When I purchased my new motorcycle, I decided that I wanted to splurge just a bit more and pick up a nice stylish, lightweight backpack to use for commuting to work or the occasional road trips. I have accumulated several backpacks over the years from hiking and camping, but none of them really seemed suited as motorcycle backpacks. I tried using a couple of older drawstring backpacks on the commute, but they just felt off
(and one of my coworkers said it looked like I was carrying my dirty laundry around with me).
Since I owned an OGIO Flight Vest that has been used on several hiking excursions, I decided to look at OGIO’s line of backpacks to see if they had one suited for the motorcycle. I will give you a hint and tell you now they do. The OGIO No Drag Mach 5 Backpack was my purchase choice.
The first thing I did when getting my hands on the ogio mach 5 (great name by the way) was to go over it and see what I could do with the lightweight backpack. This is a ritual for me whenever I buy a new piece of gear because this lets me learn the ins and outs of the backpack. My wife calls it “the getting to know you” phase of my mania. I explain to her that this habit allows me to learn the quirks and foibles of any gear I own. I do not like surprises. So by studying the pack, I know how best to utilize it.
• Build quality – The Mach 5 has a nice shape and is built from (here come the weird numbers) Carbon Weave PU shell, 840D Jr Ballistic Nylon, 420D poly. I am no chemical engineer, but all these elements equal up to a solid and sturdy lightweight backpack. The manufacturer claims the pack is “nearly waterproof.” I have not tested the “nearly” portion of that bullet point, but after getting caught in some light rain, I have had no problems.
• Storage – The ogio travel bag is built around a spacious central compartment that has an adjustable divider and several interior pockets. I can fit my laptop securely in this lightweight backpack and that is a major bonus. I actually bought this bag with no intention of lugging my work laptop around, but having the option is really nice. For those who take a change of clothes with them to work, there is a shoe storage area in the backpack. If my bike had a motorcycle tail bag, I might use that for my clothes, but the Mach 5 works pretty goods (with a minor caveat I will mention below). There is also a zippered expansion insert that adds to the storage volume.
• Comfort – When I purchase a lightweight backpack I expect a certain level of comfort when wearing the pack. Of course, if you fill your backpack with dumbbells and butcher knives the comfort level can drop. I usually try to keep my backpack packed smartly just because I do not want to be overloaded while riding my motorcycle. The Mach 5 is built with ergonomic shoulder straps that when adjusted well are really comfortable. And when using the sternum strap, the pack fits really securely.
• Appearance – I always feel a bit shallow calling out this feature on any item I am reviewing, but the Mach 5 is a really cool looking backpack. My pack is a nice black color that has a highly reflective logo and piping for higher visibility in low light/nighttime environments. Small touches like this always make me appreciative because somebody in the design process thought safety could be enhanced by this simple addition. (click for more backpacks like this)
Putting the backpack through its paces
I have been taking the Mach 5 back and forth to work on my bike for the last few months. The backpack wears well and when secured tight I never feel any drag from wind resistance. The straps are comfortable and the material that contacts the back is breathable and enhances comfort in warmer weather. As the weather turns colder, this might be less of an issue.
For those who might use it, the Mach 5 comes with a detachable hip pouch that can hold smaller items. So if you need it, this little pouch adds on additional storage space. I guess it would be perfect for a cell phone or other smaller items.
If I had to detail one minus for the backpack, it is that the shoe compartment area is bit tight for my size 11.5 shoes. They can fit, but things feel really tight when the pack is loaded up. I do not feel unbalanced or overloaded with my pack loaded up, but I have to shift things a bit when I have shoes packed in the backpack.
I friend of mine claims this is the best motorcycle backpack she has ever owned. I will not go that far, but I will agree that the backpack is a good buy considering the quality and features. The price is not too high and I felt I got my money’s worth. Other than the shoe compartment not being ideal for my large sized shoes (and I have seen other large feet reviewers mention this as well), the Mach 5 will serve you well. The funny thing is that I have found myself not using the backpack when off my bike. Most other backpacks I own get used in multiple situations, but the Mach 5 is dedicated to the motorcycle. That probably says more about me, but I thought it was an amusing realization.
My same friend who raves about the Mach 5 has suggested I buy an ogio grom golf bag. I hesitate because my wife would kill me if I took up another hobby. But Ogio does make good stuff… I liked the manufacturer so much that I went out and bought an ogio metro backpack. I’m still field testing the ogio metro, but we might have another lightweight backpack winner!