Motorcycle Vs Regular Backpack (Reviewed for Rider Safety)

One common issue for motorcycle riders is finding a place to store all of their stuff when they are on the road. A good solution might be buying a backpack to hold your stuff when you go on a ride. But what type of backpack should you buy?  

Is there a difference between motorcycle backpacks vs. regular backpacks? Both types of backpacks can be similar, but they might have some key differences that are important to riders.  

In this guide, we will break down the differences, pros, and cons of each type of backpack, so you can find out which one is right for you.  


Motorcycle Backpacks (Overview + Pros & Cons) 

What exactly is a riding backpack? Motorcycle backpacks are designed specifically for riders. Many riding packs offer protection, practical pockets, extra storage space, comfort, and an aerodynamic design.  A good example of this is the Ogio backpack which offers most of these features.

Protection back pads can be added to the back of your pack to help prevent serious injury during a crash. You will also find practically placed pockets to store your keys and phone, making it easy to access during a ride. You might be able to get a backpack with helmet storage as well.  

One important thing to note is that motorcycle packs have added comforts that are built specifically for riding, such as tight straps and hidden zippers. Lastly, a riding backpack sits closer to your body, which prevents wind drag. 

While riding backpacks are typically more expensive than regular packs, we think they are worth the extra cash in most cases, especially for daily riders. If you don’t ride very often or don’t need to carry a lot of extra stuff with you, then you might be satisfied with a regular backpack.  


  • Aerodynamic design 
  • Practical pocket setups 
  • Added protection  
  • Designed with rider comfort in mind 


  • Can be expensive  
  • More difficult to find in stores 

Regular Backpacks For Motorcyclists (Overview + Pros & Cons) 

While motorcycle backpacks are fantastic for riding, a normal backpack might suit you just as well. They are often much less expensive and can be found at almost any store. A regular backpack usually has pockets designed for everyday life, such as laptop compartments and large, open pockets, which can be good for storing clothes and other items 

Regular backpacks are worn on the back for commuting, school, and carrying essential items. They can be used for overnight trips as well. A motorcycle backpack may not have enough storage for extended trips.  

If you ride every day or for long periods, we recommend a dedicated riding backpack. It will keep you more comfortable and add protection. If you don’t ride often, or you ride as a passenger, you can likely use a regular backpack.  

Another important thing to note is that regular backpacks may not offer ventilation or weatherproofing. If you often ride in rainy or hot climates, you might need a dedicated waterproof backpack.  


  • Less expensive  
  • Large pockets for laptop storage 
  • Designed for everyday life 
  • More styles to choose from  


  • Not ideal for inclement weather 
  • Not as comfortable when riding 

Motorcycle Backpacks Vs Regular Backpacks (Which Is Best For Riding?) 

Style And Design

Motorcycle backpacks tend to be designed with practicality in mind as opposed to style. You will be able to find more styles and designs when you search for a regular backpack. However, since motorcycle backpacks are designed for riding, we think they are more useful for serious riders. 

Carrying Capacity

Both motorcycle and regular backpacks offer ample storage capacity but for different things. If you need to carry your for school every day, like books and a laptop, then a regular backpack with a laptop compartment might be more suitable. If you want to be able to store your motorcycle helmet, then a motorcycle backpack will have more to offer. Remember to always look at the size in liters before making a purchase.

Alpinestars City Hunter backpack is an example of having a motorcycle helmet holder and a carrying capacity of approximately 25 liters

Rider Safety

If your primary concern is safety, then a dedicated motorcycle backpack is the way to go. You can often buy a riding pack with additional space for a back protector, which can significantly increase safety during an accident. Riding backpacks also have dedicated strap holders, which will prevent the straps from moving during high speeds.

You can consider the Kriega R20 backpack if a good storage space and a dedicated motorcycle backpack is what you are looking for. Regular backpacks don’t offer much in the way of safety features for riders. 

Balance And Convenience

When it comes to motorcycle vs. regular backpacks in terms of balance, the clear winner is a pack designed for motorcyclists. They typically sit closer to the body and shift the weight from your shoulders to your lower back. The lower center of gravity is much safer when riding. In terms of convenience, you will more likely find better storage for everyday items on a regular backpack. It can be more convenient for people who do not ride often. 

For All Weather Use

Some, but not all, motorcycle backpacks have waterproofing to prevent them from getting wet during a downpour. You will also find better ventilation on riding packs. They are worn while riding in summer climates, so you need a bag that will keep the sweat off your back. Motorcycle backpacks are also made with more durable materials such as ripstop nylon. This can be immensely helpful if you mostly ride in off-road conditions. 

Value For Money

It is important to note that regular backpacks are often much cheaper than motorcycle backpacks. The value for money will depend on what your specific needs are. Regular backpacks might offer more versatility than motorcycle packs in some situations. If you want a pack made for riding, then the best value is a riding backpack. Remember to make a list of your must-haves to determine what the best option is for you. 

man sitting on motorycle with backpack

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can You Wear A Regular Backpack On A Motorcycle?  

Yes, you can use a regular backpack for riding. You will not have as many riding-specific features as a motorcycle bag, however. We recommend buying a motorcycle backpack vs. a regular backpack if you are looking for something specifically designed for riding.

What Should I Keep In My Motorcycle Backpack? 

It depends on what you need while riding. We recommend at least carrying a first aid kit, earplugs, sunglasses or riding goggles, your cell phone, and a tire gauge.  

Is It Safe To Ride A Motorcycle With A Backpack? 

A backpack is one of the safest bags to ride with since it sits on your back away from your gas tank and other components.  

Is It Worth Considering A Messenger Bag As A Motorbike Bag? 

In our opinion, a messenger bag is not the best for riding a motorcycle. It can often slide down onto your legs while riding. It also sits directly on top of the gas tank, which can be uncomfortable.  


At Best Backpack Lab, our goal is to help consumers choose the best bag for carrying what they need daily. In this guide, we discussed the differences and similarities between motorcycle vs. regular backpacks. The bottom line is if you ride often, we think it is worth it to purchase a motorcycle riding backpack.  

  • Updated November 6, 2021