Shad SW45 Rucksack Review

Shad SW45 Rucksack Review
Shad SW45 Rucksack Review

The Shad SW45 Rucksack is a little bit like a roll bag that’s been transformed into a highly effective waterproof motorbike rucksack with a few adaptations.

Tested by Ben Clarke for two months/600 miles

Price: 127.79 (was £141.99)


  • Completely waterproof
  • Comfortable
  • Massive capacity
  • Doubles as a tailpack
  • Jacket flap
  • External pockets are convenient


  • A little shapeless unless full
  • No waist strap
  • Overall
  • Comfort
  • Practicality
  • Looks
  • Value
Capacity 40L
Construction Three-layer tarpaulin and mesh
Waterproofing IPX5 100%
External pockets Two
Warranty Two years
  • Waterproof
  • Two external pockets
  • Doubles up as tailpack
  • Chest strap
  • Jacket flap

The main body of the rucksack is a cavernous and waterproof space, just like a motorcycle rollbag, but you get the added convenience of shoulder straps and two externally accessible pockets.

On top of that, the bag comes with everything you need to fix it to the back of your bike should you wish and there’s a novel flap that can be used to carry your jacket off the bike.

Find out why Assistant Editor, Ben Clarke can’t stop using his Shad SW45 in this video

Is the Shad SW45 rucksack comfortable?

The Shad SW45 has incredibly plush shoulder straps with a link strap across the chest that allows you to relieve a little shoulder pressure.

Shad SW45 Rucksack

It’s incredibly comfortable to wear under normal circumstances, but the lack of a waist strap makes it feel heavy on your shoulders if you’ve got a heavy load in it. The good thing is that, if that’s the case, you can use it in the tailpack mode instead.

If you’re used to a rucksack with a waist strap (as I am), the SW45 feels a little insecure on your back initially but you soon get used to the feeling.

The size of the bag also means that it acts a bit like a sail and a gust of wind at motorway speed can catch you off guard. This isn’t so bad as to be dangerous but, again, takes a little getting used to.

Shad SW45 Rucksack

Is the Shad SW45 rucksack practical?

I really love the ‘stuff it and go’ practicality of the SW45, it’s got IPX5 100% waterproofing you can really trust and I much prefer that to needing an external cover like on some luggage.

40 litres is an absolutely monstrous payload, too, and if you need more than that for a trip you really ought to be looking at luggage that straps to your bike, anyway. Because there’s plenty of externally accessible pockets, you don’t have to worry about losing the stuff you need most often in the bottom of the main space.

I’ve not seen another rucksack with a flap to hold things in place on the outside and it’s a great addition if you’re walking around on a hot day. When the bag is in tailpack mode, the flap can secure extra luggage, such as a tent, too.

Shad SW45 Rucksack

Does the Shad SW45 rucksack look good?

I think the Shad SW45 looks great, it’s got a utilitarian chic that reminds me of some military-style luggage on the market. As mentioned above, the bag can be a little shapeless when it doesn’t have much in it, but it’s not a problem.

Is the Shad SW45 rucksack good value?

At £141.99 the Shad represents excellent value for money. A Kriega R35 has 5L less capacity and isn’t waterproof but it costs £219.

A 39L Alpinestars Rover Overland costs £199.99 and neither of these products have the dual purpose adaptability of the Shad.

Shad SW45 Rucksack

At the other end of the market entirely, a 35L QBag Backpack 9 costs just £22.99 and if you’re just looking for a cheap solution for very occasional use on sunny days, that would be friendlier on your bank balance.

The verdict

I’m very impressed with the Shad SW45 rucksack. I think it’s very reasonably priced for the level of quality and practicality you get and the waterproofing is exceptional.

I never knew I wanted the flap across the back of the rucksack but I’m a big fan of it and the dual-practicality of having a rucksack that doubles up as a tailpack is very handy, too.

Shad SW45 Rucksack

The only change I would consider making to the design is the addition of a waist strap for extra support and security and to lift the weight off your shoulders a little, too.

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