Author Topic: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?  (Read 721 times)

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Offline Gus

Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« 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.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #1 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.

Offline Ghspalding

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #2 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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Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #3 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.

Offline JHamelman

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #4 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 that also compress or expand depending on your perspective.

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Offline driftlessregion

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #5 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.

Offline Gus

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #6 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

Offline Inge

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #7 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.

Offline Ghspalding

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #8 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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Offline hikerjer

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2019, 09:49:06 pm »
Purely personal preference, IMO.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #10 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.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #11 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.

Offline hikerjer

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2019, 06:42:20 pm »
Ditto.

Offline CanvasAndSteel

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #13 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.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Panniers. Waterproof or non waterproof?
« Reply #14 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.