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commuting - need bag/rack/panniers(?) for light load in wet weather

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commuting - need bag/rack/panniers(?) for light load in wet weather

Old 08-07-15, 11:58 PM
  #1  
sgtrobo
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commuting - need bag/rack/panniers(?) for light load in wet weather

so i'm going to be doing a good bit of commuting, basically 18 miles each way, 5 days/week. I have a 2012 Salsa Fargo 3 and I will need to transport "business casual" to and from class each day. By business casual, I mean basically khaki type pants, and a button down shirt with $50 shoes. Nothing expensive, but for class we have to dress up more than standard college classes, i.e. no jeans, t-shirts, etc.

i will be commuting through December here in western Washington, where it rains a good bit and I obviously don't want my stuff getting all nasty. i'll also be transporting a day's supply of food (i.e. peanut butter sandwiches and such).

i'm really torn between going with a rack and panniers, which seem like overkill, or going with a frame bag, which I have no experience with at all.


priorities:

1. Keep my clothes from getting jacked up by the weather
2. Not make the ride problematic due to weight shifting while riding (road will be mostly paved, some gravel and potholes)
3. Reasonably lightweight (the lighter the better, of course)


So lemme know your opinions. Help me make my decision.
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Old 08-08-15, 12:17 AM
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My favorite rig is lowriders and front Ortliebs because it affects the handling of the bike the least. (I climb out of the saddle. A load in back means that I am having to leverage the whole bike with my arms and hands if I want to rock the bike for easy climbing.) I've been using this combo for 15 years. Those bags are completely waterproof. (Basically rafting technology from one of the best rafting companies.) Only leak I have ever seen is when I put a very sharp kitchen knife in the pannier carelessly to ride home from a company potluck. Simple raft repair and it is as good as new.

There are lighter and cheaper options. Ortleibs will probably last you 10 years with $40 along the way for new hook hardware (easy to get from Ortlieb). My '99 bags are still going strong as second/rear/farmers market bags with new hooks. 2010 I bought new ones just because. All four bags are so waterproof I could use them to carry water.

Ben
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Old 08-08-15, 02:22 AM
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I have a rack and ortlieb panniers for winter commuting, and would recommend them.
I use a single pannier and find it has very little affect on bike handling.

For summer I use a saddlebag, but the extra stuff that is needed in winter (coats, overtrousers, gloves etc) mean I need more space.
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Old 08-08-15, 03:32 AM
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Any way you can keep some clothes at school in a locker or at least shoes? I commute a similar distance with a backpack but keep a supply of clothes at work and usually just carry a shirt, some food and an iPad. Occasionally, I'll bring a laptop home but prefer not to.
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Old 08-08-15, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mhifoe View Post
I have a rack and ortlieb panniers for winter commuting, and would recommend them.
I use a single pannier and find it has very little affect on bike handling.

For summer I use a saddlebag, but the extra stuff that is needed in winter (coats, overtrousers, gloves etc) mean I need more space.
+1

If you want to do shopping on the way back, use a large pannier, if not, small Ortleibs.
The load is too much for backpack 2x18miles.

If your load is only lightweight, fit a Tubus Fly or similar rack.
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Old 08-10-15, 08:36 AM
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If you go with the rack and Ortliebs, you'll enjoy the waterproof bags keeping everything inside dry, and the way you pick them up off the rack and walk off (after locking the bike, of course!).

The smaller Ortliebs carry clothes, pocket contents, etc. on one side, and shoes in the other side.
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Old 08-10-15, 08:40 AM
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arkel tail rider will hold all your stuff. It has good attachment points for lights, has good reflective material, and an attached bright yellow rain cover. It also comes on and off the bike very easily which is a plus while commuting.
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Old 08-10-15, 10:56 AM
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Now there are welded seam bags from China . welding makes the seam not leak like Sewing does .


Our LBS, in this town, sells to lower cost conscious customers , who live here ,

the Touring Cyclists passing through town already have their gear bought elsewhere, Ortlieb, German Manufactured bags, are popular.



The Ortlieb Plus fabric is Lighter than their Classic . the Ortlieb company also makes adapters to back Pack carry 1 pannier.

I have the roll closure bags which Each, Include a shoulder strap .

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-10-15 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 08-10-15, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mhifoe View Post
I have a rack and ortlieb panniers for winter commuting, and would recommend them.
I use a single pannier and find it has very little affect on bike handling.

For summer I use a saddlebag, but the extra stuff that is needed in winter (coats, overtrousers, gloves etc) mean I need more space.
+1
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Old 08-10-15, 11:45 AM
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I'm north of you in Greater Vancouver and commute all winter as well. I too have to carry uniforms/lunches. I run a pair of Ortlieb Back Roller City's. I use two on my first/last day to haul everything in/out. And one the other days when all I have in lunches.

Mike.

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Old 08-10-15, 11:54 AM
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Another Ortlieb owner here. Got mine because folks in my area recommended them as waterproof, durable panniers. Arkel was the other recommended brand, but REI had the Ortliebs on sale at decent discounts.
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Old 08-10-15, 12:04 PM
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Panniers is overkill in my opinion, for most commuting loads. If you must carry a laptop, books, or other heavy and bulky stuff sure, it's probably the most convenient. Just clothes and lunch, a bag on the rack is enough.

The frame bag works if you're travelling light - it's my default configuration for business casual plus sometimes lunch - but with anything extra such as light jacket it will be uncomfortably wide. A pair of shoes would just about overload it. I'd leave shoes at the destination if at all possible.

I wouldn't especially worry about waterproof other than using a quick-drying bag. Two-gallon freezer bag keeps everything dry.
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Old 08-10-15, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I wouldn't especially worry about waterproof other than using a quick-drying bag. Two-gallon freezer bag keeps everything dry.
In cold, rainy climates, such as the OP (Washington state), waterproofing is a worry. Since he needs wp, he may as well get a wp bag.
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Old 08-10-15, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
In cold, rainy climates, such as the OP (Washington state), waterproofing is a worry. Since he needs wp, he may as well get a wp bag.
We get more rain here though not as many days, perhaps more heavier rainfall here. I don't see the need for a waterproof bag.
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Old 08-10-15, 02:07 PM
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It comes down to preference. A cheap, non-waterproof rack trunk + garbage bags clearly works for some people, especially those comfortable with the relatively short lifespans of cheap products.

With my Ortlieb panniers, I also have the option of picking up groceries or doing other shopping on the way home, without having to pack extra plastic bags for anything I suspect might get wet in the rain.
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Old 08-10-15, 02:21 PM
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Cheap Wald folding baskets work for me. Simply use my regular bag in a plastic bag, using the matching Wald basket liner, just drop it in and go.
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Old 08-10-15, 06:30 PM
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Same advice here as I gave you over there.
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Old 08-11-15, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
Same advice here as I gave you over there.
hahhaa.....yessir! Bontrager rack is on its' way, Ortlieb panniers await!

how do you folks lock up your bags? I'm going to go with a set of reflective waterproof Ortlieb bags on a rear rack. How do you lock them up when you leave them outside, or do you not leave them outside?
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Old 08-11-15, 01:00 PM
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Ortliebs come off the bike by lifting them up off the rack. They're so easy, I take them with me unless I'm so close I'd leave the bike unlocked (e.g., on the outside of the hamburger joint's window in a nice small town).
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Old 08-11-15, 02:37 PM
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Campmor has a 20% off 1 item sale going on right now. They don't have the Ortlieb Front Rollers but they do have the Sport Packer Plus, which is about the same size but with a different closure system. Weatherproof but not dunkproof, but easier to get in and out of. I just got a pair of the large size (Bike Packer Plus) for $167, free shipping!
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Old 08-11-15, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by sgtrobo View Post
hahhaa.....yessir! Bontrager rack is on its' way, Ortlieb panniers await!

how do you folks lock up your bags? I'm going to go with a set of reflective waterproof Ortlieb bags on a rear rack. How do you lock them up when you leave them outside, or do you not leave them outside?
It's totally up to you and your risk-tolerance but I would not leave my panniers on my bike. I have a foldable /rollable backpack converter for Ortliebs, the old variety. Not super-elegant but it works and it means I can wear one bag and carry one bag.
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Old 08-11-15, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sgtrobo View Post
hahhaa.....yessir! Bontrager rack is on its' way, Ortlieb panniers await!

how do you folks lock up your bags? I'm going to go with a set of reflective waterproof Ortlieb bags on a rear rack. How do you lock them up when you leave them outside, or do you not leave them outside?
Most of the time I take my Ortlieb(s) with me - I've no doubt there's a bike thief out there who knows that Ortliebs ain't cheap.

If I'm grocery shopping on the way home from work, sometimes I'll run my OnGuard cable through the top handle (it's not detachable) pannier that has my work clothes in it, and take the other one to load the groceries - I'll cinch one end of the cable around the bottom of my saddle, and lock the loop at the other end with the U-lock. There's a risk that someone will simply cut the handle, but I'll take the chance if the bike is locked to a rack facing a busy street/parking lot and I'm sure that I won't be in the store for more than 10 min. or so. If the rack is a bit more isolated, then I'll deal with carrying both panniers - they're not that hard to carry with their shoulder straps.
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Old 08-11-15, 08:06 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by sgtrobo View Post
hahhaa.....yessir! Bontrager rack is on its' way, Ortlieb panniers await!

how do you folks lock up your bags? I'm going to go with a set of reflective waterproof Ortlieb bags on a rear rack. How do you lock them up when you leave them outside, or do you not leave them outside?
I take them with me. I suggest you do the same since you'll need someplace to put your bike clothes and shoes when you change into your school/work clothes and shoes.

For the sake of completeness, there is a "security kit" to lock them to the bike. Scroll down to Item #5 here: Ortlieb Accessories for Panniers, Packs and Handlebar Bags
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