Shoulder the burden: Best motorcycle rucksacks

The best motorcycle rucksacks
The best motorcycle rucksacks

From time to time, you will need to carry some stuff with you on your bike, and one of the most convenient ways to do that is in a motorcycle rucksack.

It’s easy to get on and off, you can tailor the fit to get it just right for you, and there is a huge range of motorcycle rucksacks, from cheap to expensive and everything in between.

The main types are soft or hardshell rucksacks, with features like waterproofing or an aero shape an extra consideration. We’ve included some more buying advice at the bottom of this article.

Here’s a selection of the some of the best motorcycle rucksacks.

Tested by Gareth Evans for six months and 3000 miles

For one reason or another I’ve been through three motorcycle rucksacks quite recently and this unassuming item from RST is by far the best of the bunch. For me and my lifestyle, it’s perfectly-sized, seriously comfortable, and practical.

The 42.5-litre capacity features a laptop pocket, while a trio of zipped smaller pockets hold stuff like disc locks or earplugs. But it’s the thick, highly adjustable chest and waist straps and breathable back protection that make this bag a joy to use. Plus, it’s taken a battering over the last six months and remains in perfect nick.

For the money, I can’t see how luggage gets any better than this.


  • Practical
  • Comfortable
  • Chest and waist straps
  • Breathable back protection
  • Quality
  • Value
Capacity 42.5-litres
Attachment type Straps
Construction type Soft luggage
Luggage type Rucksacks
  • Polyester construction
  • PVC backing
  • Multiple internal and external pockets
  • Additional laptop pocket
  • Chest and waist fastening straps

Rrp: £42.99

Price: £42.99
Amazon Amazon Prime
Not only does this rucksack get great reviews, but it's also Amazon's choice and it's easy to see why. It has a main compartment with a capacity of 24-litres (it expands to 36-litres) and is made of heavy-duty material with a waterproof lining.

It will house a 17-inch laptop as well as a crash helmet and comes with a chest strap to prevent the wide shoulder straps from parting. There's also a waist belt with handy pockets built in to the webs.


  • 36-litre capacity
  • Constructed from heavy-duty material
  • Waterproof lining
Main body capacity 24-litres - 36-litres
Strap type Adjustable
  • Waterproof lining
  • Heavy duty rubberised material and construction
  • Three reinforced adjustable straps
  • Fits a laptop up to 17 inches
  • Hydration pack compartment
  • High visibility stripe on the rear

Tested by Justin Hayzeldeon for two months and 1000 miles

At less than the price of a full tank of petrol, this waterproof backpack from Q Bag is cheap, cheerful and surprisingly good. It’s essentially a dry bag, the kind of thing you’d lash to a canoe or stow on a yacht, adorned with a simple pair of adjustable shoulder straps. There’s a genuine 30-litre capacity to play with and it easily swallows a change of clothes for the office or gym, leaving plenty of room for a laptop, packed lunch and drink bottle.

The roll top closure has proved perfectly effective in keeping the wet out, even in the worst motorway spray, and I really like the fact that the tough ‘rubberised’ construction makes it easy to wipe clean. The additional waterproof zipped pouch is big enough for wallet, phone and a spare pair of gloves, whilst the mesh side pockets make a convenient space for carrying visor cleaning kit.


  • 30-litre capacity
  • Rubberised construction


  • Not the most stylish
  • Quality
  • Value
Storage capacity 21 - 30 litres
Dimensions 64 x 33 x 15cm (LxWxH)
  • Waterproof polyester outer construction
  • Large outer pocket with waterproof zip
  • Roll top closure prevents water ingress
  • Two side mesh pockets for small items
  • Adjustable mesh shoulder straps
  • Reflective details for low light conditions

Tested by Alison Silcox for 18 months and 2500

Rrp: £139.99

Price: £131.99
For me, a rucksack should be practical, comfortable and fully waterproof. This 23-litre bag from Alpinestars meets all these requirements. With welded seams and a roll-top closure, the bag is split into two sections, with a specific, padded section to fit my laptop. There’s also a handy, fully waterproof outer pocket, perfect for keys.

For comfort, there’s a back pad plus the shoulder straps are also padded. There’s an adjustable waist strap, along with a magnetic fastener at the sternum. After 18 months it shows no signs of wear and tear, plus it’s never let wet in. Quality is top-notch, but it’s expensive compared to others.


  • Comfort and quality
  • Practical and waterproof


  • Expensive to purchase
  • Quality
  • Value
Main body capacity 23-litres
  • Waterproof
  • One external waterproof pocket
  • Quick release roll-top closure
  • Adjustable shoulder harness
  • Quick release magnetic centre buckle
  • Semi-rigid foam back

Tested by Gareth Evans for over one year and 3000 miles

Price: £72.74 (was £99.99)

This was my first foray into the world of more fashionable luggage, following a number of more functional items, and the moment I put it on I noticed the difference. This bag is seriously comfortable thanks to its padded shoulder straps, which can be connected via adjustable chest and waist straps to keep the bag in place while you’re riding. I was impressed with the quality of the materials too – both inside and out. The waterproof liner is removable in case you need to clean it, while there’s a laptop pocket and a good-sized main compartment for your odds and ends.

The outer shell is a soft water-repellent waxed cotton and canvas arrangement featuring an external zipped pocked with poppers on the front. The roll-top closing is secured at both sides by metal clips and adjustable ‘compression’ straps so you can tailor the bag’s capacity to the size of your luggage. The whole roll-top is then also secured using the two large metal buckles, which are my only real complaint with the design – they’re fiddly and never feel particularly secure. This is not a single point of failure though, as mentioned above, so I never felt concerned.

In fact, I never had a single problem with this bag. It was a brilliant companion for nights away or days out of the office with the laptop. The price is a little indulgent, but there are deals available right now if you shop around.


  • Contemporary and fashionable
  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Quality of materials


  • Roll-top buckles don't feel particularly secure
  • Quality
  • Value
Main body capacity 21 - 30-litres
  • Heritage waxed cotton back pack
  • Easy grab carry handle
  • Water resistant top closure
  • External and internal pockets
  • Wipe-clean, waxed cotton construction

Seal of Approval - we've tested this product and have found it performs well

A fairly basic rucksack, but excellent value and completely waterproof, winning a Best Buy triangle from RiDE on two separate occasions. It's made from PVC tarpaulin material and the company specialises in waterproof luggage, so you know it will keep your contents dry.

A single compartment with a 30-litre capacity, it has padded shoulder straps with a chest strap and an unpadded waist belt and closes with a roll-top that is secured with buckles.


  • Excellent value
  • Completely waterproof


  • Fairly basic rucksack
Capacity 30-litres
  • RF-welded seams
  • Waterproof and dustproof material
  • Carrying system with waist belt
  • Chest and shoulder straps
  • Main body compartment has roll-top closure
Kriega luggage is not cheap but it is excellent quality and this 30-litre rucksack is no different. Formed in nylon and Cordura, the R30 features a white, taped-seam waterproof liner with a roll-top closure to guarantee it's watertight and safe for laptops or cameras.

It uses Kriega's Quadloc harness system, which fixes the straps close to the centre of the chest, taking the strain off the shoulders. There are two external pockets as well.


  • Excellent quality


  • Quite expensive
Main body capacity 30-litres
Dimensions 490(H) x 300(W) x 210(D)mm
  • Unique Quadloc harness
  • Waterproof main body
  • Optional 5 or 10litre dry packs
  • Pocket for an optional back protector
  • Two water-resistant zipped outer pockets
  • Optional harness pocket Kubepocket
  • 5mm airspace fabric
  • YKK water resistant zips
  • Lightweight and extremely strong
Oxford produces different ranges of luggage, including heritage for retro style bikes and its waterproof Aqua range, which includes this 25-litre rucksack.

Formed in PVC tarpaulin material, it uses a roll-top closure secured at the ends with webbing straps and buckles. There is an external pocket, wide-padded waist belt and two external mesh pockets for items like gloves. There is also a loop to fit a tail light for cycle riders.


  • Choice of colours
  • PVC tarpaulin material
Main body capacity 25 litres
  • One large front pocket with water resistant zip
  • Two side mesh pockets
  • Webbed loop for taillight attachment
  • Reflective detail for improved visibility
  • Available in a range of colours
This waterproof rucksack from SW-Motech is formed in PVC tarpaulin and features a handy external pocket, covered by a waterproof zip and a roll-top closure with Velcro and side-securing buckles and straps.

It has a padded interior with a laptop compartment good for a 17-inch monster, and offers 25-litres of storage in total. Both the shoulder straps and the waist belt are padded for comfort, and the rigid back helps stability in use.
Main body capacity 25-litres
Dimensions 73 (H) x 38 (W) x 21 (D) cm
Lightweight 1.6KG total weight
Construction type Soft luggage
Attachment type Straps
  • Water and dustproof roll top closure
  • Hard wearing tarpaulin outer construction
  • Padded interior with multiple compartments
  • Pocket to accommodate 17-inch laptop
  • Ergonomic padded strap and harness
  • Reflective details for low light visibility
The 16-litre capacity means that you won't be able to fit the kitchen sink into this messenger bag but it does offer a very stylish bag that is very on-trend with the current retro wave. The shoulder strap can be adjusted to fit either the left or right shoulder and the bag is also completely waterproof.

It's made from super-tough 1000D Cordura and Hypalon and also features an additional water-resistant side pocket to keep everyday essentials. If the 16-litre capacity might not be enough though, the bag also has the ability to fit up to two additional 5-litre drypacks too. Like the R30, the Urban messenger bag also comes with a mighty 10-year guarantee.


  • Retro bag that looks stylish
  • Completely waterproof


  • Not the biggest capacity
Dimensions 320(H) x 400(W) x 125(D)mm
Main body capacity 16-litres
Construction 1000D Cordura and Hypalon material
  • Side pocket with YKK water-resistant zip
  • Interchangeable shoulder strap
  • CNC alloy shoulder adjustment
  • Optional waist strap included
  • Optional add on 5-litre dry packs

What to consider when buying a motorcycle rucksack

There are several factors to consider when you’re looking at a rucksack or backpack. One is the design of the section that sits against your back; more motorcycle rucksacks may have engineered sections here to help your back breathe when you’re wearing it.

Similarly, look at the straps and consider how they will fit you and your jacket. Broad-chested riders may find shoulder straps splay, so at least a small strap linking them, or a different design, may be better suited.

You may want a series of compartments in your motorcycle rucksack, for say, a laptop computer or other bits and pieces to keep them organised and if so, there are plenty of options for you. Similarly, consider the size – if you’re heading off for a weekend, you may want 25-litres or so for a night-away kit.

Also, consider weatherproofing; you probably want a waterproof bag, so think about the construction, the closure and any external zips. Consider whether you might want to mount the rucksack to the bike at some point (some have mounting straps available) and whether you might want to carry a helmet – some have expandable sections to allow this, though they can get a bit ungainly.

About the author: After qualifying as a mechanical engineer, Jim Blackstock began working on magazines in the early 1990s. He remains passionate about product testing to ensure readers know what products offer good value and why. He relishes torrential rain to see if riding kit keeps water out and an hour or two to tinker on a project bike in his workshop.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.