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Top Panniers Reviews and Buyer's Guide

Last updated July 2, 2019

As a cyclist, you know all about how important it is to choose quality components. The same goes for panniers and other cycling bags. Quality is also super important here, so you don't risk buying a set of bags that fall apart in the middle of your adventures.

Besides the quality issue, you also need to spend some time considering what you need from your new panniers. That is what size they should be and if you need any special features.

The Best Pannier

Having checked hundreds of pannier reviews, we can say that the Ortlieb Back Roller is the best choice for most people.

The Ortlieb Back Roller got a rating of 4.47 out of 5, while the average rating in the list below is just 3.45.

Ortlieb Back Roller
This is the best reviewed pannier.
How we rate the bags

We have checked 742 pannier reviews, so we can show you the weighted average rating of all the bags.

Using the average ratings, you can check what all the reviewers think instead of just viewing the subjective opinion of one specific reviewer.

It's much simplier to find the best bags that way.

Also Great

If the Ortlieb Back Roller isn't your style, you might also consider the Timbuk2 Lux.

The Lux is a close runner-up with a rating of 3.90 out of 5 - and it's usually cheaper than the Back Roller.

Timbuk2 Lux
The second-best reviewed pannier.
Finally, you might consider the Thule Pack n Pedal.

The Pack n Pedal is the third-best rated pannier with a rating of 3.42 - and it's most often cheaper than both the Back Roller and the Lux.

Thule Pack n Pedal
The third-best reviewed pannier.
Below is the list of all top 7 best panniers. Great if none of the three bags above are your style.

The 7 Best Panniers

PS: We have checked 742 reviews to make this top 7 list!

1Ortlieb Back RollerOrtlieb Back Roller
Available on Amazon
Check Deals
107 reviews
2Timbuk2 LuxTimbuk2 Lux
Available on Amazon
Check Deals
26 reviews
3Thule Pack n PedalThule Pack n Pedal
Available on Amazon
Check Deals
271 reviews
4Ibera PakRakIbera PakRak
55 reviews
5Timbuk2 AlemanyTimbuk2 Alemany
19 reviews
6Blackburn LocalBlackburn Local
219 reviews
7Blackburn BarrierBlackburn Barrier
37 reviews

Buyers Guide to Panniers

[toc] If you are a cycling enthusiast and go practically everywhere on your bike, you are going to need to be able to carry items around. This is where pannier bags come in – they are specifically built to be able to take luggage on your bike. They also help to make you look less ridiculous as you cycle around, bags in hand.

There is actually a lot of choice out there when it comes to these type of bags which can make the selection process a little trickier for you. To simplify it a bit, we have come up with some criteria that will make it easier to pinpoint the right option. Here is what you should be aware of when choosing pannier bags.

What You Should Consider When Choosing Pannier Bags

Deciding on which pannier bag will work for you and your bike is more than simply choosing a sizable bag that looks good. There are numerous other factors that you will have to take into consideration, including how you will be using this type of bag. This is why you cannot simply choose the first pannier that you come across and like. Here you will find all of the information you will need to make a more informed decision:

What Purpose Will the Pannier Serve?

The very first thing that you will need to figure out is what purpose your bike pannier will serve. Typically, you will find that panniers are sought after two main purposes by cyclists – touring and commuting. These are rather different activities and thus, require rather diverse bags.


If you commute by bicycle, then there is a good chance that you travel to school or work in this manner. This is why most commuters look for panniers that have lots of internal organizational features. This includes pockets and compartments where you can store various papers, stationery, and maybe even a tablet or a laptop.

The other thing that is required with these type of panniers is durability. After all, you are going to need a bag that can take a considerable amount of weight day in and day out. Also, it will probably have to contend with dirt and debris from the road as well.


Now, the precise needs of someone looking for a touring pannier can vary, depending on the type of traveler that you are. In most cases, though, you are probably looking for bags that can accommodate all of the items that you will need when traveling across greater distances. Therefore, you will need larger bags although organization isn’t as much of a concern here.

At the same time, those who ride touring bikes tend to prefer lightweight options so that they don’t feel the weight as much even when the bags are full. While durability is important, these type of cyclists prefer bags that can withstand rain and other environmental factors more.

As you can imagine, it is not only people with commuter and touring bikes that are interested in carrying items with them. However, when it comes to panniers, these are the two types of bikes that best support the bags and their carrying system. While bikes such as MTBs may be able to take these panniers, you will have a limited number of choices when it comes to size and design.

Where Will the Bag Be Stored?

You can’t simply sling your pannier on your bike and call it a day. Instead, you have to rely on pannier racks on which you can attach or hang the bags on. Some of these racks may come already attached to the bike or you may be required to fix them on yourself. The most common types of luggage racks for bicycles are front and rear racks. The placement of the racks on your bike will dictate whether you use front panniers or rear panniers.

If you want easy access to your luggage, it makes sense to keep your panniers up front with you. This means that you can choose to keep the bags next to the front wheel hub or above the front wheel. If you want your luggage within arm’s reach, a pannier near the handlebars will make the most sense. The panniers stored in the front tend to be smaller and more compact.

For those who want to carry larger loads, rear panniers are usually used, especially since you have more space to carry things here. The panniers are kept near the rear wheel and can also be fitted onto the top of the rack, near the seat as well.

How Large Should the Bags Be?

The most common sizes for pannier bags tend to be around 20 or 25 liters. However, these bags can range all the way from around 7 liters to 90 liters. This variance is so that you can find a bag to suit all sorts of trips.

If you just want a pannier to carry small items so that you don’t have to deal with the hassle of a backpack, then you will find that the smaller options will work just fine for you. The advantage of these smaller bags is that can be stored near the handlebars so all of your items are easily accessible.

For those who are looking for commuter panniers, though, will find that bags between 25 liters and 40 liters will be more than suitable. If you wish to go grocery shopping on your bike and want to carry everything in your panniers then you may want to invest in a larger option.

In most cases, touring panniers need to be quite large although this does depend on where you are traveling too. If you are going on a road trip, then it is worth it for you to choose as large a bag as possible. This way, you will be able to carry a greater amount of equipment and supplies with you.

Single vs. Double Panniers

Now, you can’t talk about pannier size without also considering single and double panniers. There aren’t any rules per se, when it comes to sizes of each of these panniers – they can be small or large. Typically, though, most people use small double panniers and larger single panniers.

If you are confused about whether to opt for one or two panniers, you should consider how much you want to carry. For smaller loads, for instance, under 7 kilos, you will be fine with a single pannier. Anything more than that, however, and you may want to consider double panniers. This is so that the weight will be more evenly spread between the two sides, making it easier for you to ride.

Are Waterproof Features Necessary?

Since you will be exposed to the elements every single day, it is only normal that you will consider a pannier that is able to protect your belongings from the rain. When it comes to protection from water, you have a choice between water resistant panniers and ones that are waterproof.

Your first question may be regarding what the difference between these two is. Well, water-resistant refers to the temporary shield that a bag provides to your possessions. Waterproof bags, on the other hand, should be able to keep your belongings dry even if the pannier was submerged in water.

Water resistant panniers are generally made from Cordura fabric and have regular fastenings and compartments. They are also more affordable than waterproof bags. If you are looking for a pannier for commuting, chances are that you will not require anything sturdier than a water-resistant bag.

Most touring panniers, nonetheless, should be made from waterproof material since you may not be able to duck into a building when you are on the road. These panniers are largely made from cotton duck fabric, PVC, or tarp. It is not just the material that makes these panniers waterproof, though, it is how they are designed as well. They are complete with roll-top closures to prevent moistures from getting in. They also have welded seams and no external compartments.

What Should You Look For In An Attachment System?

The attachment system of a pannier bag is the method in which you can secure the pannier to the bike. The most common options are spring loaded hooks, bungee cords, clips, and similar mechanisms. The type of system that you should look for depends on the type of biking that you are doing.

If you want panniers for commuting or for quick trips, then you will need a mechanism that is easy to handle. This means that you will be able to attach and detach the pannier to and from the bike in a matter of seconds. Thus, there is less hassle for you.

For those who are touring, however, you need something quite different. Here, these systems need to be able to securely hold the pannier to the bike frame. They need to be strong and durable, which is especially important if you are cycling over tough terrain. Under these circumstances, it is fine if it takes a bit of fiddling to attach or remove the pannier.

Safety Features

While pannier bags certainly don’t pose a threat to you, they can make it a bit more difficult to ride your bike, especially if you are not used to cycling with added weight. This, in turn, can make it more difficult to handle and maneuver the bike, making the activity slightly more dangerous than before.

So, what can you do to make this safer for you? Well, if you really aren’t comfortable with carrying too much of weight, you should place your panniers at the back, hanging down. This is because it tends to be easier to carry weight that is hanging low.

You should also test out the placement of the pannier before you set out. Basically, while you are cycling, your feet or the pedal shouldn’t come into contact with the bag behind you. If it does, you need to reposition the pannier or choose a smaller one for the journey.

If you want to use double panniers, then make sure that the weight that you are carrying is equally distributed between the bags. This will make it easier for you to maneuver the bike. If you want just one, though, remember to position it on the other side of traffic.

This is what you should consider when choosing pannier bags so that you are able to make a much better choice for yourself.

3 More Panniers

Classic panniers and models that haven't yet got enough reviews to be ranked.

Timbuk2 PortolaTimbuk2 Portola
Ortlieb VarioOrtlieb Vario
Blackburn Barrier CityBlackburn Barrier City

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Last updated on July 02, 2019