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After several years of supported touring, I'm moving into self-contained touring at age 50.  I've signed up for the Intro to Road Touring class, but realized that I'll need panniers before then.

I'd greatly appreciate any experiences/opinions on these panniers (or others you think I should look into)

1. Madden ($208 from Adventure Cycling)
2. Cyclite ($186 from Adventure Cycling)
3. REI Keystone ($130)

My future plans are to ride the Northern Tier, splitting the trip between two summers, and I'd like to get panniers that will serve for a trip of that scale.  

Thanks in advance for all comments!

Jandd Mountaineering ( makes excellent, heavy-duty panniers, from 2000 cubic inches/pair ($77.00) to super heavy-duty Expedition panniers with over 6800 ci (expandable to 9950 ci) at $240.00 per pair. I use their police products (Rack bags, etc.) at work and they wear like iron. Check out their website!

Or you could always get a BoB trailer.  ;)

Ride safe,

Hans Erdman, WEMT
Backcountry Trail Patrol

Take a look at the Arkel panniers too.  They have a web site.

I've had bad luck with the REI panniers.  Right now I use Jandd and I can't imagine anything better, although I haven't seen any of the Madden panniers, or the high-zoot brands such as Arkel and Sakkit.  One thing that I like about the Jandd panniers is that they do not use an elastic cord to attach the lower mounting hook to the rack like everybody else.  Some people complain that they have to reach behind the pannier and attach or release the velcro strap when mounting or removing the panniers.  However, I feel that it is a more secure mounting and less likely to fail than the elastic cord.

One other thought, do not buy the biggest panniers you can fit, especially for the rear.  You will just end up overloading them and ruining you bikes handling.


Look into a set of roll top waterproof panniers made by Vaude, Ortlieb, or Nashbar.  This is the only way to keep your gear dry.  Wet gear is no fun.  I have the large and small pairs of the Nashbar waterproof panniers.  They are just like the Vaude and Ortlieb for about a third of the price. This is my second season with them and I am very happy with them especially for the price.  

Dry Gear = Happy Camper

Peter Spirito


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