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Why Motorcycle Backpacks Aren't The Best Storage Option

by Daniel Noble 21 Mar 2024 0 Comments

Why Motorcycle Backpacks Aren't The Best Storage Option

The versatility of backpacks speaks for itself and they have well and truly cemented their place in the world of motorcycle riding.

In fact, countless motorbike riders put their faith in their trusty backpack of choice when they head out on the roads, so there undoubtedly are benefits to using a motorcycle backpack. The proof is in the pudding as the saying goes.

However, there are so many different motorcycle luggage options and it can be a difficult task to take the leap and commit to a particular choice. So with that said, you may be wondering if you should decide to go with a backpack or if there are any better alternatives out there.

Why Do Riders Wear Motorcycle Backpacks?

There is no doubt motorcycle backpacks have their plus sides, otherwise why would so many riders use them? On the other hand, they also have their cons and here are a few things to take note of when considering whether or not to use one.

Firstly, backpacks are amongst the cheapest motorcycle storage options, proving the most cost effective choice on the market if you are just starting out and are perhaps unsure of what you will want to store or simply need to transport just essentials. They are also one of the most convenient luggage offerings, providing a way of storing your essentials in one place as well as straightforward use and easy access, ideal for short trips or daily commutes.

On the other, it is probably best to steer clear of motorcycle backpacks for longer journeys and trips. Not only do they offer significantly less storage than their hard luggage counterparts, the clue is in the name when it comes to their downside. Positioned on your back (naturally), backpacks can often be uncomfortable and distracting when heavy and that is without mentioning the fatigue they can be attributed to.

Pros Cons
Cost-Effective Lacking In Storage Capacity
Easy To Use Uncomfortable
Quick Access To Items Cause Fatigue
Ideal For Short Trips Or Daily Commutes Not Waterproof


Alternatives To Motorcycle Backpacks

While motorcycle backpacks do have their positives, their negatives cannot be ignored. For that reason, there are three motorcycle luggage choices that are without a shadow of a doubt better alternatives. So, what exactly is it that gives these three options the edge?

Top Boxes:

First up to stake a claim against backpacks is motorcycle top boxes, a line of products that backpacks simply cannot compete with for a number of reasons. The storage capacities of the top boxes are head and shoulders above that of the backpacks, allowing much more freedom with the amount and type of items that can be transported. In fact, a lot of top boxes even allow you to carry full-face helmets as well as any other essentials you may need.

Not only do they offer extra storage space which is ideal for short trips, top boxes also provide added protection that the vast majority of backpacks are unable to offer. Firstly, they are waterproof to ensure essential items remain dry and protected regardless of weather conditions. Secondly, many top cases are lockable, reducing the risk of theft and allowing you to move freely off the motorbike without having to lug your gear around with you.

SHAD motorcycle top box and panniers

Top boxes & panniers: Upgrade storage & security .


Different product, similar outcome. Motorcycle panniers echo what would best be described as a non-contest between top boxes and backpacks. If anything, panniers boast the ability to build upon the advantage of the top cases.

Not only do panniers mirror top boxes in that they offer significantly more storage, they combine perfectly with their luggage relative to create the ideal set for longer tours and journeys. If your top box is already operating at maximum capacity, the addition of a pair of side cases results in bettering the level of storage offered by a backpack threefold.

Again, in a similar fashion to top cases, panniers are often waterproof or have rain covers included and frequently come with lockability or even the ability to be locked directly to the motorbike. Once more offering incentives that motorcycle backpacks cannot keep up with.

Tank Bags:

Last but not least are motorcycle tank bags, another storage solution that offers a different dimension to better the competition offered up by motorbike backpacks.

Although not as impressive as the rain protection found in top boxes and panniers, tank bags still gain the upper hand against backpacks with waterproof covers. This simply leaves your belongings less susceptible to the threat posed by water in comparison to an exposed backpack.

While rain covers may not exactly be a major selling point, tank bags really come into their own when it comes to convenience. Tank bags are by far the most convenient of the four luggage options that have been mentioned. Mounting to the motorcycle's tank, these bags allow you to store your belongings at your fingertips, providing quick access to essentials throughout journeys without having to stop along the way.

So, with the pros and cons of motorcycle backpacks weighed up and consideration given to the standout alternatives, what is the final verdict?

Now, while some riders may prefer the lower cost of a backpack, the three alternatives each have something to offer that backpacks simply cannot compare to. If extra storage, rain protection or increased security are the main drawing point, then both top boxes and panniers are the way to go. If maximum convenience is your motive, tank bags are the clear and obvious choice.

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