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 times for a fraction of the price. We compiled this list of the best bike panniers in 2018 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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Bike Panniers Comparison TableYou can sort the items or filter using the search box
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.
|17L||Plastic locking hooks, adjustable||top design|
|948g||Roll Top||Interlock racks, bags can be secured with a key|
zipped exterior pocket
Check what’s available at
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.
|MSX Mainstream||DIN 60529 Conical Toploader|
|100% water and dustproof||26 liters/unit||QuickLock system with one-hand operation. Three-point mounting OTS-V 8 pipe Ø 8mm to Ø 16.5mm||Reflective security elements: PLUS-MINUS symbol elements||1250g|
Roswheel Touring Pannier
Roswheel is a Chinese company making some good bikepacking and cycle touring bags. The Tour Series Pannier is designed for long trips. It has a payload of 20 liters, you can stuff pretty much anything in it, food, clothes, tent, etc.
Seam welded and roll-top closure makes the bag 100% waterproof, Reinforced PVC mesh fabric is easy to clean. The pannier comes with a strap for shoulder carrying. PE board at the bottom supporting the heavy load and make sure the bag doesn’t collapse. With the mounting hook, it is easier to load and unload too. Available only in black.
|PVC mesh fabric|
PE board support
|20L||Quick mounting hooks||Reflective silk screen logo||1300g||Roll top||Straps for shoulder carry||$$$$|
Arkel Orca 35L
Arkel front or rear waterproof bike panniers ORCA 35 come equipped with Arkel’s patented Cam-Lock® mounting system. Welded-seam technology ensures that the bag will stay dry, patented Cam-Lock® mounting system will keep the bags on the rack, regardless of the load or road conditions. Many smaller details make this bag unique, an internal organizer for easy access to documents, maps, tablet, wallet, etc. This means you won’t have to empty half the bag to reach these.
A plastic protector at the bottom backside of the pannier adds protection between the bag and the rack and will avoid any premature wear caused by friction against the rack. Arkel also added D-rings for an optional shoulder strap.
8 mm – 15 mm
|Reflective logo||1180g||Roll top||optional shoulder strap|
Ext zip pocket
Our pick, the best fusion of quality, customer service, and price. The fully waterproof tarpaulin is ready to fight against fearsome enemies: mud, water, and dust. Armed with welded panels, seals, and rolling closure will keep your stuff dry even in rainstorms and stream crossings.
Other advantages of Dry series are low price and weight and impressive capacity. When your ride ends you will appreciate how easy it is to clean them. It’s just enough to spray them with water. Made in Poland. We used Crosso Panniers for several years, here’s our personal review.
|30L||Steel (not adjustable) or Plastic (Locking Adjustable)||Reflective logo||890g||Roll Top||Handle||$$$/$$$$|
Topeak DryBag DX
The Topeak Pannier DryBag DX is a large capacity, waterproof pannier featuring a sonically welded and fully seam-sealed 420 denier and 840 denier exterior. A watertight roll-top closure provides maximum protection from road spray and wet weather. Its quick-release Hook and Lock system attaches the pannier securely to the rack and makes installation and removal quick and easy. It is perfect for touring in wet conditions or for daily commuting.
|420 denier / 840 denier nylon||Radiofrequency welding|
|25L||Steel (adjustable)||Reflective paint||1400g||Roll Top||Handle||$$$$$$$$$|
The Chinese brand Ibera was established in 2004. Like is lately happening a lot in China, Massload, the firm behind the brand has been in business manufacturing bicycle parts under contract for major American and European companies for many years, has decided to establish his own brand.
The PakRak bicycle panniers feature 2 large reinforced compartments, 2 side pockets, Hand-carry strap, Reflective trim. They are among the cheapest but not fully waterproof.
|1680D nylon||Water-resistant, needs rain cover to reach 100% (Provided)||30L||Plastic (adjustable)||Reflective trim.||900g||Top lid with buckles||2 large reinforced compartments, 2 side pockets,|
Brooks Land’s End
The world-renowned saddle brand Brooks also manufactures bike bags, and they are pretty stylish. Brooks Land’s End is probably the most attractive of all the panniers in pannier-ville, but it comes at a significantly higher price.
The material these panniers are made of is also significantly lighter than Ortlieb’s, but the lack of rigidity takes away some of the bucket effects that makes the pannier retain its shape.
|Cordura(?)||100% Waterproof||20L||Plastic (adjustable)||N/A||800g||Roll Top||N/A||$$$$$$$$$|
Altura Ultralite Vortex 30
When weight is key, these panniers are the ideal companion. Designed to be lightweight and versatile whilst durable enough to meet the demands of adventure touring. Supplied as a pair with the option of fitting one or the pair to suit different requirements.
|15L||Strap and plastic||Altura Darkproof® Technology|
|500g||Roll Top||Shoulder Strap|
Altura Sonic 25 Waterproof Pannier
Fully waterproof, durable panniers engineered to meet the demands of the toughest touring adventures. With the KLICKfix™ Universal Rail System and the roll-top closure, these bags are easy to use and super stable on the bike.
|20L||Plastic (not adjustable)|
LED attachment points
Vaude Aqua Back Plus
The waterproof rear panniers Aqua Back Plus are manufactured at the German VAUDE company headquarters near Lake Constance with durable, PVC-free tarpaulin material. With a roll closure that allows you to customize the size of the bag and seal it so that it’s watertight. An extra inside pocket and outer welded pocket makes it easy to store things separately.
The bags are securely attached to the right and left sides of the back gear rack with the QMR 2.0 system, which also allows for easy adjustment and quick on-and-off. With a bike lock, they can be directly locked onto the QMR hook. Reflective elements ensure high visibility in traffic and low light conditions.
Green Guru High Roller
The High Roller is a super durable and sleek bike pannier, made from upcycled bicycle inner tubes and recycled fabric, that serves as a backpack off the bike. With its stormproof construction and striking good looks, it keeps the elements at bay while you ride. The quick-mount system secures to virtually any rack system.
Another great feature if this pannier bag is that it comes with backpack straps! The price tag though is pretty high, and it is also among the heaviest bicycle panniers on this list.
|Upcycled Bicycle Inner Tubes|
10oz Vinyl Waterproof Tarp
HDPE Plastic frame sheet
|Weather-resistant sewing loops||28L||Metal Rack Clips|
|Reflective webbing light||1590g||Roll Top||Backpack straps||$$$$$$$$$$|
Thule Pack’n Pedal Tote
Urban-style bike bag that easily transforms into a carry bag with comfortable handles or shoulder strap. It features a very cool locking system which hides behind a panel for more comfortable portability.
|Non-PVC||Weather-resistant (needs rain cover for 100% waterproofness)||26L||Innovative flipping system|
Magnet bottom attachment
|Reflective strips||1270g||Zip + Top Lid||Shoulder Strap|
clipping system hides when carried
Lone Peak Millcreek Pannier
This bike pannier by Lone Peak has the interesting feature of opening up completely, like a suitcase. Very handy when it comes to organizing and fetching gear.
|N/A||Weather-resistant (needs a rain cover for 100% waterproofness)||33L||Plastic 2 sizes||Reflective strips||1180g||Zip||Large front pocket|
Front mesh pocket for wet storage
Horizontal cinch strap
Nashbar Waterproof – Currently unavailable
Nashbar’s Waterproof Rear Panniers are made of rugged 400 denier nylon which is scuff, puncture, tear-resistant, and treated with EPU coating on the inside. A roll-top closure makes it impossible for water to work its way in, you pretty much have to throw these panniers in a river to get your stuff wet. With a whopping 31 liters of capacity, you can hit the road for months with these panniers.
|400 denier nylon with EPU backing||100% Waterproof||31L||Steel (not adjustable)||Reflective Logos on side and rear||850g||Roll Top||N/A||$$$$|
Every bag in the Seymour series uses a new fabric which they call Oceanweave, that contributes to reducing the amount of plastic in our oceans. These bags are the world’s only cycling bags to be made out of recycled fishing nets. They hope this product will inspire others to become a part of a solution to this environmental crisis.
Check All Axiom Products
These basic and ugly-looking panniers are among the cheapest you can find. Made of lightweight, water-resistant ripstop nylon and with a sturdy rubberized bottom, these panniers are built to handle the weather, and have enough room for a few days’ supplies, perfect for camping overnights or credit card touring.
|Diamond ripstop nylon||Weather-resistant (needs a rain cover for 100% waterproofness -included )||28L||Adjustable, four-point attachment system||Wide reflective stripes||1270g||rucksack-style underneath flap||Front pocket and mesh side pockets||$$$$|
Seattle Sports Rain Freighter
Founded in 1983, Seattle Sports is one of the few outdoor gear companies still making (some) of their gear in their own US factory (Nogales, AZ).
Their first products were dry bags, and they were a pioneer in using radio-frequency seam welding (a method that uses the high-frequency waves and pressure to create a molecular bond) to build tough but affordable bags.
I really like the design of this vinyl panniers, with their big welded waterproof front pocket they look like a great alternative to Ortlieb.
|21L||Heavy-duty hooks clip (Plastic)||Reflective details||N/A||Roll Top||2.5L splashproof zippered pocket|
Check what’s available at Seattle Sports Official
Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic
Ortlieb doesn’t need any introduction. These German bike panniers are leading the market for decades, at least when it comes to bicycle touring.
The Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic is probably the most sold bike pannier in the world. They have been tested by thousands of tourers all around the world, in the most extreme conditions.
The price though is not super friendly, and there have been some complaints about quality not being the same as before.
|Polyester single and double-coated with thermoplastic coating||Radiofrequency welding|
|20L||Heavy-duty adjustable hooks clip (Plastic)||3M Scotchlite reflectors||950g||Roll Top||integrated inner pocket|
Check all Ortlieb products
Ortlieb Back-Roller Plus
Basically the same as the Back-Roller Classic, but using Cordura instead of polyester as the main material. Cordura makes these full waterproof bicycle panniers even sturdier.
|20L||Heavy-duty adjustable hooks clip (Plastic)||3M Scotchlite reflectors||840g||Roll Top||integrated inner pocket|
Check all Ortlieb products
Ortlieb Bike-Packer Plus
Another Ortleb update, these sturdy waterproof pannier feature also a front pocket. The closure system is a rucksack style underneath a flap. Like the Back-Roller Plus, these panniers are also made of Cordura. They are though among the most expansive panniers out there, priced around 250USD for the pair.
|Abrasion-resistant PU laminated Cordura||Radiofrequency welding|
|21L||Heavy-duty adjustable hooks clip (Plastic)||3M Scotchlite reflectors||1280g||rucksack-style underneath flap||Outer Pocket, Bottle-Cage, Mesh-Pocket||$$$$$$|
All Ortlieb bags can be turned into a backpack using the Ortlieb carrying system for panniers
Check all Ortlieb products
A good alternative to Crosso Dry, this waterproof panniers feature a useful drawstring bag for storing wet cloth. Priced around 50USD each.
|840D Nylon + Water resistant polyester|
|27L||adjustable hooks clip (Plastic) – 360 rotatable bottom hook||Reflective logo||885g||Roll Top||Drawstring bag for storing wet cloth|
Axiom Monsoon Hydracore
A set of waterproof, roll-down style panniers for the cyclist who rides rain or shine. Suitable for front or rear use