Some readers have noticed that a few of us MOrons are avid backpack users. In fact, it may have become somewhat of an addiction. The reason behind this is that motorcycle backpacks have become as specialized as motorcycles themselves, with different ones designed for different riding activities, be it day rides, adventure touring, or just commuting. Now, you don’t need a closet full of them, like Ryan, but since we are always looking for new developments in the category of gear, the Mosko Moto Wildcat 12L Backpack With Chest Rig (also available in an 8L version) caught my eye as I was preparing to ride in the 39th LA – Barstow to Vegas Dual-Sport Ride. However, it wasn’t just the plethora of features built into the bag that enticed me. Additionally, the optional attachment, the Chest Rig, that piqued my curiosity.
The Wildcat 12L backpack itself sports all the right features for a long ride in which a variety of needs might be encountered. First, as the name implies, the internal storage of the backpack is a sizable 12 liters. Constructed of 630D high-density 100% recycled nylon (Mosko even has the certification to prove it), the exterior has a water-repellant finish and measures a respectable 18.25 x 9.5 x 6 inches. Of that capacity, 3L can be taken up by the included water bladder and insulated drinking tube. Eco Friendly Yoga Mat
The shoulder straps are adjustable, which keeps the excess strap from flapping around on smaller riders.
The central chamber of the pack consists of two pockets, one for the water reservoir and one for everything else. This is where you’ll carry the bulk of your gear. On the outside, a dedicated goggle pocket hints at Mosko’s adventure roots, while providing a soft liner to protect the lens. Nestled below the goggle pocket, a second, zippered pocket features straps to hold tools or other small items in place.
Next, on the exterior of the pack’s chassis, a scaled down version of the versatile beavertail that Mosko builds into its Reckless saddlebag systems. This flap is attached to the bottom of the pack and utilizes a combination of a zipper and mesh straps to adjust its size. A pair of nylon mesh straps take care of securing the open top of the beavertail. Designed to be used for quick storage, like stripping off insulating layers as the temperature climbs, the open top allows for easy access to the storage space. Once items are inserted or removed, the nylon straps cinch down the beavertail to prevent anything from falling out.
In addition to the flexible carrying capacity of the beavertail, a MOLLE mounting panel allows for the attachment of additional items.
The Wildcat’s shoulder straps are adjustable over four lengths inside of the pack, plus with exterior nylon straps. (There is also a removable belt.) A center strap adjusts the chest tension to find the correct amount of snugness. A variety of loops and other attachments allow the rider to customize the straps. For example, I like the drinking hose on the right strap so that I can access it with my left hand at speed, so I moved the tube’s retaining clip to the right side. The right strap also has a small bungee cord to hold things like a satellite tracker.
Fully loaded, the Chest Rig is extremely practical. You can see the antenna for my inReach Mini 2 sticking out of the hole in the pocket flap.
Finally, we arrive at the feature that so excited me about this backpack, the Chest Rig. Mounting to the straps via four plastic clips, the Chest Rig is a 9 x 7.5 x 1 inch pouch of the same material as the pack. On the front, a pocket perfectly sized – complete with antenna hole – for a Garmin inReach Mini 2 flanks another pocket that should accommodate most standard-sized smartphones. (Phablets need not apply.) Both of these pockets are secured with beefy hook-and-loop fasteners. Additionally, the rig has a circumferential zipper that allows access to storage space ideally suited for small necessities. For the LAB2V, I carried a tire pressure gauge and two energy bars under the elastic straps. The Chest Rig made it possible for me to snack, drink, take photos with my phone, and if necessary, signal for rescue without taking the pack off.
The fit of the Wildcat is, once adjusted to my dimensions, quite comfortable. The shoulder straps combine with the center chest strap (which can be removed if you plan on always using the Rig to keep everything in place) to snugly hold the pack in position without restricting my movement. In fact, I plan on removing the belt because I don’t think it’s necessary, and consequently, I kept forgetting to snap it closed.
Switching goggles is so much easier than changing lenses out on a trail. With that in mind, I carried an extra pair of goggles with clear lenses in case we were out after dark.
The amount of gear I could carry with me on the LAB2V was a boon. Since the days had the potential to get long, I stored clear goggles in the dedicated pocket and wore the tinted ones. The 3L bladder hooked easily to the inside of the pack, leaving plenty of room for an extra set of gloves, a knit hat, my glasses case, a heated bib, and some extra food. For my long trip back from Las Vegas, the beavertail carried an extra pair of shoes that wouldn’t fit in my tail bag. Again, versatility is the key feature that I appreciate about the Wildcat.
The Chest Rig more than lived up to my expectations. Aside from opening it for a snack when I stopped on the trail, the central pocket also held daily maps and any receipts I picked up along the way. The outer pockets held my inReach Mini 2 and my iPhone in place despite the rough riding conditions and a sudden head plant in some deep sand. Not having to take off my pack to get out my phone when I wanted to take pictures along the ride made me take more photos because it was so easy. If there ever comes a time that I don’t want the Rig on my chest, I can easily mount it on the beavertail’s MOLLE panel.
Since I’m extremely fond of wearing backpacks when I ride, I have reviewed a few during my career and found features that I liked in many of them. However, the combination of the Chest Rig and the beavertail on the Mosko Moto Wildcat 12L is a game changer for longer rides. The Chest Rig prevents the need to go into the pack at every stop by putting the essentials at my fingertips, while the beavertail allows for storing layers to address any weather changes throughout the ride. With an MSRP of $269 with the Chest Rig and $219 without, the Wildcat 12L is expensive for a backpack, but with the beefy construction and flexible usage, I think it’s worth the money for the premium quality. Mosko Moto has a limited lifetime warranty to back up the premium construction, too. The Wildcat 12L is available in three colors, black, Stargazer, and Woodland, while the Chest Rig only comes in black. The Mosko Moto Wildcat 12L Backpack With Chest Rig is only available from the company’s web site. Go take a look.
Shop for the Mosko Moto Wildcat 12L Backpack With Chest Rig here
Do I need a special backpack for a motorcycle?
Motorcycle backpacks must endure conditions that regular backpacks don’t. For example, a loose-fitting pack will move around on a rider and flap at speed. Motorcycle backpacks have specially designed shoulder straps, which in conjunction with other attachments help hold them snugly but comfortably in place. Then there are the weather conditions out on the road. Some motorcycle backpacks are water resistant, and others are completely waterproof.
Are backpacks safe on motorcycles?
Anything that you strap to your body can be a hazard in a motorcycle accident. That said, some motorcycle backpacks offer additional back protection via their construction. Motorcycle backpacks should be designed to fit securely without moving around, and riders should consider the shape and weight of anything they plan on carrying in a backpack. Large, angular objects could injure a rider in a crash.
Why do motorcyclists wear backpacks?
Backpacks offer an easy way to carry small items on a motorcycle without the bulk, weight, or expense of hard luggage mounted to the bike. Since soft saddlebags offer no security for the enclosed items, many riders find it more convenient to carry their belongings with them in a backpack when off their bike.
MO Tested: USWE Core 25 Backpack Review
MO Tested: Sixteen Aqua Hydration Backpack
MO Tested: Kriega Hydro 3 Enduro Backpack
Lawn Mower Covers MO Tested: USWE Raw 8 Hydration Pack Review