Best Bike Panniers
If you ride your bike regularly chances are you sometimes need to bring things with you. There are plenty of choices out there for how you can carry what you need while you ride, but when it comes to versatility and comfort bike panniers are the way to go. The word “pannier” comes from the French word for “basket”, which reflects the roomy and resourceful nature of these bags. Panniers sit on either side of the front or rear tires, although most prefer to install them in the rear. Perfect for the urban bike commuter, they work well for carrying school or work materials, groceries, and anything else a city rider might need. Panniers are also a go to gear carrying method for bike touring as many hold as much as a trailer while being easier to maneuver.
- Ibera PakRak
- Many pockets
- Ortlieb Back Roller
- Great price
- Thule Shield
- Multiple colors
10 Best Bike Panniers
Each bag has the capacity to carry up to 30L. Multiple compartments also make it easy to store small and delicate items such as your laptop or important bike tools while you are on the road.
These bags do not have any extra back straps or shoulder straps for carrying when they are not attached to your bike. There are handles on the top of each bag, but some customers find these difficult to use, making the bags a nuisance to carry.
The material on the PakRak is water resistant, but won’t protect the contents of the bags in heavy rain. Each comes with a rain cover which should be used if you are in that situation. The material itself can be susceptible to wear and tear after heavy use, something that you should think about if you plan on using these bags for many miles.
The PakRak is one of the best deals on the market, with ample space and a low price. The fact that this bag comes as a set of two makes the deal even better.
This is a great pannier that is compatible with many different uses. Ample storage space and handy compartments mean you can organize everything you have whether you are biking to work or into a neighboring state.
- Very inexpensive
- Large, with many pockets
- Not water proof
- Difficult to carry when not on bike
Ortlieb Back Roller
The Back-Roller comes as a set of two bags, each with a carrying capacity of 40 L. However, there are no extra pockets on this pannier, so storing small or delicate items can be difficult.
This pannier does not include any extra back or shoulder straps. There is a handle up top that allows one to hold the bag when not attached to a bike, and the strap that is used to secure the top of the pannier while riding can also be used as a shoulder strap. Overall, customers find this bag easy to maneuver.
The Back-Roller’s true claim to fame is its extremely waterproof material. No rain cover is necessary as these panniers will keep everything dry in any kind of weather.
Not a cheap bag, the price for this pannier is on the higher end of the spectrum. The fact that the Back-Roller is bought as a set of two does make the price more appealing.
This pannier is the quintessential bag for the bike commuter. The proven waterproof material makes it especially appealing to this group, as there is a guarantee that no matter the weather you will arrive at work with dry clothes and work materials. Customers also reported that these panniers are perfect for grocery shopping without a car.
- Extremely waterproof
- Large size
- No small pockets
Thule Shield Pannier
The Thule Shield comes as a set of two and is available in either a large or small size depending on your needs. Whichever bag you choose, small interior pockets allow you to optimize the organization of your bag.
The large shoulder strap makes it easy to bring this pannier inside once you are riding. Built-in handles add even more maneuverability around town. When attached to your bike, the straps are easy to secure and stay tucked out of the way.
The water-resistant material on the Thule Shield protects your things on wet and rainy days, although it does not ensure protection against all weather and a rain cover is recommended in truly bad weather. Rain covers are not included with the purchase of this pannier.
The price for this bag depends on whether you purchase the small or large version. Each is reasonably priced, about what one should expect to pay for a quality pannier.
With its sturdy, water-resistant material and good size, the Thule Shield is a great touring bag. Some customers have complained that it is difficult to mount at first, but after the initial install they report that this problem subsides. This is a fun, practical, and all-around quality bag.
- Highly water resistant
- Comes in multiple sizes and colors
- Mounting system can be difficult to figure out
- No rain cover included
The most popular version of this bag is quite large, with a carrying capacity of up to 50 L. Smaller versions exist if this is more space than you need. Although there is only one large pocket inside the bag, multiple pockets on the outside allow you to organize your things.
There are no extra straps for carrying this pannier. There are handles on the top so that the bag can be picked up, although these handles do not allow for easy maneuverability.
The canvas material of this bag is water resistant and will keep this pannier and its contents dry in most inclement weather. Some customers did report that this bag fell apart quickly, especially along the seams.
This pannier is definitely on the cheaper end of the spectrum. The price of the bag depends on which style you choose, with the larger versions being more expensive. Still, even the most expensive ArcEnCiel pannier is inexpensive compared with other bags.
This pannier is well suited to a variety of activities. Its large size makes it great for touring, when you need to carry many different items with you. Its sleek style also makes it a great pick for the city commuter who wants to look good while biking to work.
- Large carrying capacity
- Easy to attach to bike
- Material falls apart quickly
- No rain cover included
Axiom Monsoon Aero DLX 35
Together the two panniers that come with the purchase of the Axiom Monsoon hold 35 L. The bags are made up of only one large compartment, with no smaller compartments for organization.
Each bag comes with a shoulder strap so that it can be easily carried once you are done riding your bike. Although the straps work well, some customers complain that they are uncomfortable when utilized for extended periods of time.
This bag is fully waterproof and should get all items within completely dry no matter the weather. The one consideration here is that if the bag is too full it becomes difficult to secure the top and water can leak in.
The price on this pannier is solidly within the middle range.
The Axiom Monsoon is ready to take you on a variety of adventures. With its streamlined style and fully waterproof material, it is an excellent choice for touring. It is also large enough that it can fit most everything that you need while not being too heavy.
- Completely waterproof
- Reasonably priced
- No small storage compartments
- Uncomfortable straps
Brooks Lands End
The Brooks Lands End pannier can fit 19-23 L of gear. It does not have any small pockets, but consists of one large compartment where everything is stored.
There are no extra straps or handles on this bag. This makes it quite difficult to handle off of a bike, and is a major reason why this bag is best suited for bike touring. While a commuter may want to take their bag of their bike regularly, this should not be necessary while on a long, cross-country ride.
The material on this bag is sturdy and very waterproof. The water resistance is high enough that a rain cover is not necessary, even in extreme weather.
The fact that each pannier must be purchased separately makes this bag the most expensive on the list. Still, the high quality guarantees a great purchase and can make the price worth it depending on your needs.
This is a fantastic bag, that is simultaneously utilitarian and stylish. Named a cycle that spans the entire length of Great Britain, the Brooks Lands End will not disappoint anyone setting out on a long bike journey.
- Completely waterproof
- Good size
- Each bag must be purchased separately
- No extra straps
- No small compartments
Although the actual liter size of this pannier is not listed, customer reviews confirm that the compartments are large and work well for carrying a variety of items. There are no smaller pockets on this bag.
This pannier set comes with a detachable shoulder strap that can be attached to either one of the bags, turning it from a pannier into a shoulder bag. Although this would look strange with some panniers, the attractive style of this bag makes the transition seamless.
This pannier is made of water-resistant canvas material. It is not fully waterproof, so a rain cover is recommended in heavy rain. The canvas material is pliable and can be conveniently rolled up when you want to store the bag.
This bag is very reasonably priced. Although it is not the cheapest pannier on the market, it is far from the most expensive. Purchasing this bag will ensure bang for your buck.
This good-looking pannier is a great pick for someone who bike commutes. It offers all the essentials without sacrificing any of its style.
- Good price
- Attractive look
- Comfortable shoulder strap
- No rain fly included
Lone Peak Millcreek
Each Lone Peak Millcreek can carry about 32 L worth of gear. Each bag has two large pockets and an outside mesh pocket so you can not only fit everything you need, but organize it so that everything is easy to find.
These bags do not have any extra straps for carrying when they are not attached to your bike. Still, the compact style of the Lone Peak Millcreek makes it easy to handle even without extra straps.
This pannier is made of water resistant but not a waterproof material. This means that although your gear is likely to stay dry in light rain, it will not be protected when the rain picks up. However, rain flaps covers in the bag are there to protect everything when the heavy weather does arrive.
This is one of the more expensive bags on this list, but it is well worth the price. The versatility and durability of this pannier mean you will be using it well into the future.
The Lone Peak Millcreek is the pannier for anyone looking for a pannier. The versatility of its storage areas, the ease with which it can be attached and taken off one’s bike, and the durability of the material it is made from, makes this a great pick for anyone.
- Large carrying capacity
- Multiple storage compartments
- Easy to attach to rack
- No extra straps
Overboard Waterproof Classic
The Overboard Waterproof Classic accommodates 17 L in each of the two bags included in the purchase of this pannier. Most of the storage is in the large main pocket, but there is also a small zipper pocket on the outside where smaller items can be stored.
There are no extra straps on this bag for carrying it once you take it off the bike.
The fully waterproof material of this pannier will keep everything stored within dry even in the worst weather.
This pannier is very inexpensive compared to other bags of similar size and make. The yellow colored version is slightly more pricey than the black.
The Overboard Waterproof Classic is a great pick for the biker who is looking for a cheap pannier to bring on a touring trip. Although it is not very large, this bag can accommodate the basic gear needed and performs all basic necessary functions.
- Fully waterproof
- On the smaller side
- No extra straps
BV Bike Bag
In total, the two panniers included in the purchase of the BV Bike Bag can accommodate 26 L worth of gear. There is also a smaller pocket on the outside of this pannier that is perfect for organizing small items such as your phone or wallet.
There is a hand strap on the top of each pannier, which makes it easy to carry the bag when it is not attached to your bike.
The material on this bag is cheap and is known for fraying easily. It is also not waterproof and a rain fly is necessary if you are going to be using this bag in any type of inclement weather.
The price for this bag is what makes it a great deal. You are unlikely to find any other pannier for a price as low as this one.
The BV Bike Bag is not made of very high quality. Customers report consistent fraying of the material, and commonly complain of the bag getting in the way of the back wheel. However, if you are looking for a cheap pannier that will get the job done, this is the bag for you.
- Very inexpensive
- Does not come with rain fly
- Weak material
- Issues with material warping
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
The type of biking you will be doing
The first question to ask oneself before buying a pannier is what you will primarily be using this bag for. There are a few types of biking for which panniers make the most sense and each requires the bags to perform slightly different functions. It is also possible that you will be using this bag to engage in multiple types of biking, something that should be taken into account as well.
The most typical use of pannier bags is for bike touring, an activity that involves riding long distances to get to a specific destination. Bike tours usually travel over paved roads and can involve rides that range from a day or two, to ones that last weeks and cover thousands of miles. The bag one picks for these kinds of trips needs to be fully waterproof, as encountering bad weather is very likely when one is on the road for an extended period of time. If the touring pannier you choose is not waterproof, make sure it comes with a rain bag. Touring panniers should also be simple in design and very sturdy. They often only have one large pocket for storing everything, which works great when your major concern is clocking mileage on your bike.
Bike panniers are also very popular within the community of bike commuters. These are people who use their bikes on a daily basis to get to school, work, or wherever else they may need to go. Typically city dwellers, it is unusual for a bike commuter to travel more than 20 miles in one day. If this is the type of biking you will be doing, look for a bag that is water resistant (most are) but full waterproof capabilities are less important as it is easier to avoid heavy downpours when you are simply using your bike to get around town. Extra pockets are also handy for the bike commuter, who will need to access their wallet, keys, and phone more regularly than someone on a bike tour. The final major consideration for a commuting pannier is whether or not you need to take your bag with you when you arrive at your destination, and therefore how easy this bag is to carry. Many panniers come with shoulder straps or handles that make them easily transportable off of your bike. You are going to be bringing this bag into your job or classroom every day make sure it has a comfortable strap, otherwise, this will turn into a major hassle.
Some people use panniers to run errands, particularly for carrying groceries. If this is going to be how you primarily utilize your bag a combination of the features found on touring and commuting bags may be what you’re after. For example, a great grocery bag would be one that has one large main compartment, but also a comfortable shoulder strap. It is also possible that you are looking for a bag that you can use on your way to work during the week and for longer bike rides during the weekend. In this case, peak the features from those listed above that are most important to you and search for that bag. The pannier market is vast, and it is very likely that you will find the bag that has everything you want if you spend some time searching.
What you will be carrying in these bags
Before buying a pannier take some time to really think about not only what activities you will be doing with this bag, but also exactly what you will need to bring with you when you engage in these activities. Panniers come in a variety of sizes, and with increased size come increased weight. Considering how much space you really need before purchasing the bag ensures that you will not be stuck with a heavy bag you never fill. This can be problematic for two reasons. Firstly, the heavier the bag, the more difficult it will be to lug it around. Secondly, an unfilled bag can be floppy, which is not only unattractive, but can also be a nuisance getting in the way of the tires and peddles as you ride.
It is of course also important that you don’t buy a bag that is too small and won’t fit everything you need. Make a list of all the items you will regularly be bringing with you and try to think about how many liters you require to comfortably fit everything. Also, think about any small items you may have for which you would like extra pockets. Taking all of this into account before you actually buy your pannier will ensure that the bag you end up with is the best one for you.
Will the bag sit around the front or back tires
Although this may seem like a simple question of preference, whether the pannier you choose will sit on the front or back tires is an important consideration as it will affect the equilibrium of your bike as you ride. Having a back pannier will be easier to maneuver than one in the front. It also keeps your bike more balanced than having a pannier in the front. Front panniers are useful if you need more storage space, but are not ideal on their own. Buy a pair of rear tire panniers first, and if you find this is not enough storage add a front tire pannier to your set-up later.
How the bag mounts to your bike rack
Mounting a pannier on your bike means that you need to have a bike rack. Most modern panniers are compatible with almost any bike rack. They attach using clips, hooks, or straps on the top, and typically have a bungee system on the bottom that keeps them tightly in place as you ride. This is incredibly important, as a loose pannier is not only a nuisance but can be a real danger to you and those around you if it were to fall off. Before purchasing a pannier thoroughly do your research on how the bag will mount to your bike rack. It is likely that your bag will be compatible, but it never hurts to be sure. If the bag only works with certain racks it is likely that this will be stated in the product description.
The other thing to think about when it comes to mounting your pannier, is how easy the bag is to take on and off the rack. If you are buying a touring bag, this type of easy access if less important since it is unlikely that you will need to remove your panniers from your bike very often. In fact, you may want to look for a bag that is harder to remove since this will mean it is more secure as you clock mileage. For the bike commuter though, a pannier that can come off hassle-free saves time, energy, and makes for a more pleasant commute. Although every bike commuter doesn’t need to bring their panniers inside, many do and it’s important to know what this process will look like before purchasing a bag.
Q: Do panniers always come as a set of two?
Most panniers are purchased as a set of two bags. Although it is definitely possible to ride with just one bag, having two makes for a smoother, more balanced ride. There are a few bags that are sold individually, so make sure you are clear on what you are purchasing before actually buying a pannier. This is important not just because it’s disappointing to think you bought a set of two only to receive one pannier, but also because bags sold individually may end up being more expensive than ones sold as a set.
Q: Are there any dangers that go along with using panniers?
When used correctly panniers are a low hassle and comfortable system for transporting your gear on your bike. However, there are certain dangers that come with the use of these bags and it is important that you are aware of them before installing a pannier to your bike. The primary danger if of the bag coming loose from your rack and falling into the road. This is a hazard not only to you, the biker, but also to any pedestrians and vehicles that you are sharing the sidewalk or road with. A pannier falling off your bike is also likely to damage the contents of the bag. To stop this from happening, make sure the pannier is securely attached to your bike rack before setting out for the day. Also, routinely check the quality of the apparatuses used to attach the bag to the rack. These mechanisms do fall, especially after they have been used for long periods of time. Many can be replaced, so keep up with the maintenance of your bags and this danger can be easily avoided.
The other danger presented by panniers are the bags warping and getting in the way of the pedals or wheel. Your bag hitting the pedals is a nuisance that makes riding unpleasant, but does not present any significant danger. However, a pannier getting caught in the spokes of the back wheel can arrest your bike, and presents the possibility of causing a bad crash. Many panniers come with inserts that keep them stiff and ensures that the bag will not get in the way. If you purchase a bag with this issue it is also possible to make your own inserts. Another way to solve this problem is by filling the bag completely when you ride.
When installed correctly panniers are perhaps the simplest system for carrying what you need on your bike. However, the above considerations show that even this great system can go array. Be careful whenever you get on your bike, pay attention if anything ever feels loose, and if you encounter any of these problems make sure to remedy them right away.
Q: How can I organize a pannier with only one large pocket?
Although many people like the feature that lots of panniers come with only one large pocket for carrying everything, it is hard to organize these bags. Finding small items within them can be difficult, and at times frustrating since no one wants to waste time digging around in their bag when there are miles of ground to be covered before they reach their destination. One great solution to this problem is organizing your things inside smaller bags within your pannier. Small ditty bags or even gallon sized zip-lock bags work great for this task. Another added benefit to organizing this way is greater protection in the case of rain. Even if you have a fully waterproof bag, sometimes water can still get in if you are riding through a torrential downpour. Placing important items such as your wallet and phone in a smaller waterproof bag within your pannier will stop them from getting wet even if there is a leak.
Panniers are a great bag option for anyone who rides their bike regularly. They are best suited for those who primarily ride on pavement, particularly those who go on long touring adventures or use their bike to commute. Panniers carry far more gear than a backpack, while also keeping your back free which makes for a more comfortable ride. They are versatile and come in many different styles, meaning the one best suited for your needs is out there. I hope that this guide has gotten you closer to finding your ideal pannier.