The 3 Best Motorcycle Backpacks To Enjoy The Ride

March 14, 2023
by Christine Devereaux

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Motorcycles are excellent modes of transportation. They’re fast, sleek, and can make short work of the type of traffic that sees cars, trucks, and buses stuck for hours.

Plus, they’re lots of fun to ride and nothing can beat that thrill of a purring engine and powerful machine beneath your hands.

They’re not always the most practical form of transportation, however. Motorcycles were not designed for transporting goods and belongings so if your primary mode of transportation is a motorcycle, you might be struggling to carry the items you need daily.

Thankfully, that’s where motorcycle backpacks can help. These handy bags can carry all the things you need for a day at the office or for a longer adventure, but you need to ensure that you pick the best backpack for your needs.

In this article, we will look at the three best motorcycle backpacks available.

ArcEnCiel Motorcycle Backpack

ArcEnCiel 20L Motorcycle Backpack Tactical Military Bag Rucksacks for Outdoor Camping Trekking Hunting with Patch(Black)

This smart backpack is available in two colors and would be very convenient for a daily commute. It’s made from tough 1000D nylon and is scratch-resistant so it can stand up to city traffic.

The backpack is water-resistant so it should keep your belongings safe during light showers. The interior of the backpack has a separating pocket to keep your laptop away from your other items and it’s large enough to hold a 13-inch laptop.

There are several pockets on the outside that are suitable for smaller items such as cell phones and you can also slip a water bottle into one as well.

The backpack straps are padded and you also get waist and chest straps so you can keep it snug against your body as you ride.


  • Decent size - the backpack has a 20 liter capacity
  • Water-resistant - your belongings should remain dry during showers
  • Mesh panels - the backpack is breathable where it sits against your back
  • Straps - padded shoulder straps and extra straps to keep it in place


  • Small - the dimensions are pretty small so double-check the size before you buy

Nelson-Rigg SE-3040 Backpack/Tail Pack

Nelson-Rigg SE-3040 40 Liter Gear Hurricane 40L Waterproof Backpack/Tail Pack , Black

If you’re looking for a large backpack and have the budget to spend, then this backpack is a great choice for you.

It can be used as either a backpack or as a tail pack, so if you have it loaded too heavy and are heading out for an adventure, you can attach it to the back of your bike instead of wearing it.

The backpack is a large 40 liters and can have a roll top closure, making it waterproof. The backpack is made from durable tarpaulin PVC and is UV coated as well so you can be sure that your belongings will remain dry even in harsh weather.

If you don’t need to fill the bag or need to make the most of your space, you can compress the bag down to make it as small as possible.

The backpack has two large pockets on the sides that can take very sizable water bottles and there is a pocket inside the bag that is suitable for a laptop.


  • Durable material - made from super-tough UV-coated tarpaulin
  • Versatile - can be worn as a backpack or attached to the tail of your bike
  • Waterproof - the material and rolled closure will protect your belongings
  • Padded shoulders - the straps are padded for comfort


  • Price - at a retail price of $170 this is an expensive backpack

Seibertron Motorcycle Backpack

Seibertron Motorbike Backpack Motorcycle Bag Outdoor Sports Riding Package Black 37L

If you want a large backpack without the higher price, this backpack is a good choice. It has a large capacity of 37 liters so you’ll be able to fit all of your daily necessities inside and it’s also a decent size for hiking and camping.

The backpack is made from 900D waterproof nylon but the zippers and other features of the bag aren’t waterproof, so we wouldn’t recommend using this bag in poor weather conditions if you want to keep your belongings dry.

You’re best keeping this backpack for good weather or light drizzle. You can purchase a waterproof liner for the bag separately, however.

One of the main features of this backpack is the number of pockets it has. There are plenty of places to store your items and it also has several padded and comfortable straps.


  • Large capacity - at 37 liters it can carry a lot of items
  • Pockets - the bag has several pockets throughout the bag
  • Comfortable straps - the shoulder straps are well padded
  • Durable material - the backpack is made from tough material


  • Not waterproof - avoid this backpack if you regularly travel in poor weather conditions

Buying Guide

Before you choose a motorcycle backpack, there are several things you should take into consideration. Keep these in mind as you look for backpacks, as they will help you narrow down your choices and pick the best backpack for you.

Stable Load

Riding a motorcycle is easy once you’ve mastered the basics, but there are still so many ways that an easy ride can become more difficult. One of these is by having unstable loads and a lack of movement.

As you ride your bike, you will be constantly shifting your body weight and the weight of the motorcycle.

Riders quickly get used to this but the last thing you need is a shifting weight on your back, especially if you’re riding at fast speeds and leaning into turns. You need to have a backpack that can keep the load stable and in position while you move.

Backpacks that are compact and have an aerodynamic design are great for keeping loads stable. These backpacks will reduce the drag while also keeping your belongings close to your body and in place.

Look for backpacks that have sternum straps and waist belts as these will also prevent the backpack from sliding around and will keep the weight evenly distributed.


The best size for your motorcycle completely depends on how it will be used. We would recommend going for the smallest backpack you can manage simply because it is easier to ride with small backpacks than unfilled larger ones.

For your daily commute to the office, you may not need much space at all.

As long as the backpack is large enough for your laptop, phone, and lunch, that may be all of the storage space you need. This can easily be achieved with small backpacks that have around 15 liters of storage.

However, if you’re looking for a backpack that can store some hiking or camping equipment, you will need to go larger. The prices will rise as the capacity does, but there are still some great deals to be found with backpacks that are in the 30 to 40 liter range.

Freedom Of Movement

It’s important that your backpack doesn’t restrict your movement in any way. You need a backpack that can fit you snugly, but won’t prevent your arms from moving or your waist and back from twisting as they need to.

Adjustable backpacks are the best idea. This way you can get the backpack to fit close to your body and control how tight or loose it is.

You should also consider getting a backpack with padded shoulder straps as this will make the backpack more comfortable, even if it is cinched tightly.


Life on a motorcycle is tough for the bike, the rider, and everything the rider chooses to wear. This is no different for backpacks, either.

We would recommend getting something that is as lightly durable as you can get away with.

If your main use for the backpack will be commuting to and from the office, then you will need something that can cope with the dirt and grime of city streets. However, this doesn’t mean you need the most rugged backpack on the market.

The more durable and rugged the backpack is, the heavier it is likely to get. If you’re looking for a backpack that can survive an adventure out into the wilderness then you need something tougher and more durable.

In these cases, the heavier backpack might be worth the added protection.

You also have the option of hard-shell backpacks. These are generally heavier but can protect your belongings well.

Weather Protection

When you ride a motorcycle, you’re greatly exposed to the weather and everything it wants to throw at you.

Although some may have the luxury of reserving motorcycle rides for beautiful sunshine, if your motorcycle is your primary transportation and way to commute, you’re going to have to ride in even the worst weather.

Your backpack needs to be able to survive the elements. If you’re putting any kind of tech in your backpack, such as a laptop or phone, it is imperative that your backpack is at least water-resistant.

If you live in a climate that has the occasional shower, then a water-resistant backpack with some additional water-resistant zippers may be sufficient.

However, if you’re more likely to ride through heavy rain or snow, you need something that is waterproof instead.

Backpacks often lose their waterproofing because of their openings and zippers so look for backpacks that have welded seams, roll-top closures, and waterproof liners.

Many waterproof items use the IP rating system to say how waterproof they are. You’ll see a value stated as IPXX, with the second X being a number.

This number tells you how waterproof an item is and the higher the number, the better. Ideally, you need something IPX5 or better.

Interior Organization

Backpacks don’t just need to survive the elements but they also need to be functional. The primary function of a backpack is to carry your belongings, after all, so make sure that it is also fit for that purpose.

If you’re going to be carrying a laptop, choose a backpack that has extra padding and protection. There are many on the market that have pockets specifically designed to keep your laptop safe and snug as you travel.

If you have lots of smaller items such as phones, chargers, pens, and wallets, you might want a backpack that has several interior pockets to keep these neat.

After a few miles on the road, your backpack is sure to be a jumble of items if you don’t have separate pockets.

Sometimes, you might need more space and if this is the case, look for backpacks that are expandable. If you have items that you need to frequently access, check for exterior pockets that are tough and can be securely fastened but easily opened.

Ease Of Use

It’s highly likely that you will be using your backpack while your hands are covered with riding gloves.

Trying to open zippers, buckles, and pockets with gloves on your hands can be tricky, especially if you prefer your riding gloves to be a little on the thick side.

Backpacks with glove-friendly features can be very helpful. Some backpacks will have larger zippers that are easier to grab or buckles that can be swiftly opened with the press of a button.

You’ll find these easier while you’re wearing your gloves than any backpacks that require lots of straps to be manipulated just so you can get to your phone or water bottle.

You should also consider the positioning of the various zippers and external pockets.

If you’re wearing bulky protective gear, you don’t always have the best range of movement when it comes to the area behind you. This can make getting to side pockets more difficult than you’d think.


Think about when and where you’re going to be using your backpack. If you’re going to be using your backpack exclusively for commuting or exclusively for road trips, then your list of needed features is going to vary greatly.

However, what if you need a backpack that is suitable for both? Many of us hit the city streets during the work week and like to hit the open road during weekends and vacations and if you want a backpack that’s suitable for both, you’ll need one that is versatile.

Backpacks with adjustable volumes are excellent for all purposes. You can keep them small and snug during the week and then open them up for supplies when you’re off the road.

Maybe you’ll opt for a backpack that has all of the durable features needed for an adventure but looks smart enough for the office.


Some backpack manufacturers are so confident in the quality of their backpacks that they will offer a warranty to guarantee their durability and performance.

These are often the backpacks on the higher end of the price range but if you’re looking to get some serious use out of your backpack, the extra cost and the warranty can be worth it.

Make sure you double check the details of the warranty before you buy the backpack, however. Some of them are limited to only a couple of years whereas others might exclude parts of the backpack, such as zippers and straps.

Typically, these are the parts of the backpack that have the most issues so you may find that your warranty won’t cover the parts that you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding motorcycle backpacks.

Why Do Motorcycle Riders Wear Backpacks?

Motorcycles are amazing vehicles and they have several advantages over cars and the various forms of public transportation. Unfortunately, one area where they do lack is their ability to carry objects and belongings.

There are no safe spare seats or areas for you to stash your belongings while you travel to work so you need to get inventive.

You can attach panniers to the sides and back of your motorcycle of course, but these can be bulky and expensive and they’re not ideal for zipping around traffic and crowded seats.

Backpacks are the perfect way to safely transport your belongings as you ride your motorcycle. They don’t add unnecessary weight and size to your bike and can be easily taken off and opened, unlike many types of panniers.

Do I Need A Special Type of Backpack For When I’m On My Motorcycle?

You don’t need to use a backpack that is specially designed and marketed for motorcycles. At their most basic level, backpacks for motorcycles are the same as any other backpack.

However, there are some key features you should look out for and we discussed these in our Buying Guide. As long as the backpack has the right features and is tough enough to survive a series of motorcycle rides, it will be suitable.

Buying a backpack that is designed for motorcycles means that you’re more likely to have these features as standard. Regular backpacks might not have everything you need.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we looked at the best motorcycle backpacks. We listed our top picks and also explained all of the important features you need to consider before you make your purchase.

We hope that the information and recommendations in this article will help you pick the perfect motorcycle backpack for you.

Related: The 5 Best Cruiser Motorcycles For Beginners

About the Author
Christine Devereaux is a style and gear junkie. She loves the outdoors and picking out clothing and home goods for her husband, son and dog.
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