Best Made Better

Tester: Paul | Distributor: Motogear | Price: $369.50 | Check It:

Not all backpacks are created equal. And Kriega has recently made the best, better…

If you need to know if Kreiga is serious about their gear, just check this YouTube clip of Kiwi adventure legend Chris Birch putting their bags to the ULTIMATE test!

Chris is based at the foot of the Coromandel Peninsular, a place which had seen a great deal of rain when he decided to go for a ride. So what did Kriega do? They fitted Chris and a couple of his mates with their luggage and backpacks and let them head off into the hills and get muddy. And if you watch the video, you’ll see just how muddy! These guys give their bikes and gear a really hard time, and for someone like Chris to endorse a product, then you know it’s going to be exceptional.

Here at BRM, I’ve been running an R25 Kriega backpack for probably five years or more. And it’s been everywhere, usually loaded with camera gear. But the last trip was when I decided to see what was new from Kriega, with the R25 incredible for carrying gear in comfort but with one downfall – it’s not waterproof. That meant for the recent Suzuki V-Strom 800 launch in a very wet Whanganui, I was scrambling around for plastic bags to go inside to keep my camera gear dry.

Kriega R22 Backpack

A chat with the Kriega importers revealed that the new R22 would probably be a better option for me, although, with the R25 so good to wear, I was a little hesitant to swap. But eventually, the waterproofness pushed me to make the decision.

Smart Thinking

The standout feature for me with the Kriega backpacks is the harness system. I’ll sometimes have kilos of camera gear stashed in the bag for a ride which can see me wearing it for over 8 hours in the saddle. Yet somehow, the Kriega system hides the weight so you’re not sore at the end of the day. 

The new R22 features the same harness, although there’s also a waist strap to really keep it secure. The harness is slightly different, with the new ‘Quadloc-Lite’ system still transferring the weight from your shoulders to your chest and upper body. Opening the bag is done with a roll system, which ensures the main 18-litre compartment remains completely watertight, while the big opening also makes it easier to get stuff in and out. The inner is white, making it easier to see what’s inside, and it’s also removable for cleaning. 

In addition to the large waterproof pocket, there’s also a 4-litre front pocket for easy-access items, and the bag is also hydration reservoir compatible. You can also connect another Kriega bag to this one if you really need the space.

Doing The Business

The first outing for the R22 was on Kerry’s shoulders, with a camera body and a number of lenses secured inside. With the waterproof lining meaning it didn’t matter if we got caught in a shower, the adjustable straps and air-mesh back panel meant that Kerry didn’t grumble about the weight or that she was wearing a bag for the day. And when we stopped to get the camera out, the roll-top opening made it much easier to find the items we were looking for. 

Since then, the R22 has been put to lots of use and has instantly taken the place of my beloved R25. I never thought the day would come where I wouldn’t reach for my old faithful R25 whenever I needed a backpack, but now it has been resigned to the shelf with the R22 better in every way. Having good kit when you’re riding is super important, especially when you’re carrying delicate or expensive loads. Kriega has once again smacked the ball out of the park by making what was an awesome backpack and improving it in every way. Oh, and they don’t just do backpacks, so if you’re in the market for any other soft luggage, make sure to take a look.