As bikers, we know that we don’t have the ability to just lob our stuff on the passenger seat and get going – carrying things requires a bit of preparation.
There are various ways to carry our wares on a bike, from tankbags to tailpacks, top boxes to panniers but none are more convenient than a rucksack. You can stuff your stuff in, sling it on and get going.
The best motorcycle rucksack will vary depending on the type of riding you’re doing and what you’re looking to carry but all rucksacks have a common set of features that make them fit for purpose.
Compared to a normal rucksack, they’re usually made from a tougher material, weatherproof, feature larger padded straps and also additional features like key-clips, helmet carriers or quick access pockets.
In this guide we’ve picked our top biking rucksacks but also looked at a wide variety of options, from roll-bags to budget picks, helmet carriers to versatile tail-packs.
If you need to carry your stuff on the bike, a rucksack is a no-nonsense way to do it.
The Kriega R20 is the perfect-sized rucksack for most bikers. It features Kriega’s unique Quadloc harness which is adjustable for all rider sizes. It features a separate side access pocket, the ability to hold a hydration pack, and the ability to add-on an additional 5 or 10-litre Kriega drypack. To top it off, it’s British-made and comes with a 10-year guaranteee.
Givi are known for their quality motorcycle luggage and this Easy-T is no exception. Featuring 3 internal pockets and a zipped side pouch with a built-in key-chain, plus a waterproof rain cover. It’s best feature is the built-in helmet holder making it a great rucksack for a day out on the bike.
If you want a really cheap motorcycle rucksack, then don’t look for a biker-specific one. A rucksack that’s big enough to carry a day’s worth of gear and a waterproof top needs to be around 25-litres.
This Regatta Easy Pack is a no-frills rucksack, it has a 25-litre capacity and costs under £10.
This Oxford Aqua V20 is a roll-top type backpack with adjustable and padded straps and it also features a quick-access external pocket.
For just a couple of quid more, you can get this Lomo Dry Bag 30L daysack. It’s a roll-top style bag and features a quick-access pocket, just like the Oxford but it also features chest and waist straps.
No-one likes carrying a lid, it’s a pain in the wotsits.
Our Runner Up, the Givi Easy T features a zip-out helmet carrier which makes life a lot easier if you’re walking around an event or wandering around the shops.
If you have a favourite rucksack already but you want to carry a helmet, then why not use a cargo net like this one? Assuming your rucksack has a couple of loops or straps you can secure the cargo net on to, then you’re on to a winner.
To work out what size rucksack you need, start with a supermarket carrier bag. A typical Sainsburys or Tesco 5p carrier bag has an 18-litre capacity. Pack your kit into one of those to give you a good idea of what size you need.
If you can't quite justify a new rucksack but you want to add waterproofing to your existing rucksack, you can buy a roll-up drybag for around £10 or just pack your stuff into a thick bin liner.
If you're not sure about a rucksack but you need to carry your stuff when you're off the bike, then try this Kriega US20 tailpack which is quick and easy to release form the bike and comes with a shoulder strap to help you carry it when off the bike.
Kriega R35 – The largest rucksack in Kriegs’s range. Unlike the R30, this R35 isn’t fully waterproof but it is water-resistant. Best to pack your stuff in a bin-liner or proper drybag if you want it to stay dry. 35-litres is plenty for a long weekend away or if you’re economical with the undies, a week.
Oxford Aqua V20 – A simple roll-top rucksack with one main compartment and a small key pocket on the front. Adjustable waist and back straps with padding. Quality bit of kit.
Merlin Ashby Wax Cotton – A classic-looking rucksack made from waxed-cotton with leather retaining straps. It has a 30-litre capacity and an internal laptop sleeve.
Kappa Drypack 30L with Helmet Bag – A clever roll-top 100% waterproof rucksack with luggage specialists Kappa. It comes with adjustable shoulder straps with a chest retainer, plus a separate padded waist strap. There’s also an built-in lid-lugging helmet bag which attaches to the rucksack for when you’re off the bike.
Dainese Ogio D-Pack Stealth – A stylish rucksack designed by Dainese and built by Ogio. It can be used with a Camelback hydration pack. It has one large internal pocket and multiple smaller pockets. There’s a felt-lined laptop / gadget sleeve and it has a helmet-carrying loop. Its 22-litre capacity is large enough to carry the daily gear or a well-packed weekend’s clothing.
Can I waterproof my rucksack?
This depends how water resistant your rucksack is to start with but if you want to boost its water resistance, try this Nikwax Tent Gear Spray-On Waterproofer which will add water repellency to your rucksack. The cheapest way to keep your stuff dry is to pack it in a bin liner and then put that in the rucksack. You can also buy thicker proper dry bag rucksack liner like this one and stash it in your rucksack.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this motorcycle rucksack guide:
Effects of rucksack load distribution on your back: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5735368
Backpack safety and preventing injury: