A backpack is a simple and convenient way to carry anything. If you don’t carry things often then it saves you from needing to install a top box or other luggage solution. While they are convenient, should you be riding around with one on your back?
Is it safe to ride a motorcycle with a backpack?
It is safe to ride a motorcycle with a backpack but only if you take the precautions. You need to ensure it’s comfortable and has a tight fit while also giving yourself the right protection.
What are the dangers of riding with a backpack?
Lack of comfort
Some backpacks simply don’t feel comfortable and can be hard to carry. If they aren’t comfy then this can distract you while on your ride. Trying to make constant adjustments to your backpack isn’t going to be ideal.
There is also a chance it will start going to give you backache which can affect the way you can ride. Added to that, a cheap backpack can also make you sweat profusely. All of these factors can distract you from keeping your eyes on the road.
Problems turning your head
If you have a backpack that sits quite high on your back then it can cause an obstruction when it comes to turning your head. Also, if you have straps digging into your neck/shoulder then it can start to become painful.
The dangers of this are obvious as you don’t want to have anything obstructing your movement and making it difficult to see.
If there is a lot of weight in the backpack and it’s not properly fitted then it can pull your shoulders down and hurt your back. Also, if you have more weight on one side than the other then this can cause issues when turning. Traveling with a heavy backpack will give you a very different feel.
If you have a loose backpack then you have the risk of something catching on it should you come off the bike. Also, if you have loose straps then they can get caught on a body part or on a part of your bike.
Arching the spine
If you come off your bike and have a backpack then this could cause issues if you land on your back. The backpack can use your body to bend around it, arching your back. The dangers of this are fairly obvious.
How to Avoid the Risks of a Backpack
With all the information above you’d be forgiven for thinking that you should avoid a backpack at all costs. The truth is that all the dangers above are easily mitigated. As long as you’re taking the right steps, you should be fine.
Getting the right backpack
Most backpacks aren’t going to be suitable for riding a motorcycle. But there are plenty out there which have been designed with riders in mind.
Whatever one you choose, it’s best having a low profile with nothing that hangs off it such as loose straps. It’s best to keep the center of gravity as close to you as possible.
Before you head out on a ride it’s best to do some basic checks to ensure everything is safe. This involves tucking away any straps, ensuring the backpack is securely fit and also keeping zips closed up and secure. You don’t want anything to distract you on your journey.
Pack your backpack carefully
Whenever you’re packing a backpack you want to try and center the weight as much as you can to keep it balanced. This will prevent you from fighting against the weight if you move to one side.
Also, you don’t want any heavy items loose in your bag that would be able to move around too much under steering and braking.
Use a back protector
Back protectors are good for any rider but especially for those wearing a backpack. Having one will prevent your back from arching on impact. It’s better to have one on your body rather than in the backpack, as it may move around under impact and be in the wrong position.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you attach a backpack to a motorcycle?
You can also choose to ride with a backpack but not place it on your back. There are numerous ways you can do this with rok straps, cargo nets and bungee cords being popular choices.
This will allow you to ride freely without the worry about carrying a backpack. This can present its own problems as it would need to be highly secure.
What is the best motorcycle backpack?
There are many great motorcycle backpacks out there that have a low profile, secure zips and impressive durability. The best one for you will depend on your needs and body shape. It’s a good idea to research first to know exactly what you’re looking for.
What should I keep in my motorcycle backpack?
Rather than thinking about what you should keep in your motorcycle backpack, it’s better to think about what you shouldn’t have. Any sharp objects or anything that could injure you shouldn’t be included.
If you fall heavily off your bike directly onto your backpack, you don’t want anything that could make that situation worse.
What are the motorcycle backpack alternatives?
There are plenty of alternatives to a backpack if you need to carry items. These can be safer and easier to ride with than a backpack.
- Panniers – This is where you have a bag either side of your back wheel with a bridge between the two. Having one each side adds balance and gives you plenty of storage space.
- Tank bag – A tank bag gives you convenient access to anything that you might need. One potential issue is that they can be limited in terms of space.
- Top box – Many people don’t like a top box as they aren’t aesthetically pleasing but they do give you a large storage area.
- Tail bag – A tail bag is excellent for storage at the tail of the bike but you do have the same issue with the tank bag of being limited in terms of capacity.