"Best" panniers for cycle camping

Specifically for cycle touring subjects & questions
Tangled Metal
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby Tangled Metal » 25 Jul 2018, 9:21am

Nope the best ones are the ones someone carries for you.

Vorpal
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby Vorpal » 25 Jul 2018, 9:37am

I can understand the point about the roller top panniers.

Even now, there are some rides for which return to my old Karrimors (with added plastic liner) because it will be wet and messy/sandy/gritty. I don't like opening the roll tops in the rain, and I don't like that riding with the Ortliebs in gritty/mucky conditions is guaranteed to get me rub marks, somewhere, however careful I am.

So.... recommendations.... A couple of years ago, I was in this decision making process, and narrowed it down to Altura Orkneys and Ortlieb Classic Rollers. I wasn't too sure about the roller style, never having use it, so I was inclined to go for the Alturas. Honestly, if I'd been buying new, I would have. I ended up with the Ortliebs because I got them (new) used for a really good price.

What I liked about the Alturas:
-the attachment was robust & easy to use
-they have little rubber things around the bottom that prevent wear on the corners
-the pockets
-the top flap & it's attachment; it has two clips, which takes longer than one, and is more secure & less flappy (my Karrimors only have one clip for the top flap)

Also, I have an Altura rack pack that is now 9 or 10 years old, and while it is looking a bit tatty, it is still waterproof, and I use it alot.
I think that the shape of the Alturas is better for packing than the Ortliebs, but of course, not everyone will agree with that.

Oh, and Altura Orkneys come in red, at least. I'm not sure about other colours.

The Orkneys are no longer on Altura's website, but some mail order places still seem to have them. I didn't check chains, like Evans.

If I needed new panniers and was buying new, that's what I'd get. As it is, I will stick with the Ortliebs I've got.
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― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Vorpal
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby Vorpal » 25 Jul 2018, 9:41am

“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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horizon
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby horizon » 25 Jul 2018, 9:53am

Tangled Metal wrote:Just got their 70 litres capacity panniers.


Just a gentle reminder that it's helpful to quote per single pannier or per pair when discussing panniers. Thanks to all (and TM).
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JakobW
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby JakobW » 25 Jul 2018, 10:56am

I like my Carradice Super Cs; WRT to your list:

1. Size Fine; mine are an older version that are I think an intermediate size between the current rear (54 l/pair) and front/universal (28 l/pair) panniers.

2. Ease of attachment : fine

3. Practical access for my stuff: flap-type closure and generous side pockets.

4. Organisation. see above.

5. Dryness. some dampness on the inside of the fabric if it's torrential enough to wet out; I usually keep electronics in a drybag, and use another as a sleeping bag stuff sack. I also wouldn't leave them sitting on boggy ground, as some moisture might seep through. OTOH, the fabric lets the contents breathe, so it's swings and roundabouts.

6. Cheerful colour (this just might be my priority!). Any colour, as long as it's the proverbial black, though mine have the old-style cheerful red trim. I decorate mine with fabric patches; CTC roundels, country flags/ souvenir badges of the places I've been and so on, which enhances the seasoned nomad look.

7. Affordability. Not cheap, but reasonable for UK-made goods, and should last a lifetime - wear and tear is easily patched.

8. Ease of getting hold of (I don't want to be hit by VAT and customs duties when I can get a perfectly acceptable one in the UK). A reasonable number of bricks and mortar stockists around the UK, and available mail-order next day from SJS/Spa &c.

9. Weight. not for gram-counters, but comparable to other heavy-duty options.

Tangled Metal
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby Tangled Metal » 25 Jul 2018, 11:33am

horizon wrote:
Tangled Metal wrote:Just got their 70 litres capacity panniers.


Just a gentle reminder that it's helpful to quote per single pannier or per pair when discussing panniers. Thanks to all (and TM).

Duly noted. Although my pedantic side (rarely allowed free rein these days) might ask whether panniers is plural so means two (or more) and use of pannier implies one?

Mine are 35 litres per panniers or 70 litres capacity for two panniers. I don't think I'd like a single pannier with 70 litres capacity if you consider the size of the 35 litre one. I already liken my recumbent with them on the back to a Honda Goldwing touring motorbike. Imagine a fibreglass trailer behind it and the Goldwing imagery would be complete.

yutkoxpo
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby yutkoxpo » 25 Jul 2018, 4:10pm

MrsHJ wrote:. Eg you need a plaster on the road but your first aid kit is neatly packed at the bottom because then it fits neatly with the sleeping bag so you have to unload the whole ruddy pannier to get one small thing.


I don't want to be shot for maybe stating the obvious, but the things you may want to access during the day, especially your first aid kit should be at the top, no?

I mean, when you need a first aid kit.... you need a first aid kit!

I came off my bike once in the middle of nowhere. Dislocated shoulder, cracked ribs and lots and lots of skin loss. The only good thing was my first aid kit was on the top of my (Ortlieb) pannier - the one that was facing up. :D

In fact, the main reason I got a rack pack was to be able to carry the things I might need during the day as well as my tent.
The only panniers I expect to open between campsites are my front ones - they carry my food and cooking gear, so getting wet is not a big deal.

In relation to other panniers. I travelled once with someone else who was using Vaude (Aqua plus) I think. I was very envious of the pockets. However, the panniers themselves are not waterproof, but come with a separate rain cover. Handy on the bike. Not so much on waterlogged ground. Empty the contents into the tent, but if you're not careful, the pannier can be damp/wet the next morning.

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Cunobelin
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby Cunobelin » 25 Jul 2018, 7:48pm

MrsHJ wrote:I have loads on at the moment so the back of my brain is spinning away considering new rear pannier options.

I was trying to identify the main panniers to look into when considering my upgrade from the ortlieb classic rollers which I'm not a huge fan of. As an accountant I feel a strong need to review all the options and tabulate the key good things so could you let me know if I've missed any good brands out:

List in no particular order:
1. Thule- shield L or pack and pedal adventure.
2. Altura dryline 56
3. Carradice super C
4. Vaude aquapack plus
5. Ortlieb bikepacker plus
6. Arkel XM 45 or GT 54
7. Lone Peak mount superior
8. Jandd mountain expedition.
Edit: Topeka and Basil. Crosso axim, Agu (was my first set of ".touring panniers" aka an up and over shopping set -from Agu? )

I'll probably do a nice list of things important to me like:
1. Size
2. Ease of attachment
3. Practical access for my stuff.
4. Organisation.
5. Dryness.
6. Cheerful colour (this just might be my priority!).
7. Affordability.
8. Ease of getting hold of (I don't want to be hit by VAT and customs duties when I can get a perfectly acceptable one in the UK).

Edit.
9. Weight.
19. Absolutely MUST NOT be a tube style pannier with one storage space accessed by the top only!



Ortlieb have pockets that can be added, both waterproof and sealable and mesh - so don't discount these on the grounds that they lack multiple pockets

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Cunobelin
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby Cunobelin » 25 Jul 2018, 7:57pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Nope the best ones are the ones someone carries for you.


That was always our method. I commuted daily, mu wife did not, so there was a fitness discrepancy.... I used to do most of the weight bearing, whilst she carried personal items

Image

MrsHJ
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby MrsHJ » 25 Jul 2018, 9:13pm

Cunobelin wrote:
Tangled Metal wrote:Nope the best ones are the ones someone carries for you.


That was always our method. I commuted daily, mu wife did not, so there was a fitness discrepancy.... I used to do most of the weight bearing, whilst she carried personal items

Image


Wow. I mean good tactic on her part (and practical solution on yours for the discrepancy) but although I tend to carry more than my fair share this would be too much for me. Better not show him indoors this photo!

Ps my excel spreadsheet has an extra column for adding in ortlieb pockets and their cost!

MrsHJ
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby MrsHJ » 25 Jul 2018, 9:17pm

HobbesOnTour wrote:
MrsHJ wrote:. Eg you need a plaster on the road but your first aid kit is neatly packed at the bottom because then it fits neatly with the sleeping bag so you have to unload the whole ruddy pannier to get one small thing.


I don't want to be shot for maybe stating the obvious, but the things you may want to access during the day, especially your first aid kit should be at the top, no?

I mean, when you need a first aid kit.... you need a first aid kit!

I came off my bike once in the middle of nowhere. Dislocated shoulder, cracked ribs and lots and lots of skin loss. The only good thing was my first aid kit was on the top of my (Ortlieb) pannier - the one that was facing up. :D

In fact, the main reason I got a rack pack was to be able to carry the things I might need during the day as well as my tent.
The only panniers I expect to open between campsites are my front ones - they carry my food and cooking gear, so getting wet is not a big deal.

In relation to other panniers. I travelled once with someone else who was using Vaude (Aqua plus) I think. I was very envious of the pockets. However, the panniers themselves are not waterproof, but come with a separate rain cover. Handy on the bike. Not so much on waterlogged ground. Empty the contents into the tent, but if you're not careful, the pannier can be damp/wet the next morning.


Thanks in the vaude info. The problem is what you may need first v how to pack it all neatly together and a relatively small access point. So say you decide your rain jacket should be at the top (and in a rainy area also your overshoes and trousers and maybe a lightweight fleece). Then you don't want any squishy food at the bottom so that goes at the top. At that point there is no room for anything else at the top of a classic roller! And OUCH for the dislocated shoulder. Agreed that a rack,pack can work. I'm also reflecting on overall configuration especially for my transam as that will be about a third unpaved roads.

I'm realising that time has moved on while my touring standard has pretty much stayed still. The common methods now seem to be:

1. Standard touring with small front and say 40L rear panniers and a solid bar bag.
2: My touring approach which is much less popular these days ie biggish panniers at the back, nothing at the front.
3. Bikepacking. I can't say I really see the appeal of rack packs but some of the semi bike packing set ups look very interesting.

Tangled Metal
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby Tangled Metal » 25 Jul 2018, 11:17pm

My new touring standard is going to be two humongous panniers on the back and standard Ortliebs on the middle with a tiny topeak top tube bag on top in front of the stem.

Of course that's only really possible with a recumbent. Makes for 110 litres plus capacity without bungee cord stuff on rack top of needed. I don't really thing packing is going to be a problem. Probably going to be a bit empty which means easier to find stuff (rooting space).

There's no right or best solution just what works for you. Ortlieb panniers can work other styles too. It's at least partly about strategy to get the best out of them. It seems the op didn't get on with some of the strategies to make ortlieb panniers work. Look to the other options and see if it can work out how to make them work for you. Kind of nothing is perfect so learn how to live with the weaknesses while appreciating the strengths.

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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby MrsHJ » 26 Jul 2018, 9:40am



Agreed about the orkneys-very nice, strange they have discontinued them. Lean towards super c for carradice (bearing in mind that I think I see less rain than you). I will shortly unleash my excel spreadsheet of panniers in this thread, just need to figure out how to show it. It is less than perfect but is helping my thought process and of course there is, as has been pointed out, no perfect solution and everyone has slightly different priorities.

F70100
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby F70100 » 26 Jul 2018, 12:26pm

MrsHJ wrote: I will shortly unleash my excel spreadsheet of panniers in this thread


I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this... :D

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pjclinch
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby pjclinch » 26 Jul 2018, 12:36pm

MrsHJ wrote:I have loads on at the moment so the back of my brain is spinning away considering new rear pannier options.

I was trying to identify the main panniers to look into when considering my upgrade from the ortlieb classic rollers which I'm not a huge fan of. As an accountant I feel a strong need to review all the options and tabulate the key good things so could you let me know if I've missed any good brands out:
<snip>
I'll probably do a nice list of things important to me like:
1. Size
2. Ease of attachment
3. Practical access for my stuff.
4. Organisation.
5. Dryness.
6. Cheerful colour (this just might be my priority!).
7. Affordability.
8. Ease of getting hold of (I don't want to be hit by VAT and customs duties when I can get a perfectly acceptable one in the UK).

Edit.
9. Weight.
19. Absolutely MUST NOT be a tube style pannier with one storage space accessed by the top only!


Size... well, it's all very well being picky about size, but, ummm, what size is that?

Ease of Attachment... I personally use Orts as my go-to because I really like their attachments, but you'll know from your Rollers whether you like that or not about them. One thing I did to select mine was go to a shop with a good selection (Edinburgh Bicycle in my case), wheel the bike in and try out everything on my rack. I'd recommend doing this if you can. As well as my Orts I have some Altura Orkneys with R&K fixings, and they've never been entirely happy on the oversized tubes of my tourer rack (13mm), where lots of other people really like them.

Practical Access,Organisation, combined with must not be a monolithic space, is an interesting can of worms. In practice a big space can be compartmentalised very easily with smaller internal bags, and this is a Good Idea in any case for touring. It's all very well having a 100% waterproof pannier, but if you've just put a wet tent fly in there, or some not-dry-yet laundry, all you're doing is trapping the water 100% inside. Separate internal waterpoof baggies mean you can keep clean stuff clean, dry stuff dry, wet stuff from making other stuff wet, and just finding stuff easily. We also get in to the general art of bag packing, where stuff you need is available so on a typical UK tour day your sleeping bag can be at the bottom and your waterproofs can be at the top. Toolkit can be in a bag at one end, so it's easy to find.
There are, of course, other approaches to this, with these...
Image
towards the top of the "a place for everything and everything in its place" approach. I've gone right off these, as it tends to push me in to the designer's packing system (so there's a tent/mat bag, but that doesn't conform to how I pack my tent or the nature of my mat). And all those extra compartments add weight, cost and every zip is a point of failure.
Note that you can add external dismountable pockets to Orts. They come with a template and tool for mounting, and I've done it and have 3 left thumbs so as long as you prepare carefully it's not hard to do. I usually use one for my toolkit on tour, and have an extra bottle mount on the other (interchanges with the pocket).

Dryness... overrated IMHO, and I use waterproof panniers. See notes above about wet tents etc. All else equal I'll take waterproof over not, but as anyone using 99% of the world's rucksacks knows it's hardly a deal-breaker if they leak a bit when you have internal liners. If you really want waterproof do it properly with a waterproof bag, not an external cover. They're a faff and make getting at stuff a pain.

Affordability... you know what your budget is, but don't forget to spread the cost over an expected lifetime. I have just killed a pair of Ort "Plus" lighter-weight rollers, but it's taken me about 15 years and I had "help" from my daughter using them for her paper round. Ort Classics and similar should last a long time.

Weight... lighter is, well, lighter, but generally won't last as long, so cost goes up in general both for lighter materials and also from reduced life span. I use Ort classics for day to day (bombproof) but for touring bring out the lighter, merely relatively bombproof Ort "Plus". This approach (having an extra pair) obviously costs more. More elaborate panniers (more compartments) weigh more.

So that's some thoughts, which may or may not help.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...