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Panniers: Brooks, Ortleib?

Old 12-14-10, 05:03 PM
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koamileli
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Panniers: Brooks, Ortleib?

Anyone have experience with the Brooks Devon Panniers? They look amazing, and the suitcase style really appeals to me. The Ortleibs are totally waterproof but I don't like the idea of having to rifle through the whole bag everytime I open it. The Brooks also says it comes with a rain cover, but I can't find a photo of it anywhere. And Arkel cams seem much better. The Ortleib mounting system seems too flimsy and would rattle around alot. Is this true on a loaded bike? I'm prepared to pay the price for the Brooks, but any info from the crowd would be helpful. Thanks everyone!
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Old 12-14-10, 05:36 PM
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I have Ortleibs.
The mounting system isn't flimsy, nor do they rattle.
I do a lot of rooting in them looking for things but that's only because I'm not very organised.
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Old 12-14-10, 05:59 PM
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I also have Ortliebs, and am compulsively organized. The trick is to subdivide stuff into smaller stuff sacks, and ALWAYS pack everything in the same place. You get used to it pretty quickly.
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Old 12-14-10, 06:15 PM
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You can get Organized with stuff sacks , or Labeled ziploc bags.
rubber bands hold rolled up clothing.

Robert Beckman and Bruce Gordon offer very nice compartmentalized
sewn panniers, then you add raincovers .
Carradice and Berthoud offer nice canvas and leather bags..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-14-10 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 12-14-10, 06:17 PM
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Pacific Outdoor Equipment. Light, well-made, waterproof, don't rattle. I have the LTW panniers.
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Old 12-14-10, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Caretaker View Post
I have Ortleibs.
The mounting system isn't flimsy, nor do they rattle.
I do a lot of rooting in them looking for things but that's only because I'm not very organised.
+1
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Old 12-14-10, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by vertiganr View Post
I also have Ortliebs, and am compulsively organized. The trick is to subdivide stuff into smaller stuff sacks, and ALWAYS pack everything in the same place. You get used to it pretty quickly.
+1
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Old 12-14-10, 07:07 PM
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I'm leaning towards Lone Peak panniers from The Touring Store. They seem to have a good balance between very good water resistance, weight, and price. Plus, some of their models have lots of pockets, which may interest you.
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Old 12-14-10, 10:33 PM
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I'm sure the brooks are pretty, but you can haul firewood in Ortliebs if the need arises. They take an amazing amount of roughing up. The attachment system, in my opinion, looks pretty flimsy, but it's performed fantastically. I slammed a pannier into a post once while avoiding a snake on the road, causing the pannier to because partially unattached. Despite the force of the impact, the pannier was still hanging by one clip and made it through with absolutely no lasting damage. I also use a bungee cord to better secure each pannier to my rack, but it's probably unnecessary. I just keep doing it so I can hang underwear out to dry

Are you using front and rear panniers? If so I'd suggest Ortlieb backrollers and a pair of Arkel's small front panniers. You can cram all your large water sensitive items(tent, clothing, sleeping bag. Things you don't generally need until you set up camp) in the Ortliebs, and use the more organized Arkels and some baggies to store small electronics, cooking gear, food, tools, maps, ect. The Arkel's are widely considered to have the best mounting system in the business, and they have a suitcase-style opening. They have a metal rod and stiff enough cordura to use like a storage bin in your tent for quick access to your stuff in camp.

Another note on waterproof bags: It's all well and good to keep the water out, but if anything damp goes -in-, especially in the heat, the inside of your bag with end up with some nasty condensation. Ortlieb bags also tend to stink for a long, long time if anything smelly goes in.
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Old 12-14-10, 10:37 PM
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Ortliebs + Eagle Creek packing "cubes"

The Ortlieb Classics are waterproof. I've got the Front Rollers, which have a small pocket inside for wallet, keys, phone or something you don't want to lose. The big empty cavernous bag is an advantage for carrying my computer bag to work. For touring, use Eagle Creek packing cubes, which are cheap and come in different sizes and colors for staying organized.

They stay put on the rack, too. I ride like a maniac and corner at 30+ kmph and ride over rough roads and bike paths and have never had a problem with them working loose or falling off. They are not cheap, but they are a good value.
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Old 12-15-10, 06:38 AM
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I know a lot of people really, really, really like the Ortliebs, but I'm not overly impressed. Yes, the waterproofness is nice in some ways, but I don't like the fact that I can't put anything in them that is even a little bit wet - or everything in there ends up damp. Plus, I don't like the one big bag so I can't organize my gear and the mounting system rattles around to much. I've written a review of our panniers here; https://familyonbikes.org/blog/?p=1576

For a short tour, you tend to be fairly disorganized anyway since you don't really remember where you stashed stuff, but on a longer tour it's really nice to have plenty of pockets so you can keep stuff organized and readily accessible. Besides that - how often do you ride in the rain?? Is the waterproofness really necessary?

We've now been on the road for 2.5 years on this trip. We had a few days of rain up in Alaska and Canada, but it did threaten to rain for a couple of months. We kept our stuff in plastic bags during that time. Then we got to southern USA and had no rain at all for many months through Mexico and most of Central America - no plastic bags and our panniers were breathable. We got to Costa Rica and Panama in time for rainy season so went back to plastic bags for a few months. Then nothing for 4 months or so. Now, we are in Argentina and haven't had to bag our gear since way up in Ecuador.

If you plan to ride for extended periods in areas where it rains a lot, the waterproof bags would be nice. Most of the time, however, it's not needed at all.
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Old 12-15-10, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
I know a lot of people really, really, really like the Ortliebs, but I'm not overly impressed. Yes, the waterproofness is nice in some ways, but I don't like the fact that I can't put anything in them that is even a little bit wet - or everything in there ends up damp. Plus, I don't like the one big bag so I can't organize my gear and the mounting system rattles around to much. I've written a review of our panniers here; https://familyonbikes.org/blog/?p=1576

For a short tour, you tend to be fairly disorganized anyway since you don't really remember where you stashed stuff, but on a longer tour it's really nice to have plenty of pockets so you can keep stuff organized and readily accessible. Besides that - how often do you ride in the rain?? Is the waterproofness really necessary?

We've now been on the road for 2.5 years on this trip. We had a few days of rain up in Alaska and Canada, but it did threaten to rain for a couple of months. We kept our stuff in plastic bags during that time. Then we got to southern USA and had no rain at all for many months through Mexico and most of Central America - no plastic bags and our panniers were breathable. We got to Costa Rica and Panama in time for rainy season so went back to plastic bags for a few months. Then nothing for 4 months or so. Now, we are in Argentina and haven't had to bag our gear since way up in Ecuador.

If you plan to ride for extended periods in areas where it rains a lot, the waterproof bags would be nice. Most of the time, however, it's not needed at all.
Damn it, maybe I'm just easily influenced, but.... with touring cred like yours, I can't help but lose some enthusiasm for my Ortliebs. They're worked awesome for me, but I've never tested them on a two year plus tour :S.

I stand by the Arkels being made of awesome, though.
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Old 12-15-10, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
I know a lot of people really, really, really like the Ortliebs, but I'm not overly impressed. Yes, the waterproofness is nice in some ways, but I don't like the fact that I can't put anything in them that is even a little bit wet - or everything in there ends up damp. Plus, I don't like the one big bag so I can't organize my gear and the mounting system rattles around to much. I've written a review of our panniers here; https://familyonbikes.org/blog/?p=1576

For a short tour, you tend to be fairly disorganized anyway since you don't really remember where you stashed stuff, but on a longer tour it's really nice to have plenty of pockets so you can keep stuff organized and readily accessible. Besides that - how often do you ride in the rain?? Is the waterproofness really necessary?

We've now been on the road for 2.5 years on this trip. We had a few days of rain up in Alaska and Canada, but it did threaten to rain for a couple of months. We kept our stuff in plastic bags during that time. Then we got to southern USA and had no rain at all for many months through Mexico and most of Central America - no plastic bags and our panniers were breathable. We got to Costa Rica and Panama in time for rainy season so went back to plastic bags for a few months. Then nothing for 4 months or so. Now, we are in Argentina and haven't had to bag our gear since way up in Ecuador.

If you plan to ride for extended periods in areas where it rains a lot, the waterproof bags would be nice. Most of the time, however, it's not needed at all.

I agree, you might like carradice supr C

still few pockets, but canvas, very durable and breathable
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Old 12-15-10, 08:26 AM
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Ortlieb mounting system, you did not specify which, there are two types. I have the classic frontroller and classic backroller. Mounting system is not flimsy but it does rattle a bit. I wrapped electrical tape around the rack where the rack mounts attach and at other spots where the rack can rub to reduce the amount of paint loss on the rack.

I tour maybe a week a year so I do not have the high mileage experience of some others. I have read that after many months of use that the little clips that go into the Ortlieb mounts can fall out after the rack mounts develop a slight bend. Those clips are used for different diameter rack tubing. I also recall reading somewhere that someone on a year long tour crashed and broke the lower attachment bracket on an Ortlieb. But for my type of use, Ortliebs will last longer than my lifetime.

I have used the Ortlieb medium duffle on top of the rear rack and panniers. If I was going somewhere dry, I would give serious consideration to carrying a similar sized non-waterproof duffle for damp stuff or if I was not too concerned about peering eyes and dust I might even consider a mesh duffle.

I have also used front nylon panniers that were not waterproof that had a couple of really convenient pockets. If I was going somewhere dry, I would consider using those instead of the frontrollers because pockets can be pretty nice. Yes, you can buy Ortlieb pockets, but they would have to be a LOT cheaper before I buy them.

As the day warmed up and I started shedding layers, I strapped the excess layers on top of the frontrollers as shown in the photo. I have also strapped damp stuff on top of the front rollers. So, lack of pockets, while an issue is not quite as bad as it might otherwise sound.



I have not used Brooks or Carradice, but if you are looking at Brooks you should also consider Carradice gear.
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Old 12-15-10, 12:11 PM
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I have Carradice Super C at the rear and Ortleib at the front. They are both good and useful and I couldn't say which is best.
I keep all my food in Ortleibs, they keep the stuff dry and in the event of a pesto spillage you can hose them out. I ran into a metal post with my Ortleib and it survived well.
My Super Cs are 15 years old and have lots of patches and a few holes. I use a drybag inside and can put damp clothes towel or waterproofs under the flap but outside the drybag.

I prefer one main compartment, I have used it for tent, sleeping bag and mat inside one Super C.
After about 3 nights you learn where everything belongs in your bags. Things are easy to find and quick to pack. I use an organiser bags for small and misc stuff, everything else gets packed loose.
Small foodstuffs are kept inside plastic ziplocks or waterproof boxes.
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Old 12-15-10, 12:51 PM
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The bags I buy will initially be used in Italy for a 2-3 month summer tour, but after that, i'm coming home to Seattle, so...yeah, i'd say water resistance will be a big factor. I'm sort of an asthetics snob, and most of the bags I see out there are flat out ugly. I don't want my pretty bike to be wearing bags like those. Some of the Ortleib ones are ok because they are plain and not too loud. The single compartment bugs me though. And if you're going to subdivide your stuff into smaller bags within, why not just get a bag that does that for you, without the risk of stinking everything up? The only bag iv'e seen that comes close to the Brooks are Berthouds. They don't seem to have the same level of weather resistance and security though.
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Old 12-15-10, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by koamileli View Post
The bags I buy will initially be used in Italy for a 2-3 month summer tour, but after that, i'm coming home to Seattle, so...yeah, i'd say water resistance will be a big factor. I'm sort of an asthetics snob, and most of the bags I see out there are flat out ugly. I don't want my pretty bike to be wearing bags like those. Some of the Ortleib ones are ok because they are plain and not too loud. The single compartment bugs me though. And if you're going to subdivide your stuff into smaller bags within, why not just get a bag that does that for you, without the risk of stinking everything up? The only bag iv'e seen that comes close to the Brooks are Berthouds. They don't seem to have the same level of weather resistance and security though.
Because what you really want to do is put everything made of fabric into waterproof compression bags. Search REI to see what I mean. XS is about the right size. Maybe one dirty, one clean, one bad weather. Wet can go in the dirty bag. One big hole means you can pack much more efficiently. Stuff you might get at all the time goes into saddle, frame, or bar bags.
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Old 12-16-10, 12:06 AM
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I have always appreciated the waterproofness of Ortliebs for all the years of commuting Ihave done using them, and they have lasted for over 15 years so the money spent/value angle is pretty good. I dont mind one compartment. I am pretty good for putting things back in the same order. Also, attach systems have been quite reliable.
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Old 12-16-10, 12:26 AM
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I had post number 14 above, where I mention some of my Ortlieb experience. For a couple month summer tour, I suggest at least one non-waterproof bag, it could be a small/medium duffle on the rear rack. You will have damp stuff that you do not want to put in the Ortliebs.

To expand on the concept of one big bag versus panniers with lots of pockets - for canoe trips I use one really really big backpack that is a drybag with no pockets (SealLine 115 ProPack). So, going from one big drybag to four panniers, a handlebar bag and possibly a duffle or rack pack is like going to a plethora of pockets.
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Old 12-16-10, 02:38 AM
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i think you want to buy the brooks bags. you're convinced yourself you're not going to ever be happy with ortliebs.

however, the hazel color travel biker panniers from ortlieb might suit you, and would certainly be a better pannier 6 months out of the year in Seattle! pockets, and waterproof.

Ortlieb hooks are good, easier to use than arkels system to be perfectly honest. but the arkel rail on the brooks is not going to bow out like ortliebs do for some people when heavily loaded.

if you are a year round commuting cyclist as well as a tourist the ortlieb travel bikers get the nod. if you want to use your bike luggage solely on summer tours of tuscany and therabouts, by all means, the brooks!
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Old 12-16-10, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
To expand on the concept of one big bag versus panniers with lots of pockets - for canoe trips I use one really really big backpack that is a drybag with no pockets (SealLine 115 ProPack). So, going from one big drybag to four panniers, a handlebar bag and possibly a duffle or rack pack is like going to a plethora of pockets.
I can relate, I grew up canoe camping with my family using canoe packs and so your comment is spot on and is a good way of putting it. I always tended to put stuff that had to be easily or quickly accesible in my front bags (ie rain gear, snack) so rooting around never was really a big problem.

I actually like the one space setup for fitting things in more efficiently, but I guess thats from habit too, although I have used sectioned bags for years too.

oh, as for damp stuff, I just either had stuff bungied to the outside to dry, or in a plastic bag inside so not to dampen other stuff. That said, havent had rain for days and days on tour. Tend to try to plan a trip for a good part of the year with less chance of lots of rain (not that bad luck can happen some years)
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Old 12-16-10, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by positron View Post
I agree, you might like carradice supr C

still few pockets, but canvas, very durable and breathable
Also waterproof.

I've been commuting with one Carradice product or another (Nelson longflap, Junior, or Super C panniers) half-time for the past 4 years year-around. I'd guess it's wet/drizzling/raining during at least half of my commutes (Seattle area). I've never had any Carradice canvas leak even a droplet of water.
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Old 12-18-10, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
Also waterproof.

I've been commuting with one Carradice product or another (Nelson longflap, Junior, or Super C panniers) half-time for the past 4 years year-around. I'd guess it's wet/drizzling/raining during at least half of my commutes (Seattle area). I've never had any Carradice canvas leak even a droplet of water.
Really? Wow. That's a pretty awesome statement. Might have to take a look at those too. Thanks for the input everybody!
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Old 12-19-10, 12:26 AM
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The Cotton Canvas expands a bit, when wet ,
As a kid water was carried hanging a cotton canvas bag on the front of the car , still, crossing the desert
no it wasn't a Model T , it was by car..

evaporation cooled it from the little bit that seeped out.
that and wax treatments of the canvas
helps the water being shed..
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Old 12-19-10, 02:41 PM
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on this note, I used cordura panniers for many years, and one of the things that I liked with my ortieb rollers with the thinner material, is that when totally wet after being in the rain, I have always preferred how the ortliebs arent as wet and heavy when bringing them into my tent, and they dry out faster.

all in all, I find canvas bags and cordura heavier than my ortliebs, and they seem to stay wet and heavier when wet longer than the ortlieb matierial.

just my personal preference, but one that made me buy the ortliebs, which have worked and lasted very well for me.
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