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  1. #1
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    Newbie with questions about Panniers

    Hi everyone. I'm new to touring and bought my first set of panniers today and kind of regretting it. I'm low on money so I bought a fairly low end Jannd pair and wondering if I should of spent more to get the more rain proof style panniers? My friend went on a trip down to california last year without a pair of rain proof ones and put his stuff inside a trashbag and then his panniers and said all his stuff got soaked anyways. Any help or tips is greatly appreciated. Thanks : )

  2. #2
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    instead of trash bags try using waterproof camping bags or some waterproof pannier covers
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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  3. #3
    Training Wheel Graduate twodeadpoets's Avatar
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    Naw! You'll be fine with the Jannds and something though to line them with. For years I used trash compactor bags as liners, tough, cheap, and reusable for years and years.
    Last edited by twodeadpoets; 11-24-09 at 12:03 AM.
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    your friend must not have been a good packer. Get some gallon zip lock bags and kitchen sized bags. Keep two spare kitchen bags in both panniers. Don't pack/unpack in the rain.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    As rain on most tours is really not a big issue, unless you live in the northwest, I prefer using plastic bags to cover my panniers rather than as stuff sacks. Doesn't look real sharp, but is effective for the short periods of rain you're likely to encounter.

    Bag over pannier, slits for attach points. Really simple.

    You can buy high vis rain covers at Amazon that might fit your bags.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I usually use waterproof panniers with just one big compartment. I keep stuff in them organized with various sized ziplocs. I typically leave most wet stuff outside the panniers (tent goes on rear rack) or at least segregate wet stuff from dry as best I can. I have never had a problem with my gear getting wet while in the panniers.

    I have also used non waterproof panniers with pannier covers with similar results.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear cub View Post
    Any help or tips is greatly appreciated. Thanks : )

    Thin plastic will tear sooner than thick plastic. trash compactor bags are 2.5mil(1000ths of an inch). Cheap black garbage bags might be .9mil.
    If you simply cram a large thin garbage bag into a pannier there's a lot of bundled up plastic that will collect water if the top of the bag isn't folded down neatly. That's the reason for recommending a kitchen sized bag.

    If you have hard things in thin plastic bags and they are rubbing against hard surfaces it will wear through thin plastic. Use a bungie to compress and hold panniers firm to rack if anything is loose. Wrap hard things. Items that absolutely cannot get wet should be double wrapped and in a seperate bag. Simply putting a .9mil garbage bag in a pannier then tossing everything in it loose isn't good enough because eventually you'll start putting in damp things and pulling out dry things and one of those times the pile of plastic will have a few tablespoons of water trapped in it and it'll fold into the inside.

    If you're anticipating non-stop rain have one pannier designated for retrieiving things while on the ride and leave the other untouched for dry goods not needed until you're absolutely out of the rain and dry.

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    Note that there are two sides to the pannier war: some people swear by waterproof panniers and others swear at them.

    One problem with waterproof panniers is that, as well as they might keep water out, they also equally keep water in (which means packed wet stuff will never dry and get funky).

    There are tricks you can use to keep stuff a non-waterproof pannier dry (people mentioned a few).

    =================

    Your primary concern is to have a pannier that will hold up. If you have that, don't second guess yourself about waterproof/non-waterproof (for panniers you already own).

  9. #9
    Senior Member crazybikerchick's Avatar
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    You can buy waterproof pannier covers that will fit most panniers for about $15. I tour with covers and my boyfriend has Ortleibs. I have to remember when it starts to rain, or at camp at night to take the covers out and put them on. I don't want to leave them on because they sinch around the whole pannier, so you don't have any access. The nice thing though about non-waterproof panniers is generally more pockets, as pockets means more seams so waterproof panniers tend not to have them.

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    looks like these woudn't cost much more than a couple boxes of garbage bags.

    http://www.treefortbikes.com/401_333...-panniers.html

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    One problem with waterproof panniers is that, as well as they might keep water out, they also equally keep water in (which means packed wet stuff will never dry and get funky).
    I really don't see that as much more of a problem for waterproof than non waterproof panniers. Waterproof panniers are one big sack and need ziplocs or something to organize stuff any way. That segregates wet from dry nicely. Wet stuff that is packed in any pannier, waterproof or not, isn't going to dry much.

    If there are dry days or dry half days I hang my wet stuff on the outside of the pannier. If there isn't any drying weather then I start looking for a laundromat with a coin operated dryer after a couple days.

    The tent, and especially the rain fly and ground sheet (if any) are the things that are most often wet and I carry them on the rear rack. I fold/roll the tent so the floor is on the outside and stuff it in it's non waterproof bag. When unpacked in the afternoon or evening, it never seems to be any wetter (or drier) than when it was rolled no matter how hard it rains or how much the sun shines.

  12. #12
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    I didn't expect so many helpful responses! Thanks everyone for your help When I prepare for my first ride I'll take all your ideas into consideration.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear cub View Post
    Hi everyone. I'm new to touring and bought my first set of panniers today and kind of regretting it. I'm low on money so I bought a fairly low end Jannd pair and wondering if I should of spent more to get the more rain proof style panniers? My friend went on a trip down to california last year without a pair of rain proof ones and put his stuff inside a trashbag and then his panniers and said all his stuff got soaked anyways. Any help or tips is greatly appreciated. Thanks : )
    I guess it depends a lot on where you're going to be touring and what you're likely to run into for weather. In a desert, it won't be a problem. Southeast Asia in the rainy season might be a different matter! But like everyone else has suggested, you can help yourself a lot by taking along some ziplock bags/garbage bags and getting rain covers.

    If you have some things that absolutely cannot get wet (important papers / electronics) then try and get a small waterproof pouch just for those things or get some heavy duty plastic bags to wrap them in.

    Hopefully you won't have several days of heavy rain in a row (you usually don't) and then you can always dry things out the next day after the showers end.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I really don't see that as much more of a problem for waterproof than non waterproof panniers. Waterproof panniers are one big sack and need ziplocs or something to organize stuff any way. That segregates wet from dry nicely. Wet stuff that is packed in any pannier, waterproof or not, isn't going to dry much.
    It's not speculation on my part. It's from stuff that other (credible) people have written. Of course, other people too (like yourself) use waterproof panniers effectively.

    Anyway, my point is that the OP doesn't need to be too concerned about it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Anyway, my point is that the OP doesn't need to be too concerned about it.
    I agree 100%. His Jannds are fine and it would be silly to replace what he already has unless he has other concerns with them. If he is concerned buying covers might be a good idea, but with proper care not absolutely necessary. The covers usually do have the advantage of being a high visibility color. Folks complain that the covers make it tougher to get to items during the day, but it seems like a minor annoyance at worst to me since they can be put on or taken off in a few seconds.

    Either type pannier can work out very well. I think that whether your stuff stays dry has more to do with what care you take in packing than with your pannier choice. Also I think that whether you prefer one big compartment or lots of pockets may be a bigger factor in the choice than whether of not they are waterproof. I happen to prefer one big compartment and find the fact that they are lighter a nice bonus.

    In either case I really like to divide stuff up in ziploc bags. One bag might have clean bike clothes, one worn but can be worn again clothes, one dirty and needs to be washed before wearing again. Another set may be for colder weather clothes or stuff only worn in camp. Also bulk is reduced because you can squeeze stuff flat before zipping the ziplocs.

    Other stuff like dishes, utensils, and cook pots may be in a mesh bag, but everything is divided, items grouped by function, into bite sized packages that are waterproof if the contents need to stay dry. Also I try to put stuff in panniers so that the stuff that I need at a particular time is all in the same pannier. That way besides segregating dirty/clean/wet/dry I can usually find what I am looking for very quickly.
    Last edited by staehpj1; 11-25-09 at 10:29 AM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I agree 100%. His Jannds are fine and it would be silly to replace what he already has unless he has other concerns with them. If he is concerned buying covers might be a good idea, but with proper care not absolutely necessary. The covers usually do have the advantage of being a high visibility color. Folks complain that the covers make it tougher to get to items during the day, but it seems like a minor annoyance at worst to me since they can be put on or taken off in a few seconds.

    Either type pannier can work out very well. I think that whether your stuff stays dry has more to do with what care you take in packing than with your pannier choice. Also I think that whether you prefer one big compartment or lots of pockets may be a bigger factor in the choice than whether of not they are waterproof. I happen to prefer one big compartment and find the fact that they are lighter a nice bonus.

    In either case I really like to divide stuff up in ziploc bags. One bag might have clean bike clothes, one worn but can be worn again clothes, one dirty and needs to be washed before wearing again. Another set may be for colder weather clothes or stuff only worn in camp. Also bulk is reduced because you can squeeze stuff flat before zipping the ziplocs.

    Other stuff like dishes, utensils, and cook pots may be in a mesh bag, but everything is divided, items grouped by function, into bite sized packages that are waterproof if the contents need to stay dry. Also I try to put stuff in panniers so that the stuff that I need at a particular time is all in the same pannier. That way besides segregating dirty/clean/wet/dry I can usually find what I am looking for very quickly.
    Perfect.

  17. #17
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    +1 to the trash compactor bags, I've always used those inside of non-waterproof panniers and been just fine.
    ...

  18. #18
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    Another option is to pick up some dry-bags from an outdoor store - the kind that people take on canoeing trips. You could probably get a couple of big ones for $15 each or so. Anything you need to stay dry (like your clothes) can go first inside a dry bag and then into your pannier. It's also nice to compartmentalize stuff so it's easier to find the non-clothes in your pannier when you need to.

  19. #19
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    You can also buy 2 and 3 gallon Zip Locks. A few spares on the bottom or top of everything else takes up almost no room at all, and the added size makes it much easier to pack, and unpack, things.

    If you are really worried, double bag them.

    An extra garbage bag on the tent doesn't hurt, either, if it isn't wet already. A dry tent, and sleeping bag, are worth their' weight in gold.

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