A sleek, attractive pack for blasting around town

If you ride a motorcycle regularly, a reliable backpack is one of your primary pieces of gear. One can only stuff so many belongings in pants pockets. While many backpacks are big and bulky, leave it to Icon to inject their keen eye for design into a slick new option that serves well for urban moto-quests, the Icon Squad 3 Backpack.

Made of rip-stop nylon, the Squad 3 is fairly lightweight. It has two adjustable chest straps that clip together at the chest harness. An adjustable strap runs from each side panel as well and connects at the bottom of the harness to further dial in the fit. Overall there’s plenty of room to squeeze the Squad 3 on over a thick leather riding jacket. While it has a waterproof zipper on the exterior pocket and is made of water-resistant fabric, which will somewhat buffer contents from rain, Icon doesn’t claim that it is waterproof and suggests using an aftermarket dry bag if you’re carting expensive electronic equipment.

The Icon Squad 3 Backpack rates as one the most comfortable backpacks we’ve sampled. The "tri-fit" chest closure system does an admirable job of dispersing the weight so your shoulders don’t get fatigued. It works well for us because we can wear it to a rally and then keep it on all day, using it to hold cameras, a notepad and a hoody for when evening sets in. Smartly placed padding facilitates its comfortable feel, from the well-padded section that rests against your back to the sections that sit on the shoulders to the side panels against your ribs. The chest closure system even comes with small zippered stash pockets on both sides with small perforations at the top so you can run headphone wires through.

Another cool feature of the Icon Squad 3 Backpack is the two Velcro ID holders that latch on to the top of the shoulder straps. They’re designed to hold items like a license or credit card so riders can access them quickly and easily. They stick firmly so you don’t have to worry about them blowing off when you’re riding, and the convenience of not having to take off the backpack and dig out an ID or cash for toll booths or bridges is appreciated.

The Icon Squad 3 is separated into two storage compartments. The larger compartment closest to your back has a slot that is sized to carry a computer, which we snugly fit a 17-inch MacBook Pro into. If you’re not packing a computer, riders can opt to slide in a D30 back pad, but the pad isn’t included. This section also has a mesh pocket opposite it with a zipper closure that works well for maps or other thin items. The second storage area is conveniently accessed through the top and is just the right size for a hoody. There’s a small zippered pocket stitched into the lid of this enclosure. Unfortunately, we overstuffed it on a recent trip, and the thin nylon at the bottom ripped open from the pressure. The backpack also has an external pocket about hand-deep and two hands tall that comes with a waterproof zipper. A long, adjustable strap runs outside the length of the pocket and connects to a flap at the bottom of the backpack. It has a clip closure so you can string the strap through your helmet and carry it with you once you arrive at your destination. The backpack itself serves as a buffer so the helmet hangs low and out of the way behind you when walking.

Badging is succinct. A rubberized Icon logo in black on the top flap of the zippered compartment blends right in with the black of the backpack we tested. The unmistakable “I” of the Icon brand is creatively imprinted on snaps and tabs. It has plenty of reflective piping that’s very visible at night, from the pull tabs on the zippers to the strap running along the back to the shoulder and chest straps. It isn’t bulky, the ideal size for quick blasts around town, and sports an attractive design. We love how it fits snugly and unobtrusively against a rider’s back, is slightly rounded so it doesn’t act like a parachute, and is compact so you don’t feel like Quasimodo. But its strongest selling point is the chest strap and the all-day comfort it offers, which ranks with the best.