A challenge that many of us on two wheels face, is how to carry our stuff when we need to. There are a few clever options available to motorcyclists. Things like tail bags, beer boxes and tank bags each have their uses and benefits. For everyday convenience, a backpack is a tried and true option. Here we will look at the best motorcycle backpacks in 2021
Backpacks In This Review
- Kriega R25 TOP PICK!
Why Not A Regular Backpack?
The answer to this question is, there is no reason you can’t use a regular backpack. Of course you can use one. But, there are a few features that set motorcycle specific backpacks apart. Let’s be honest, we are not reinventing the wheel here but moto specific packs do address a few important issues related to their use.
Most motorcycle backpacks will incorporate a sternum strap. This is a strap that is attached to the shoulder straps and connects them together across your chest. You will see them used on hiking packs a lot. Once connected the shoulder straps can’t slide off your shoulders onto your arms. You definitely do not want this distraction when piloting your bike. With quality motorcycle backpacks, the sternum strap will be much more than just a piece of nylon strapping. It will be more like a parachute buckle. This makes sense when you think about the speeds you will be going with the bag on your back. This design really makes the bag at one with your body.
A lot of motorcycle backpacks have weatherproofing built in to the overall design. If they don’t they usually will still incorporate some kind of rain fly. This is important if you are commuting or touring. Weather is unpredictable. On a bike there is nowhere to hide once the rain hits. This puts your laptop or other items at risk of getting soaked. Your average fashion bag won’t help you here.
Most quality motorcycle backpacks from reputable manufacturers are made to last. They are designed to withstand the rigors of motorcycling. High wind speeds alone can fray the threads of your average pack. Any part of the bag caught flapping in the wind for a long period of time risks deteriorating. Motorcycle packs are more thought out for their particular use. You won’t find straps and pieces of fabric flapping away as you head down the highway. Usually excess adjustment straps will be clipped and have a place to secure them.
Stronger, more robust stitching is another common trait in a good motorcycle backpack.
It all really comes down to overall comfort. You don’t want to notice that you have a bag on your back. The distracting takes away from the enjoyment of riding. Good packs are designed to make carrying your stuff less intrusive. This allows you to operate your bike more safely. They achieve this through better wind resistance or more comfort though weight distribution or both.
How We Choose The Best
No one motorcycle backpack will suit every rider the best. There are packs that will be better suited for adventure riders for example. Some will suit commuters more.
We take all of these different considerations into account. We compile a list and pour over the details.
We look at brand reputation, customer feedback, intended use and overall construction. Things like the materials it’s made with and the stitching. We then look at the features offered in the bag itself and then decide on which is the best.
Read on to see our list.
Best For Commuters
Givi is an Italian based company that has been making motorcycle specific luggage and accessories for a few decades. The Givi EA 104GR Easy Backpack has an inexplicably technical product name. Ironic, because what it does best is keep things simple
The Givi carries a slim, low profile design but has a lot of useful features for the commuter.
This is a 17 liter bag that is expandable to a surprising 24 liters. The bottom of the bag has a zipper that when unzipped, opens a gusset that creates the extra room. The bag is made from 100% polyester. It carries some reflective piping in the design so you are seen on those early morning commutes. There is a sternum strap holding 3D mesh shoulder straps in place.
It features a very useful helmet holder. It uses a soft, aberration resistant material that cradles your helmet and makes it part of the bag. Very handy for when you are heading into work or walking around. You can feel more secure with your helmet with you.
Behind a small zipper at the top of the bag is a useful, attached rain fly. It simply wraps around the bag. It uses D rings and Velcro to attach making it very secure when riding at speed.
Moving to the inside you get a padded laptop pouch. This pouch will easily hold a 13 inch laptop. It also has a smaller mesh pouch that is good for holding smaller items like keys or a wallet. The rest of the interior space can be for your lunch, extra gloves or whatever else. Riders love its lightweight and compact design. Most find it perfect for their needs without being meddlesome.
Best For Sportbikes
With its moulded hard, turtle shell the Ogio No Drag Mach 5 is a favorite among the sportbike crowd. Spot riders love the aerodynamic aspect of the bag. Whether it actually makes a difference is up for debate but it definitely doesn’t hurt. The bag certainly looks the part. I don’t think there is a better looking bag out there for riding in the tuck position.
The Ogio makes three bags in the Mach series. The 1,3 and 5. The Mach five is the king of the bunch and with its added features beats the other two for best sportbike bag.
As mentioned earlier, the exterior of the bag is a molded hard shell. The Mach 5 gets the carbon fiber graphics on it. An added bonus of the shell design is its very weatherproof.
This is a 22 liter bag that can be expanded out to add an extra 2 liters.
The straps are a no slip material with a sternum strap. The sternum strap is a little chincy but it gets the job done. It has a removable hip pack as well.
This bag is your friend for warm to hot weather riding. It does not sit flat against your back. Instead, the design has an air channel down the middle for extra air flow. Your back wont get that big sweaty wet spot on a hot day.
Moving beyond the interesting exterior, It’s the inside of the bag where it really shines.
For starters, It has a hanger for a hydration pack.
It also has a padded pouch that is capable of fitting a 15 inch laptop.
If that weren’t enough. It has two mesh shoe holders. You can conveniently bring a pair of regular shoes and not have to walk around in your race boots!
And finally, one of my favorite features is its dedicated pouch for an extra visor. Now you have a safe way to carry your smoked shield when it turns dark.
All this and there is still a ton of room to carry whatever else you may need.
Ogio was extra thoughtful of the sport rider in this design.
Best For Touring
If you are going on a tour, you are going to hit some weather. That’s why
Givi is back on the list with its waterproof backpack.
The EA 121 (what’s with these names) Is a simple yet effective bag. It does what it’s designed to do. Keep your things dry. This isn’t a feature rich bag. There are no pockets, pouches and shoe holders in this bag. For touring, It’s exactly why I like it.
First off, this is an 18 liter bag. It doesn’t sound like a lot. That’s because It isn’t and that’s a good thing. Let me explain. If you are touring you likely have at least one other bag. You don’t want to be carrying a big load on your back for hours and days on end in the saddle. You don’t want that laptop on your back for that long a time. With the Givi you can stuff a few odds and ends in. I’m thinking about a few t-shirts, socks etc. You keep the weight down and keep everything nice and dry. Of course the bag will handle more if you need it to.
The Givi features a roll top design. This is the standard in waterproof bags and it works perfectly.
It’s constructed of 250D tarpaulin. This is a really tough material that won’t rip or tear.
The exterior features a bungee pocket. Perfect for a bottle of water.
It has high frequency stitchless, welded seams that water will not penetrate.
The shoulder straps are padded with a sternum strap and a waist strap.
My one gripe would be the straps. They are fine for the size of the bag and work good but I would prefer to see them a little more robust.
I view backpacks for touring as a way to carry lighter items if I need a little extra carrying capacity. The Givi Waterproof Backpack fits that bill very well.
Best For Dual Sport
I know what you may be thinking. This is a hydration pack not a backpack. You are correct but it can also be both and that’s the beauty of this thing.
If you are hitting the trails on your dirt or dual sport bike, hydration is a must. The Kriega Hydro 3 is a beast of a hydration pack.
It has a capacity for three liters of water. That translates to about seven pounds of weight. With the Kriega Quad Lock system weight is better transferred to your sternum and shoulder blades. This is better than all the weight on top of your shoulders. This will free you for the maneuverability you need on the trail.
It has a 3D type mesh on the back panel that allows for great ventilation.
It’s made of a bomb proof 420D ripstop nylon.
You are able to fill its bladder without removing it completely.
Now what about the backpack part you say?
Simply add either a Kriega US5 or US10. Kriega’s system allows for easy additions onto the Hydro 3. Now you have a hydration pack when you only want a hydration pack. You also now have a backpack/hydration pack when the trail leads a little further and you need storage. This is a well thought out solution for the dual sport/ADV rider out there. The US series of bags from Kriega are just as bombproof and robust as the Hydropack. No other brand on the market gives you this versatility.
The only issue I have with this setup is it is a bit pricey if you are a tighter budget.
Best Overall Backpack
To those in the know, It should come as no surprise that Kriega has made the top of the list. They do one thing only and do it well and that’s make moto bags.
Just like the Hydro 3 reviewed above, the R25 is made from virtually indestructible 420D ripstop nylon.
It features Kriega’s Quad Lock system. This is a heavy duty sternum and waist buckle system that helps in distributing the weight of your load. This makes it so that you hardly know you have a pack on. It’s very similar to a parachute pack in the looks department.
The straps themselves are very fine tunable. This allows you to get the bag and its load sitting just right for your body size and type.
It’s compatible with a hydration bladder if needed.
Inside you get a padded laptop pouch. There are not too many dedicated pockets. This allows you to pack the bag according to your specific needs.
The stitching and zippers are beefy and robust. They seem built to last many trouble free years.
This is a sizable 25 liter bag. The exterior features compression straps to cinch the bag down to a manageable size when not completely full.
One downside of this bag is its price. It is on the expensive side and hard to justify for some. Another nit pick would be that for its price, I would rather see waterproof as opposed to weatherproof. This means it will likely withstand a shower but not too much more.
For overall use, on any type of motorcycle, the Kriega R25 will fit the bill for many riders. That’s why we name it the best motorcycle backpack overall
We believe in the Kriega R25 and the entire Kriega line. It’s the best do-it-all bag in the review. It’s a bag that will last for years to come in our opinion. The sheer number of positive reviews speaks to its customer satisfaction.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, no bag is perfect for everyone. The other options in this review have plenty of positive reviews.
Whatever bag you decide, make sure it’s one that is suited for what you need the most. Whether it’s to keep things dry or maybe to have a convenient way to carry your helmet.
Your money will be better spent looking after your priorities.