It’s time; I need a new backpack for my motorcycle. I’ve been using a 25L Helly Hansen hiking backpack for commuting and in there, lies a few big problems; it moves around when I’m riding, and it’s not waterproof.
So, I decided to spend a few hours researching the best motorcycle backpacks for all types of commuting. I’m looking for backpacks that are more secure when riding at speed, streamlined so I don’t feel like I’m wearing a parachute, and waterproof where possible.
There are 4 recommendations below (including waterproof bags), and I’ve rounded up our top 4 list with my recommendation of the best motorcycle backpack for the money.
Editor Picks: The Best Motorcycle Backpacks
OGIO No Drag Mach 5
Our Top Pick For: The Best Streamlined & Waterproof Motorcycle Backpack
Let’s start by saying that the OGIO No Drag Mach 5, is the most expensive motorcycle backpack on our list. Currently, the MSRP on the Mach 5 sits around $170 depending on the color and design you choose.
But even at that price, you still get plenty of bang for your buck…
No Drag Technology
The first and most obvious difference between the OGIO Mach 5 and a traditional hiking backpack, is it’s constructed with aerodynamics in mind. It’s sleek design means limited drag from air at speed, and maximum air flow over the pack.
That’s going to mean that unlike a hiking rucksack, the Mach 5 isn’t going to destabilize your bike whilst riding at speed. And, that comes with a bonus; it means that the bag stays in place throughout a ride.
There’s nothing more annoying (and dangerous) than a pack moving around and cutting into your shoulders, limiting your ability to control your bike.
The Mach 5 isn’t “waterproof”.
Instead, OGIO have gone with a water-resistant material. That’s going to be good enough to keep your kit dry during light rain. If you’re expecting to ride in heavy rain on a regular basis, you might want to purchase a small dry bag separately to keep your essentials (phone, tablet, clothing etc) safe, or…
Waterproof Rain Cover (Additional Extra)
As we’ve already mentioned, you’ll get basic protection on the Mach 5; water resistance. But, if you’re like me and you ride in all-weather, you’ll need some extra protection.
My advice? Grab the OGIO Mach Waterproof Rain Cover. It’s 210 denier polyester and that means it’s durable. And, unlike traditional waterproof rucksack covers, it also covers the shoulder straps.
The fit is pretty-snug due to it being designed specifically for motorcycle riding (at speed), so it doesn’t flap around as much as you’d find with a normal rain cover.
Expanded, you’ll get around 24L of storage space. In my opinion, that’s the perfect size for a bike backpack, and roughly the same size as the rucksack I use currently.
The difference here is that the compartments are organised cleverly compared to a standard pack; that makes it feel like you have the storage capacity of a 30-35L rucksack, not a 24L.
You’ll get individual compartments for a laptop (up to 15 inch) and your tablet. And, there’s even a fleece lined protective pocket designed specifically for your smartphone.
Starting your ride during the day time, and finishing at night? No problem; you’ll get space for a hydration pack to keep you fresh throughout your ride, and there’s even a space here for your spare visor.
If you’re planning to change at your destination, there’s a compartment for shoes, and plenty of space for a spare set of clothes.
Finally, you’ll get a main compartment. Depending on your load, you can keep this compact to improve airflow across the rucksack, or expand it to make use of the 24L storage space.
And, picking up a friend? There’s even a strap to secure a spare helmet.
The Mach 5 from OGIO is ridiculously light; just 3.7lbs. That combined with the fact it has a padded back panel and ergonomic adjustable shoulder straps, makes this one of the most comfortable motorcycle backpacks on the market.
More importantly, you’ve got a waist strap. If you don’t have a waist strap on your motorcycle backpack, it will be flapping around all over the place; and you don’t want that.
What Do Buyer’s Think?
The Mach 5 is certainly well thought of online, with hundreds of positive reviews. I always like to dig through these reviews before making a purchase, and I honestly struggled to find anyone giving the OGIO Mach 5 motorcycle backpack a tough time.
If you want the best motorcycle backpack for comfort, water resistance, protection and comfort, the Mach 5 should be at the top of your short list.
OGIO No Drag Mach 1
Our Top Pick For: The Best Alternative To The Mach 5 Motorcycle Backpack
So, it’s all good and well wanting the best motorcycle backpack possible, but not all of us have the budget. And after all, with a price tag of around $170 on the Mach 5, it’s not exactly cheap.
The good news? You can still get a top product from a leading brand, for a lot less. In fact, the 2nd bag I really liked the look of, was the Mach 1. It’s basically a tuned down version of the Mach 5. And the good news here is that means we’ll be grabbing a cash saving of around 30%.
No Drag Technology
If you compare the Mach 1 and the Mach 5’s design, you’ll notice they’re nearing on identical. And, that means you’re going to get almost no drag when you start hitting speeds, or ride through cross winds.
Like the Mach 5, that means you’re going to be truly stable whilst riding.
Given the Mach 1 is the lowest end of the OGIO street bike range (there’s the Mach 5 and Mach 3), you’d expect it to be lacking in the waterproofing area. But, it doesn’t; it’s got the same water resistant and protective shell that comes with the Mach 5 and Mach 3.
Waterproof Rain Cover (Additional Extra)
Like the Mach 5, you’ll only get a water-resistant shell with the Mach 1. But, that’s not really a problem given you’ve got the option to purchase a waterproof cover for around the $20 mark. That’s going to be perfect for long journeys where the weather is likely to be unpredictable.
And, it keeps getting better. You’ll get 22L in total, compared to just over 24L with the Mach 5, so just a tiny compromise for a huge cash saving. Like I said before, this is best motorcycle rucksack size. Anything bigger than this and you should really be looking at tail bags, tank bags, or paniers.
So, if it doesn’t lack in any of the above areas, it must lack in the layout of compartments? Nope! You’ll be able to utilize the same pockets for your laptop, tablet and protective smartphone.
If you’re buying any OGIO motorcycle backpack, you’re not short of comfort. The Mach 1 gets similar ergonomics to the Mach 3 and Mach 5 with comfortable and adjustable shoulder straps, as well as a waist strap.
Being the smallest and lightest (only 1lb), the OGIO Mach 1 is hardly noticeable when riding.
What Do Buyer’s Think?
Given the Mach 5 is the ultimate motorcycle backpack in the OGIO range, there are a lot more reviews online compared with the Mach 1.
But, searching around ecommerce stores, you’ll be able to find nearing on 100 reviews of the popular Mach 1.
Essentially, if you can deal with a few liters less in terms of storage space, and don’t need the ultimate in terms of comfort and no drag, the Mach 1 from OGIO is the best motorcycle rucksack for you.
As the best of every world (comfort, water resistance, streamlining and price), this is the one that gets my cash.
Our Pick For: The Best Motorcycle Backpack For Carrying A Spare Helmet
We’re going to flick over to something completely different here. The focus isn’t on being waterproof, nor being particularly streamlined (although it’s better than your average hiking backpack).
The key with the Shoei, is it can carry a spare motorcycle helmet. So, if you’re picking up and dropping off pillions and need somewhere to put their lid, this is the best motorcycle rucksack for you.
It goes without saying that the aerodynamics on offer from the Shoei 2.0 are just not on-par with the Mach 1 and Mach 5 from OGIO. But, this helmet is more about storage ability, than aerodynamics.
Like traditional hiking backpacks, the material used here seems more water resistant, rather than waterproof. So, I wouldn’t want to ride long distances with the expectation of heavy rain if I had items in there that I don’t want to get wet (clothes, electronics etc). That is, unless I had a waterproof backpack cover handy.
On the flip-side, the storage space on offer here is second to none. You’ll be able to fit your (up to) 17” laptop or tablet in the specially designed pocket. And, you’ll have a main compartment that has more than ample space for the average motorcycle helmet.
But, it doesn’t stop there. You’ll also get a compartment for a spare visor, an internal organizer pocket for small essentials, and side pockets for additional storage.
For straight out comfort, the construction of the Shoei 2.0 motorcycle backpack is up there with the best. And, that comfort starts with the padded panels throughout. But, that’s not just comfort for you, it’s also protection for your essentials.
That’s backed up further with the comfortable back panel, and adjustable shoulder straps. And, like all the best motorcycle backpacks in the world, you’ll get a snug fitting waist strap to keep this pack secure. Going one further, you’ll get a chest strap too.
What Do Buyer’s Think?
You’ll struggle to find the volume of online reviews that are attached to the OGIO Mach 5. However, there’s a focus on comfort and storage space with the Shoei 2.0; particularly for those that need to carry a spare helmet.
If you’d prefer comfort and storage space over design and aerodynamics, the Shoei 2.0 is the best motorcycle rucksack for your next adventure.
AXO Commuting Rucksack
Our Top Pick For: The Best Cheap Motorcycle Backpack
OK, so we’ve covered backpacks in the $100-200 range. But, not everyone needs a rucksack designed for daily rainy commutes, nor overland adventures. Or maybe you want a backpack under $50, rather than blowing hundreds?
If you’re looking for the best cheap motorcycle rucksack, I’d have to point the finger at the AXO commuting rucksack. Not only does it have excellent storage space, it’s durable and about 75% cheaper than most rucksacks on this list.
The aerodynamics on the AXO commuting backpack are similar to that of the Shoei 2.0. Pretty-good, given that the 2.0 backpack is around 5x the price.
That said, it’s a far-cry from what you’d get from the Mach 1 and Mach 5 from OGIO.
Whether it was intentional or not, we’ll never know, but the heavy-duty nylon used to create the AXO commuting pack is perfect for resisting water. We wouldn’t go ahead and say this is 100% waterproof, but it gets pretty-close.
Like the Shoei 2.0, this pack focuses on storage space. The difference is you get it on a ridiculously low budget, as the AXO pack is dirt cheap at under $30 MSRP.
You’ll get a whole host of storage facilities here, including:
- A Large inner pocket that fits a motorcycle helmet in it (easily)
- Side mesh compartments
- Incorporated saddlebag pockets
- Webbing that can be adjusted
Basically, this is perfect for daily commuting, or even short-term motorcycle traveling.
Don’t be under any illusion, you do get what you pay for. But, that doesn’t mean that the AXO commuting rucksack is uncomfortable. It’s just not going to be on the same level as the OGIO Mach rucksacks. The padding is thinner, and that’s going to affect you on long journeys if you were to do a direct comparison.
What Do Buyer’s Think?
Overall, the reviews I found online were positive. And that’s a good sign for a pack that costs around 75% less than others on this list.
If you’re looking for a bag with lots of storage space, with the ability to store a helmet and you want it cheap, this is the best motorcycle rucksack you can buy right now.
Which Motorcycle Backpack Should You Buy?
After throwing dozens of bags straight out of the short list and narrowing it down to the ones on the lists, I do have a recommendation.
I don’t spend money for the sake of it. At the same time, you do get what you pay for.
The best middle-ground in my opinion, is the OGIO Mach 1. It nears on having all the features of the Mach 5 which is around 30% more expensive, and is the perfect size; anything above 22-25L of luggage should be packed elsewhere on a bike.
It’s got everything I need from a motorcycle backpack:
- Water resistance
- Storage space (with organizers)
It does lack in full-on waterproofing, but that’s easily solved by purchasing the OGIO waterproof backpack cover.
Overall, the OGIO Mach 1 is the best motorcycle backpack for the money.
Like what you’ve read, and you’re a motorcycle nut like me?
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