Author Topic: Pannier comparisons?  (Read 13091 times)

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Offline damselfli

Pannier comparisons?
« on: April 06, 2005, 07:47:09 pm »
Shopping for panniers, I have narrowed down to the Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus/Front Roller Plus (single hole top load drybag) with the Arkel GT54/GT34 (waterproof main compartment, side loading, all the bells and whistles). These new Arkels have a waterproof lining built-in to the main compartment; it uses the same waterproof zipper that Ortlieb uses on the bike tourer products.
I have no experience w/ any panniers.
Does anyone have experience w/ the Arkels?
Is it true that unless you use a totally waterproof bag, your stuff will all get wet?
Weight is an issue - I like to travel light - but on self-supported cross-country touring, need space for camping and minimal cooking gear.
The other concern I have is in fetching the panniers in exchanges at airports, trains, etc. Arkels are quite a bit heavier.

All suggestions appreciated.





Offline RussellSeaton

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2005, 12:13:02 am »
"Shopping for panniers, I have narrowed down to the Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus/Front Roller Plus (single hole top load drybag) with the Arkel GT54/GT34 (waterproof main compartment, side loading, all the bells and whistles). These new Arkels have a waterproof lining built-in to the main compartment; it uses the same waterproof zipper that Ortlieb uses on the bike tourer products."


$480 for the four Arkel panniers.  $340 for the four Ortlieb panniers.  Definitely not your "cheap man" panniers.


"I have no experience w/ any panniers.
Does anyone have experience w/ the Arkels?
Is it true that unless you use a totally waterproof bag, your stuff will all get wet?"


No.  Plastic garbage bags and ziploc bags are inventions worthy of the highest accolades.  Not only do they keep everything within them completely dry, they also provide wonderful organization.  And they are cheap, cheap, cheap and last a long, long, long time.  And garbage bags make excellent rain vests.  And the Cordura fabric panniers are made of do a darn good job of keeping water out all by itself.


"Weight is an issue - I like to travel light - but on self-supported cross-country touring, need space for camping and minimal cooking gear."


Weight on a self supported cross country trip?  Your weight will vary plus or minus 5-10 pounds every day depending on whether your fuel bottle and water bottles and food stash is full or empty.  Pannier weight is not an issue.

This message was edited by RussellSeaton on 4-6-05 @ 8:53 PM

Offline damselfli

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2005, 01:51:13 pm »
Ouch.
Actually I found Ortliebs for $285. And I priced Arkels at $564 w/ rain covers. While you are concerned about my finances, you'd feel better knowing that I've been saving my pennies (riding a 1974 Fontan 10 spd) for 31 years. Please don't judge me on this; I see it as an investment, worthy of consideration.

In reading, I've found that quite a few tourists cite weight as a real issue. Some suggested 24 pounds as ideal - I can't figure out how they can do that. But I am trying to stay below 40# (not counting water and fuel). That's over 30% of my body weight.

I agree the Cordura is rugged; it could last a lifetime.


Offline RussellSeaton

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2005, 06:11:34 pm »
I priced the Ortleib's at their website.  $285 isn't too bad.  Rain covers are good for visibility.  Next time I tour I'll get some because the orange/yellow colors are more visible than the royal blue my panniers are.  I'll still use plastic bags to keep things dry.

I have never found weight to be much of a concern.  I carry anywhere from 40-50 pounds.  But that is only 20-25% of my mass.  30% would be about 65 pounds.  That might be a bit much.  Don't fixate on the weight.  Lighter can be better but not if you leave something important behind.  Or get less enjoyment out of the trip.  I carry lots of tools to fix anything.  Rarely use any of them.  But it gives me mental peace to have the tools along.  That is far more important than the extra poundage.


Offline damselfli

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2005, 07:43:05 pm »
I appreciate your input. The panniers have been a difficult decision for me because of comments I've read about wet gear (no fun) and weight. But I really like the way the Arkels are made - both for rugged construction and ease of use (removable pockets!). If Arkel offered their next size down w/ the waterproof liners, I'd probably be buying them. I am hoping that w/ experience I will be able to reduce the wt I carry (and if I don't cook, that's easy).

Do you try to stuff your tent and your sleeping bag into your panniers, or carry them on top?
Do you wait for dew to dry out on the tent, or carry it wet? Maybe I should go take AC's training course, so I can see how others do these things.



Offline valygrl

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2005, 08:38:53 pm »
Look here for more discussion on this topic...  I really think that waterproofness is not the most important feature of a pannier.  

Ortlieb and Arkel both have great reputations, but are really functionally different - pockets/side load vs. no pockets/top load.  

For me, accessibility to contents, a good attachment system and durability are the most important.  I like exterior pockets and a side-loader, since I keep my tent & sleeping bag on top of the rear rack - that way I can get into the rear bags w/o unloading the top stuff.  

There are lots of ways to keep your stuff dry, the most important thing seems to always be to be ready for rain, do not plan on stopping to fix things up if it starts to rain, when it's too late.  I use non-waterproof panniers with dry bags inside (some cheap goretex bags, some trash compactor bags).

There are as many ways to pack as there are tourists - tent & other stuff on top of the rack depends on your carrying capacity.  Drying the dew (and rain) off your tent will be different day by day - do you have time to wait or do you need to get on the road?  Is is sunny enough to bother to wait?   Sometimes you might unpack your wet tent some time during the day to dry it out - only takes a few minutes in the sun, but will never happen in the fog.

Don't sweat it - you will figure all this stuff out in a week or two on tour.  Just keep your eyes and mind open.  

One of the absolutely coolest things about touring (especially solo) is that *you* both *have* to and *get* to figure out everything yourself.  There are no rules - just keep it rubber-side down -  don't worry about what anyone else thinks you should be doing, try stuff, make mistakes, learn... and have fun!

As Lance said, it's not about the bike (or the panniers, the tent, the stove).... it's about the experience.  

Have a blast...

Anna


Offline damselfli

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2005, 08:58:06 pm »
Thanks for the link and the input.
You are so right - I can't wait to hit the road!




Offline greenie

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2005, 10:20:11 am »
I am new to touring and have been purchasing my equipment all year and have researched things as much as possible. I went with Ortlieb Bike Backers in the rear and took my first week long tour last week and loved them. I biked through those huge rainstorms in the east and did not get one drop inside the panniers and the connecting system to the bike was so easy to use. I would buy them again.

The list price was $200 with REI. I used their 20% off coupon, plus I went through Ebates and Edeals for more discounts and don't forget the membership points points with REI. They were well worth the money.

Good Luck!


Offline slugbiker

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2005, 10:02:53 pm »
I have Ortlieb bike packers, which have been in use now for 7+ years.  They have never leaked.  They are fabulous!  I also have the ortlieb roller bags for the front, but only use them for loaded touring. FYI, I live in seattle, so these bags have been through lots of rain.  Definitely worth every penny.


Offline biker_james

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2005, 12:03:16 pm »
My wife and I have been using Arkel panniers for 5 years. We feel that they are great, and they still look new. We aren't using the new waterproof bags. We do ride in the rain quite a bit, and water hasn't been a problem with these panniers. The only time I've had anything actually get wet was when riding through standing water laying on the highway I got a little in my front lowriders. Besides, you end up having wet things to pack away if its wet anyway, so you still need to bag stuff, or have everything wet.
We generally pack our clothing into bags of some kind-not to keep it dry, but to organize it and keep the clean and dirty separate(Sorry, but I just can't see just stuffing everything into a pannier-what, you dump the whole thing out to get a pair of socks?). We do have a couple of those "vacuum bag" things-you seal like a Ziplock, then squeeze the air out-that help pack things down nicely.
You say that you travel light. We don't, and while we do save some space by the shared items, we have the 38 litre rear (MT) panniers, and the fronts are 28 litre for my bike, and, I think 22 litre for my wife's.


Offline damselfli

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2005, 01:37:40 pm »
Thanks for all the input!
I have decided to use Arkel panniers - and my husband is going with Ortliebs, so we will have a side-by-side comparison, and it will be interesting to see the differences in use and service of the bags. We hope to make our first excursion this fall, and I will definitely report back to the Forum with our notes, since it may be useful to others who are still shopping.

Thanks to AC for the Forum - it's a great service to all.



Offline jjacobs

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2005, 07:51:16 pm »
Please do keep us posted on which type you find the "best". I'm in much the same place as you are and am very interested in what you find out. Thanks


Offline tgpelz

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2005, 03:08:05 am »
I used to use Cannondale Panniers.  Then, after fifteen years of use, I replaced them with the Arkels.   I still use the Cannondale Handlebar bag.  I have a rain cover for it.

I have the rain covers for the Arkles.  

I love the Arkles.  Lots of pockets for whatever organization I want.  That way I know were to find my clothes line and the clothes pins, or the water filter, or my socks, or my stove, or whatever.

The Arkel even have a separatable dopp kit.   THus, when you go to shower in the AM, you detach the kit from its velcro and take it to the shower.[

Another similar kit I have set up as a first aid kit.

I love the space for the air mattress in the rear right pannier.  you could even store some tent poles there.

My wife has Jandd panniers.  She likes the open idea that they have (sound similar to the Ortlib).  

Either way, you will enjoy them.  




Offline tgpelz

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2005, 12:28:33 am »
Have you decided yet?

This message was edited by tgpelz on 7-18-05 @ 8:31 PM

Offline ptaylor

Pannier comparisons?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2005, 10:36:33 pm »
I got the Madden Lizards and Buzzards from AC, and am quite happy with them. Their current offering in CyclSource does not seem to have changed, except for color. The attachment system is secure, they are easy to carry in airports, and they are flexible to pack  I would buy  them again.  I don't know how waterproof they are bucause I have never ridden in a hard rain all day, but their contents have yet to get wet.

Paul