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Best Motorcycle Backpacks: Take More Stuff With You

Take everything you need with you in a portable and comfortable motorcycle backpack.

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BYAndra DelMonico/ LAST UPDATED ON July 20, 2022

The struggle of taking things with you on a motorcycle ride is real, it unites all of us, and a motorcycle backpack is the solution. Sure, you could add saddlebags, but then you can’t easily bring your belongings with you when you get off. Plus, they change the look of your bike. A motorcycle backpack gives you complete freedom and makes it easy to bring everything you need in a portable bag. Whether you are like me and need a waterproof backpack for your laptop or planning your next great wilderness adventure, there is a backpack perfect for your storage needs. I’ve created this list of backpacks that will make your life easier with padded electronic pockets, waterproofing, ergonomic strap design, and hydration bladder compatibility.

Best Overall

Kriega R22 Backpack

Summary
This rugged backpack is a part of a larger luggage system and delivers maximum comfort and storage capacity.
Pros
  • Quadloc-Lite harness
  • Air-mesh back panel
Cons
  • No protection 
  • No padded pocket for laptop
Best Budget

Cortech Super 2.0 Backpack

Summary
This affordable backpack gives you a little bit of everything, making it versatile for various ride styles.
Pros
  • Locking zipper
  • Waterproof pocket
Cons
  • Limited strap adjustability 
  • Small laptop pocket
Honorable Mention

Ogio No Drag Mach 5 Backpack

Summary
This aerodynamic hard shell backpack is perfect for those looking to reduce drag while protecting sensitive electronics.
Pros
  • Aerodynamic molded exterior
  • Expansion zippered gusset
Cons
  • No waist or chest straps 
  • Can feel rigid
Best Motorcycle Backpacks: Take More Stuff With You

Summary List 

Best Overall: Kriega R22 Backpack

Honorable Mention: Ogio No Drag Mach 5 Backpack

Best with Hydration Pack: USWE Core 25 Daypack

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Our Methodology

I have worn a non-motorcycle backpack while riding, and it became painfully obvious I had made the wrong choice. I do not want you to make the same mistake. You should be able to depend on and trust that the team behind The Drive has been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. So just like our list of the best motorcycle helmet locks, I looked for the best motorcycle backpacks. I focused on brands that value performance and think about more than just looks. First, I focused on essential features like waterproofing, adjustable stabilizing harness, durable zippers, ergonomic strap design, and capacity. Then I narrowed down top picks by looking at ride style features like rugged adventure-ready construction, electronics pockets, aerodynamics, and hydration bladder compatibility.

Best Motorcycle Backpack Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Capacity: 22 liters
  • Material: 420D Cordura and nylon ripstop
  • Straps: Chest and waist

Pros

  • Quadloc-Lite harness
  • Waterproof
  • Capacity for a 17-inch laptop
  • Air-mesh back panel

Cons

  • No small external pockets
  • No padded pocket for laptop

Designed by riders for riders, this is not a casual backpack; it is a virtually indestructible backpack and luggage system. This 22-liter backpack is nicely sized and large enough to hold a 17-inch laptop. Its harness is designed to move the bag's weight to your chest, sternum, and waist, reducing fatigue by keeping the weight off of your shoulders. Everything is fully adjustable, which is a must for getting that custom fit for maximum comfort. The roll-top bag is waterproof and comes with a removable internal tape-seamed liner. I love that this bag is part of the US-Drypack line by Kriega, so you can attach additional bags to this one for more luggage storage if needed on a longer ride. My only complaint is that there is no specific padded or lined pocket for your laptop, so you are just shoving it in the main compartment. There is also a lack of small external pockets for quick access to smaller items like your wallet, keys, and sunglasses.

Specs

  • Capacity: 14 liters
  • Material: 1680D ballistic polyester and 1800D three-lined twill Jacquard fabric
  • Straps: Chest and waist

Pros

  • Automatic locking zippers
  • Waterproof internal pocket
  • Laptop pocket
  • Mesh padded back pad

Cons

  • Limited strap adjustability
  • Small laptop pocket

If you are not looking to make a considerable investment, this affordable backpack is an excellent option for both men and women. The lower placement of the chest strap makes it more comfortable for a broader range of body and chest types. The locking zippers help to keep it closed and prevent flapping while riding. Unlike other backpacks at this price point, this one is hydration bladder compatible. There is even a built-in sip tube/headphone port. The back panel has mesh padding to improve air circulation and keep you feeling cool, helping it to feel more comfortable in warmer climates. There is an included padded helmet house, freeing up your hands when you're off the bike. Finally, I like that there is an internal organizer inside the main compartment and external pockets for quick access. Unfortunately, limited strap adjustability makes this backpack uncomfortable for some people. The laptop pocket is also small, making it not large enough for laptops larger than 14 inches.

Specs

  • Capacity: 20.54 liters when expanded
  • Material: PU shell, 840D Jr. Ballistic Nylon, and 420D poly
  • Straps: Shoulder

Pros

  • Aerodynamic molded exterior
  • Fleece lined smartphone pocket
  • Expansion zippered gusset
  • Body conforming shoulder gasket

Cons

  • No waist or chest straps
  • Can feel rigid

This aerodynamic PU hard shell backpack reduces drag, making it an ideal choice for those on a sport bike with a leaned forward riding position. It is designed to be smaller without sacrificing internal storage capacity. I like that it opens from the back panel, giving you added urban security by preventing access to the compartments while wearing it. The molded outer shell is weather resistant, and there are multiple fleece lined pockets to protect your smartphone and other electronics. There are plenty of internal compartments, making it a good option for commuters looking to stay organized. An expansion gusset gives you more storage when needed. In addition, you will find that the ergonomic shaping of the back panel and shoulder straps help them conform to your body. I wish that this backpack came with a chest or waist strap, as only having shoulder straps can put extra pressure on your shoulders when the backpack is fully loaded. The hardshell design can also feel rigid on your back, which takes some getting used to.

Specs

  • Capacity: 50 liters
  • Material: 1000D abrasion resistant fabric
  • Straps: Chest

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Tuck-away duffle handles
  • Motorcycle tie down anchor points
  • Torso size adjustment cam lock system

Cons

  • It can be awkward to wear when fully loaded
  • Lack of stabilizing body straps

This is not just a duffle bag; it is an extra large carry-all with bomb-proof construction. Designed by outdoor enthusiasts who have joined the moto world, this bag comes with the best of both worlds, making it the perfect bag to take you beyond the edge of civilization. The entire bag is waterproof, including the zipper. Lining the zippers are stretch panels to prevent a busted open zipper when the backpack is fully loaded. A back panel is hydration pack compatible, but you'll need to purchase the bladder separately. The shoulder and sternum straps are completely adjustable, so small to large riders can comfortably wear this backpack. If you choose to strap it down to your bike’s luggage rack, it comes with tie downs and reinforced anchor points. And Managing Editor Jonathon Klein swears by his own Velomacchi bag. There are smaller bags on this list with more stabilizing straps than this bag. For the size of this bag, I would expect more than a small sternum strap connecting the shoulder straps. In addition, the length of this bag can make it awkward to wear on some bikes.

Specs

  • Capacity: 18 liters
  • Material: 420D Cordura
  • Straps: Chest and waist

Pros

  • Quad Loc-Lite harness
  • Air-mesh back panel
  • Hydration reservoir compatible
  • Roll top main compartment

Cons

  • The large compartment is set away from the body
  • No sternum adjustability

I am a sucker for anything neon, so I love the bright yellow and orange color options. However, this eye-catching backpack also comes in an all black version for those who prefer subtly. This bag is rugged and ready for any adventure. While this model is 18 liters, there is also a smaller 9-liter model. The roll-top design of the main compartment means you can take it through a monsoon, and your stuff will stay dry. A separate compartment is hydration bladder ready, but you will have to purchase that separately. This backpack is overkill for city riding but has the features you need for adventure riding. There are YKK heavy duty zippers, an external Hypalon net, removable waist strap, Quad Loc-Lite harness, and internal waterproof electronics pockets. Unfortunately, there are some design flaws. The first is the placement of the large main compartment. This is where you'll put the heaviest stuff, yet it is not placed against the body, creating more pull on the shoulders when loaded down. The sternum strap has no stretch or adjustability, so it'll be tight on those with a bigger or broader chest.

Specs

  • Capacity: 25 liters
  • Material: Ripstop nylon and webbing
  • Straps: Chest and waist

Pros

  • No Dancing Monkey and Snug Me harness system
  • Tool organizer pocket
  • Adjustable back plate
  • Hydration bladder compatible up to three liters

Cons

  • Hydration bladder sold separately
  • Stiff back panel design

Stay hydrated on any length of adventure with the best of the best. A group of enduro riders founded USWE in Sweden, and you can see their experience in the details of this backpack. A No Dancing Monkey 2.1 and Snug-Me harness system keeps the backpack securely on your back. There are a ton of small pockets and compartments everywhere you look to keep you organized and everything within a moment's reach. Standout features are the padded goggle, tool organizer, and phone pockets. An internal hook lets you use a hydration bladder up to three liters in size. For the price point of this backpack, I would expect the hydration pack to come with the backpack. Unfortunately, unless you already own one, you will have to buy it separately. I also do not like how stiff the back panel is. The Snug Me chest harness may keep the backpack in place, but as a woman, it is incredibly uncomfortable and not designed for a woman's upper body shape.

Specs

  • Capacity: 25 liters
  • Material: 420D ripstop nylon
  • Straps: Chest and waist

Pros

  • Laptop compartment
  • Waterproof
  • Ergonomic shoulder belts
  • Semi-automatic locking zippers

Cons

  • Internal storage compartment feels small
  • Zipper pulls can come off

Stay true to your moto passion while looking professional as you walk through the office. Alpinestars is not known for keeping the logos subtle, but somehow they manage to show restraint with the black color option for this backpack. I like the fleece lined 15-inch laptop pocket and matching smaller phone pocket that keeps your electronics safe during your commute. The 25-liter capacity makes it large enough to carry other items, like your lunch. The entire backpack is waterproofed and comes with a cover, so you can use it rain or shine and know your stuff will stay dry. A built-in helmet carrying system helps to keep your hands free. Finally, Alpinestars thought about comfort with ergonomic shoulder belts and back padding that are lined with perforated foam. My one complaint about this backpack is that the zipper pulls can come off. Once this happens, it can make it harder to operate the zipper while wearing your gloves. The internal storage also feels a bit small, especially when you have a laptop in the bag.

Our Verdict

My top pick for the best motorcycle backpack is the Kriega R22 Backpack. It is designed for comfort, is fully adjustable, and is waterproof. In addition, the large internal capacity gives you plenty of room for all of your stuff. 

The Cortech Super 2.0 Backpack is a great budget-conscious alternative with plenty of nice features to make it versatile for a range of riding styles. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Motorcycle Backpack

Your Body 

The motorcycle backpack that you choose needs to fit your body. We are all of different heights, weights, and compositions. First, consider the shape of the shoulder straps, where they sit on the body, and their adjustability. Then look at the chest, waist, and hip straps. They need to hit you in the right place to be comfortable and adjustable enough to fit snugly without being too loose or tight. For example, someone with a longer torso may find that a waist strap sits too high and cuts into the bottom of your rib cage. Or someone with a short torso may find that the hip strap sits too low on their legs and interferes with their leg position on the bike. Men with a broad chest and women should look for sternum strap adjustability to give extra space in the chest area. 

Compartments 

What do you plan to carry in your backpack? If you want to carry a hydration pack, you need a backpack designed for this. If you plan to commute with your laptop, a cushioned pocket large enough to hold it is a must. Large compartments are nice, but if you plan to carry smaller items, they will get lost in the bottom. Nothing is more frustrating than digging around, blindly hunting for something in the bottom of your bag. Small organizational pockets make it much easier to stay organized. 

Design 

The type of riding you do will influence the kind of backpack you buy. Depending on the bike model, your body will be in a different riding position. Therefore, the backpack you choose needs to work with your body position. For example, the Dainese D-Mach backpack has a sleek design that is perfect for sport bike riders because the wind at faster speeds will flow right over it with minimal drag. Additionally, bike type coordinates with your riding habits. For example, a commuter backpack meant for daily city riding does not have the rugged construction needed for use out on an adventure ride. In contrast, a rugged Kriega Trail18 Adventure backpack is overkill and out of place for an office setting. 

Motorcycle Backpack Pricing 

You can buy a quality motorcycle backpack for $100 to $200. Pricing within this range depends on the size of the backpack and the features included. Larger bags and those with hydration pack compatibility tend to be more expensive. While there are backpacks available for less than $100, these tend to be lower quality and lack necessary features. You get what you pay for, so do not expect these cheap backpacks to last. You can also find backpacks for over $200, but they tend to be specialty-use backpacks designed for a particular type of riding. This could be a hardshell aerodynamic bag meant for sportbike riders or a rugged adventure bag that is perfect for the rider spending a week or longer out in the wilderness. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Do motorcycle backpacks provide protection?

A: Some motorcycle backpacks protect fragile items like cameras or laptops with fleece lined or padded pockets. The bag construction will be water resistant or waterproof and have extra padding. In addition, some backpacks have protective armor built into the construction of the bag, which can provide the rider with additional impact or abrasion protection in the event of a fall.

Q: How do you attach a backpack to a motorcycle?

A: Instead of wearing a motorcycle backpack, you can mount it on your bike. It would help if you had a luggage rack on your motorcycle to secure the backpack. Then use tie down straps, bungee cords, or a mesh cargo net. Secure the backpack so it won't move while you are riding.

Q: Can you wear a duffel bag on a motorcycle?

A: Yes and no. No, you should not wear a standard luggage duffle bag while riding a motorcycle. These bags are not designed to be worn while riding and cannot be securely attached to your body or have weight stabilizing features. However, there are motorcycles backpacks with a duffle style. These are safe to wear while riding because they have the necessary construction and straps.

Q: How much can you carry on a motorcycle?

A: Check your manufacturer's owners’ manual to find the maximum carrying weight for your motorcycle model. The average is 350-450 pounds but can vary beyond this for smaller and larger motorcycles. The weight you carry should be evenly distributed on the left and right sides and kept low so that you maintain a lower center of gravity while riding.

Q: How long will a motorcycle backpack last?

A: As long as you take care of your backpack, you can expect it to last for several years. When not in use, keep it in a cool, dry place with low humidity. If your backpack gets dirty, clean it so that dirt and oils do not prematurely degrade the materials.

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