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LAST UPDATED: April 1, 2020

Best Motorcycle Tail Bags: A Convenient and Secure Storage Option

These top motorcycle tail bags make road trips more comfortable

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PUBLISHED ON April 1, 2020

While some bikes come with designated luggage compartments, many do not. If you want to take an overnight trip or even a day tour, you need some type of storage solution to carry extra layers, water bottles, a bagged lunch, and other essentials.

A motorcycle tail bag is a great solution, whether you ride a BMW, Honda, Harley-Davidson, or Kawasaki. It provides the storage you need, and many are easy to attach and remove, so you don't have to leave one on your bike unprotected overnight. Check out some of the best motorcycle tail bags on the market in our buying guide below.

  • Best Overall
    Nelson Rigg Black Commuter Tour Motorcycle Tail/Seat Bag
    Nelson Rigg Black Commuter Tour Motorcycle Tail/Seat Bag
    Summary
    Summary

    The bag has UV protection, and the quick-release buckles provide easy access. Self-fastening straps secure objects inside the bag, and the coil zippers are lockable.

    Pros
    Pros

    This well-made bag holds a lot of items comfortably and even more when in expansion mode. The rain fly is small, secure, and doesn't leak.

    Cons
    Cons

    The straps crunch the bag down when it's attached to the bike, limiting storage space. The bag may be smaller than advertised.

  • Best Overall
    Nelson Rigg Black Commuter Tour Motorcycle Tail/Seat Bag
    Nelson Rigg Black Commuter Tour Motorcycle Tail/Seat Bag
  • Best Value
    Chase Harper 450 USA Tail Bag
    Chase Harper 450 USA Tail Bag
    Summary
    Summary

    The bag is constructed of industrial-grade nylon and uses a bungee mounting system. Its dimensions are 12 by 9 by 5 inches, and it can hold 7 liters.

    Pros
    Pros

    The bag is water- and tear-resistant. The bottom is grippy and designed so it doesn't scratch the bike. The map pouch is touch-sensitive and compatible with smartphones and tablets.

    Cons
    Cons

    It doesn't come with a rain cover, and it doesn't fit all motorcycles. Some users complain that it's too small.

  • Best Value
    Chase Harper 450 USA Tail Bag
    Chase Harper 450 USA Tail Bag
  • Honorable Mention
    Chase Harper USA 4000 Aeropac Tail Trunk
    Chase Harper USA 4000 Aeropac Tail Trunk
    Summary
    Summary

    The bag mounts to your bike using adjustable bungee cords. The bag has a universal fit, is made of industrial-grade nylon, and measures 14 by 11 by 9 inches.

    Pros
    Pros

    This bag is highly durable and both water- and tear-resistant. It does not flop around when you're riding, and the bag is easy to install and remove.

    Cons
    Cons

    The hooks on the bungee cords may scratch your bike, and the zippers aren't the best quality. Also, the bag does not come with a rain fly.

  • Honorable Mention
    Chase Harper USA 4000 Aeropac Tail Trunk
    Chase Harper USA 4000 Aeropac Tail Trunk

    While some bikes come with designated luggage compartments, many do not. If you want to take an overnight trip or even a day tour, you need some type of storage solution to carry extra layers, water bottles, a bagged lunch, and other essentials.

    A motorcycle tail bag is a great solution, whether you ride a BMW, Honda, Harley-Davidson, or Kawasaki. It provides the storage you need, and many are easy to attach and remove, so you don't have to leave one on your bike unprotected overnight. Check out some of the best motorcycle tail bags on the market in our buying guide below.

    Best Motorcycle Tail Bag Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    This black commuter tail/seat bag is made of UltraMax fabric, which provides UV protection. It features quick-release buckles for easy access and a molded EVA lid with Fibertech carbon fiber-like accents. Inside the bag are self-fastening straps to secure objects. The coil zippers are lockable and have high-density rubber zipper pullers.


    The bag is large enough to carry groceries, overnight clothing and essentials, and bagged lunches. Zip the expansion open, and it accommodates even more items. The rain fly is compact, sturdy, and secure in both small and extended mode, and it's rubber-coated so it doesn't leak. Overall, it's a well-made bag with a great inside top mesh pocket and convenient interior load/compression straps.


    However, the sides of the bag crunch down when you tighten the straps and affix it to your bike, which decreases some of its storage space and isn't very attractive looking. Also, the dimensions in the product description may be larger than the actual product. In addition, the tie downs stay on the bike when you remove the bag, so they flap in the wind if you ride the bike without the bag.

    Best Value

    This bag is designed to fit a wide variety of motorcycles and is made of industrial-grade ballistic urethane-coated nylon. It's attached using an adjustable bungee mount system that can be stored in a hideaway compartment when not in use. It is 12 inches long, 9 inches wide, and 5 inches high and can hold 7 liters.


    It's a very durable bag that is both water- and tear-resistant. The full-length pockets are very convenient, and the non-abrasive rubber-like bottom provides grip and prevents scratching. It features a detachable map pouch with a touch-sensitive window, so you can use it with cell phones and tablets.


    Unfortunately, there is no rain cover with this bag, so the contents may get wet in a downpour. Also, it doesn't fit all motorcycles, and there have been some complaints that it's a little too small.

    Honorable Mention

    This bag is 14 inches long, 11 inches wide, and 9 inches high. It's made of industrial-grade ballistic urethane-coated nylon and is a universal fit. Non-abrasive vinyl on the bottom prevents scratching, and the bag uses an adjustable bungee mount system to attach to your bike.


    The bag is water-resistant, tear-resistant, and highly durable. Strong and lightweight inserts create rigidity and maintain the bag's aerodynamic shape. It has a carrying handle, reflective strips on the sides for safety, and two mesh pockets. The top elastic holder holds a water bottle perfectly. The bungee cords make attachment easy, so you can remove the bag quickly, yet it is well-attached and does not flop around when you're riding.


    However, the hooks, while heavy-duty, lack a rubber coating, so they may scratch your bike. Also, the zippers are a little cheap and may break over time. It also doesn't come with a rain fly, and the zippers may let some water in during rainstorms.

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    Benefits of Motorcycle Tail Bags

    • Convenient. The best tail bags for motorcycles give you extra storage space when you need it. Instead of wearing an uncomfortable backpack, or leaving things at home because you can’t carry them, simply store items in an adventure motorcycle tail bag on top of the back seat.
    • Versatile. The best motorcycle tail bags are designed to fit a wide variety of bikes. They feature mounting systems that are compatible with many makes and models, which gives you a lot of options. Many are also easy to install and remove.
    • Many cool features. Unlike most saddlebags, motorcycle tail bags are often expandable. You can keep them small and compact or make them larger if you need more storage. Many high-quality bags are also waterproof or come with rain covers and feature extras such as map pouches.
    • Perfect for commuting. If you ride to work every day or want to take an overnight trip, a seat bag or tail bag is a great storage solution. They are designed to hold all the essentials.

    Top Brands

    Chase Harper USA

    Chase Harper USA, based in Ventura, California, has been in business for nearly 40 years. The company manufactures a variety of luggage solutions, including tank bags, saddle bags, duffel bags, briefcases, rain covers, and tail trunks, including the Chase Harper USA 4000 Aeropac Tail Trunk and Chase Harper 450 USA Tail Bag.

    Nelson Rigg

    Nelson-Rigg USA, Inc., has been manufacturing motorcycle apparel, soft luggage, and motorcycle covers since 1972. The company is headquartered in Santa Ana, California. One of its top products is the Nelson Rigg Black Commuter Tour Motorcycle Tail/Seat Bag.

    Cortech

    Cortech, based in Calabasas, California, designs and produces performance protective motorcycle apparel and motorcycle luggage. Its gear is made for sport bikes, sport touring, adventure touring, and dual-sport riding. One popular product is the Cortech Super 2.0 24-Liter Motorcycle Tail Bag.

    Motorcycle Tail Bag Pricing

    • $20-$50: Motorcycle luggage doesn't have to be expensive. You can find reasonably priced tail bags that are convenient and lightweight. However, they do not have as many features as more expensive options.
    • $50-$150: The best tail bags for motorcycles usually cost a little more money. Higher-quality bags are more durable and more versatile. They have added features and are either waterproof or come with rain covers.

    Key Features

    Size

    One of the most important things you need to look at when purchasing a motorcycle tail bag is how much storage capacity it has. If you do a lot of long-distance riding, you need a larger bag than you would if you just take short commutes or overnight trips. If you have other storage options on your bike, such as saddlebags or a tank bag, you may only need a tail bag with a medium amount of volume.

    Mounting System

    Ideally, you want the mounting system to be both simple and secure. Some tail packs have a permanent mounting system, and you clip the bag on and off it. This system is reliable; however, the bags are often designed for specific makes and models. Plus, the bags are easy to steal.

    Other tail bags are attached to bikes with permanently attached straps. This is not particularly convenient, but it deters thieves. Finally, some tail bags are strapped on temporarily with bungee cords, which makes them easy to install and remove.

    Waterproof

    If possible, purchase a bag that is 100 percent waterproof. That way, you never have to worry about your stuff if you get caught in torrential rain. Many bags are water-resistant but not waterproof, which means they will protect the contents if they are splashed but not in a heavy downpour. Some brands provide rain covers, and they do a good job of keeping moisture out. The downside is you need to stop and put it on if you get caught in inclement weather.

    Other Considerations

    • Extra Features: High-end tail bags tend to have more features than their less costly counterparts. Many have quick-release fasteners, which makes it easier for you to access the contents. Reflective piping for visibility is also a bonus as side pockets. Map pouches are also convenient, and so are straps that can hold a water bottle or other beverage.
    • Stability: You don't want a bag that wobbles on the bike when you're riding. If the bag moves a lot, it can be dangerous to you and others on the road. Much of this is related to the strapping and mounting system that comes with the bag. Read reviews to see if the particular bag you're looking at stays solidly in place at high speeds. Also keep in mind that when you fill the bag, the shape and volume change, which can make it move in the wind.
    • Theft Prevention: Can you lock the bag when you leave it unattended? Can a thief easily remove it from your bike? As we already noted, some bags have fixed mounting systems but allow you to remove the bag itself. Your bag is not safe unless it's locked into a position on the bike. 

    Best Motorcycle Tail Bag Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall
    Nelson Rigg Black Commuter Tour Motorcycle Tail/Seat Bag

    This black commuter tail/seat bag is made of UltraMax fabric, which provides UV protection. It features quick-release buckles for easy access and a molded EVA lid with Fibertech carbon fiber-like accents. Inside the bag are self-fastening straps to secure objects. The coil zippers are lockable and have high-density rubber zipper pullers.


    The bag is large enough to carry groceries, overnight clothing and essentials, and bagged lunches. Zip the expansion open, and it accommodates even more items. The rain fly is compact, sturdy, and secure in both small and extended mode, and it's rubber-coated so it doesn't leak. Overall, it's a well-made bag with a great inside top mesh pocket and convenient interior load/compression straps.


    However, the sides of the bag crunch down when you tighten the straps and affix it to your bike, which decreases some of its storage space and isn't very attractive looking. Also, the dimensions in the product description may be larger than the actual product. In addition, the tie downs stay on the bike when you remove the bag, so they flap in the wind if you ride the bike without the bag.

    Best Value
    Chase Harper 450 USA Tail Bag

    This bag is designed to fit a wide variety of motorcycles and is made of industrial-grade ballistic urethane-coated nylon. It's attached using an adjustable bungee mount system that can be stored in a hideaway compartment when not in use. It is 12 inches long, 9 inches wide, and 5 inches high and can hold 7 liters.


    It's a very durable bag that is both water- and tear-resistant. The full-length pockets are very convenient, and the non-abrasive rubber-like bottom provides grip and prevents scratching. It features a detachable map pouch with a touch-sensitive window, so you can use it with cell phones and tablets.


    Unfortunately, there is no rain cover with this bag, so the contents may get wet in a downpour. Also, it doesn't fit all motorcycles, and there have been some complaints that it's a little too small.

    Honorable Mention
    Chase Harper USA 4000 Aeropac Tail Trunk

    This bag is 14 inches long, 11 inches wide, and 9 inches high. It's made of industrial-grade ballistic urethane-coated nylon and is a universal fit. Non-abrasive vinyl on the bottom prevents scratching, and the bag uses an adjustable bungee mount system to attach to your bike.


    The bag is water-resistant, tear-resistant, and highly durable. Strong and lightweight inserts create rigidity and maintain the bag's aerodynamic shape. It has a carrying handle, reflective strips on the sides for safety, and two mesh pockets. The top elastic holder holds a water bottle perfectly. The bungee cords make attachment easy, so you can remove the bag quickly, yet it is well-attached and does not flop around when you're riding.


    However, the hooks, while heavy-duty, lack a rubber coating, so they may scratch your bike. Also, the zippers are a little cheap and may break over time. It also doesn't come with a rain fly, and the zippers may let some water in during rainstorms.

    Tips

    • As we already noted, only some tail packs are waterproof, while others come with rain covers. Even so, it's possible that a little water will permeate. For extra protection, consider getting a waterproof liner, or you can simply put items in a plastic bag.
    • If you worry that loose straps on the bag will rub against your bike's paint and cause it to get damaged, use gaffer tape to keep them in place. It's a quick and cost-effective solution.
    • If you want to purchase a large tail bag, it will be very unstable unless you use it in conjunction with a solid rear seat, luggage rack, or sissy bar.

    FAQs

    Q: Are all tail bags a universal fit?

    A: Most brands of tail bags fit most bikes. They typically use straps that attach to the pillion, which is the cushion or seat behind the rider's saddle.

    Q: Do I need a rack or frame for a motorcycle tail bag? 

    A: Typically, no. Some brands make rack systems that bolt to the bike's subframe, but usually, it's not required to install a tail bag on a bike.

    Q: What’s the advantage of a tail bag versus other bags? 

    A: They are easy to install and remove. They are also simple to fill because they're usually made of a softshell, which is more flexible than a hard bag. Also, you don't have to bend over to access them as you do with saddlebags.

    Final Thoughts

    Our pick for the best motorcycle tail bag is the Nelson Rigg Black Commuter Tour Motorcycle Tail/Seat Bag. It has UV protection, quick-release buckles, and is expandable for extra storage. It also comes with a rain cover. 

    For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Chase Harper 450 USA Tail Bag.