Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: Gus on March 15, 2019, 12:05:39 pm

 
Title: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: Gus on March 15, 2019, 12:05:39 pm
I'm looking at different types of panniers and am on the fence which way to go? People who use waterproof panniers do you or have you ever had problems with moisture inside the bags? Is there one style that is more durable? Is the top loading a pain? I am looking to get a front and rear set for long distance touring. The two brands I have narrowed down is Ortlieb and Arkel. Anyone with experience on one of these brands and the type of material used, I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: John Nelson on March 15, 2019, 12:39:50 pm
Wow! You opened a hot topic that has been frequently discussed before. Everybody has an opinion on this question!

I prefer waterproof panniers. I use Ortlieb. Not a drop of water has ever gotten inside. I dislike rain covers on other panniers. The problem is that you never know when to put them on. By the time you stop to put them on, the rain will have often stopped. And if you assume that the rain will stop soon, it won't.

Yes, top loading is a pain. The one big pocket of the Ortliebs does indeed make it hard to find what you're looking for. You have to be quite disciplined about what you put where so that you know where to find it without hunting around. Even then, it seems like you have to hunt around. Nevertheless, it's a price I willingly pay for knowing that my stuff will stay absolutely dry.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: Ghspalding on March 15, 2019, 12:42:00 pm
Very very happy with the Ortlieb very durable and waterproof fabric. No worry about water protection on your contents inside


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Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: Pat Lamb on March 15, 2019, 01:45:38 pm
I, too, use and recommend Ortliebs.  I've been using one pair for a dozen years for commuting, with a cross-country trip and a few apple orchard runs every fall for good measure, with virtually no problems.

Moisture in the bags?  Only happens when you put something wet in there.  OK, sometimes you'll put wet clothes in a pannier on a damp morning; make sure your electronics go on the dry side (with sleeping bag?) those days, and dry everything including pannier insides out when you can.

Top loading problems?  For comparison, in my backpacking days I carried a Kelty with top and bottom compartments, which was about the volume of both my Ortlieb Bikepackers together.  I occasionally had problems finding something, usually because I couldn't remember if it was in the top or bottom of the backpack.  Likewise, I'll occasionally have problems remembering if something is in the left or right pannier; however, digging the missing pair of gloves out is rarely a problem for me.

Now for the disclaimer.  I bought Ortliebs Sportspacker plus after my old commuting Trek pannier attachment system wore out.  I've never looked back.  I bought another set for the back and a bar bag, but since I bought the first pair of Ortliebs I've never used anything else.  Therefore, you might consider I'm one of those people who don't know what else is available since I found something I like, and I want more people to buy what I bought.  That's true to some extent, though it's more because of the benefit I've gotten than my needing personal validation for my choices -- I don't care what other people buy or use.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: JHamelman on March 15, 2019, 06:36:30 pm
I love my Ortliebs. It took some discipline in packing to get to that point though. I designate each pannier a purpose (kitchen/food, sleeping stuff, clothes, first aid and electronics, as examples). I also use packing cubes to help me organize the contents. REI has some great ones (https://www.rei.com/product/130065/rei-co-op-expandable-packing-cube-set-smallmediumlarge?sku=1300650004&store=72&cm_mmc=PLA_Google_LIA|404_193855|1300650004|none|9840b43e-4eca-413b-9f9d-e0ccf7405f13|pla-474112967183&lsft=cm_mmc:PLA_Google_LIA|404_193855|1300650004|none|9840b43e-4eca-413b-9f9d-e0ccf7405f13&kclid=9840b43e-4eca-413b-9f9d-e0ccf7405f13&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzfSwr5qF4QIV-B-tBh0vqQ9jEAQYASABEgKnm_D_BwE) that also compress or expand depending on your perspective.

Jennifer
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: driftlessregion on March 15, 2019, 07:46:45 pm
As John said, everyone has an opinion. Here's the first other opinion. I'll keep it simple. I love Arkels, also sold by ACA. Waterproof cover is inside, many pockets are great.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: Gus on March 15, 2019, 09:05:51 pm
Thanks for the feedback. I'm leaning towards waterproof. Still open. One of my concerns was condensation inside the waterproof ones. So I was curious to see if anyone had issues like this.Once again thanks for sharing experience with different panniers.

                                                                  Gus
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: Inge on March 16, 2019, 02:53:29 am
I have had Ortliebs way in the past and where fine. However a couple of years ago I decided to instead of Ortliebs go for Arkel bags. Prefer them over Ortliebs because of the side pouches on the bag and the simplicity of the mounting system. The ones I have (Dolphins front & bag) are also slightly bigger than Ortliebs though I do not pack them to the brim. Just prtefer the extra space for groceries and such.

To pack things in the bags like clothes and such I use eg pack-it-spector cubes. This makes finding what you look for way easier since they are in different colours.

But it all comes down to personal preference.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: Ghspalding on March 16, 2019, 07:09:02 am
On my Ortlieb rear panniers I used outside pockets for frequently used items and was very handy.Never had any problem with condensation even though waterproof fab. On x US Northern Tier tour, I learned to organize items (cubin fiber and zip lock bags.....waterproof overkill!) and always repack the same side and sequence. On front fork I used Salsa Anything cages and Anything bags that just perfectly accommodated my sleeping system, bag, bag liner, pad and pillow.


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Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: hikerjer on March 16, 2019, 09:49:06 pm
Purely personal preference, IMO.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on March 20, 2019, 01:30:22 pm
I dislike rain covers on other panniers. The problem is that you never know when to put them on. By the time you stop to put them on, the rain will have often stopped. And if you assume that the rain will stop soon, it won't.

 ;D My first panniers were made by Robert Beckman, which required covers to keep things totally dry in anything other than a light spritz. The above made me laugh because it reflects my experience.

I currently use the Ortlieb Packer series. Top loading is fine because they don't close by rolling. (Never have been able to understand why people don't mind having to roll and unroll to retrieve things.) Coming from highly compartmentalized Beckman bags, I thought I would hate the single compartment (The packers actually have limited segregation inside, and the rears have small, outside pockets.), but I adapted and don't mind it.

As for things not drying, I have never noticed any difference between the waterproof and non-waterproof bags I have used. In the end, I would rather keep things dry in the first place that worry about damp things drying inside the bags. One trick to secure something like a damp pair of shorts to the outside of the bag or a rack. Wind and sun will often dry things quickly. One feature of my front Beckman bags that I loved was the large, outside mesh pocket. Perfect for drying damp items.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: John Nelson on March 20, 2019, 01:54:25 pm
One trick to secure something like a damp pair of shorts to the outside of the bag or a rack. Wind and sun will often dry things quickly.
Agreed. I never, ever put wet things in my panniers. I just put wet stuff under the straps that hold my tent onto my rack.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: hikerjer on March 20, 2019, 06:42:20 pm
Ditto.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: CanvasAndSteel on March 25, 2019, 11:45:04 am
I've had Ortliebs, had a few durability issues.  The company addressed them, but still...  I also had an Ortlieb saddle bag that lasted all of one month.  From what I read online, m experience is the outlier.

I'm presently using Jannd.  Not waterproof.  I'm fine with that.  As a long time canoeist, I have always relied on dry bags to keep stuff dry, so using stuff bags with non waterproof panniers fits me ok.  I really like Jannd's system for fastening the panniers to racks.  They use a ladder lock with velcro instead of the more common bungee cord.  They are rock solid.  It takes a little time to dial them in for first use, but after that they are trouble free.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: dkoloko on March 27, 2019, 10:44:05 am
I only buy waterproof bags. Tried water resistant bags and covers; nuisance, and never completely protected contents. Condensation only happens if you put wet things inside bag; waterproof fabric keeps outside moisture out, inside moisture in. Have little trouble finding things inside bags; everything is organized; toiletries in one small bag; kitchen utensils in another, etc.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: CanvasAndSteel on March 27, 2019, 11:12:54 am
I only buy waterproof bags. Tried water resistant bags and covers; nuisance, and never completely protected contents. Condensation only happens if you put wet things inside bag; waterproof fabric keeps outside moisture out, inside moisture in. Have little trouble finding things inside bags; everything is organized; toiletries in one small bag; kitchen utensils in another, etc.

Not nitpicking, but this is what I don't get.  If people are going to use bags to separately organize things--and most do--why not just make those bags dry bags and not worry about whether the panniers themselves are waterproof?  Please understand, this is not a "You're doing it wrong, you should do it my way" post.  I'm just trying to understand the thinking behind waterproof panniers.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on March 27, 2019, 03:31:45 pm
I only buy waterproof bags. Tried water resistant bags and covers; nuisance, and never completely protected contents. Condensation only happens if you put wet things inside bag; waterproof fabric keeps outside moisture out, inside moisture in. Have little trouble finding things inside bags; everything is organized; toiletries in one small bag; kitchen utensils in another, etc.

Not nitpicking, but this is what I don't get.  If people are going to use bags to separately organize things--and most do--why not just make those bags dry bags and not worry about whether the panniers themselves are waterproof?  Please understand, this is not a "You're doing it wrong, you should do it my way" post.  I'm just trying to understand the thinking behind waterproof panniers.

Personally...Because not everything is goes in separate bags before getting packed in my panniers. In fact, very little of my stuff does. Toiletries and meds go in one separate bag. My Kindle along with paper cue sheets and any other pieces of paper I want to make absolutely certain stay dry have their own bag. Everything else goes in either the main compartments of my Ortlieb Packers or their limited internal and external subcompartments/spaces.

To me, it's more of a PITA to have to open and close individual bags to get stuff. I organize my stuff by bag. My cooking at eating equipment is all in my right front pannier. Off-bike clothes and sleeping bag in the right rear. Riding clothes in the left rear. Sleeping pad, pump, papers and Kindle, off-bike sandals and certain other items in my left front pannier.  The right rear external pocket holds specific items that I will almost certainly only need while in camp (e.g., Kindle and phone chargers). The left rear external pocket holds items that I may need to access while on the road, such as sunscreen. I am consistent with my distribution so I always know which pannier something is in and where in each pannier it is.

And maybe I am abnormal in this way, but it's not like I have numerous clothing items that need to be separately segregated so I can find them. For example, for around camp I've got a long sleeve shirt, a short sleeve, a couple of pair of underwear, one pair of convertible pans, one pair of warm socks and a hat. Riding clothes consist of two jerseys, two bibs, two pair of socks, arm and leg warmers and a few items of other foul/cold weather gear. I have a harder time finding stuff in my dressers at home when I am packing than when I am actually out on the road. One of the reasons I like touring: The simplicity due to lack of clutter.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: dkoloko on March 28, 2019, 12:46:08 pm
I only buy waterproof bags. Tried water resistant bags and covers; nuisance, and never completely protected contents. Condensation only happens if you put wet things inside bag; waterproof fabric keeps outside moisture out, inside moisture in. Have little trouble finding things inside bags; everything is organized; toiletries in one small bag; kitchen utensils in another, etc.

Not nitpicking, but this is what I don't get.  If people are going to use bags to separately organize things--and most do--why not just make those bags dry bags and not worry about whether the panniers themselves are waterproof?  Please understand, this is not a "You're doing it wrong, you should do it my way" post.  I'm just trying to understand the thinking behind waterproof panniers.

In the first place, everything I have in bags is not in waterproof bags. Secondly, everything is not in bags (sorry for that confusion); small things I might have trouble finding are in bags; rest not. Even when I was using bags that were just water resistant, I found using number of waterproof bags inside was a poor way to go; easier I found was to use one stout waterproof liner to protect all; better yet was to just use waterproof panniers, which is what I am doing.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: John Nelson on March 28, 2019, 01:06:39 pm
I put a few things in inner bags, but not many. E.g., it's useful to have your toothpaste and toothbrush in the same bag because you always need them together and you don't want to spend time to find them separately. But most of my things do not go in inner bags. When I want a clean pair of socks, I just want to reach in and grab them--I don't want to have to open up some other bag to get to them.

For things that do go in bags, I like easily-opened clear bags like Ziploc. But note that Ziploc bags are not really waterproof. They will keep water out for a while, but I wouldn't count on them in an all-day rain. Truly waterproof bags do not open easily and quickly--they require fiddling.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: CanvasAndSteel on March 28, 2019, 01:36:20 pm
I put a few things in inner bags, but not many. E.g., it's useful to have your toothpaste and toothbrush in the same bag because you always need them together and you don't want to spend time to find them separately. But most of my things do not go in inner bags. When I want a clean pair of socks, I just want to reach in and grab them--I don't want to have to open up some other bag to get to them.

For things that do go in bags, I like easily-opened clear bags like Ziploc. But note that Ziploc bags are not really waterproof. They will keep water out for a while, but I wouldn't count on them in an all-day rain. Truly waterproof bags do not open easily and quickly--they require fiddling.
Yeah, it really does come down to preference and habit. After a few thousand miles and scores of canoe trips, I'm just used to bagging everything, so that's what I continue to do. There are very few things I will need to pull out of a pannier during the day, and since I almost always know ahead of time what they will be, I make them easily accessible. Everything else is needed only in camp, so by and large my bags are just emptied and filled, meaning it doesn't take much fiddling.

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Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: hikerjer on March 29, 2019, 09:48:43 pm
Color coded stuff sacks are your friend.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on March 30, 2019, 03:16:20 pm
I put a few things in inner bags, but not many. E.g., it's useful to have your toothpaste and toothbrush in the same bag because you always need them together and you don't want to spend time to find them separately. But most of my things do not go in inner bags. When I want a clean pair of socks, I just want to reach in and grab them--I don't want to have to open up some other bag to get to them.
Exactly. Toilet items go in a Zip-Loc because when I head to the bathhouse I am likely going to be using several items in that bag so they are all in one place and in something I cary carry easily in one had. But when I need a riding kit in the morning, I just reach inside my one big compartment and pull out the necessary items. It's not a game of hide and seek.
Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: CanvasAndSteel on March 30, 2019, 03:54:10 pm
I put a few things in inner bags, but not many. E.g., it's useful to have your toothpaste and toothbrush in the same bag because you always need them together and you don't want to spend time to find them separately. But most of my things do not go in inner bags. When I want a clean pair of socks, I just want to reach in and grab them--I don't want to have to open up some other bag to get to them.
Exactly. Toilet items go in a Zip-Loc because when I head to the bathhouse I am likely going to be using several items in that bag so they are all in one place and in something I cary carry easily in one had. But when I need a riding kit in the morning, I just reach inside my one big compartment and pull out the necessary items. It's not a game of hide and seek.
You all are dead set on "one right way for everyone," aren't you?

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Title: Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
Post by: hikerjer on March 30, 2019, 06:49:09 pm
That's hardly what the responders are saying at all. The folks are just responding to the op's question.  I think most people would appreciate their experience and advice whether they follow it or not. That's how you make informed decisions.  If you don't like their advice, then don't take it. Simple as that.  No one has said it's the only way.