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Old 02-03-14, 07:54 PM   #1
Aushiker
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Arkel Dry-Lites - Experiences?

Thanks to Trike Asylum for the heads-up on these Arkel Dry-Lites panniers.

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At 420gr, these are truly the ultimate waterproof light & fast touring saddle bags. Stand alone use, or combined with any trunk bag. Perfect match with Arkel's Tailrider.



They are pannier in the style of a dry-bag. Very light compared to more traditional panniers. Interesting development and good to see another pannier option.

Has anyone got any real-world experiences with these? I am curious about how they go on the road so to speak.

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Old 02-04-14, 08:47 PM   #2
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neat, thanks for putting this up. I hope to go to the Montreal bike show soon and hopefully will see some in person. I've used Ortliebs rear panniers for ages, still like them a lot. A few years ago I got new ones, and got the classics to replace my 20 yr old Pluses. The pluses, especially my old ones that were more simple, were a lot lighter than the classics, but the I couldnt resist the sale on the classics I bought.

That said, these light arkels look pretty neat. My main concern is build quality (from Arkel stuff Ive seen, not an issue) and more importantly how good the attachment system is--this is the one thing I still really love about Ortliebs, that they dont pop off, the locking system is so effective.
The price on these as a pair is marked as $90 can. and for me could be a good front pannier set that being waterproof, would complement my rear Ortliebs. I presently use a really old, yet still perfectly functional, cordura set, albeit non waterproof.
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Old 02-04-14, 08:57 PM   #3
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Steve at Trike Asylum has posted a couple more photos of the rear. I am sure if you post a comment on the blog post he will happily help with more photos. Very easy going guy is Steve.





If you get a chance to see them, it would be great if you can post back here. Seriously considering trying out a couple myself

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Old 02-04-14, 09:13 PM   #4
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looking at these again, I see that they do not have a hook system to hook onto rack rails. It appears rather that they velcro together or perhaps individually to attach to a rear rack.

they look like they are not really suitable to a front rack (low rider style) although I could be wrong.

at 420g though, pretty darn impressive for being waterproof and sooo much lighter than other waterproof panniers.
Will be interesting to see how tough the material looks, for long term use and being damaged by corners of hard things packed inside.

**I was typing while you put last comment up. Yes, I will get back to you if I see them. Show is weekend of 14-16 feb.

also, re durability, my old Ortlieb pluses ended up being a lot tougher than I initially thought. Light and flexible material, yet has put up with many years of scuffing, although I was always careful with them, especially with putting sharp edged things inside always with a buffer so corners wouldnt stress the material or poke holes. Given how this ortlieb material works well and is fairly tough, I hope these are not too too thin just to lose a few grams.

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Old 02-04-14, 09:32 PM   #5
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I asked Steve earlier on about the attachment method. This is his response ... probably not that helpful actually

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Yes, these are indeed “pannier” panniers, in that they have a specific attachment mechanism for a trike rack, which includes a bungee cord attachment to the bottom of the rack, similar to Arkel’s heavier duty bungee on their large bags (GT-54) and to Ortlieb’s plastic attachment bar. These panniers will attach as securely as standard panniers, but the bottom line is that they weigh a small fraction of what typical panniers weigh.
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Old 02-04-14, 10:25 PM   #6
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Weight, price, and size all look great. For those with lightweight camping gear and sticking to essentials 32 liters should do the trick. For me I'd put my 2-man tent on top of the rack and be good to go.
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Old 02-05-14, 11:42 AM   #7
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looking at these again, I see that they do not have a hook system to hook onto rack rails. It appears rather that they velcro together or perhaps individually to attach to a rear rack.

they look like they are not really suitable to a front rack (low rider style) although I could be wrong.

at 420g though, pretty darn impressive for being waterproof and sooo much lighter than other waterproof panniers.
Will be interesting to see how tough the material looks, for long term use and being damaged by corners of hard things packed inside.

**I was typing while you put last comment up. Yes, I will get back to you if I see them. Show is weekend of 14-16 feb.

also, re durability, my old Ortlieb pluses ended up being a lot tougher than I initially thought. Light and flexible material, yet has put up with many years of scuffing, although I was always careful with them, especially with putting sharp edged things inside always with a buffer so corners wouldnt stress the material or poke holes. Given how this ortlieb material works well and is fairly tough, I hope these are not too too thin just to lose a few grams.
Yes, djb pls do report back. I've always wondered why something wasn't done like this a long time ago--my interest is piqued... I'd especially be interested in durability and the how much of a pain it would be to attach the panniers on a routine basis. It definitely makes the case for leaving the panniers on at night and changing a tire might be a bit more of a hassle but maybe not such a big deal given the weight savings.
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Old 02-05-14, 12:49 PM   #8
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... and the how much of a pain it would be to attach the panniers on a routine basis. It definitely makes the case for leaving the panniers on at night and changing a tire might be a bit more of a hassle but maybe not such a big deal given the weight savings.
ya, the routine basis is one thing, and I have always wanted to bring my panniers in the tent with me. I know some people don't but I've never understood why, as it usually takes 10 seconds to put panniers on a rack, and I prefer to have my stuff in with me, to pack it up inside if raining etc, no risk of someone being tempted by the bags on the bike.

This velcro system does look more tricky, although that said, my old old front small panniers were designed for mtn biking, and use two velcro strips on straps with traditional hooks on them to securely stop panniers from flopping around. Velcro on back of pannier and on end of straps with hooks-not very clear but I'd have to take a photo to show better--it worked better than traditional systems of the time, but it is a slight pain to use regularly--but the main thing is that the velcro has more or less kept its properties over time, but I imagine that the quality of velcro is a part of this.
As I mentioned, whenever I've seen Arkel stuff, it is really well made, so this should use good quality velcro--plus if the area of velcro to velcro is big and long enough, that will help too for longevity/attaching strength (my panniers velcro section is probably 6 inches long, albeit narrow)
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Old 02-05-14, 01:23 PM   #9
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LBS here in Baltimore has a set of these. They are great very light and for Arkels really cheap. The bags strap across the top of any standard rack and then the rear of each bag has 2 velcro tabs to go around the rear leg of the rack. Its a nice design but I would check my rack to be sure those tabs will work for you. I have 2 sets of Arkels and their quality is unsurpassed. Mine have been on several trips in the pouring rain with never an issue. Mine are the more "standard" model of pannier. This photo is from Arkels site. Ekh.
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Old 02-05-14, 01:33 PM   #10
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Dozens of touring Cyclists daily pass through town in the summer lots more Ortlieb users than most others

some use the MEC welded seam panniers , being Canadiens ..

having had spring+ hook mount ones come off on rough roads .. I stay away from them , myself .

adding a strap with a buckle between the top and the hook would lock out the bungee stretch .

and not cost more than a buck to production costs.

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Old 02-05-14, 03:40 PM   #11
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ya, the routine basis is one thing, and I have always wanted to bring my panniers in the tent with me. I know some people don't but I've never understood why, as it usually takes 10 seconds to put panniers on a rack, and I prefer to have my stuff in with me, to pack it up inside if raining etc, no risk of someone being tempted by the bags on the bike.

This velcro system does look more tricky, although that said, my old old front small panniers were designed for mtn biking, and use two velcro strips on straps with traditional hooks on them to securely stop panniers from flopping around. Velcro on back of pannier and on end of straps with hooks-not very clear but I'd have to take a photo to show better--it worked better than traditional systems of the time, but it is a slight pain to use regularly--but the main thing is that the velcro has more or less kept its properties over time, but I imagine that the quality of velcro is a part of this.
As I mentioned, whenever I've seen Arkel stuff, it is really well made, so this should use good quality velcro--plus if the area of velcro to velcro is big and long enough, that will help too for longevity/attaching strength (my panniers velcro section is probably 6 inches long, albeit narrow)
I've always brought my Ortliebs in the tent at night but I am very slow in the morning packing up and am looking for ways to make that process faster as I have a strong desire to be on the bike rather than dawdling around camp. I agree that Ortliebs are easy to release and mount but for me I am wondering if leaving the bags on the bike might be a little faster. For instance, when fishing through my panniers in the tent I tend to take out more stuff than I need and toss it in a corner, which makes packing a little bit slower in the morning. If I could just have the valuables (handlebar bag) in the tent, and the bare necessities with everything else on the bike it might speed things up. I don't think theft would be a huge issue since the panniers themselves aren't worth all that much and they would be loud and time consuming to find all of the straps and remove in the dark (no snatch and grab). I don't know how interested thieves would be in my stove, a few items of clothing, and my tools...

That's good to know about the velcro. I was wondering about that.
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Old 02-05-14, 03:51 PM   #12
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Mr mm, thats entirely up to you, I know I sleep better knowing I have my stuff with me, plus like I said, if its raining in the morning, and you have to get going anyway, you will have to carry your stuff outside in the rain, open your panniers and put it all in. I dont get why one would want to do that. Also, if its really horrible, at least you have your stuff with you, you can heat up water in your vestibule, or have doo dads with you.
But mostly for me, the time putting them on just isnt worth having to worry about your stuff. Why entertain the possibility of the inconvienence of not having "stuff" vs the time to click panniers onto racks?

thats my pt of view anyway.

about packing up in the morning, I can be a terrible dawdler, but have learned to get all my crap together before I sleep, biking clothes set for next day and other stuff not strewn about. At least this way I can relax and have more time waking up and enjoying morning stuff knowing the rest is pretty much ready to go after I get my bike clothes on and sunscreen on etc.
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Old 02-05-14, 10:12 PM   #13
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My Beckman _Gordon bags had Raincovers of my own design the rear one covers the stuff on the rack top
and the panniers , so It draped over the bags .. while the tent and sleeping bag held Me.
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Old 02-06-14, 12:00 AM   #14
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Does anyone know if these can be used with just one bag or if they rely on being attached across the top? I really wish the Arkel site had some pictures of the attachment system. Maybe there's a reason they don't...?
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Old 02-06-14, 06:51 AM   #15
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Does anyone know if these can be used with just one bag or if they rely on being attached across the top? I really wish the Arkel site had some pictures of the attachment system. Maybe there's a reason they don't...?
They are a pair, joined across the top. But given how light they are, even just using one side shouldn't be an issue.
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Old 02-06-14, 11:17 PM   #16
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Steve at Trike Ayslum asked me to pass on a message to you djb and that is that

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these Dry-Lites will NOT work on a front bicycle rack system. The main attachment consists of Velcro straps that go over the TOP of a rear rack, and then those bungee cords secure the bags on the bottom. On a typical bicycle rack, this type of attachment system will not work because the spokes of the wheel are between the two bags. These Dry-Lites are meant to mount from the top of a standard rack, just like in this photo:
Quote:




Thanks for relaying this info to the fellow who is wondering about using them on the front of his bicycle, with his Ortliebs on the rear rack.
Regards
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Old 02-07-14, 09:46 AM   #17
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Mr mm, thats entirely up to you, I know I sleep better knowing I have my stuff with me, plus like I said, if its raining in the morning, and you have to get going anyway, you will have to carry your stuff outside in the rain, open your panniers and put it all in. I dont get why one would want to do that. Also, if its really horrible, at least you have your stuff with you, you can heat up water in your vestibule, or have doo dads with you.
But mostly for me, the time putting them on just isnt worth having to worry about your stuff. Why entertain the possibility of the inconvienence of not having "stuff" vs the time to click panniers onto racks?

thats my pt of view anyway.

about packing up in the morning, I can be a terrible dawdler, but have learned to get all my crap together before I sleep, biking clothes set for next day and other stuff not strewn about. At least this way I can relax and have more time waking up and enjoying morning stuff knowing the rest is pretty much ready to go after I get my bike clothes on and sunscreen on etc.
Lots of good points here DJB. I just have two summers worth of weekend trips under my belt so still trying to dial it all in. It's fun to try to get the gear and routine worked out. Generally, I am trying to go lighter, simpler, and less fiddly--lots to learn. I look forward to your report on the dry-Lites if you get a chance to check them out. Thx.
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Old 02-07-14, 12:21 PM   #18
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thanks Andrew, appreciated. Yes, it looks like there is also velcro stopping them moving forwards and backwards (velcro seen at the corner of the rack top, seemingly one positioned at two opposite corners of the rack)

I'd have to say they still look pretty interesting. Thanks again for asking the fellow.

mm-have fun with doing more touring, and yes I will get back with a short blurb if I get to the show.
cheers
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Old 02-15-14, 03:12 AM   #19
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Steve at Trike Ayslum asked me to pass on a message to you djb and that is that

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these Dry-Lites will NOT work on a front bicycle rack system. The main attachment consists of Velcro straps that go over the TOP of a rear rack, and then those bungee cords secure the bags on the bottom. On a typical bicycle rack, this type of attachment system will not work because the spokes of the wheel are between the two bags. These Dry-Lites are meant to mount from the top of a standard rack, just like in this photo:
I'm a little confused, wouldn't a front rack with a platform* work for these? I can see how something like a Tubus Tara or something even more minimalist wouldn't work, but unless I'm missing something it seems like any rack with a platform would work.


* In this case, I'm using the term "platform" to encompass racks that are more skeletal instead of having an actual deck. Is there a better term for this kind of rack?
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Old 02-15-14, 05:12 AM   #20
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Should mention that there were no kiosks at the bike show that had any extensive touring stuff. So no arkel products, so no hands on view of these to my disappointment.
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Old 02-17-14, 09:45 AM   #21
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I'm a little confused, wouldn't a front rack with a platform* work for these? I can see how something like a Tubus Tara or something even more minimalist wouldn't work, but unless I'm missing something it seems like any rack with a platform would work.


* In this case, I'm using the term "platform" to encompass racks that are more skeletal instead of having an actual deck. Is there a better term for this kind of rack?
going from the photos above showing these on a rear rack, dont see why they wouldnt go on a front rack with a platform. Guess the only thing would be that the platform is long enough and has proper struts to keep the bags out of the spokes.
Obviously low rider racks are out of the question, I have only used low riders, so dont know how higher up setups affect the handling etc. Platformed racks will be heavier than lowriders just cuz of more metal, but I guess if one uses these bags with lighter stuff in them, clothes and such, you could still not have too many actually pounds of stuff hanging off your front end (which I dont like but others do, but diff forks and diff bikes handle diff front loads differently, so thats another factor that comes in).
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Old 03-25-14, 09:03 PM   #22
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More on Arkel Dry-Lites:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFptgp3KCzA
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Old 03-26-14, 06:32 PM   #23
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Arkel wrote me this in an e-mail:

"The Dry-Lites seams are all sealed and the bags are completely waterproof. The Dry-Lites where designed as rear saddle-bags but could be use up front if you use a front rack equipped with a plateform, such as the Old Man Mountain Sherpa front. The deck has to be at least 7 inches long. These bags are designed to be extremely light, and as any piece of ultralight gear, they are definitely more fragile and they are mainly design to carry “soft” gear like extra clothing, flip flops, jackets etc.. It is not recommended to carry heavy water bottles, mini stove, canned food etc.. These hard objects can cause wear and ultimately damage the bags."

I've ordered some and plan to reinforce the contact areas, and will have to pack very carefully. So much lighter than my Ortliebs that it's worth a shot.
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Old 03-26-14, 07:01 PM   #24
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I wonder if you could simply keep your stuff in a sack, and put the sack in the Dry-Lights and have them be stout enough that way for regular touring...
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Old 03-26-14, 07:52 PM   #25
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makes sense to be very careful with hard edged corners on "stuff". My first pair of Ortliebs were the Plus ones, and I always was careful about pointy or pokey things, and would use some clothes as a buffer for stuff like this. Seeing these are much lighter (I've yet to see some in real life) Arkels response is a good one to make sure people are aware of being more careful of what goes into them.
Even something innocuous, with constant bumping up and down, could wear away at a specific spot.
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