8 Best Bike Panniers in 2020 for Touring and Commuting

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There are many benefits that come with commuting with a bike. Not only do you get to save on gas money but you’re doing your part for the environment by emitting less CO2.

However, the best part about riding a bike everywhere is the fact that you get to enjoy fresh air and the feel of the sun on your skin, whether you’re riding to school, work, the grocery shop or a social event. To ensure that your bike performs as expected, you need to use the best bicycle panniers available.

Basically, this is a great way to increase the space available on your bike. That way, you can rest assured that you have enough storage to keep your essentials while commuting with your bicycle.

Best Bicycle Panniers

The best bicycle panniers are unique in that they’re made to handle large loads of items without breaking or tearing.

They’re also built to last and can easily handle the elements. You can use them to store books, grocery items or a picnic basket with the whole nine.

Here are a few options to consider:

1. Ortlieb Back-Roller City Rear Pannier

Ortlieb is known as one of the best manufacturers of bike accessories and products in the world and for good reason. They live up to that reputation with their panniers and this one is no different. It comes with 3M Scotchlite reflectors on the sides so that it’s easier to remain visible in low-light conditions.

Not only that but they’re constructed from IPX4 waterproof material designed to protect your items from rainwater. In fact, the pannier could fall into a pool and your stuff would still remain protected.

This bag also offers an IPX6 dust rating which means that the bag will keep your stuff protected from dust and debris when riding through rough gravel roads that kick up dust. The material itself is easy to clean and all you need is to wipe it with a clean wet cloth and you’re good to go!

When it comes to dimensions, this pannier measures 9 inches wide at the bottom, 12 inches wide at the top and 16 inches tall overall. It’s definitely large enough to handle all of your gear and accessories. Thanks to the QL1 attachment system, you’ll find that attaching and detaching this pannier is effortless.

Pros
  • Made from high-quality materials
  • Extra-large size
  • Resistant to water and dust
Cons
  • None

2. Roswheel Bicycle Expedition Touring Cam Pannier

These are some of the best panniers for bike touring on account of their multifunctional design. They’re made from the toughest material, 1000D reinforced polyester to be exact, which has been coated with PU for maximum durability.

This 37-liter capacity behemoth is made tough to handle any obstacle you might encounter on the road, come rain or sunshine.

Not only is it water-resistant, but it’s made according to an angled design that makes it easier to paddle comfortably with this attached to your bike.

The ergonomic handles are made to provide easy and convenient off-road carrying and the reflective lining included on the exterior will make sure that you remain visible and safe at night or in other low-light conditions.

Pros
  • Made from durable 1000D PU coated polyester material
  • It can handle up to ten gallons of stuff packed in
  • Comes with reflective handles for safety
  • Made from durable, water-resistant canvas material
  • Backed by a one-year warranty for workmanship and material defects
Cons
  • The quality could use some improvement

3. ArcEnCiel Bike Bag Bicycle Panniers

These versatile and highly useful panniers from ArcEnCiel offer 37 liters of space.

But, what really makes these the best panniers is the fact that they’re constructed from water-resistant materials and can resist almost any and all weather conditions. The 3-in-1 design is also something to write home about, as it features detachable side bags and another at the top.

These panniers feature a reflective brand logo that helps to improve low-light visibility, and thanks to the bags’ angled design, you can rest assured that pedaling will be easy with these panniers on your bicycle.

We also like the fact that these panniers are nice and lightweight and yet they can really take a beating. To clean them, all you need is a damp cloth. Alternatively, put them in the washing machine.

Pros
  • It has a large 37-liter carrying capacity
  • Offers a convenient 3-in-1 design
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Low maintenance
  • Weatherproof
Cons
  • The quality isn’t that great

4. Kolo Sports Bike Pannier Bag

The Kolo Sports Bike pannier bag is affordable yet durable enough to handle the demands of daily use.

It’s constructed from sturdy nylon material which is waterproof and dust-proof. It comes with a large main compartment which is complemented by an ergonomic water case on the side.

This model also comes with Velcro straps for easy carrying afterward, and we must commend this company for the structural integrity of this pannier which includes heavy-duty zippers to keep all of your stuff safe no matter what conditions you come across.

Pros
  • Made to last from durable and waterproof nylon material
  • Comes with bottle-securing side water bottle case
  • Features a well-structured Velcro construction
  • Offers an ergonomic design with two secure zipper pockets
  • Features convenient inserts to maintain structural support on and off-bike
Cons
  • Poor customer support

5. Ibera Bike Pannier Bag

The Ibera bike pannier bag is one of a kind.

Not only does it come in bright colors that stand out, but it’s waterproof and features a clip-on and quick release feature so that you don’t have to struggle when it comes to taking it in and out of your bike. The best part is that it’s compatible with most racks.

The pannier has a number of reinforced compartments that are large enough to fit all of your essential items, including large-sized laptops. There’s one waterproof zippered pocket on the outside and another zippered pocket on the inside.

The entire pannier is waterproof as it’s constructed from a combination of 600D Polyester and 500D Tarpaulin material with welded seams.

Pros
  • It’s easy to attach and detach
  • Features a three-point connection
  • There are different compartments to keep your items separate
  • It comes in a bright and stylish orange color
Cons
  • It doesn’t come with carrying straps
  • There have been complaints that the clips are fragile

6. Rhinowalk Bike Bag

The Rhinowalk bike bag is a waterproof contraption that’s built to take whatever the elements throw at you. It’s one of the best bike panniers for touring because it’s made from high-quality 1000D polyester with PVC coating.

Not only is it waterproof, but this pannier is resistant to heat as well as wear and tear. It’ll definitely last for more than a few seasons and the company has backed it with a 12-month warranty to boot!

However, what makes this popular with cyclists is how easy it is to assemble thanks to the multi-layer layout.

The pockets are designed according to an organized hierarchy so that it’s easy for you to compartmentalize everything and find what you’re looking for whenever you need it. Plus, it’s large enough to fit a 14-inch laptop so it’s perfect for urban settings as well.

Pros
  • It has a large 25 to 27-liter carrying capacity
  • Backed by a 12-month quality warranty
  • Comes with adjustable nylon shoulder straps for easy carrying
  • Made from durable materials that are resistant to heat as well as wear and tear
Cons
  • The clips don’t always work as advertised

7. Two Wheel Gear – Pannier Backpack

On the face of it, this pannier looks like a backpack and as a result, it’s super easy to use because it has a straightforward design.

You can keep it attached to your bike while you’re riding it and then carry it on your back to keep your possessions protected. It’s made to last from durable polyester which is coated with 600D TPE to ensure that it’s waterproof.

Other features include a small smartphone pocket, a padded laptop pocket, and protected zips. This is in addition to several internal pockets, a key leash, a U-lock pocket, two pockets for your water bottles, and reflective design elements to enhance visibility in low-light conditions.

Thanks to its myriad of pockets, this is one of the best bike panniers for commuting in an urban environment. It has all types of different compartments to keep different items.

Pros
  • Comes with internal mesh zip pockets
  • Can be converted into a backpack
  • Comes with rain cover
  • Easy to organize
Cons
  • It’s not large enough to fit large laptops
  • It has a small capacity

8. BV Bag Bicycle Panniers 

This bike bag pannier is 26 liters of impressive space for your commuting essentials. Although big, this pannier is quite affordable and comes with a 3M Scotchlite reflector on the sides to ensure that you remain visible in low-light conditions.

The main compartment has a large mouth and you’ll find that it’s easy to mount thanks to the adjustable bungee hooks and the four shelf straps.

On the back are two rigid panels that are designed to keep the pannier stable so that it doesn’t fall off your bike no matter how much gear you have packed in there.

It’s really easy to carry this bag once you detach it from your bike, thanks to the convenient carrying handle and the best part is that it’s available in two colors including black and gray.

Pros
  • It has a large carrying capacity
  • Comes with multiple shelf straps for easy attachment and detachment
  • Easy to carry outside of your bike
  • Comes with 3M Scotchlite reflector
Cons
  • It’s not made from the most durable materials

How to Get the Best Bike Panniers

Thanks to their simple design, it’s easy to assume that bicycle panniers are simple to shop for.

But, panniers have come a long way since they were first invented. A lot of features have been added since then which require a considered approach once you start looking for one so that you can make a truly informed decision.

The following is just a list of some of the features that one has to look out for:

Material

Before waterproof panniers were invented, one had to settle for plastic bag carriers or messenger bags in order to protect their belongings from water when riding their bicycle. But, we’ve come a long way since then.

Nowadays, it’s possible to find waterproof panniers that are made from high-quality materials, covered zippers, welded seams, and roll-up enclosures to keep your stuff completely safe and protected.

It’s also important to ensure that your panniers are made from durable materials like Cordura and Denier because then you can rest assured knowing that they’ll last for years without wearing and tearing.

Capacity

Next, you have to think about the pannier’s carrying capacity which is large than the bike pouch size usually. Luckily, they come in a broad variety of sizes from 20-liter models to 50-liter behemoths.

For the most part, 30-liter panniers typically contain dual-sided designs such as the Bushwacker Omaha Grocery Pannier which has a total carrying capacity of 48 liters based on two 24-liter panniers.

Most single-sided panniers have a small 14-liter carrying capacity with the largest ones being able to handle up to 24 liters effortlessly.

The goal is to find a pannier that caters to your needs, size-wise. A large and bulky pannier can feel too heavy, while a small one can limit your ability to experience efficiency.

Panniers are typically placed in one of four places on your bicycle. You can attach them on the sides of your bike’s back wheels, or on the sides of your bike’s front wheels.

For best results, it’s recommended to place smaller panniers in the front and larger ones at the back to ensure balance when pedaling.

Pockets

Most panniers are designed to offer optimal bag organization. They often come with different compartments and pockets of different sizes. Most of them are waterproof too.

The most important thing is to ensure that your pannier is weatherproof and offers the organizational structure you need.

Compatibility

Another important consideration to make when looking for the best bike panniers is their rack compatibility.

There are a couple of panniers out there that are only compatible with a specific brand while others are suitable for use with different bicycle racks.

That’s why it might be helpful to just but a matching set of racks and panniers once.

Versatility

There’s a variety of panniers that offer a versatile design which means that they double as backpacks and bike trunk bags for ease of use and carrying.

That way, you can easily carry your stuff while walking, because at some point you’ll have to get off your bike and walk the rest of the way into your destination.

It also helps to have detachable panniers that you can just put aside when not in use.

Single vs Dual Sided Panniers

The benefit of buying a dual-sided pannier is the fact that it offers two times the space you’d get with a single-sided model.

The disadvantage of double-sided panniers is the fact that it’s much weightier, which is important to keep that in mind.

A lot of people prefer single-sided panniers because they’re much lighter and provide more than enough space and you don’t have to worry about the panniers taking up too much space in your bicycle and affecting your bike’s performance.

Single-sided panniers, on the other hand, are not as balanced and might throw your balance off while you’re cycling. But, it’s nothing that an experienced cyclist can’t handle.

Types of Bike Panniers

At this point, you’re probably ready to find the pannier of your dreams.

Although we’ve provided with all the information you’ll need to find the best bike panniers, there’s one more segment we’d like to cover in order to give you an ace in the hole as a consumer.

Commuting Panniers

Bike commuting is one of the best ways to save on gas money and you’ll no longer have to worry about being stuck in traffic.

Bike commuting panniers are designed to make this process even easier thanks to their large carrying capacity, dedicated laptop compartments and side pockets for smaller items like your work ID, wallet, smartphone, and keys.

Touring Panniers

The best panniers for touring all have the same features. They’re made tough to resist wear and tear and are often 100% waterproof.

It’s better to invest in a high-quality touring pannier than to buy a cheap one that’ll need to be replaced regularly.

Good quality touring panniers in this category are usually lightweight yet offer a high carrying capacity and have a unique roll-top design.

Laptop Panniers

Bicycles are typically utilized by students to commute to and from class among other places.

That’s why laptop panniers were invented; to cater to the needs of this unique demographic, which is almost always carrying a laptop.

Townie Panniers

Townie panniers represent a niche aspect of the market and they’re designed to handle heavy-duty items such as clothes and groceries.

Backpack Panniers

Lastly, we have backpack panniers that come with all the features offered by commuting panniers with the addition of a few features to make your life easier. They’re often easy to attach and detach, and they come in generous sizes.

Installing a Bike Pannier Rack

Installing a bike pannier rack is essential if you want to get the most out of your pannier. Luckily, it’s a pretty straightforward process too.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Analyze the requirements. The first thing you need to do is take your time to see what tools and steps you need to follow. For the most part, all you need is a screwdriver, some Allen keys, and a wrench. Figure out the required bolt size which is usually the same across the board with most biking accessories.
  • Next, install the rack. All you have to do here is to attach sliding arms beneath the rack without fastening them. Then attach everything and make sure it’s aligned before you tighten the arms. The same goes for the bolts.
  • Make sure the rack is balanced by adjusting the eyelets. You might have to do this multiple times just to be sure. The last thing you need is an uneven rack as that’ll spoil the whole look of your bicycle.
  • Make sure the bolts are aligned with the adjustable arms. Ideally, the adjustable arms should be on the same level as the part of the bike frame that’s level with the top of the seat tube. You’ll know you’re ready to secure the adjustable arms and tighten the bolts when the bolts and the holes at the end of the arms are nice and balanced with each other.
  • The last thing you need to do is tighten the pannier rack in place. To do this, simply get a wrench or some pliers and use them to grip the nut in order to tighten the Allen bolt. This will help you keep your pannier in place no matter how fast you’re going.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it! Now you know what you need to do to find the best bicycle panniers. The best part is that you now have the knowledge of how to install it also.

To help you even further, we’d like to recommend what we consider to be the top option out of all the bike panniers that we reviewed.

In our opinion, the Ortlieb Back-Roller City Rear Pannier is one of the best bike panniers on the market. First of all, it’s constructed from high-quality materials and it has balanced dimensions.

It also comes with an advanced QL1 attachment system that’s easy to understand and use, and it’s completely resistant to water and dust alike. Add to that its 3M Scotchlite reflectors on either side, and you have a complete product that won’t let you down.

James is a passionate bicyclist who has done about every kind of biking there is. He loves the wind in his hair, the sun over his shoulder and maybe even the bugs in his teeth. No, just kidding about that last item. He isn’t crazy about road burns, either, but acknowledges that to have the good there is the occasional tumble. James feels that his bike is the place where he can unwind, leave troubles alongside the road, meet new people, go new places, and live the life of adventure that he loves. He is ready to share the ride with you.

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