Last edited by mm718; 03-26-14 at 08:39 PM.
The other day popped into a bike/outdoor store cuz of a sale, and ended up getting a pair of Dry-Lites because I could not resist the sale price of $71. Figure that they will get used over the years in any case.
First impressions, they are as well made as other Arkel products, they just don't weigh a ton. The Velcro system is very flexible and should fit a wide range of racks, will be interesting to see how they fit on a very narrow rack like the axiom streamliner on my wife's bike, a rack that would get put on road bikes without rack bolt holes, and are bikes folks would use for ultra light touring.
As mentioned in earlier posts, you really need to have both sides together and on the bike. I've only used them a few days now but they work fine with only one side filled with stuff, with no sagging to one side.
Commonsense prevailing with sharp and hard objects, the material is reasonably tough but using your noggin with using clothes to prevent hard objects rubbing against inside is the way to go and keep them in good shape, as with not leaning and scraping them against abrasive walls etc.
Flexible hook system, especially combined with the Velcro system overlapping the rack in two directions seems to me that this will eliminate them hopping off rack over a big pothole, the Velcro really seems to hold the bags securely to rack.
There are four sturdy oval plastic clips that appear would be great for using straps or bungies to hold a dry bag on the top of the rack between the two panniers, especially if the panniers are filled and so are somewhat higher than the rack horizontal surface.
Obvious downside, cuz of Velcro, not great for taking off and putting on all the time.
I see these as a great credit card tour system, use a waterproof handlebar bag, a drybag on top of rack for more storage space and you'd easily be able to carry clothes, rain gear and whatnot for a fun light trip. I don't have a small cook set but could see being able to do a lightweight alcohol burner setup and a light tent on rack and as others do on this forum, you could do minimalist camping with a light bike package.
The store where I got them, Le Yeti, told me they hadn't sold many of them, but despite the Velcro aspect of not "easy on-easy off" they are a neat set of waterproof 32 litre panniers.
Will put up more info if I use them more than just commuting.
Last edited by djb; 08-13-14 at 09:34 PM.
I cannot speak to the dry-lites specifically since I haven't used them. However I can say I like the Arkel GT-54s I have and like the company quite a bit. They are good folks making a good quality product and all the reviews I have read from their stuff and people I have talked to, have said the same. I would get a pair for light trips, maybe set them up on my fixed gear for commuting as well.
One of the major issues with super light stuff being used as this is potentially being used is sharp and heavy objects poking through but I think people have covered that. Also waterproof stuff not being able to drain water out if it should get in but I won't get into that because it is a political issue for some ; )
been thinking that with a front rack like the Old Man Mountain Sherpa, with a top platform long enough to take these panniers, it would work fine for front panniers.
Yes, this rack is overkill in terms of sturdiness considering one would most likely put soft stuff in these bags, clothes, sleeping bag or whatever.
The Sherpa rack is also about $125, so if any one has suggestions for a front rack that is not as robust nor expensive, this could be a good way to use these as lightweight front panniers.
I've been thinking of the front pannier use idea, and dont see why a front platform rack wouldnt work, again , especially if you put soft bulky stuff in them that would be taking up room in rear panniers.
Im thinking sleeping bag, clothes in general, camp mat if one that is small in physical size. I guess the only downside is that it would put more weight on the rear of the bike, but I guess it would depend on your overall load to begin with.
I guess the other factor too is that undoing the velcro is always going to be a pain if you prefer to take your panniers in the tent with you (as I do). The sturdiness factor wouldnt be a factor for me when I think of my tours Ive done, but I guess in a real rough environment, tougher and easier to get off bags are always going to have an advantage over these--which brings us back to their intended use as very light travelling, even better if you are staying in motels or whatever where you can bring your bike into a safe environment and just leave them on all or most of the time.
I just find it neat to think of different ways to use these, cuz it is pretty impressive how functional they are with such little weight.
I was also considering how to use these as front panniers. My bike doesn't seem to like a lot of weight in the front anyway, so a pair of these to put the sleeping bag, pad, tent, and perhaps a few articles of clothing like a jacket would be great. I'm not of the mindset to try to shave every gram I can, but if I can easily take off a couple lbs just by buying different panniers, that seems like a good idea. I know many here say weight doesn't matter since you're carrying a lot for touring anyway, but I'm convinced there Is a difference between hauling 25lbs vs 35lbs. Let me know if you find a cheap rack solution.
I learned a long time ago that 10lbs less , ie 35 instead of 45 or 50 made a huge difference in enjoyment for me. Getting it even lower would be nice but for most camping trips I figure I will always be between 30-40, but every pound or so helps.
I have used good quality rear racks, alu ones in the $20-30 range for years, putting easily 25lbs on these rear racks. Cuz of this, I am sure any reasonable front platform rack will handle the 10-15lbs tops that would go in these bags.
the real issue is the length of the platform. I seem to recall reading that the minimum length of a platform is about 7.5 inches. I just measured the bags, or rather the distance between the two main straps joining the bags together, and they are 7.5 inches, the bags themselves extend back and front of these velcro straps, but I figure a rack with 8 or 9 inches of top area platform should work. (take a peek at the website and photos to see what I mean regarding these straps)
another factor to consider is the vertical struts of said front rack, you'd want enough support of two struts to stop the bags from swinging into the wheel. So in other words the front rack would have to be conceived for carrying bags, not just a platform with a single vertical support strut. The bags are reassonably stiff, so with two struts that the bags can go against, they'd be fine.
I hope other people chime in with ideas of racks.
racks like this fit the size bill, cost and weight etc, but on a bike like mine with cantis and a carbon fork, I cant see how you'd attach the top part of the rack to the forks.
thats what appealed about the Old Man Mountain rack, it attaches to the canti or v brake studs, and on top of it, it seems like a really sturdy rack that you could use with heavier front panniers without any concerns.
Last edited by djb; 08-16-14 at 08:26 PM.
I wouldn't be surprised if these new Arkels hold up fine as long as users are a bit careful about how they pack things with sharp edges.
I don't count grams but I do count every ounce and the Dry Lites alone would get me a lot closer to my goal of having less the 25 lbs of gear. So let us know how it goes. I am interested to hear your experience with durability and how the attachment system works out.