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Need bags & Pannier advice

Old 12-04-17, 05:21 AM
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Need bags & Pannier advice

the big question is at the bottom but to describe my riding I decided in 2018 I want to do more touring,, local touring 1st to start off by riding to state parks and setting up a backpack type camp for the early afternoon just to check out the mechanics of touring before I attempt a full weekend type ride so this is total beginner stuff.

I have been looking on the local CL and the Ebay checking out bags specifically panniers and maybe some frame wedge bags that might be longer ,, I do already have a a handlebar bag that came used with my bike and I have a brand new Topeak rack with slide on Topeak trunk bag I purchased.

I'm wondering if I should invest and buy the best I can afford or is there a really good budget brand out there for panniers,, also should I only buy waterproof which makes alot of sense but is there a negative with them? I need some recommendations on brands I have no idea other than reviews on line on what to look at.

also if you have any other advice that I might not even think of let me know,, thanks for any advice.
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Old 12-04-17, 06:29 AM
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In addition to bike touring, I also use my bike for almost all my grocery shopping so I've acquired a few panniers over the years. There are some tradeoffs with waterproof panniers. They generally have fewer pockets to separate items (usually just one large compartment on each side) and they're a bit less convenient to open/close. So if I know the weather is likely to be fine I'll usually use non-waterproof bags and maybe carry a few light plastic bags that I can use inside the panniers if the forecast is wrong. For your first few tours I'd be inclined to get some fairly inexpensive panniers either new or used. Then you can decide what features are important to you before investing in more expensive ones. I have some Nashbar waterproof ones that work fine and were on sale for about $40 and have also purchased some used panniers that were still in excellent shape (most recently some Kirtland vintage ones sold on this forum).
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Old 12-04-17, 07:29 AM
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Ortlieb classic rollers are generally available discounted for about $135 like here. Waterproof is definitely superior with no downside, IMO.

Last edited by BigAura; 12-04-17 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 12-04-17, 09:49 AM
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I'm following as I intend to outfit a bike for touring over the next few months.

I've looked at some Ibera bags that seem to be a middle of the road budget bag that gets decent reviews. I personally have no experience with them though. I'm sure some will say "great bags" and others will call them crap...like most reviews.

I also believe it sort of depends on the type of touring you plan. For the occasional weekend trip I may settle for a more "budget bag". If I were doing multi-week and month(s) long tours I'd go for top of the line.

Just some of my thoughts as a "touring wannabe".
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Old 12-04-17, 10:21 AM
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Look at frame bags as well. Something for the main triangle, handlebar bags and front fork legs. I use a rear rack, 2 small panniers, plus a frame bag and handlebar bag. Revelate make some good ones.

Last edited by Leebo; 12-04-17 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 12-04-17, 04:44 PM
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If you want best quality at a moderate price look at the Ortlieb City panniers. They are basically the Classic Rollers minus the bling. They are lighter than even the Plus Rollers for many fewer $$$. IMO Ortlieb is the gold standard for panniers. Speaking to my experience both the Classic Rollers and Plus Rollers, while making an excellent touring option, are really designed for day trips and commuting around town. And the City panniers, while billed for commuting, are better suited for extended touring.
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Old 12-04-17, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Western Flyer
If you want best quality at a moderate price look at the Ortlieb City panniers. They are basically the Classic Rollers minus the bling. They are lighter than even the Plus Rollers for many fewer $$$. IMO Ortlieb is the gold standard for panniers. Speaking to my experience both the Classic Rollers and Plus Rollers, while making an excellent touring option, are really designed for day trips and commuting around town. And the City panniers, while billed for commuting, are better suited for extended touring.
I tend to disagree. Based on my wife's and my experience with the classic rollers and the Packer Plus panniers, and my Nephew's City Rollers; IMO the classic and Packer Plus are better suited to touring.

My wife has a set of Packer Plus (front and rear) and I have a set of the Classic Rollers (front and rear). Comparing my Classics Rollers with my Nephew's City rollers I find that the Classics have a little more capacity and a shoulder strap which is really nice when you have to carry your bags on a train or up 3 floors in a motel with no elevator. It sounds like a small thing, but I've use the shoulder straps a lot. The Classic Rollers and the City Rollers also have a little different mounting systems (not bad or good). However, either model will work well.

We have a total of 19,000 touring miles on our Ortlieb panniers, and have never had any problems with them for the 10 years we have used them. My wife has more miles on her Packer Plus front Panniers which she also used for commuting. The only time they come off the back of her "around town" bike is when I do the maintenance on the bike.

Having said all that, I also have a pair of Nashbar waterproof front panniers I've been using on my town bike that are 11-12 years old. They get used almost every weekday, riding to the post office, gym, library, grocery store etc., and are still serviceable. They are a good bag if you want to get into touring without breaking the bank. I got the Nashbar front panniers because I was not sure I'd like front panniers, and did not want to spend a lot until I tried them. I used them on a couple of long tours, one 3700 miles, before I finally replaced them with Ortlieb bags.

Our entire family, all six of us, use Ortlieb gear so I'm a little biased

Touring with our daughters.



Last edited by Doug64; 12-05-17 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 12-05-17, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Tajue17
...I'm wondering if I should invest and buy the best I can afford or is there a really good budget brand out there for panniers,, also should I only buy waterproof which makes alot of sense but is there a negative with them? I need some recommendations on brands I have no idea other than reviews on line on what to look at...
Originally Posted by Western Flyer
If you want best quality at a moderate price look at the Ortlieb City panniers...
+1

Ortlieb City panniers are a good choice. Significantly lighter than other Ortlieb roller models, but lacking over-loading capability and minor features. A few years ago City bags were a bargain from US sellers, but now you have to buy from Euro sellers for a good deal. If you choose Euro seller, also consider Tubus racks, tires, etc, since they're usually cheaper overseas and it usually costs little more to ship bags+racks+etc from Euro seller than bags alone.
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Old 12-05-17, 03:22 PM
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Person A) Get Ortlieb. They are waterproof.
Person B) Get Arkel. Waterproof is bad and they have pockets.
Person C) Get Cheap Brand X. Ortlieb and Arkel are over-rated. My X brand is almost just as good for 1/10th the price.

/end thread.
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Old 12-05-17, 05:45 PM
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If How they are mounted matters , look at the back side..

elastic with a hook type can bounce off on rough roads, but a little clever mods can fix that.
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Old 12-05-17, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
If How they are mounted matters , look at the back side..

elastic with a hook type can bounce off on rough roads, but a little clever mods can fix that.
One of which is to strap your sleeping bag&pad and/or tent across the top of the panniers - which most people do anyway.
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Old 12-05-17, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Tajue17
the big question is at the bottom but to describe my riding I decided in 2018 I want to do more touring,, local touring 1st to start off by riding to state parks and setting up a backpack type camp for the early afternoon just to check out the mechanics of touring before I attempt a full weekend type ride so this is total beginner stuff.

I have been looking on the local CL and the Ebay checking out bags specifically panniers and maybe some frame wedge bags that might be longer ,, I do already have a a handlebar bag that came used with my bike and I have a brand new Topeak rack with slide on Topeak trunk bag I purchased.

I'm wondering if I should invest and buy the best I can afford or is there a really good budget brand out there for panniers,, also should I only buy waterproof which makes alot of sense but is there a negative with them? I need some recommendations on brands I have no idea other than reviews on line on what to look at.

also if you have any other advice that I might not even think of let me know,, thanks for any advice.
I can only speak to my experience and I love the Arkel Dry Lites. Pretty affordable, waterproof, and light weight. You can check out my setup here:

- Cpt. Bob
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Old 12-06-17, 12:40 AM
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I say start off with quality budget panniers & switch to fancier stuff later when you iron out the preferences. I like my Ortliebs but previous Performance/Nashbar-type panniers worked pretty well. Waterproof is nice but easy enough to use a trash bag liner.
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Old 12-06-17, 04:33 AM
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a huge thank you to everybody for posting,,, everyone has a little something different but honestly it narrowed my search down a lot I was originally looking at Apidura bags only cause I saw some guy on YT with them and speaking of YT Zepkedic I watched your stuff also good stuff in your vids too!! and Doug64 your whole family goes touring together?? that's pretty priceless and good for all of you I think its the first I've heard of a family doing something together in a long time you have some good points and 4 or 5 people road testing that stuff.


out of everything I heard I might have to check out Nashbar first I'm thinking they are the cheapest and someone said easy returns too,, but like someone said its more about me than the bags because how serious will I take this? if I'm going to be out all weekend and the rain shows up I'd had to have to think about covering everything but if I decide to be a weekend "oh its nice out today" go for a long ride then camp a little maybe the non waterproof would work better.


good stuff to think about,,, thanks again to everyone who posted..
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Old 12-06-17, 06:47 AM
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There's good advice in here. Just want to add a quick note from my experience with waterproof panniers. If you go that route you might discover Vaude as well. They're basically the same product as Ortlieb, but they are nowhere near as durable. I have a set of Ortlieb Front Rollers and a set of Vaude rear panniers. Roughly the same amount of use, but the Vaudes are quite literally falling apart while the Ortliebs would look brand new if I gave then a good cleaning.
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Old 12-06-17, 09:12 AM
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I had Nashbar, and I replaced them with Ortlieb when I found a set on cheap closeout. IMO, the mounting system on the Ortliebs are far superior, I had a few issues with Nashbar bouncing off until I put my own locking clasp on them.

That said, the Nashbar bags are a decent value to start off with, I have no doubts they would hold up. If they tweaked the mounting system, they'd be a great option.
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Old 12-06-17, 11:39 AM
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Gotta put in my two cents for Lone Peak bags. They're less expensive than some, water resistant, not waterproof...but I count myself as one who much prefers the lots-of-little-pockets design to the big bucket design.
On the bike for days, it helps to organize your stuff, and not throw it into a bottomless hole. Otherwise you spend half your time looking for the damn fill-in-the-blank. With my Lone Peaks, I've got it all memorized--kitchen on the left front (stove & fuel in one pocket, utensils and dishes in the other), food pantry on the front right (divided by dinner and lunch stuff in one pocket, granola bars and candy in the other.) Rear left: clothes in the main compartment, parceled into ziploc bags (one change of clothes per day per bag); rain gear in the outside large pocket. Toiletries in the top pocket; spare tire and tubes and lube in the outside long pocket. Rear right: Sleeping bag, pillow,and air mattress in the main compartment; misc camping gear in the outside; electronics in the top pocket; and tools/parts/more tubes in the long outside pocket. Tent lashed to the rack between the panniers.
Why would anyone do it any other way?
LonePeaks are tough, half the weight of Arkels, not too big, and water resistant to all but the worst downpour. Rain covers, while not great, help in that case, and fold up small. (And if its raining that hard, what the hell are you doing riding your bike? Go get a cup of coffee and wash your clothes at the laundromat.)
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Old 12-06-17, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by sdotkling
(And if its raining that hard, what the hell are you doing riding your bike? Go get a cup of coffee and wash your clothes at the laundromat.)
I am descending for 20+ miles in the middle of nowhere after getting caught in an unexpected storm while wishing there was a place to get a cup of coffee and do laundry.
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Old 12-06-17, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by sdotkling
Why would anyone do it any other way?
I have four waterproof panniers on this current trip. I know exactly where everything is in each bag. To each their own. You might prefer your current system or have had problems with organization in Ortlieb-style panniers in the past, but I never need to empty all of my bags to find anything.
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Old 12-06-17, 12:16 PM
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Fan of DIY stuff. Zip lock makes 2.5 gallon bags, great for keeping stuff dry and separated.
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Old 12-06-17, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by DanBell
I have four waterproof panniers on this current trip. I know exactly where everything is in each bag. To each their own. You might prefer your current system or have had problems with organization in Ortlieb-style panniers in the past, but I never need to empty all of my bags to find anything.
I am with you. Several years ago I switched from highly compartmentalized, custom panniers, which were my first, to Ortliebs after the racks for the former were stolen. I thought I would have problems finding/accessing stuff, but those problems never materialized. Granted, I have the Packer series, so they do have some internal "compartments", and the rears each have a small outside pocket, but they are nothing like my original Robert Beckman panniers I have, which have numerous internal and external compartments, some of which can be customized thanks to internal zippers.


I too know where everything is and can access what I need easily.
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Old 12-06-17, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
I am descending for 20+ miles in the middle of nowhere after getting caught in an unexpected storm while wishing there was a place to get a cup of coffee and do laundry.
I jest. I have spent hours being pelted by icy rain in a desert with 40-mile-an-hour wind dreaming of a hot cup of anything. Dreaming of a roof. Hell, dreaming of a wall to cower behind, anything. But rain covers wouldn't have helped me feel my fingers!
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Old 12-06-17, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
I had Nashbar, and I replaced them with Ortlieb when I found a set on cheap closeout. IMO, the mounting system on the Ortliebs are far superior, I had a few issues with Nashbar bouncing off until I put my own locking clasp on them.

That said, the Nashbar bags are a decent value to start off with, I have no doubts they would hold up. If they tweaked the mounting system, they'd be a great option.
Same. I never modded the mounting system, but I did agonize over spending more money on the Ortleibs when I already had functional, cheap, Nashbar panniers. From the first time I clicked the Ortleibs into place, I lost all reservations about spending the money.

An unanticipated benefit is that I use my Ortleib panniers for a lot more than just touring. My other panniers were not easy-on/off, so I tended to find other options for commuting and riding around town rather than mess with the panniers. Now if the weather is sketchy or if I need some extra capacity for whatever reason, it's easy and fast to pop the Ortleib panniers on.
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Old 12-07-17, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by fantom1
Person A) Get Ortlieb. They are waterproof.
Person B) Get Arkel. Waterproof is bad and they have pockets.
Person C) Get Cheap Brand X. Ortlieb and Arkel are over-rated. My X brand is almost just as good for 1/10th the price.

/end thread.
Person D) Make your own out of kitty litter buckets.
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Old 12-07-17, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnbud
Person D) Make your own out of kitty litter buckets.
Hahaha, true.
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