Wearing A Backpack On A Motorcycle

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Wearing A Backpack On A Motorcycle

It is difficult to transport gear and other necessities with you while riding a motorcycle. There are a few different options to consider when deciding on a method to take things with you while you ride, the main one being the use of a backpack. Wearing a backpack is a great way to transport your goods while you ride, although it can increase your risk of injury during an accident. To help combat this risk, invest in a motorcycle specific backpack for extra protection and comfort. They are designed to be more aerodynamic, comfortable and compact. A motorcycle backpack is the easiest and quickest way to transport gear with you especially when commuting.

How to wear a backpack on a motorcycle

When deciding to ride with a backpack attached to your body, figure out the size, weight and shape of the gear your packing. If it’s a sharp or super heavy object, you may decide its safer to put these items in a tank or rear seat bag. A backpack full of tools will weigh your body down and create an extra danger in an accident.

If riding long distances for long periods of time, a backpack will begin to weigh you down and create aches and pains in your shoulders, back and hips. A motorcycle backpack with a chest strap or hip straps will help distribute this weight more evenly across your body. When packing gear into the bag, organise it so the weight is closer to your body and spread evenly throughout the bag to create a more comfortable riding experience.

Make sure the backpack is fitted nice and snug to your body. Tighten all the straps and make sure there’s nothing loose or straps flapping in the wind that can catch on something. A backpack that’s nice and tight to your body will stop wind getting in between you and the backpack creating extra wind drag and making the ride less comfortable.  

Motorcycle specific backpack

If you have decided to ride your motorcycle with a backpack, purchase a motorcycle specific backpack to improve safety and rider comfort. While you can ride with a regular backpack, motorcycle specific backpacks are designed to fit to your body with wind resistance, changing weather conditions and the potential for an accident in mind.

They are much more comfortable to ride with as they offer extra padding, extra straps and are designed to handle better in riding conditions and in the event of an accident. These motorcycle specific backpacks are usually constructed with kevlar and cordura textile material that is super tough, will last longer and protect you in an accident. Some motorcycle backpacks come with a hardened shell to protect you and your gear in an accident.

While riding you are always exposed to the elements. Most motorcycle specific backpacks are water resistant to the small shower, while others will provide full wet weather protection from large downpours. Personally I own a full waterproof motorcycle backpack so I don’t need to worry about my laptop if I get caught in a sudden downpour of rain. Most roads are extremely dirty places with other vehicles constantly flicking dirt and grime over you and your motorcycle. Having a stronger built motorcycle specific backpack will last much longer in these conditions.   

Positives and negatives of carrying a motorcycle specific backpack

  • Convenient – Pack and go, no need to fit the bag to your motorcycle
  • Designed for different weather conditions – built to withstand the abuse that comes with riding on the road
  • Affordable – lots of different models available with competitive pricing
  • Built with specific straps and padding for motorcycle riders
  • You can feel the bag on your back providing piece of mind it’s still there
  • Specifically designed for a potential accident
  • Can create drag and wind resistance
  • Can increase injury in the event of an accident – This may be in the form of not allowing your body to roll or landing on your back damaging the neck or back
  • Whatever is stored in the backpack may cause more injury.
  • Can put you off balance in specific circumstances such as turning, accelerating or braking
  • Can hurt your shoulder, back and hips on longer rides
  • Zips may open while riding – combat this by zipping both zips all the way to one side

Type of motorcycle riding

Depending on the type of motorcycle riding your doing will contribute to your decision to wear a backpack, and what type of motorcycle specific backpack to invest in.

Commuting to and from work each day is usually the main reason to wear a backpack, as it’s easy to throw your lunch and laptop in the bag and take it with you. If your motorcycle commute is a long one, a backpack may start to wear your body down day after day. If riding a sports bike, your options for attaching extra storage to the bike are limited. You may want to invest is a smaller, more aerodynamic backpack so the extra weight is closer to your body.

If your seating position is more upright on the motorcycle, you will need some extra support for the backpack in the form of chest of hip straps to provide extra support, your shoulders and back will thank you. If riding longer distances you may require a bigger bag with more compartments, or a built in water bladder.

Other options

There are many reasons why you might want to avoid wearing a backpack on your motorcycle, such as:

  • Increased risk of injury during an accident
  • Extra weight on your body
  • Can be uncomfortable on your body and use extra energy, especially on longer rides
  • Need to transport sharp or heavy items such as tools

There are other options available for almost all motorcycles when transporting gear with you other than a backpack, such as

  • Tank bags – Attach to your fuel tank via straps or magnets
  • Saddle bags – Attach to the rear of the motorcycle and hang over each side, can be very motorcycle specific
  • Rear seat bag – Attaches to your rear seat via straps

These other bag options come in many different sizes and brands, making it much easier to find the type of gear transport that suits your specific needs and riding conditions.

Riding a motorcycle with a backpack is an excellent and quick way to transport a small amount of gear. There are both positives and negatives to this, although there are plenty of other options available that may be more suited to your needs. Have a think about what you plan on transporting with you on your motorcycle, then sort out the best way to transport that gear that makes you comfortable on your machine.