A complete list of the best commuting and bicycle touring pannier bags, from the cheapest to the fanciest
Despite being dominated mostly by Ortlieb, the bike panniers market is very lively, also for bicycle touring, with dozens of brands making very good alternatives to Ortlieb, most of the time for a fraction of the price.
We compiled this list of the best bike panniers in 2021 hoping to help you figure out which pannier to buy.
How to choose the right bike pannier
When making the decision on which bicycle pannier to buy there are a few factors to keep in mind. The first is for sure the use we intend to make of these panniers.
Daily groceries, commuting, and occasional short touring? You can stay cheap, maybe buying water-resistant (not 100% waterproof) low-cost panniers and use a rain cover when touring. Some prefer to use a commuter’s backpack.
Long-term bicycle expeditions? You’ll want something sturdy and 100% waterproof. You also might want to consider getting a dry bag.
Then there are the different type of closure systems, which can give quicker or slower access to the gear inside the pannier (I personally prefer roll-top), the mounting system and compatibility with your bike rack, which should be checked before purchasing a pannier.
Some like smaller compartments and pockets, some prefer one single big chamber to carry also the bulkier items. Then there’s the price factor.
In the end, is up to you and your personal tastes. What we’ve done here is put together some of the most interesting bike panniers on the market, creating a table of comparison which can help you find the similarities and differences between expensive and cheap bike panniers on a glance.
We decided not to include prices since these vary a lot, you can click on the “check the latest price button. However, you can sort from the cheapest to the most expansive by using the price tag column, as a rule of thumb, for each $ symbol there you should add about 10$ ($$$$$ = 50USD).
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The Best Bike Panniers in 2021 in Detail
Ready? Here our selection of the best bike panniers available with all their technical characteristics, find the model that best meets your needs and check the price. If you have other models to suggest, contribute to the comments section at the end of this article!
Arkel Orca 35L
Topeak DryBag DX
Vaude Aqua Back Plus
Green Guru High Roller
Thule Pack’n Pedal Tote
Lone Peak Millcreek Pannier
Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic
Ortlieb Back-Roller Plus
Welded-seam waterproof construction and roll-top, zipped openings provide ultimate weather protection while our compression and load system offers another level of safety for your cargo.
Interlock racks, bags can be secured with a key zipped exterior pocket
For our African bicycle expedition, we wanted to have the sturdier and most reliable panniers available, road conditions vary from terrible to worst here and we don’t want to worry about bags jumping off or being torn apart by the ubiquitous thorn trees.
Early this year (2019) MSX Mainstream launched its new line of panniers and bikepacking bags. It consists of:
The SLR 55 MX – Front Controller Bags: 26 liters capacity bike pannier with roll-up magnetic closure
SL 55 ZX luggage carrier bags: 26 liters capacity pannier with roll-up closure, top flap cover, internal pockets, and front zipper
Aqualung saddlebag: 18 liters reducible to 9 liters
The CLS 55 MX handlebar bag: 8.8 liters, rigid frame
They also manufacture a bikepacking-style handlebar bag and a waterproof backpack which we won’t treat in this article. All of these products, including the saddlebag and the handlebar bag, are 100% waterproof.
QuickLock system with one-hand operation. Three-point mounting OTS-V 8 pipe Ø 8mm to Ø 16.5mm
100% water and dustproof
Reflective security elements: PLUS-MINUS symbol elements
Arkel Orca 35L
Arkel front or rear waterproof bike panniers ORCA 35 come equipped with Arkel’s patented Cam-Lock® mounting system. Welded-seam technology ensures that the bag will stay dry, patented Cam-Lock® mounting system will keep the bags on the rack, regardless of the load or road conditions.
Many smaller details make this bag unique, an internal organizer for easy access to documents, maps, tablet, wallet, etc. This means you won’t have to empty half the bag to reach these.
A plastic protector at the bottom backside of the pannier adds protection between the bag and the rack and will avoid any premature wear caused by friction against the rack. Arkel also added D-rings for an optional shoulder strap.
Steel (not adjustable) or Plastic (Locking Adjustable)
Topeak DryBag DX
The Topeak Pannier DryBag DX is a large capacity, waterproof pannier featuring a sonically welded and fully seam-sealed 420 denier and 840 denier exterior.
A watertight roll-top closure provides maximum protection from road spray and wet weather. Its quick-release Hook and Lock system attaches the pannier securely to the rack and makes installation and removal quick and easy.
It is perfect for touring in wet conditions or for daily commuting.
The Chinese brand Ibera was established in 2004. Like is lately happening a lot in China, Massload, the firm behind the brand has been in business manufacturing bicycle parts under contract for major American and European companies for many years, has decided to establish his own brand.
The PakRak bicycle panniers feature 2 large reinforced compartments, 2 side pockets, Hand-carry strap, Reflective trim. They are among the cheapest but not fully waterproof.
Upcycled Bicycle Inner Tubes 10oz Vinyl Waterproof Tarp
Weather-resistant sewing loops
Metal Rack Clips (adjustable)
Reflective webbing light
Thule Pack’n Pedal Tote
Urban-style bike bag that easily transforms into a carry bag with comfortable handles or shoulder strap. It features a very cool locking system that hides behind a panel for more comfortable portability.