Best Motorcycle Backpacks: The Perfect Bags For Carrying All Your Gear
The top motorcycle backpacks for traveling near and far for work or play
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED 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.
Made out of top-quality materials, this waterproof backpack has a specific compartment for helmet holding. Doubling as a hydration backpack, it lets you carry all the supplies you could need for a long ride.
- Features an integrated MOLLE system
- Can hold up to two liters of water
- Zippers made out of high-grade alloy material
- Zippers don’t have waterproof protection
- Black color takes on heat quickly
- Buckles can collect debris and moisture
Accommodating up to 28 litres of contents, this polyester backpack features quality zippers and a comprehensive molle system. With a waist belt setup and padded straps, it makes biking comfortable.
- Clever structure distributes weight evenly
- Resistant to damage to the seam from overfilling
- Comes at an affordable price
- Lacks a helmet compartment leaving you to use MOLLE or buckles
- Fabric is water-resistant rather than waterproof
This aerodynamic backpack has a shoe pocket, helmet carry strap, fleece-lined electronics pocket, and a protective compartment for laptops up to 15 inches. It's weather-resistant and features adjustable and ergonomic padded shoulder straps.
- Multiple compartments for easy organization
- Keeps the contents of the backpack dry
- Streamlined molding technology adds precision to overall structure
- Compact design is poorly suited to those packing multiple items
- Tight luggage compartment risks damage to the seams
- Pockets aren’t elastic enough
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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.
A brand exclusively focused on moto parts, JFG Racing has an impressive background. It falls under the umbrella of the Yongkang WeiSen Trade Company, its repertoire extends from marketing to tech to customer service. JFG is the motorcycle-focused arm of this company, with its high-quality manufacturing and reliable supply chain drawing a broad audience. Among its best-reputed products is the JFG Racing Motorcycle Backpack.
Established in 1986, Mardingtop Outdoor Equipment Company is based out of Canton, China. Producing a wide range of luggage supplies, it may not be the most prevalent brand, but its quality is worth noting. All the designs are sturdy, rugged, and built to weather the harsh environments to which motorcycles are exposed. Currently, the company is pivoting its attention into the international arena by retailing its gear through trusted suppliers. A success story is the Mardingtop 28-Litre Motorcycle Backpack, a popular option that purportedly works well and is very durable.
Owned and operated by Callaway Golf, OGIO was absorbed by this well-established company in 2017. Since that time, it has used the OGIO name to design, manufacture, and supply apparel for a more rugged audience. It offers everything from travel bags to motorcycle backpacks, with each selection focused on durability and timeless appeal. Among its top selections is the OGIO Adult No Drag Mach Three 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 2021
- 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.
Now that you know the finer points of picking out the best motorcycle backpacks, you can make your choice. It could be the spacious, rugged design of the Seibertron Waterproof Molle Motorcycle Storage Backpack, ideal for long trips. Alternatively, you could opt for savings and check out the Mardingtop 28-Liter Motorcycle Backpack, an affordable model with ample value.