Home » Bicycle Touring » Bicycle Touring Gear » Best Bike Panniers

Best Bike Panniers

Updated:
Best Bike Panniers

Sharing is caring!

This is a gear review about the Best Bike Panniers for Touring.

When you’re traveling by bike, you need a means of transporting your gear without losing your balance or risking your gear getting soaked in the rain.

When Bicycle Touring or commuting the best way to do this is with a top quality pair of bike panniers. Most people prefer waterproof bicycle panniers rather than Bikepacking gear such as Frame Bags, Saddle Bags or Handlebar Bags.

Lucky for you, I’ve been bike touring for years and checking out and testing some of the best bike touring panniers on the market. I’ll be sharing my touring panniers reviews with you.

Best Bike Panniers For Touring 2022

The Bike Panniers For Touring in 2022 are:


Best Bike Panniers – Overall

Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic

Pros:
> Fully Waterproof

> Very durable

> Highest Quality
> Repairable if you break something

Cons:
> Expensive but worth it

>

The Ortlieb Back Roller Classic are hands down one of my favorite brands for a waterproof bike panniers, and while this pair of touring panniers may seem a little expensive, the price tag covers the entire pair and not just one.

They’re actually much bigger than they look in the photo, with each offering a capacity of 20 liters, so you get a 40 liter total. That’s more than enough to hold all your regular gear, plus quite a lot of extras.

They get their name from the way you close them. Once all your gear is inside, you roll the front and back sides down together towards your bike, then you fold in the sides, and secure them together with a snap lock.

This is what makes it so waterproof. There’s no way any rain can get inside. What’s more, the outer fabric has a water resistance rating of IP64, which means that there’s no risk of rain seeping through at all. I’ve used these Ortlieb back roller panniers in heavy tropical rain and I can confirm they are very waterproof panniers.

And you can squeeze your gear in more compactly using the additional strap at the front. And you can easily latch them quickly onto just about any rear pannier rack. Once attached, they remain in place and do not slide around. The strap also doubles as shoulder straps when you are off the bike.

There’s also a mesh pocket that is a small zippered pocket on the inside for your valuables, and a deeper pocket underneath. I like to store my computer inside one of the deep pockets. They also have a padded laptop sleeve that you can buy separately if you want extra protection. Although I use a sleeping bag for padding my laptop when bicycle touring.

It’s available in a choice of 5 colors. And if all that’s not enough, it also comes backed with a very lengthy 5-year warranty.

My personal experience: I was really impressed by just how much gear I could fit into these bags – amazing. I have found that they are a very waterproof pannier and super durable. I’ve fallen a couple of time and these bicycle panniers have not had any problems.

Overall, these are the Best Bike Panniers on the market in 2022.

Compare Prices:


Editor’s Choice Bike Panniers

Ortlieb Back-Roller Plus

Pros:
> Fully Waterproof

> Lighter than some other waterproof panniers

> Highest Quality
> Repairable if you break something

Cons:
> Expensive but worth it

As the name suggests, this pair of bicycle panniers is very much like the Ortlieb Back Roller Classic, but they are lighter in weight and not as indestructible as the Classics. Unfortunately, these extras do tend to bump up the price, but most cyclists seem to feel it’s worth it for a quality waterproof pannier.

It has the same water resistance rating as the other Ortlieb panniers coming in at IP64, and the same roll closure system. And it’s available in pretty much the same choice of colors. Same as the Classics the Roll Top Strap it comes with included shoulder straps that turn you bike panniers into a shoulder bag when you are off the bike.

The key difference with these bicycle panniers, beside the lighter weight, is that they come equipped with the QL2.1 mounting system for all bike racks with tube diameters of up to 16 mm, and it has self-closing hooks, so you never have to worry about the bags being properly secure as you ride. 

In addition to being waterproof panniers, the fabric is also abrasion resistant, giving you extra durability. 

My personal experience: These are also a great bike pannier. I noticed they are the same size as the Back-Roller Classic (20 liters each), and were just as waterproof, but they were easier to attach to my bike rack.

Overall, the Ortlieb panniers are some of the best bike panniers on the market, specially of you want something a little lighter than their other waterproof panniers.

Compare Prices:


Best Small Bike Panniers

Ortlieb Gravel-Pack Panniers

Pros:
> Fully Waterproof

> Almost unbreakable

> Highest Quality
> Good size for Bikepacking, front panniers or for a smaller pannier

Cons:
> Expensive considering they they are smaller but overall not many negative things to say

If you plan on going for longer trips however, you may wish to take even more gear with you than what could fit in the waterproof panniers I’ve shown you so far. And that’s where these waterproof bike panniers like this come in!

Each waterproof pannier offers a capacity of 12.5 liters each, which means that your waterproof panniers alone can carry 25 liters worth of gear, not to mention any gear stored elsewhere on your bike. You could potentially carry enough gear for an overnight stop or two.

But, I know what you’re thinking. With that much gear, would you be too weighed down to ride at a decent speed. Well, I’m pleased to report that the bags themselves are classed as featherweight.

Moreover, these bags have an excellent water resistance rating,  coming in at IP64, matching that of the Back-Roller Classic and the Back-Roller Plus, and it also has their famous roll closure. But in comparison to other Ortlieb panniers these are a more affordable bike pannier.

And they’re incredibly wear resistant too, so you don’t have to worry about gravel conditions, and you can pedal away carefree. They also come with the QL2.1 mounting system and mounting hooks.

My personal experience: I love the matte appearance of these waterproof bike panniers, I just think it looks so much smarter than shinier ones. These will be my new waterproof bike panniers to use on lowrider front bike rack.


Other Bike Panniers

Vaude Aqua Back

Pros:
> Good Waterproof Pannier

> Strong

> Good Quality
> Choice of colors – I like Lava Red and Indian Red

Cons:
> Not as popular as Ortlieb but not sure why, they are great

These waterproof bike panniers have a 24 liter capacity each, giving you a total capacity of almost (but not quite) 50 liters. And again, this is room enough to hold enough gear for overnight stops, which is perfect if you’re adventurous as I am.

But if you don’t manage to fill them to the brim, that’s not a problem because they both feature a roll closure system, so you can customize the bag size and seal it well to keep it entirely water tight.

Oh, and when this bag is manufactured, the tarpaulin material was given welded waterproofing, so none of your gear is at risk of getting damp in the rain. What’s more, the material is waterproofed without resorting to the use of harmful fluorocarbons.

It’s available in several color options, my favorite is the lava one.

It’s not what I would call cheap, but I would argue that it’s quite reasonably priced. 

My personal experience: I found these waterproof bike panniers easy to attach to almost any bike rack, thanks to the QMR 2.0 system, and as expected (despite the lower price tag) not a single drop of rain will get into your gear.

Overall, these are a solid set of waterproof panniers for bike touring or bike commuting.

Compare Prices:


Best Budget Bike Panniers

Thule Shield Panniers

Pros:
> Waterproof and dustproof

> Very strong

> Highest Quality
> Not a large choice of colors

Cons:
> Not much but they are not as common as other brands so spare parts may be more difficult to get

If, however, you don’t need panniers that are particularly big, or if you are afraid of stashing gear of different weights in each bag, and struggling with your balance as you ride, then these panniers may be much more up your street.

What impressed me the most with this particular set of panniers is their water and dust resistance rating of IPX4.

Each bag has a 13 liter capacity, giving you a total capacity of 26 liters. They also have a 8.5L pannier bag which combines to be a 17L version. And I know that sounds like a lot less than that of the other panniers I’ve reviewed for you so far, but you may be surprised at how many smaller items you can fit in them.

It’s easy to attach them to your bike’s rack, and to remove them, but they remain tight and secure for as long as the journey lasts.

My personal experience: I found these fully waterproof panniers quick to fill up with gear, and the 3 interior pockets, came in really handy for keeping all the bits and pieces properly organized.

But what I really loved was the removable shoulder strap, perfect for carrying gear in once your bike when parked up.

I also loved the reflective panels on the sides of the bike bag – they really stood out in low light. And not a drop of rain came through once.

Overall, these are another great option for a waterproof bike pannier for touring and commuting.


Testing waterproof panniers for bicycle touring
Testing waterproof panniers for bicycle touring

Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide. Let’s walk you through some of the key points to consider before you buy your bike pannier. There are several things you need to consider.


Capacity

If your bike panniers don’t have room for all of your gear, then they are of no use to you. Consider which items you want to keep secure in your panniers to establish whether your potential pannier has sufficiently large storage capacity to accommodate them.

If you are planning on stopping somewhere overnight, you will need a considerably larger capacity main compartment than you would for a mere commute to work.

If you are using them as commuting panniers you need to ensure you have enough storage capacity for a grocery bag for grocery shopping or an internal laptop sleeve. The use of a shoulder strap gives you more options to use them as a shoulder bag. Some also have an option to buy convertible backpack straps to carry your bike pannier as a backpack pannier when off the bike.

But remember, because these bike bags are positioned behind you, you shouldn’t use them for stashing items you want to keep handy, such as your bottle of water, smartphone, or GPS unit.

Large capacity touring panniers
Traveling in remote areas with large capacity touring panniers

Panniers or Bikepacking Bag

Is there are place for combining Bikepacking bags and touring bags. I think there is, I’ve been doing it for years.

Bike Touring Panniers

All the best fully waterproof bike panniers are great for bike tours and communting.

Most people on a bike tour use rear panniers that usually have a roll top closure and a handlebar bag. A good handlebar bag will store easily accessible gear. If you are on a bike tour you might need something more than two panniers then you may need a or even a Top Tube Bag.

If you need a large storage capacity for a long bike tour then consider a front bike rack and add more fully waterproof bags on the front of your bike for a very . Most panniers in this review will also work on a front bike rack, but most people prefer smaller bags like gravel bags on the front rack.

Bikepacking Bags

Some bikepacking bags and other bags are also good options if you don’t want to use panniers. A good Bikepacking Frame Bag is great for extra storage space.

I’ve been using a Frame Bag for years and love the extra storage space. Most people only use the space inside the bike frame triangle for a water bottle. Why not use it for more.

Saddle Bags are also used on a Bikepacking set up. These are great for storing larger items such as sleeping bags or tents.


Water Resistance

In some corners of the world, rain is inevitable. And in order to be prepared to handle these conditions, your bike panniers need to be sufficiently water resistant.

Wherever possible in my reviews, I’ve tried to include the water resistance rating. The higher the rating, the better the bike pannier’s water resistance. You should always buy waterproof bike panniers.

Some bicycle panniers come with waterproof pannier covers. Even though a rain cover is a good idea, with so many high quality waterproof panniers on the market, why not just buy them instead. If you want a bike bag, get one that is waterproof bicycle pannier bag.

waterproof panniers in use
Rain or shine you need waterproof panniers for cycling

Secure Attachment

When attaching a touring pannier you need a secure attachment system to be tightly secured to your bike rack, so that they don’t come loose and fall off as you ride. That could cause a nasty accident. And you don’t want them to be sliding around, either.

You will also need to look into whether your touring pannier bag is compatible with your rack before attaching panniers. Most of the good mounting systems are very solid and if they do break you can replace the broken parts.


Roll Top Closure

One of my favorite features in a bicycle pannier bag is the roll top closure. This ensures that there are no gaps in the pannier bag opening for rain that potentially could seep through.

Most roll top closures use a shoulder strap that secures the bags in the closed position. It also allows the bike pannier bag to be used as a shoulder bag when off the bike. There are many times I’ve been walking around town using the shoulder strap to carry my bike pannier bag.

Roll Top Closure Panniers make for easy access

Quick and Easy to Attach

You don’t want to be fumbling around too much with straps and buckles when you’re in a rush, so be sure to choose a pair of panniers that are simple and straightforward to attach. The durable mounting system that the best panniers use are reliable and durable.

Bicycle touring Panniers are easy to attach and durable
Bicycle touring Panniers are easy to attach and durable

Value for Money

In our view, “cheaper” does not necessarily translate to better value for money. Less expensive bike panniers tend to be much less water-resistant than high-end brands, and will leave your gear soaking wet if you run into rain.

If budget is a concern for you, be sure to check prices as you go along. 

affordable panniers for bike touring
Fully waterproof panniers are also affordable considering they last a long time

Conclusion

The Best Panniers For Bike Touring and Commuting in 2022 are:


Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is The Best Bike Pannier?

You know what, it’s really tough to pick just one favorite, so I won’t.

How Do I Choose A Pair Of Rear Bike Panniers?

The first thing you need to consider when in the market for a pair of bike panniers is whether they are compatible with your bike’s rear rack. Or, alternatively, you could decide which rear rack to buy based on what brand of bike panniers you like.

You also need to consider how much gear you will typically be taking with you, so that you have enough capacity. And, if you plan on going anywhere where there’s rain, you have to ensure that your panniers are 100% waterproof rather than merely water-resistant.

Why Are Bike Panniers So Expensive?

If, as recommended, you’ve been checking prices as you go along, you may have been struck by the seemingly high price tags attached.

This is because they are made with really high quality materials to ensure that they are 100% waterproof, and will not break off easily if you crash.

Are Bike Panniers Safe To Use?

There’s a lot to be said for bike panniers. Not only are they several times more safe and secure than a generic roll bag, thanks to being secured to your bike’s rear rack.

But they’re also perfectly safe for transporting fragile and sensitive cargo. Some people even use them for transporting their expensive laptops in.

Another one of the Best Bike Touring Gear Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.


Read More:

Best Waterproof panniers for bike touring and bikepacking

Sharing is caring!

Photo of author
About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Sydney, Australia.