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Old 09-04-07, 08:05 AM   #1
BigBlueToe
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Ortlieb Back Roller Classic vs. Bike Packer Classic

I want to replace my old, ratty REI panniers. I've pretty much settled on Ortlieb, and I like the classic rather than the plus. But I can't decide between the rollers and packers. I was leaning towards the rollers, but then I thought it might be a hassle to always have to unroll them to get in, and roll them up after. I use dry bags for kayaking and canoeing. The rolling/unrolling thing is a hassle, though not a deal breaker per se.

A complete set is a big investment. I hate to have regrets after spending so much money. Any input?
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Old 09-04-07, 11:58 AM   #2
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I have the roller ones, and i don't think they are a hassle at all. My only beef with them, is the buckle for the compression strap sometimes gets stuck in the rear rack or under my dry bag (strapped on top of the rear rack). And it's annoying having to 'fish' this buckle out.
For this reason alone, if i were to buy new ones today, i'd prolly go for the non-rolling ones.
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Old 09-04-07, 06:16 PM   #3
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I bought 2 sets of Back Packer Plus panniers for our trip to Spain, which starts in just 2 days. We've been using them around town for several months to get used to them, and so far my biggest complaint is all the straps and cords hanging around! They just seem to have a "messy" look to them, especially when not packed full. The straps just don't pull down tight, and there isn't any way that we've found to tuck in the extra strap length so it doesn't fall out as you ride. I've been wondering if I'd have been happier with the rollers, myself. We tried them in a store, but liked the closures on the Packers better. I'll be interested to hear what others have to say... and I'll know a lot more about how they perform for us in a month!
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Old 09-04-07, 08:28 PM   #4
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I have the packers and they are easier to get into, and especially to close, than my roller dry bags for Kayaking. It's true that the straps can flap around but there are ways to tuck them in or tie them off. I am pleased with the Packer Plus'.

I would think that the Rollers would survive total emersion in a stream, though, so if you absolutely positively need the waterproofness of a dry bag then that would be a driving factor in favor of the Rollers.
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Old 09-04-07, 08:39 PM   #5
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Depends

I own the packers. I think if you're using a handlebar bag, either Ortlieb style will work for you. I left my handlebar bag at home for a short tour this summer, so I was very happy to have the zip mesh pockets on the outside of my panniers. They gave me easy access to things I always wanted when I got off the bike.
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Old 09-04-07, 09:29 PM   #6
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I've used rollers for years happily, with a medium rack pack for sleeping bag, etc. You are right, they look the best fully loaded. Good excuse for more stuff.
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Old 09-04-07, 09:41 PM   #7
Miles2go
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I have rollers and packers, though mine are of the plus variety. I'm not sure I care so much between the closure methods. I'd probably go with the rollers because I like their shape.

What I like about the packer plus (beyond the QL2 mounting) is the little mesh pocket on the outside. It's the perfect place for my waterproof socks, bug juice and such.

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Old 09-05-07, 06:56 AM   #8
gnz
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I've been using rollers for some five years now and I decided to buy bike packers plus to replace my small front rollers. I've just started a trip with the packers and I think I've used them enough now to make a good comparison... Here is what I like/dislike of each design:

ROLLERS
What I Like:
  • sturdy fabric, it is more like thick PVC, practically indestructible.
  • can be filled to the very top giving almost another 50% capacity (but without closing it)
  • when closed you can use the outer strap to fix yet some other thing on top of it, this is handy to attach last minute stuff without having to open the bag

What I Dislike:
  • they're heavier because of the pvc construction.
  • they have the older hooking mechanism which doesn't work as well as the new one on the packers. Actually, I have to pass a rope trough one of my older rollers because when heavily loaded it tends to unhook from the rack when I pass over a bump at high speed.
  • they aren't very comfortable to carry by hand because the handle is on the very edge and the bag weight is always off center.
  • really hard to close them without both hands and your full attention (having to get off the bike)


BIKE PACKERS PLUS
What I like
  • Theyr'e light and compress better when empty because a much thiner plastic coated fabric.
  • The new hooking mechanism which can be adjusted without using the hex wrench.
  • They have a centered handle allowing for a comfortable carrying by hand
  • They look really nice when full and closed
  • The internal mesh bags are handy and don't get in the way if you don't have to use them
  • I haven't used the external bags yet but they'll be handy whenever I need them

What I dislike:
  • The fabric is way more fragile than the rollers's.. I already tore a small hole in one of them when it rubbed against the floor.
  • The closing mechanism doesn't allow you to fill them as much as the roller's

Okay hope that helps
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Old 09-05-07, 09:01 AM   #9
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We have the Bike Packers. Before we purchased them, everybody told us to get them instead of the rollers because they could still be closed when 100% full. We never heard any advantages of the rollers, but now that we are on the road we've thought of a few. The rollers are bug-proof. There is no way to complete seal up the packers from insects, so you have to keep food in sealed plastic bags if you don't want ants eating it. The other advantage to the rollers (if you are not carrying an additional dry bag) is that they can be used to wash clothes or carry water. You can't do that very well with the packers.

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Old 09-05-07, 09:03 AM   #10
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We have ripped a hole in one of our packers too (after crashing) so that may be one more vote that the rollers are more durable.

James
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