility: Every rider has different needs. You may want a backpack for city riding or you may need one to withstand off-road conditions. If you require a bag that can adapt between short rides and longer trips, select a brand that is versatile and can serve more than one purpose.
Best Motorcycle Backpack Reviews & Recommendations 2020
This backpack carries all the essentials you need for riding and other activities. It has a pocket for your goggles as well as a removable, water-resistant tool pack. It's big enough to hold small or medium-sized laptops and features reflective material for visibility. It also has race-inspired shoulder straps and side straps.
This bag is great for enduro riding. It's not too bulky and is just the right size. The zipper pullers are glove-friendly, and the bag is made of heavy-duty nylon. It is also compatible with a three-liter hydrapak. It doesn't have a waist belt, but it fits great, feels secure, and allows very good freedom of movement on your bike.
One downside is the water bladder isn't included. Also, the compartment on the front will fit some phones, but devices larger than a standard iPhone 6 or 7 probably won't fit in that pocket. It is also a little on the expensive side.
This backpack is made of heavy-duty nylon and has a spacious inner pocket that can hold a helmet. It features side mesh pockets for extra storage for items such as a water bottle as well as adjustable straps for extra security. It comes in black, red, and blue.
The biggest benefit of this backpack is it can hold a full-face helmet or a smaller helmet along with extra clothes in its large compartment. It can also fit a 15-inch backpack inside. It's lightweight, made of strong material, and the straps are thick enough so it's comfortable to wear on long-distance rides. It feels stable and sits high on your back. While it's not waterproof, it does keep a lot of moisture from seeping through.
One problem is the straps may be slightly too short for some people, and the front strap, when buckled, can be a little tight. Also, it does not have a lot of pockets nor reflective piping. There have also been some complaints that the zippers break over time.
This backpack has a pocket for shoes, a helmet carry strap, a fleece-lined electronics pocket, a protective compartment for laptops up to 15 inches, and is very aerodynamic. The bag is weather-resistant and features adjustable and ergonomic, padded shoulder straps. It also a body-conforming shoulder gasket.
This commuter bag has a good amount of space and is also expandable. It features lots of compartments for organizing a variety of items. In addition, it opens from the opposite side of a typical backpack, so if it comes unzipped while riding, items won't fall out easily. When it rains, the backpack does a great job of keeping your contents dry. Also, the streamlined single-shot molded exterior provides a sleek look.
Although you can utilize the available space to the fullest, the backpack is still very compact. Those who are always bringing some extra stuff on their drives might find it too small for their needs. The inner compartments are also a little snug. You'll be able to fit a 15-inch laptop, but not without some effort.
If you're looking for a versatile backpack you can use on daily commutes as well as short trips, the Ogio one might be ideal for you. It's a rugged item built to last and protect your belongings. Thanks to the integrated foam panels, you'll be able to store electronics and other valuables and transport them anywhere with the highest protection.
The Ogio backpack is made of polyester and provides a lot of storage space. This model is actually one of the largest on our list, with many compartments and pockets for your essentials. There are even outside pockets with a quick-access design. Furthermore, the backpack features padded shoulder straps you can adjust for ultimate comfort.
The thing to keep in mind before the purchase, though, is the size of the laptop compartment. Despite the product description stating that the compartment can accommodate a 17-inch laptop, the truth is just the opposite. Also, the stitching is not very durable. It might wear out rather quickly, depending on the weight of loads and the level of daily abuse.
A tactical backpack is always a good choice for motorcycle drivers because it provides a high level of protection. This particular model from Crazy Ants is designed to withstand demanding conditions and protect your belongings at all times. It's waterproof and extremely durable, especially considering the budget-friendly price.
Several other things make this backpack very attractive for motorcycle drivers. First of all, the large storage space allows for storing a lot of stuff, from shoes to chargers. Secondly, the padded back panel and cushioned straps ensure comfort during long rides. The extra features such as carry handles, external pockets, and molle webbing also add to the user-friendly design.
You'll still have to make some compromises for the price. For example, the zippers are not of the best quality and come off easily. You'll probably need to replace them after a couple of uses. Also, the waist strap can't be removed, which is a drawback because it might be too tight for some people.
A stylish and functional motorcycle backpack is hard to find, especially at a low price. Luckily, MotoCentric offers just the one to meet the needs of bikers who are on a limited budget. This particular model is designed for outdoor use and ensures comfortable rides at all times.
The thing that makes this backpack unique and favored among users is the multi-functional design. Both internal and external sides can be used according to needs and situations. There are also several convenient compartments and pockets you can use to store your 14-inch laptop, clothing, shoes, and all kinds of small items.
We also love the extra padded back—it provides the needed comfort and keeps the backpack in place during rides. The breathable fabric also prevents sweating and protects belongings against water. On top of that, there's a reflective strip on the exterior to keep you visible and safe on the road.
However, we recommend double-checking the backpack dimensions before the purchase. It turns out to be smaller than expected, so you might be unsatisfied with the load capacity. When it comes to the overall design, the only issue we noticed is the lack of smoothness in zippers. They are difficult to open and close, although they should soften a little bit after some time.
Although not primarily designed for motorcycle riders, this backpack is still one of our top choices within the category. Because of the lightweight design, the item proves to be ideal for daily commutes. Among other things, it improves aerodynamics, enhances safety on the road, and features a compact and stylish design. You can even choose a perfect model from several available colors.
The backpack is made from high-quality polyester and can withstand heavy use and harsh outdoor conditions. The material is weather-resistant and quite durable, making the backpack ideal for motorcycle drivers. Overall, the item proves to be spacious and has many pockets for better organization. It also features a padded and breathable back panel for high airflow and more comfort during use. The shoulder straps are padded and wide enough not to dig into the skin.
You'll notice only a couple of minor issues with this backpack. The main one regards the zippers—they are very stiff and difficult to move. The two other issues regard the overall design of the backpack. Because it’s lightweight, the item falls over easily, and the straps are too thin to enhance durability.
Offering the aerodynamic profile and compact design, this backpack already meets the two major needs of motorcycle drivers. With it, you'll be able to drive safely and comfortably, knowing that all your items are protected. Thanks to the rugged exterior shell and thick inner lining, water, dirt, and other threats can't damage your stored stuff.
However, that's not all there is to the Alpinestars backpack. The item features a unique design to keep you comfy during rides. The anatomical shoulder straps and quick-release system allow for full adjustments, and the back padding distributes weight evenly. All of this reduces the stress on your back and shoulders, allowing you to carry heavier loads without experiencing discomfort.
You'll still have to add quite some cash to get the Alpinestars backpack. Although we highly support the investment, some people will have to opt for inexpensive alternatives. We also find that the zippers should be better designed for the price. They are fragile and break easily.
- If you plan on carrying a laptop or other electronic devices in your motorbike backpack, buy one with padded tech protection that will prevent the devices from jostling around too much. These items are expensive, and you’ll want to keep them fully functioning.
- If you carry a lot of small items, choose a bag with multiple pockets. Exterior pockets are also helpful if you want easy access to gear that you use often.
- Some bags are expandable and are geared towards bikers who carry larger items. You can keep it small some of the time and only make it bigger when you need to.
Q: Are motorcycle backpacks safe?
A: They are safe if they adhere tightly to your back and evenly distribute the weight inside. If it's uncomfortable or improperly secured, a backpack may become a distraction, thus compromising safety.
Q: What can I carry in my motorcycle backpack?
A: That's a personal preference and depends on the size of the bag. At the very least, you should be able to carry your wallet, registration details, and some extra clothes. The bigger the bag, the more you can fit inside it.
Q: Can I wear a backpack while riding with a passenger?
A: It's not a good idea. If possible, your passenger should wear a backpack. Otherwise, it may cause a problem in the event of a collision. It is also not that comfortable to have a backpack jammed between you and a passenger.
Q: Do I need a backpack if I have saddlebags?
A: Saddlebags can fill up rather quickly with essentials, such as a first aid kit or extra helmet, and you may want a backpack for added convenience. If you don't want to leave valuables in your saddlebags or want to carry some of your things around when you get off your bike, a backpack is a good solution.
Our pick for the best motorcycle backpack is the KLIM Nac Pak. It's large enough to fit a medium-sized laptop and is compatible with a three-liter hydrapak. It also fits really well and allows you to have decent freedom of movement when you're riding.
For a less expensive option, consider the AXO Red Commuter Backpack.