There are two things that revolutionised my riding.
The first was heated grips.
And the second was a motorcycle tail bag (or tail pack.)
I’m the sort of person that’s almost always got stuff to take with me. And whilst I’m lucky to have panniers, a top box, a roll bag, and a tank bag, my motorcycle tail bag is usually my luggage of choice.
Obviously, if you have a full setup, then you take whatever luggage is appropriate for the stuff you need to take.
But if I’m on tour and out for a day ride, I choose to leave all my luggage in the hotel and slip a tail pack on the pillion seat.
Large enough to hold my gear but small enough to not hinder my riding, a motorcycle tail bag is the ultimate in pocket-sized motorcycle luggage.
To cover all uses and price points, we’ve included the following tail packs:
We have listed them here in the order of size (smallest to largest) with prices correct as of July 2022.
Oxford Aqua T-8 Motorcycle Tail Bag (8-litre), £28.96
This little beauty is an 8-litre waterproof tail pack that secures under your seat thanks to the included strap attachments.
For the price, it’s good-looking, well-made, and waterproof. And it’s large enough to fit the essentials but small enough not to impede.
The bag is made from a waterproof compound, has welded seams, and can be wiped clean.
It comes with an easy bray moulded carry handle, which makes it perfect to carry when you get to your destination.
The waterproof roll-top closure prevents water from getting inside. And the external pocket comes with a water-resistant zip closure.
There is a window in the external pocket for maps. And the tail pack has reflective detailing to improve visibility in the dark.
Lastly, the unique attachment system fits neatly under the seat and fastens via the included straps.
The only issue we found is that the straps are quite short. We needed larger straps to fit it to an Africa Twin.
Kriega Drypack (10-litre), £89.00
This is an excellent little motorcycle tail bag from Kriega. It’s made of waterproof Cordura, comes with a roll-top closure to prevent water seepage, and has aircraft-grade alloy hooks.
The fully waterproof 420D Cordura means no rain cover is required. And the roll-top closure with a wide opening ensures easy access.
Being a Kriega, the bag has a removable liner for added waterproofing and has YKK water-resistant zips throughout.
Small items can be stored in the rear mesh pockets, and the aircraft-grade hooks make for secure fastenings to your bike.
If you have a Kriega backpack, this motorcycle tail bag can be connected to it on day trips.
At 10 litres, this tail pack is the perfect size for sports bikes yet still holds a decent amount of kit.
The anchor points are easy to install, and the quick-release straps make it a doddle to install/remove from your bike when needed.
It ain’t cheap, but you definitely get what you pay for.
Held Iconic Evo Expandable Motorcycle Tail Bag (12-21 litres), £55.99
Made from a water-repellent nylon construction and with an all-around zip for volume adjustment, this is a great motorcycle tail bag on a budget.
It has mesh inner pockets and an internal organiser to neatly store your kit.
Particularly impressive is that we managed to get a helmet in when it was expanded to its largest size. Although you would probably never use it to store a helmet!
The integrated handle means it’s easy to carry to and from your hotel. And it also comes with a rainproof cover for when the heavens open.
The tail pack comes with Held’s strap fastening system and also has reflective detailing for added visibility.
For a smaller bike, this tail pack might be a little on the large side. But we found it fits perfectly on our top box rack.
For a few nights away, you’ll struggle to get this much for your money elsewhere.
Oxford F1 – Large (35-litre), £59.39
We were conscious not to stroll into the territory of roll bags here. So we plumped for a product by the ever-trustworthy Oxford brand.
At 35 litres, this is a big motorcycle tail bag. And it comes with a riptop construction and showerproof lining.
The bag is extremely durable thanks to its nylon outer shell. And the showerproof inner liner goes some way to protecting your kit from the wet.
As with the Held tail pack above, this Oxford bag is expandable and comes with a detachable base.
There is an external pocket that is perfect for smaller items. And the elasticated netting comes in handy for storing lightweight items such as gloves.
For some added organisation, the tail pack comes with 5 personalised colour inserts.
We particularly liked that this tail pack came with more straps than needed (never a bad thing). And the expansion capabilities mean it can carry most items for a few days’ travel.
We managed to carry a laptop in it quite comfortably during the daily commute, along with our other necessities.
It’s worth noting, however, that the waterproof bag is large enough to hold items inside the bag but not large enough to cover the pack itself.
SW Motech Cargobag Motorcycle Tail Bag (50-litre), £199.95
Lastly, we come to the behemoth of tail packs by SW Motech.
With its 50-litre capacity and waterproof inner bags, the SW Motech can also be used as a backpack.
The motorcycle tail bag is constructed of reinforced 1680D ballistic nylon construction. It also comes with adhesion protection to prevent scratches.
Its safe and secure 4-point mounting system and sturdy metal brackets make for secure mounting on any bike.
Once again, we found it large enough to stow a helmet. And the two side compartments alone are big enough for the majority of clothes you may need on a trip.
The tail pack comes with a waterproof inner bag, night-visible reflective details, and two compression and support straps.
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Top image via C. Searer