Skip to content



So what’s the best bicycle pannier which one should you buy in this video i’m going to do a deep dive into how to choose the right bicycle painter for you welcome back pathless peddlers and if you’re new to the channel if you love bike touring gravel bikes the supple life then you have found your people hit that subscribe button and before i jump right in because

I know that there are people already frothing in the comment section on how to pronounce a word pannier i’m gonna pronounce a painter because that’s how it’s pronounced phonetically in the american english dictionary that i use you can pronounce that pani a paneer whatever but according to the references i’ve looked up on how i pronounce painter you can look it up

On youtube itself it’s pronounced pannier so i’m sticking with that so these are my 4 things to consider when choosing a bicycle painter so i think the first big decision right off the bat which will kind of determine which route you’re gonna follow in terms of bike painters is whether you want or need one that is waterproof some people are really hardline you know

That you’re not going to buy it they’re not going to touch it or look at it at all unless it’s waterproof for us i think we’ve waffled on that opinion over the years it used to be that would only consider waterproof painters but over the last decade i’ve found that highly water-resistant painters work pretty well in regardless if a painter is a waterproof or not if

It’s something i truly want to keep dry i end up double bagging it anyways because i’m just paranoid like that so clearly i think the ultimate brand to consider when you’re looking at waterproof painters is orly by me it just says it right by their logo and yes they are expensive but they’re german made the quality is just top-notch and we’ve had our orly painters

For years the first pair of orly painters we bought we actually used for about 6 or 7 years and what failed first was the buckles which we could have easily replaced but at that point we wanted new bags anyway so definitely worth the investment like i said not absolutely make it or break it for us this may be different for you if we’re gonna do a tour where you’re

Affording many rivers then you know clearly waterproofness is a main selling point but over the years we’ve also incorporated other bags like bags from our friends at swift industries which while not waterproof are highly water-resistant i think one advantage going the non-waterproof route is that it opens up your selection to lots of small makers all around the

Country all around the world and in general they also tend to just have more organization external pockets just because it’s easier to stitch things on and not be waterproof so waterproof or not really up to you really up to your paranoia i’ve personally kind of softened it over the years on being a hard-line waterproof person to just you know to trying other

Bags and if i have to keep something dry i’m in a double baguette another huge thing to consider no pun intended is your bag volume how big is your gear how much gear do you need to carry and for how long this will kind of determine your overall volume size of the bag when we first started touring we traveled with four bags two large rear painters and two small

Front painters and that’s because we literally sold everything and we’re traveling for an indefinite amount of time and needed capacity to carry all the things that we might need for you know life indefinitely these days however we migrated to a small front painter if it’s kind of trips that we’re interested in doing these days which tend to be weekend trips

Or week-long trips and not so much the full expedition trips anymore i also find them plenty big enough for a bike commuting they’ll fit a laptop a tablet kind of your daily edc needs interestingly however there used to be only the choice between a large rear pannier and a small front panniers there is this emerging this especially coming out of the bike packing

Community of micro panniers or nano panniers i’ve reviewed a few though so i’ll put links somewhere over here or here basically they’re painters that are meant to augment a bike packing system they tend to be smaller than your traditional front pannier bags in this line would be the rev late nano panniers really small painters from outer shell adventure and this

Painter buy bedrock bags as you can see lots of choice depending on you know what you plan to carry and for how long i will say that the general rule of thumb in terms of painter volume is that you will fill all the available room so if you’re trying to stay relatively light and minimal start off with a smaller painter because if you have a bigger painter you know

Nature abhors a vacuum and you’ll find ways to follow that so another point to consider is painter hardware itself and this is where things get really interesting and you actually see a lot of functional difference so we’ll take a look at the ortley hardware first this is a hard plastic but highly adjustable there are all sorts of movable clips that you can move

Forward and a half and hooks on the bottom so you get a super secure fit on your rack and the main advantage of something like this is the adjustability you know isn’t just this or you’re not getting a heel strike or to lock it down on the dogleg of your rack so it doesn’t bounce around when you’re traveling so highly adjustable but a hard plastic for some this

Freaks people out in our practical experience i’ve yet to break a painter hook it may have happened to some people but for us and over a decade of touring and commuting haven’t had a problem with the ortley hardware personally so another really popular sell a hardware in particular for smaller handcrafted bags in the us is just a really simple hook and bungee system

So these tend not to be as adjustable as you can see you can’t just open up a switch here and move it back and forth it’s kind of pretty much locked into place where there is adjustability however is in these bungee in these bungee cords you can lengthen and shorten it to adjust for different racks for different types of tightness i will say that even though this

Looks like super old-school it’s also really functional and works surprisingly well once you get the bungee system dialed and it’s not going to pop off one really nice advantage of having a bungee hook on the bottom is that it keeps the bag under constant tension so if you’re going on a gravel road since the bag is under tension it’s not going to flop around as

Much so for really rough off-road touring we actually really highly recommend this system even though in some ways it looks less sophisticated than the plastic hardware on the orly bag another really popular hardware style which i’m not going to go into because i don’t have one of their bags at the moment is arkell similar to the or talib insofar as you can adjust

It but a little bit more complicated because it is metal hardware and their cam buckles and everything i’ve used those on bags and pass and have had no problems probably the only disadvantage is they are a little bit heavier than all these other ops and lastly in terms of attachment hardware this applies specifically to bike packing style bags so these like these

Bags from rev lake which don’t rely on any hardware at all but rather straps and velcro so this one in particular goes transverse over your rack again you can see there’s no hooks or bungees or clips or anything it’s all a strap based system and on the bottom here you have camp straps that you tighten around the bottom leg of your rack advantage of a system like

This is that it’s highly adjustable and there’s no hardware to break you know theoretically you could just sew on more more webbing that you can care that you can find really available or that you carry with you and this works pretty well you know it’s definitely when you get bags that are this style they’re a lot harder to take on and off so they’re more of a

Kind of painter that you would leave on your bike overnight right so that’s a lot to consider one final and probably the most important thing to consider is what is your intended use are you going on a long multi-year expedition out in the middle of nowhere or are you gonna just the short tours when the weather is nice so thinking of realistically about how you

Plan to use the panniers is really going to dictate which one is right for you theoretically you may want you know a bomb-proof waterproof or lieb but if your actual use is just around town and you don’t think you’re gonna go touring when the weather is too crappy then you could probably get away with a non waterproof painter so lots of things to consider we’ve

Reviewed a ton of bags on the youtube channel i’m going to link to our ginormous bicycle bag playlist and if you like content like this consider supporting the channel this is how it keeps going through your direct support we’re not getting sponsored by any brands and it’s my goal to just give you information in a pretty straightforward manner so if you like these

Video and as always keep the supple side down

Transcribed from video
THE BEST BIKE PANNIERS??? By Path Less Pedaled