If you set out to make the perfect rucksack, what would your objectives be? Mine would be an ergonomic mounting system to minimise discomfort, a way of keeping the contents safe and dry and the ability expand or contract to suit different loads I need to carry.
In fact, I could have made that sentence a bit shorter for you… if I needed to design the perfect rucksack I’d just copy the Kriega R30.
It answers all of the demands above and the construction standard is so high that it’s lasted eight heavy years of riding and barely shows any scars for the experience.
The 50,000-mile estimate is conservative as I use the Kriega almost daily and it has been my companion on several long-distance trips since I started using it way back in 2010.
And it’s my regular rucksack even when not riding, especially when travelling with hand baggage only, as it swallows plenty of kit and easily stows in a plane’s overhead locker.
That means it’s withstood a serious amount of use without anything breaking – and there are still three years left on the 10-year warranty.
The only remedial work it’s needed in those eight years is a new waterproof liner, which cost £15 and easily replaced the old, leaky one thanks to the Velcro strips that hold it firmly in place inside the main compartment.
Considering the old liner lasted six years of daily use I didn’t have an issue with it wearing out, especially as the clever design allows it to be replaced so easily and cheaply.
The liner sits inside the R30’s main compartment, which has a rolltop closure to stop rainwater creeping in through the top. The original liner lasted ages before losing its water-tightness and the new one has performed faultlessly.
Some reviewers on the Sportsbikeshop site have criticised the bag for the fact only the main compartment is waterproof, while the two external pockets are merely water-resistant. This is true, but as most admit it takes a good dose of rain to get through those pockets, and I soon learnt to keep anything vulnerable inside the main section.
As well as great rain protection, the R30 is a brilliant design when it comes to rider comfort. The click-together Quadloc chest harness spreads the bag’s weight and stops it focusing on the shoulders. In eight years of riding I’ve not once experienced shoulder ache while using the R30.
I use it daily to cart a laptop, lunch and other light essentials to work and it will easily take enough kit for a weekend away. At a stretch it can take a week’s worth of stuff, but by that point the load is getting too heavy for me to happily lug it around on a bike trip.
The build quality truly is exceptional. Other than the waterproof liner coming to an understandable end, everything else has stood up well. There’s some light wear to the cover on the carrying handle, but all zips, pullers, straps and fasteners work exactly as they should.
It’s not immediately obvious how to adjust the shoulder straps and chest harness for the ideal fit, but it’s a simple enough job. This video shows you how to do it (skip to 1min 10sec for the handy bit) and, once done, the support from the harness is ideal.
My Kriega is the original generation, but new ones can accommodate a Kriega hydration pack or you can slot in a CE-approved back protector insert.
On top of those potential upgrades, capacity can be boosted on all generations by attaching aUS-20 Dry Bag to the back or a Kriega Harness Pocket to the chest harness to hold essentials you want to easily access.
Mine has had a hammering, but I’m confident it will soldier on for at least another 10 years of use. I might need another waterproof liner along the way, but that’s a small price to pay.
The quality of the R30 is reflected in the asking price, which will put off some. But virtually everyone who has bought one feels the price has been justified.
Is it perfection? Maybe as a picky bloke it’s just short of that, but I have yet to try anything in the world of motorcycle kit that comes as close to it as the Kriega R30.
I wouldn’t want to fit any more stuff inside the R30 and still go on a riding trip – but those who do can easily add extra capacity by strapping on optional extra bags.
It’s hard to fault the R30, but on occasions (usually when trying to look down to fuel up) the chest harness blocks my helmet’s chin bar.
The main compartment would score full marks for this, but in an ideal world the outer pockets would offer the same protection against rain.
The outer has stood up brilliantly to years of heavy use. The ability to fit new waterproof liners extends the life of the rucksack even further.
Only an internal organiser pocket and helmet carrier option are missing from our would-like list.