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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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.
- Best OverallViking Moto Motorcycle BackpackSummarySummaryThis backpack is aerodynamic, audio-ready, and has a padded compartment to fit most 15-inch laptops. It has an adjustable sternum strap, reflective piping, numerous pockets, and extra-strength buckles.ProsProsThis backpack is heavy-duty, very comfortable, and has no wind drag at high speeds. It comes with a waterproof cover for inclement weather as well as a helmet holder.ConsConsThe backpack is a little stiff and may be too small for some people. The straps may break, and it may not fit well on larger individuals.
- Best ValueAXO Red Commuter BackpackSummarySummaryThis backpack is made of heavy-duty nylon and has a spacious inner pocket for holding a helmet. It features side mesh pockets for extra storage and adjustable straps for extra security.ProsProsYou can fit a full-face helmet or 15-inch laptop in this backpack. It's lightweight, and the straps are thick enough so it's comfortable to wear on long-distance rides.ConsConsThe straps may be too short for some people, and the front strap, when buckled, can be a little tight. Also, it does not have many pockets nor reflective piping.
- Honorable MentionOGIO No Drag Mach 5 BackpackSummarySummaryThis 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.ProsProsThis backpack features numerous compartments for organizing your belongings. It does a great job of keeping your contents dry when it rains, and the carbon fiber shell provides a sleek look.ConsConsThe waist strap is in an awkward position and may cause issues with a thick jacket. The shell may be prone to dents, and it may be uncomfortable with a big load.
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 2019
Best Motorcycle Backpack Overall: Viking Moto Motorcycle Backpack
This aerodynamic, audio-ready backpack is constructed of heavy-duty Cordura. Its padded compartment fits most 15-inch laptops, and it also features a protective eyewear pocket and organizer for your wallet, keys, and other smaller items. It also features reflective piping for nighttime visibility and Duraflex buckles for added strength.
The backpack is geared towards the commuter rider. It's heavy-duty, features multiple interior and exterior pockets, and is so comfortable you almost forget that it's on. The backpack is form-fitting and has no wind drag at high speeds. The adjustable straps keep it fitted to your body and prevent it from catching the wind. It comes with a waterproof cover and a helmet holder that straps on the back.
One problem is the zippers on the sides don't zip all the way down, so the pocket doesn't open up completely. There have also been complaints that it's a little stiff, the bag is a little small, and the straps may break. In addition, it may not fit well on larger individuals.
Best Motorcycle Backpack Value: AXO Red Commuter Backpack
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.
Best Motorcycle Backpack Honorable Mention: OGIO No Drag Mach 5 Backpack
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 has an extra visor compartment, reflective piping, and a body-conforming shoulder gasket. It comes hydration ready.
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 carbon fiber woven shell provides a sleek look.
One downside is the waist belt is in an awkward position, which may cause a problem if you wear a thick leather jacket. In addition, the shell of the backpack may be prone to dents and scratches, and the main compartment is a little small for some. Also, it may be uncomfortable with a heavy load.
- 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 Viking Moto Motorcycle Backpack. It's aerodynamic and has a waterproof cover and a helmet holder. It fits most 15-inch laptops, has adjustable straps, and there’s no wind drag at high speeds.
For a less expensive option, consider the AXO Red Commuter Backpack.
Let us know your favorites in the comments below.