Over the years, we’ve seen the humble backpack evolve into high-tech pieces of kit that will ensure you’re good to go for almost any adventure. In our latest post, we’re taking a look at the best hard shell backpacks on the market right now so you can head out and about with the peace of mind that your possessions are safe and secure. As always, we’ve sifted through all of the options on offer to bring you the best of the bunch, offering fantastic features and value for money. If you’re going to invest in a hard shell backpack anytime soon, it should be one of these.
The Best Hard Shell Backpack
OGIO 123007.36 Drag Mach 3 Hard Shell Backpack might not be the cheapest backpack on the market, but we certainly think it’s worthy of its price tag, which is why we gave it the top spot. Offering an abundance of features, this streamlined and lightweight backpack is water resistant as well as being able to withhold any wind shear, perfect for those that are hopping onto a motorcycle. With great capacity, stylish design, comfortable shoulder straps and a 360-degree reflective outer, this bag has all the bells and whistles. What’s more, inside you’ll find an organizer panel, a zippered security pocket and a shoe storage compartment, ideal for commuting. If you’re happy to splash the cash in the search for the best hard shell waterproof backpack for you, this certainly has all bases covered.
Complete with organiser panel and separate compartments
Lightweight and comfortable
Fully adjustable for the perfect fit
- Weight2.7 pounds
360 reflective material
Just one colour option
Thanks to fantastic storage potential, 3 compartments and 16 conveniently placed pockets, to be exact, this Legio Armored Backpack from Lenovo allows you to carry all the gadgets and personal possessions you could imagine with ease. Complete with a weatherproof exoskeleton, molded back panel for your comfort and adjustable shoulder straps with accompanying chest buckle support, this bag is as functional as it is comfortable. For the price tag, we think you can’t really go wrong with this stylish backpack. Not only is it affordable, but its sleek design makes it a great choice for even the most fashion-conscious shopper.
3 compartments and 16 storage pockets
Molded back panel, a chest buckle and adjustable straps for optimal comfort
- Weight3.02 pounds
Just one colour option
Sitting at the middle of the road when it comes to the price tag, this 30-litre backpack from Cucyma is a solid choice indeed. The carbon fibre design is not only aesthetically pleasing but super functional. Complete with a reinforced shell to hold shape even when empty, reflective piping for nighttime visibility, and a water-resistant exterior, you can rest assured that you will make it from A to B safely with this backpack. Furthermore, in terms of comfort, you’ll be thankful for the ergonomic adjustable padded straps, removable chest strap and handy buckles to hang your essentials, particularly if you’re out riding. For more great options for travelers, check out our guide to the best travel backpacks.
Carbon fibre PVC shell for durability
Water and wind resistant
Fully padded adjustable straps and chest strap for your comfort
- Weight3.5 pounds
Plenty of safety and comfort features
Smaller than similarly priced backpacks
Just one colour option
With a price tag of $599, the aluminum backpack from Solid Gray is definitely a purchase that will require some consideration. As their flagship model, this bag has been designed for those in search of the ultimate backpack in tech, performance and style. Crafted from hard-coated aluminum which utilizes a polymer composite to create a lightweight, yet incredibly sturdy backpack is unbeatable when it comes to durability and strength. Of course, your comfort is important too which is why you’ll enjoy back padding and soft straps as well as additional interior padding to keep your most valuable possessions safe and secure. What’s more, you can expand and personalize your backpack with a whole range of Solid Gray add ons that will step up your backpack game even more. You may also like some of the best solar powered backpacks from our list, so be sure to check them out.
Back padding and soft straps
Additional products to personalise your backpack
- BrandSolid Gray
- Weight1,3 kg / 3 lbs 15 oz
Stylish, futuristic design
Sturdy and durable
Padded interior for extra protection
Not budget friendly
Significantly cheaper than our previous choice, but still an investment piece, the Grayman Pillbox backpack from Hazard 4 looks as good as it performs. This super stylish backpack makes no compromises when it comes to functionality or convenience. Crafted from a lightweight thermoformed shell, this backpack comes complete with movable padded dividers allowing you to store a whole load of your possessions securely. Complete with a water resistant outer, comfortable adjustable straps and back padding, this backpack certainly ticks all the boxes for us. For more excellent options like this, check out our top picks of the best Columbia backpacks.
Crafted from a lightweight thermoformed shell
Multiple padded compartments zipping downward for fast access
Quality-brand hardware for security and ease of use
- BrandHAZARD 4
- Weight4.8 pounds
Adjustable, padded straps for comfort
Just one colour choice
Hard Shell Backpack Buying Guide & FAQ
For us, the OGIO backpack took the top spot because it’s both affordable and functional without compromising on quality and design, creating the perfect all-rounder. If you can afford to part with more dollar, there are many features of the higher priced items that might appeal to you, with the lower priced backpacks offering all of the essential features you’ll need. In a nutshell, finding the best hard shell backpack for you will likely come down to budget and personal preference in the end.
Features To Look For In Hard Shell Backpacks
We won’t take offence if you’ve got your eye on another backpack, which is why, as always, we’re detailing all of the features you should look for in your search for the best hard shell backpack to suit your wants and needs. Generally, you’ll want your backpack to be ergonomic and come complete with adjustable, padded straps as a minimum. Beyond that, you should opt for a backpack that is water and wind resistant, sturdy and breathable. If you’re carrying around valuables, opt for a backpack with additional interior and exterior padding and safety features such as hidden zippers and locking mechanisms for added peace of mind.
Hard Shell Backpack FAQ
Q: What are hard shell backpacks?
A: Hard shell backpacks are lightweight yet sturdy and durable backpacks with an external shell and a cushioned internal foam that will protect its contents from any shock or collisions. Hard shell backpacks are often a favoured type of luggage for motorcyclists, adventurers and travelers alike. Whether you’d like to protect high-value items such as a drone, laptop or travel camera or you’d simply like to ensure your lunch survives the ride to work, a hard shell backpack is a convenient and cost-effective solution for you.
Q: Does my hard shell backpack need to be water resistant?
A: Ideally, yes. If you’re buying a hard shell backpack, it’s likely because you have possessions and valuables you want to protect. If you’re wearing your backpack while you’re out and about whether it be on your travels or on two wheels, water-resistant material will ensure the safety of your valuables.
Now that we’ve covered all basis when it comes to the advanced world of hard shell backpacks, you can go ahead and bag yourself one of our top picks and go out and shop around for yourself. To conclude, if you’re looking for a bag that ticks all the boxes, the OGIO Drag Mach is undoubtedly the best on the market when it comes to value for money and an impressive quota of features.