Which Style/Brand Panniers for XC Tour??
In about 6 weeks I will be leaving on a c2c ride along the Southern Tier. I need both rear and front panniers and am looking for advice on style (waterproof but more limited in space or water resistant but bigger and more organizable) and well as other considerations like attachment mechanism to rack, durability, etc. I have been looking at Ortliebs, Arkels, Jandd, etc. Price is a consideration but not the sole factor. I will be carrying all gear for a solo camping tour. Average rainfall along the route shows no more than 4 inches per month during my tour. Any advice or sharing of experiences would be most helpful. Thanks!
1) Waterproof panniers aren't.
1a) Put everything in plastic heavy duty trash bags inside your panniers.
2) The more space you have the more junk you will haul.
2a) If you tie it to the top of your panniers you can haul even more junk.
3) The more junk you haul the less you are going to enjoy the riding.
3a) The more junk you haul the more you are going to enjoy the camping.
4) I suggest a BOB trailer.
Originally Posted by the_dude
The Ortlieb Classic Rollers get high reviews from nearly everyone who uses them. They are reportedly as close to waterproof as you can get, and will certainly keep gear dry from rainfall. They are very easy to install and remove. They are also reasonably light weight and affordable compared to some of the other options. Their only "downside" is they are are just big sacks with no separate compartments to speak of, but you can separate your gear with stuffsacks if that is an issue.
I would recommend getting front and rear panniers. I started out with rear ones only and my bike handled terribly. Added a front rack and panniers, and it rode great. You probably need front and rear bags anyway if riding coast to coast.
The biggest difference between Ortlieb and Arkel or Jandd is the way they pack. This is a personal choice matter, so opinions you hear will be colored by that person's packing preference.
Ortleib panniers are big empty space. Arkel and Jandd are the same amount of space, but broken up into many smaller compartments.
Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but those are outweighed by personal preference.
I own both Ortleib and Arkel stuff. Both are top quality that won't disappoint.
I prefer the Ortliebs because when I'm looking for things in the Arkels, I can never remember which compartment I put it in. I usually have to look in every compartment to find anything. That says more about me and my memory than it does the bag.
OTOH, to find anything in the Ortleibs, I may have to unpack them completely to get at something on the bottom. I don't really mind this as it also serves to refresh my memory as to what's where. And I try to plan ahead to put the most needed stuff on top when I pack. Again, it says more about me than the bag.
Folks who tend towards "a place for everything and everything in its place" will generally prefer Arkel and Jandd.
Try the cargo shorts test. If you always know what's in each of your pockets, get the Arkel or Jandd. If you're always patting yourself down and pulling random stuff out of your pockets, get the Ortleibs. (I, BTW, fall into the latter category and I hate cargo shorts.)
Last edited by brucew; 07-26-2012 at 08:08 AM.