There’s just something I find reassuring about wearing a Kriega rucksack. Maybe it's because it feels like a comforting hug.
I have been riding for just over a year and a half now, so you might consider me to be just a young Padawan in the world of motorcycling, but I enjoy hiking so I have a lot of experience when it comes to lumping stuff around with me in a rucksack.
I expect the same ability when I’m riding my bike - and I’m one of those who is paranoid that I might ‘need’ that extra thing, just in case, so I do pretty much pack the kitchen sink.
However, one thing I have learnt so far… you have to be more frugal when it comes to what you actually need when riding your motorcycle.
When I was looking at the rucksacks available, I just had to explore the Kriega range. Their reputation in the motorcycle world is not something to ignore, and I rely heavily on the experience of others to help me make decisions like this.
That’s especially so when it comes to something with a meaty price tag, like the Kriega range - but that won’t put me off if it is good and worth the investment. I’d rather do that than try three or four times to get the thing I actually need.
I’ve previously used a really basic backpack on my rides, but it wasn’t waterproof and wasn’t particularly sturdy. It did a job, but I knew it was just an intermediate step until I had done a bit of research to find ‘the one’ I was going to commit to and rely on.
I chose the Kriega R22. Why? I liked the size, it wasn’t bulky like the Kriega R30, but it was big enough to fit in what I needed. The waterproofed section was a good size and I liked the idea of the zipped pocket on the front. Some of the smaller Kriega rucksacks didn’t offer that combination. When I tried the R22 on, it felt comfortable around the chest and shoulders. So I went with it!
At the moment, my R22 is used purely for my commute to work. I need to take in a few clothes (t-shirt, jumper, maybe jeans) to change into, my 13in laptop (with adaptor and cables in a soft case), lunchbox, notebook and occasionally my headphones.
Photography: Joel Blevins
Hopefully with spring round the corner, I will start to use it for days out and maybe even some touring. And it will be good to find out how well the air mesh back panel works on warm days. No one likes a wet patch.
So far I’ve used the R22 through winter and recently it experienced its first truly epic downpour. With the main part of the bag having a waterproof 18-litre compartment for the vitals, it didn’t even cross my mind that my laptop might get wet. The rain was hard enough on that ride to make my waterproof trousers leak, but my laptop was bone-dry when I got home.
The waterproofing comes from an internal white liner with taped seams. To me, that’s what champions this rucksack. If this liner wears out eventually, I will be able to replace it separately. I love this forward-thinking part of the Kriega mindset.
The other thing I love about this rucksack is how the weight from my ‘kitchen sink’ is distributed across my torso.
The Quadloc Lite harness clips together across the chest, spreading the weight more evenly. It completely takes away the thought of “jeez, that’s heavy”. The clasp itself is easy to use with gloves on, even my chunky, winter gloves can unclip it.
The four-litre front pocket is handy for those things where it doesn’t matter if they get wet (house keys), although the non-waterproof outer has done a good job of keeping water out of here too.
It has a waist belt, although I don’t use it as it’s not designed for taking the weight of the bag - the Quadloc Lite does the donkey work there. It is also removable, should you not need/want it, so I’ve removed the belt from my bag.
The length of the shoulder straps is really easy to adjust and offers the flexibility to get the torso height correct, which is something I have not seen in a rucksack before across any type of activity.
For a woman, I think these bags should suit any chest size. I don’t consider myself to be large in this department, but the chest clip connects above the bulk of the bosom, so this should keep it comfortable for women of all sizes.
The storage compartment has four adjustable straps on the outside, meaning you can compress the bag down if you aren’t using its full capacity. Me being me, I haven't needed to do this yet.
The straps are easy to tighten, but take a little more attention to slacken, because the clasps are very secure and have tooth-like grippers on the underside of the tab.
As with most Kriega bags, there’s another plastic clip further along the strap where you can tuck the excess length, so it’s not flapping around in the wind. Although some people might like that - it makes you look like you are going faster perhaps.
And you know what? The carry loop at the top is also handy for those in-between-rides spells of shuffling about.
The R22 has mounting points for other Kriega products to attach to the shoulder straps and the front of the bag. That’s something I am considering for those longer trips I’m planning, where ease of access or additional luggage space might come in handy.
If you are looking for a backpack that is big enough to fit in daily commuting items (and then some more) but doesn’t feel overly bulky, I think you’ll like the R22. It feels so comfortable and so reliable that I forget it’s there. It’s one less thing to contest for brain space, which I am all for.