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  1. #1
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    Environmentally friendly superb rear and front panniers - do they exist?

    Hello bikers,

    I am looking for a pair of front and rear panniers that preferably are very environmentally friendly.

    Rear panniers at least 40 liter volume and front about 15 liter volume.

    I've found the Ortlieb Greenpeace line - and they also appear to be the kind of quality I'm looking for - however do you know if there are others that are less expensive and maybe in natural materials?

    Thanks for looking

    Jesper

  2. #2
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    I would think the most environmentally friendly ones would be these neat rectangular cat litter buckets I saw at the pet store. They would involve the least amount of energy for their construction and be eminently recyclable.
    Last edited by LeeG; 03-26-10 at 03:34 PM.

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    Second on the buckets. If you're looking for environmentally friendly reuse outdoes recycling.

    Manufactured:
    http://www.cobbworks.com/

    DIY:
    http://www.bicycletouring101.com/BikeDIYPanniers.htm

  4. #4
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    carradice .

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    Hmmm.... thanks for your suggestions ... inspiring, although I have a somewhat different sense of aesthetics which precludes buckets. But the idea is definitely worth considering....

    Thanks again ;-)

    Jesper

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    Carradice make them from cotton canvas. Mine have lasted 15yrs so far. They have all modern conveniences (QR hooks) and are repairable.

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    I just checked out carradice - looks interesting and it appears they can also be quite big. Appreciate your suggestion!

    Jesper

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    .... yet, as I will be going to very hot areas it is preferred that they are in bright colors. I can't see that carradice makes bright color panniers - any have suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Jesper

  9. #9
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Isn't buying used the most environmentally sensitive option?

  10. #10
    Day trip lover mr geeker's Avatar
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    you could go with the axiom dutch shopper. they're quite large, come in a burnt orange color, and curently on sale here.
    instant human: just add coffee
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    Isn't buying used the most environmentally sensitive option?
    Yes.

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    Cotton is probably the least environmentally responsible material there is. Patagonia has some info on that.

  13. #13
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Actually the most "environmentally friendly" bags are going to be the ones that will last you a lifetime. It does little good if you buy something made of environmentally friendly materials and the tatters end up in a land fill a couple of years after you bought it.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Panniers don't just magically appear and teleport themselves to you. As soon as you involve manufacturing and shipping ... much of the environmentally friendliness will be gone.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Panniers don't just magically appear and teleport themselves to you. As soon as you involve manufacturing and shipping ... much of the environmentally friendliness will be gone.


    Yup! Cotton is a renewable resource so it gets some points for that versus some of the plastic/nylon/chemical based stuff. And yes I know how cotton is grown. It can be grown with less impact but at much lower yields.

    Aaron
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  16. #16
    Senior Member pasopia's Avatar
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    There was a thread awhile back about Ortliebs and their environmental impact that may interest you.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-381430.html

    I'll second what others said, go used. I found a full set or classic ortliebs in excellent condition used on Ebay, I've been using them for years.

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    Hmmm... thank you all for your comments & suggestions. I read parts of pasopia's link, and actually just yesterday I surfed Ortlieb's webpages and to my surprise noticed that they still use PVC for their "Classic" panniers.

    To me physical items, like the panniers, are not just physical items with a size, color, fabric, weight etc. They also carry with them a "feel", or what in spiritual terms might be called an "energy", which, as I experience it, is partly composed of what goes into making the item. That could be people's intention when making the item, how making the item affects the manufacturing workers, how is the nature affected, overall working conditions, the materials themselves etc. I often sense it as an emotional or mental "imprint" that is associated with the item. And to me it's just not very pleasant to buy or use items that carry with them a less than positive imprint. So I'd rather not use PVC but hope to find an overall pannier concept that is pleasant to be with on all levels.

    @ mr geeker: Took a look at the axiom bags - they are a bit too small, though, but thanks for the link.

    It may also be relevant to say that I will be going a very long distance with the bags so they just need to last ...

    Buying second hand is an option.

    So, to sum up: I'd still appreciate suggestions for environmentally and "production people" friendly panniers that are very durable, water and moisture proof, preferably in light colors and for the rear panniers at a volume of no less than 40 liters. Might it be found?

    Again, thanks for looking :-)

  18. #18
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    Hmmm... thank you all for your comments & suggestions. I read parts of pasopia's link, and actually just yesterday I surfed Ortlieb's webpages and to my surprise noticed that they still use PVC for their "Classic" panniers.

    To me physical items, like the panniers, are not just physical items with a size, color, fabric, weight etc. They also carry with them a "feel", or what in spiritual terms might be called an "energy", which, as I experience it, is partly composed of what goes into making the item. That could be people's intention when making the item, how making the item affects the manufacturing workers, how is the nature affected, overall working conditions, the materials themselves etc. I often sense it as an emotional or mental "imprint" that is associated with the item. And to me it's just not very pleasant to buy or use items that carry with them a less than positive imprint. So I'd rather not use PVC but hope to find an overall pannier concept that is pleasant to be with on all levels.

    @ mr geeker: Took a look at the axiom bags - they are a bit too small, though, but thanks for the link.

    It may also be relevant to say that I will be going a very long distance with the bags so they just need to last ...

    Buying second hand is an option.

    So, to sum up: I'd still appreciate suggestions for environmentally and "production people" friendly panniers that are very durable, water and moisture proof, preferably in light colors and for the rear panniers at a volume of no less than 40 liters. Might they be found e.g. second hand?

    Again, thanks for looking :-)

    Jesper

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanKHG View Post
    Second on the buckets. If you're looking for environmentally friendly reuse outdoes recycling.

    Manufactured:
    http://www.cobbworks.com/

    DIY:
    http://www.bicycletouring101.com/BikeDIYPanniers.htm
    yep, those are squarish ones but the ones I saw at Pet Smart were more rectangular and slightly rounded, about 8" x 10" or so. Gotta think of the aerodynamics ya know.

  20. #20
    Senior Member nwmtnbkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irpheus View Post
    Hmmm... thank you all for your comments & suggestions. I read parts of pasopia's link, and actually just yesterday I surfed Ortlieb's webpages and to my surprise noticed that they still use PVC for their "Classic" panniers.

    To me physical items, like the panniers, are not just physical items with a size, color, fabric, weight etc. They also carry with them a "feel", or what in spiritual terms might be called an "energy", which, as I experience it, is partly composed of what goes into making the item. That could be people's intention when making the item, how making the item affects the manufacturing workers, how is the nature affected, overall working conditions, the materials themselves etc. I often sense it as an emotional or mental "imprint" that is associated with the item. And to me it's just not very pleasant to buy or use items that carry with them a less than positive imprint. So I'd rather not use PVC but hope to find an overall pannier concept that is pleasant to be with on all levels.

    @ mr geeker: Took a look at the axiom bags - they are a bit too small, though, but thanks for the link.

    It may also be relevant to say that I will be going a very long distance with the bags so they just need to last ...

    Buying second hand is an option.

    So, to sum up: I'd still appreciate suggestions for environmentally and "production people" friendly panniers that are very durable, water and moisture proof, preferably in light colors and for the rear panniers at a volume of no less than 40 liters. Might they be found e.g. second hand?

    Again, thanks for looking :-)

    Jesper
    How about the Trek Bontrager Interchange Grocery Pannier Eco, which is an oversized grocery pannier made from 51% recycled materials. Here's an article you can read on Eco Velo. http://www.ecovelo.info/2010/01/30/b...y-pannier-eco/

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irpheus View Post
    @ mr geeker: Took a look at the axiom bags - they are a bit too small, though, but thanks for the link.

    It may also be relevant to say that I will be going a very long distance with the bags so they just need to last ...
    Axioms come in many different sizes. I have the LaSalles which have been with me through thousands of km of cycling/touring. They accompanied me on about 1000K of touring in Europe in 2003, 5000K of touring in Australia in 2004, another 1200 km of touring in Europe in 2007, about 700 km of touring in Australia in 2008, and lots and lots of km of touring in North America ... so getting on for 10,000 km of touring over the past 7 or 8 years. They've been dragged here and there, they've been through all sorts of weather, I lived out of them for three months in 2004 .............. and they still look as good as new.

    I recommend taking another look at the Axioms.

  22. #22
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  23. #23
    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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    Make your own out of something that has lived it's purpose, but has much life left in it (if you are that concerned about aesthetics as well as being environmentally friendly).

    http://bygonebicyclist.com
    Penny-farthing adventures, touring & collecting

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    So you want bright, durable, big, waterproof, natural-fiber panniers? I think at some point you're going to have to compromise. Did you have the same requirements for your bike and its parts, your clothes, your camping gear?

    Buying used, durable items may be the best option. Not all Ortliebs have PVC, but they are bright, durable and waterproof. Plus, you can sell them to another cycle-tourist years later if you decide to stop touring.

    "Light, Strong, Cheap. Choose two." is a popular road bike axiom. In your case, "eco-friendly, durable, waterproof. Choose two." might be closer to the mark. Good luck.

  25. #25
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    Hi Niknak & thanks for the axiom :-) Well, actually I have for some time been investigating making a recumbent bike from lin fiber and with a suitable adhesive/molding mass. It sort of stopped because I didn't have the experience working with such materials and couldn't find an ecological lin fiber (not woven). Also I considered the recumbent design less suitable for mountain riding etc.

    I did find an epoxy, though, where 70% of the ingredients were sourced from natural materials (finnish company). If any of you know of an 100% naturally sourced suitable molding mass for making strong bicycles, without VOCs or otherwise, I'd be pleased to hear about it.

    I realise that people might find my approach uncompromising. However, part of my birth "gift" is that these matters tend to affect me and since I do have an aim to be happy on a deeper level, in my world this entails e.g. being gentle to the nature.

    BTW if some of you are looking for bike oil, grease etc. that are sourced from ecological ingredients and is biologically degradable then there's green-oil.net. Their bottles are sourced from recycled plastics and their packaging material is degradable. Appears to also be very well reviewed.

    To return to the panniers. If I were to make my own panniers and would use a cloth of some kind - do any of you have an idea about how I make the cloth waterproof in a sustainable way?

    Best wishes for your day :-)

    Jesper

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