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Pockets or no-pockets?

Old 01-23-18, 05:38 PM
  #1  
CliffordK
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Pockets or no-pockets?

I've thought about some waterproof panniers, both for spring/fall traveling, as well as winter grocery runs.

Ortlieb panniers look nice, but I've always liked to have a couple of pockets in my panniers for things like tools, or something that I need quick access to.

There was full set of Ortliebs (front and rear) that showed up on Craigslist a couple of days ago, but all black, and just a little more than I wanted to pay, but they got me thinking.

It looks like at least one brand, Vaude has a similar PVC? construction with a single roll-top side pocket.



A couple of other brands/models appear to have a waterproof zipper pocket.

I suppose if one moves from two bags to five bags, then one automatically would have multiple "compartments" anyway.

So... are the pockets necessary? Helpful?
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Old 01-23-18, 05:51 PM
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I use cheap water resistant panniers that have an waterproof cover built in. They are made by Tioga are pretty cheap and have side pockets and bottle holders, which give me 4 extra bottle holders, the side pockets are used for tools, spares, first aid, gas and kitchen and anything else that is small and likely to be hard to find in the big part of the bag. Without the covers on, they handle a decent rain storm but if it raining over a few days I piy yhe reflective covers on which sit in their own zipped pockets. I do wish that the better named panniers had all the extra pockets and I would have them instead. I have about 6000klm on them but when the clips break or look like breaking, I will upgrade the clips to something better.
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Old 01-23-18, 07:44 PM
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I am in love with extra pockets. Well O.K. maybe not in love, but I can say that the are in my opinion; very useful to have. If I were in the market for panniers right now, I would definitely not consider panniers without extra pockets.
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Old 01-23-18, 07:55 PM
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I like having pockets too.

Jandd makes solid, durable products, including waterproof panniers, and waterproof pockets to fit them.

https://www.jandd.com/search_results...el=2&subcat=12

They also make other panniers, including the waterproof "Wet Rabbit," and panniers with rain covers.

https://www.jandd.com/search_results...el=2&subcat=11
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Old 01-23-18, 08:05 PM
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Ortlieb makes some extra pockets that you can install on the bags. They cost so much almost nobody buys them.

I like the Ortlieb Frontrollers and Backrollers without pockets. I often have a rack top bag or a saddle bag that I put stuff in that I might need during the day, in addition to a handlebar bag. Only once in the past few years have I needed to open up a Frontroller or Backroller while riding during the day because I needed something in it, this past spring I needed to access my tools during a daily ride. Otherwise the saddlebag or racktop bag or handlebar bag serve my purposes for daily use quite well. When I buy groceries during the day, they also go in the saddle bag or rack top bag, not the panniers. My rain gear, I usually use the strap that goes over the tops of my Frontrollers to hold my rain gear on top of the pannier where it is quick to access.

The first photo was taken at lunchtime while accessing lunch supplies for two from my saddle bag. I usually carry almost all of my food in the racktop bag or saddle bag. The bag in the photo is a Carradice Nelson Longflap.

Second photo is my handlebar bag full of almost all the small stuff I might need during a typical day. It also has virtually all my electronics and anything of value that I might want to keep with me when I go into a store or restaurant. In the photo the red thing on top of my front right pannier is my rain jacket, my black rain pants are on top of my left front pannier.
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Old 01-23-18, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I've thought about some waterproof panniers, both for spring/fall traveling, as well as winter grocery runs.

Ortlieb panniers look nice, but I've always liked to have a couple of pockets in my panniers for things like tools, or something that I need quick access to.

There was full set of Ortliebs (front and rear) that showed up on Craigslist a couple of days ago, but all black, and just a little more than I wanted to pay, but they got me thinking.

It looks like at least one brand, Vaude has a similar PVC? construction with a single roll-top side pocket.


A couple of other brands/models appear to have a waterproof zipper pocket.

I suppose if one moves from two bags to five bags, then one automatically would have multiple "compartments" anyway.

So... are the pockets necessary? Helpful?
I had the same thoughts when I purchased the Ortliebs. I wanted pockets, but on my first tour with these panniers, I had to leave my bike unattended for lunch, I realized anything pilferable, is in my bar bag and there is nothing easily accessible on the panniers. It gave me a little peace of mind.
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Old 01-24-18, 02:59 AM
  #7  
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Until I saw the Vaudes above my (simple) understanding was that panniers with pockets were not waterproof without rain covers, and that waterproof panniers had no pockets, meaning that if you need to open them in the rain, they won't be so waterproof.

Like posters above, a bar bag / rack bag, well organised will mean you don't have to open your ortliebs in the rain.

Two other considerations....

I've cycled through deep water twice where the water level was half way up my ortliebs. I don't think a rain cover would keep a non-waterproof bag dry.

I camp and have no concerns about my ortliebs allowing water to penetrate. A friend has Vaudes with raincovers. On wet grass the moisture works through the material. I love her pockets, but I'd rather my gear stayed dry.

Frank
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Old 01-24-18, 05:10 AM
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With the rise of bikepacking, there are many types and sizes and makers of frame bags, 'gas tank' bags, stem bags, bar bags, seatpost bags, etc. Jandd has a good assortment of them. And they can serve as pockets.

If you put the contents in ziplock bags (or other waterproof bags), you can keep things dry. This works very well for me. Raincovers aren't really necessary, and they do have their limits; but they can also serve as a deterrent to theft, and they are more versatile. The breathability of non-waterproof panniers can be an advantage, and some people prefer them.

I prefer the fabrics of most of the non-waterproof panniers over the very stiff fabrics of most of the waterproof ones. And I like the breathability as well.
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Old 01-24-18, 06:48 AM
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Since I don't use a bar bag I appreciate the small pockets of my Ortlieb Back Packer+ panniers for things like sun screen, maps, etc. If I had rollers I think I would definitely want pockets since they are not as easy to get into as the Packers.
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Old 01-24-18, 07:01 AM
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I'm anti-pocket. I'm also a gram-weenie. Pockets provide little volume per unit weight. They're also a failure point. Without pockets, you have to compensate with better packing and planning.
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Old 01-24-18, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by PB7 View Post
I prefer the fabrics of most of the non-waterproof panniers over the very stiff fabrics of most of the waterproof ones. And I like the breathability as well.
Unfortunately, I have not found my non-waterproof bags to 'breathe', at least not in the measurable way that would help. Things that I place in the bags wet in the morning are basically just as wet at the end of the day. If I want something to dry, I need to tether it down atop a bag or rack. Perhaps its my bags specifically or area/time of year.
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Old 01-24-18, 09:53 AM
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I like the looks of that Vaude design and definitely would be willing to give them a try. I like external pockets for small frequently used items but have gone full circle on this over the years and consider the waterproofness of my bags as more important. What are those Vaude bags running and what's their capacity?
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Old 01-24-18, 10:09 AM
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I liked the older Sportspacker and Bikepacker models from Ortlieb, because they had external mesh pockets. Very useful for little things (like keys). The newer models don't have them, and it's a hassle to shove everything out of the way to reach the interior pockets on the new model.
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Old 01-24-18, 10:32 AM
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Ortlieb has add on pockets made to go on the edges of the bags.. and the inner insert pockets along the stiffener..

the small ones include a reflective patch, since they go where the reflective patches are on the bags..

https://www.ortlieb.com/en/Outer%20Pocket/

2 are included as part of the Brompton-Ortlieb O bag.., on its back side.. they are removable.

Many hundreds of cycle tourists on the pacific coast route, every year.. I see quite a lot of Ortlieb bag owners ,







...

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Old 01-24-18, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I liked the older Sportspacker and Bikepacker models from Ortlieb, because they had external mesh pockets. Very useful for little things (like keys). The newer models don't have them.
The current Bike Packer Classic does not come with standard external pockets, although you can add them as options. The Bike Packer Plus does have an external pocket, albeit not a mesh one as it is also waterproof.



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Old 01-24-18, 04:21 PM
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I'm an outside pockets guy, though probably not as intense about it as I once was. Still, if I was purchasing panniers today, I'd lean toward heavy cordura with outside pockets and rain covers. Just a personal preference, that's all.
I knew someone who used panniers without outside pockets. He would pack different purpose items into different color small sacks and toss all the sacks into the rear panniers. Tools might go into a small red sack, writing materials into a small yellow sack, cooking utensils and pocket rocket stove into a small green sack, etc. This way he was able to quickly identify which bag had the items he was searching for. Saved him from having to paw through stuff when he opened his single pocket bag.
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Old 01-24-18, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by redbagsrambler View Post
I knew someone who used panniers without outside pockets. He would pack different purpose items into different color small sacks and toss all the sacks into the rear panniers. Tools might go into a small red sack, writing materials into a small yellow sack, cooking utensils and pocket rocket stove into a small green sack, etc. This way he was able to quickly identify which bag had the items he was searching for. Saved him from having to paw through stuff when he opened his single pocket bag.
Interesting idea. Perhaps tracking down a bunch of small nylon stuff sacks (or making some custom ones).

If one had 5 bags on the bike, then one could also separate a bit by bag, if one could just remember where one put stuff. I suppose my last mini-tour, I was always opening both bags as I could never quite remember which one had the stuff I needed.
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Old 01-24-18, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
I like the looks of that Vaude design and definitely would be willing to give them a try. I like external pockets for small frequently used items but have gone full circle on this over the years and consider the waterproofness of my bags as more important. What are those Vaude bags running and what's their capacity?
It looks like the model (at least in English) is: VAUDE Aqua Back Plus rear wheel bag

I'm seeing prices from about 111.33 € to £140.00

Hard to tell if that is for a single or a pair.

Capacity is listed as 51 Liters per pair.

Without the "Plus", one gets a single compartment.
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Old 01-24-18, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Interesting idea. Perhaps tracking down a bunch of small nylon stuff sacks (or making some custom ones).

If one had 5 bags on the bike, then one could also separate a bit by bag, if one could just remember where one put stuff. I suppose my last mini-tour, I was always opening both bags as I could never quite remember which one had the stuff I needed.
My front right pannier has my tent, air mattress, flip flops, a quart sized plastic bottle. Part of the plan is that if I have to put up my tent in the rain, I want to only open one pannier before my tent is up. All my clothing in the left front, except rain gear which was strapped on top where handy.

But, unfortunately I can never develop a system for what is in each rear pannier that lasts longer than one trip. Tools always in the bottom of a rear because tools are heavy and I want a lower center of gravity. If I carry a spare tire, that also is in the bottom for the same reason. Sleeping bag and other non-dense stuff packed on top, also for center of gravity reasons. But it makes sense to take out the sleeping bag as soon as the tent is up and air mattress inflated.

A multi-tool and chain lube however is handy in handlebar bag instead of with the other tools in the bottom of a pannier. Spare tube and tire levers often in a frame bag or some other place where it is handy.
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Old 01-25-18, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Interesting idea. Perhaps tracking down a bunch of small nylon stuff sacks (or making some custom ones).

If one had 5 bags on the bike, then one could also separate a bit by bag, if one could just remember where one put stuff. I suppose my last mini-tour, I was always opening both bags as I could never quite remember which one had the stuff I needed.
Which is exactly what I do. On camping tours, my sleeping system (tent, mattress, sleeping bag) are all in the rear right pannier. My kitchen (stove, fuel, kit, groceries) go in the left rear. Up front I have riding clothes in the right and street clothes in the left panniers. Handlebar bag carries the valuables. The rear panniers have outside pockets where I put the little things which may come in handy, such as spare tubes and tire levers, lube, electrical tape, first aid kit, etc.

On tours where I always stay indoors I abandon the front panniers and put riding clothes in rear right and street clothes in rear left. Handlebar bag once again keeps the items I have on or near me at all times (cash, camera, documents, etc.)
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Old 01-25-18, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Interesting idea. Perhaps tracking down a bunch of small nylon stuff sacks (or making some custom ones).

If one had 5 bags on the bike, then one could also separate a bit by bag, if one could just remember where one put stuff. I suppose my last mini-tour, I was always opening both bags as I could never quite remember which one had the stuff I needed.
I had pannier long ago that had all kinds of pockets on them and never found them to be that useful. The pockets were either too large or, most often, too small to fit what I needed to fit in them.

I use a similar system to the stuff sacks above but I use large clear zip lock bags (the 8"x10" or larger ones). That way you can see what's in the bag without rummaging through all the other bags. Additionally, the zip lock bags keep things vertically in the pannier so that they don't get tossed around as much.

I started using the zip locks when I had the other panniers because they weren't water proof. I just continued using the same system for organization later.

However, tools, repair items, glasses and wallet go in my Camelbak and have their own organization system.
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Old 01-25-18, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
If one had 5 bags on the bike, then one could also separate a bit by bag, if one could just remember where one put stuff.
While I only have four bags (not including my saddle bag), I also segregate. Sleeping bag and off-bike clothes in right rear. Riding clothes in left rear. Cooking/eating equipment in right front. Mattress, off-bike shoes, Kindle, pump, cue sheets, toilet items/meds, head lamp and spare batteries in left front. A few miscellaneous things (e.g., charging cords) are divided up between the four bags. Tent and ground sheet go on the rear rack. Put the stuff you might need to get to while out on the road in the left panniers when in countries where people drive on the right side of the road. Except for toilet items, I don't bother with individual stuff sacks. I just don't have that many knickknacks. What ones I do have can be segregated in the two small, outer pockets on the small, inside mesh pockets of my Ortlieb Packers.
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Old 01-25-18, 10:22 AM
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Is that a bottle of Wine in there?

Your my type of tourist!

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
The first photo was taken at lunchtime while accessing lunch supplies for two from my saddle bag. I usually carry almost all of my food in the racktop bag or saddle bag. The bag in the photo is a Carradice Nelson Longflap.
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Old 01-25-18, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
Your my type of tourist!
Yup. Nelson Longflap Saddlebag is reasonably big too, so that was a 1.5 liter bottle. But we saved it for supper, did not have at lunch time.
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Old 01-31-18, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Interesting idea. Perhaps tracking down a bunch of small nylon stuff sacks (or making some custom ones).

If one had 5 bags on the bike, then one could also separate a bit by bag, if one could just remember where one put stuff. I suppose my last mini-tour, I was always opening both bags as I could never quite remember which one had the stuff I needed.
Pockets rule, but you must label your pockets! Go to Home Depot or some other hardware store and buy a dozen of those plastic key tags, the kind with the small silver chain. Slip out the little piece of paper, and write what's in your pannier pocket. I actually go a good deal further, by designing a new logo for every big trip I take—last one was the Michigan Meander— and incorporate my label (CLOTHES, SNACKS, MEDS, TOOLS, SLEEP, etc.) into it, cut it to the size of the key tag, slip it back in, and attach it to the zippers of the pannier pockets with a small zip tie. It saves me hours of searching for the chapstick or whatever each trip. It's all about branding!
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