You’ve finally gotten your dream bike, and you’re ready to get out on the road. But what to do about luggage? With so many different panniers on the market, it can be hard to figure out which ones are the best for your needs. We’ll make it easier by giving you a quick run-down of some of the best options available today.
What Exactly Is a Pannier?
A bike pannier is a backpack that’s specially designed to fit on the back of a bicycle. When you bike with panniers, you can carry more stuff than you would otherwise be able to. You can use them to help transport anything from groceries to clothes, but they’re especially helpful for carrying items like jackets and pedals for longer rides.
What Should I Look For In a Pannier?
When looking at biking panniers, the first thing to consider is whether you’ll be carrying a full load or simply commuting back and forth with a few items. If you are looking for a lighter bag that simply holds your essentials, you should be able to find one that will comfortably fit on your bike.
Other things to consider are
Weather - If you know you’ll be riding in rain at some point, you’ll want to look into getting a water-proof pannier.
Cost - How much is your budget? This may be the biggest deciding factor in what you purchase as some of the best panniers can be very expensive (though you can find budget-friendly ones)
Is it often going to be on and off the bike? Then you’ll need to look for one that specifically has that ability.
Best MTB Panniers
If you ride your mountain bike to the office and want to protect your work clothes on the way, the Two Wheel Gear garment pannier is for you.
Designed to carry your suit, shoes, shirt, tie, belt, briefcase, and more. This is the perfect bag for the businessman or woman on the go and can be used as a garment bag, duffel bag, or regular pannier. It's an excellent choice for commuting to work or school, overnight travel, or a weekend getaway.
The main compartment can hang up to five garments, and the side access area is padded to fit a laptop up to 15.6". A mesh organiser is in the compartment and even has a pocket for hiding valuables.
No more worrying about your clothes getting wet as the waterproof material protects your gear from the elements and has a rain cover to make sure everything stays extra dry. It also includes a 5L waterproof sack for things like shoes or even dirty clothes to keep them separate from the rest of your garments. There is also a removable trunk bag, which is a great place to store items you want easy access to or for all your toiletries.
Attaching this to your rack is surprisingly easy. When on the rack, quick-release straps on both sides of the pannier make it easy to take off and put on. The straps also have buckles for extra support and security.
The Classic 3.0 (35L) is the largest of the Classic series, making it perfect for the everyday cyclist who needs to carry a lot of items!
#2. Ibera PakRak
The sleek black of the Ibera PakRak Bicycle Bag is stylish, functional, and provides a great contrast to any bike. It has a large main compartment that can easily store your helmet, lock, extra clothing, and other items you need on your ride. It also has two side pockets that can hold a water bottle or small umbrella. The zippered back pocket will hold an IPad or book and are two mesh side pockets that can carry items you want to access quickly, such as your cell phone or wallet
I liked the feel of the bags and the built-in safety features. They're made of sturdy and durable PVC material, giving it a stylish look, with reflective piping on the left side to increase night visibility.
The PakRak panniers are easy to remove when you arrive at your destination. Simply push the quick-release button and lift the bag off your bike rack.
A handy rain cover is included to keep your belongings dry in inclement weather!
#3. Vaude Aqua Plus
Get out there and explore the world around you with these dual rear panniers for your mountain bike!
These waterproof pannier bags are made of PVC-free tarpaulin fabric. The inside of the bag is coated with PE, which prevents any contact with PVC. The seams are welded and double-stitched, ensuring that no water can penetrate. VAUDE bike panniers keep your contents dry even in bad weather, thanks to their fully waterproof design and roll closure. At the same time, they are easily adjustable thanks to the practical carry handle on the top of each pannier.
The generously sized capacity means you'll have room for everything you need. Both bags are 25.5L each for a total of 51L worth of room. Both compartments have roll closures with separate compartments for wet and dry gear.
A shoulder strap allows you to comfortably carry the bag on your shoulder while walking through the city or climbing a few flights of stairs. The straps can be removed and stored while riding. I used the smaller front pouch to put the straps in and also put my wallet and phone in one of them for safekeeping with my toolkit in the other.
In addition to all these great features, the bags are ecologically friendly and made from fair manufacturing. A wonderful plus!
The Back-Roller Classic is the best choice for the daily commute, weekend ride, or long-distance tour. The wide opening allows you to quickly and easily access your gear. It comes with an adjustable shoulder strap that fits all sizes and a quick-mounting system that makes mounting the pannier a snap.
The waterproof roll closure is easy to operate and keeps the contents of your pannier safe from the weather. It's easy to close, even with gloves on. If necessary, you can also use the supplied puller for opening.
The shoulder strap is adjustable in length and fits almost every bike rack. It can be attached to the rack using standard hooks or the supplied hooks that fit into the eyelets on the rack. The quick-mount attachment system allows you to quickly fix the panniers on the rack.
Some of the Thule Shield Bike Pannier highlights are two 25L pannier bags, IPX waterproof rating, reflective panels, removable shoulder strap, three interior pockets, and they're easily secured to the bike. All that should be enough to convince you to get these panniers for your mountain bike!
Ideal for commuting to work or school and other outdoor activities, this item fits most bikes with a traditional rack. You can securely attach and remove them to racks that are 8-16mm without the use of adapters.
Two waterproof pannier bags are included, each 25L for a total of 50L between the two. Three interior pockets keep your gear organized and easily accessible, and an exterior mesh pocket is great for keeping your phone or wallet close at hand. There is also a reflective strip for enhanced visibility and added safety.
Each bag has a removable shoulder strap, making carrying the bags easy while not interfering when riding.
If you're looking for a simple pannier system for your bike that doesn't break the bank, this is the one for you.
The O-Weave P55+ panniers can be used to commute, touring, or get around town. The interior is waterproof and coated with polyurethane, making it easy to wipe clean and resist water from seeping through. They feature a high-volume design that provides ample storage space for all of your essentials when you're on the go.
With over 50L of volume between the two bags, there's plenty of room for everything you need for a day of riding. The drawstring closure allows you to stuff your bag full without worrying about things falling out. When you're ready to ride, just pull the drawstring tight, and you're ready to go!
The bags also come with clips for attaching lights. The clips are made of durable plastic that holds strong even when riding over rough terrain.
This large 45L capacity pannier can store many items within the two side bags and one top bag. The material is a good quality water-resistant polyester, and there are also numerous pockets for maximum storage space. This thing could possibly hold more luggage than your largest suitcase!
There are straps on the two sides of the trunk bags, and there is a handle design on the top, so it is easy to move. The handle can be adjusted and installed according to different circumstances.
Installation is simple and direct on the left and right sides of the rear rack and takes a few minutes to complete. Each bag can also be adjusted freely by the plastic buckle, which is convenient to adjust the length of the bags according to the different lengths of your mountain bike.
Can my mountain bike take a pannier?
The main thing to remember is that you'll need a pannier rack before attaching a pannier. If you're using a mountain bike and the pannier you choose has a lightweight build, then it's unlikely you'll struggle to find a suitable rack.
The pannier rack is a small frame that attaches to the rear of your bike and which holds the pannier bags. Most bikes will have some kind of space for a rack that needs to match with the one you buy. If your bike already has space in the frame for a rack, it may be very easy to purchase one and then attach it to your bike.
If your bike already has a rack, or you already have a rack to fit your bike, then you're all set.
Another point to consider is whether your pannier is compatible with your rack. This might sound obvious, but it's something worth checking.
What Size Panniers Should I Get for Touring?
The main concern is that they should be large enough to carry the stuff that you will need on your ride. In other words, you should have enough space to carry stuff that you might need. For example, if you are going to take a lunch and some warm clothes, then your panniers should be large enough to hold these things.
I like to keep my panniers a little large so I don't have to wear all the clothes I want to take with me, therefore packing less. I also like to be able to put a lot of gear in them so I don't have to stop and move gear around. I'd recommend at least 50L in total size. Anything much smaller are better suited for day trips and commuting.
Why have Panniers
Some riders argue that panniers are outdated and that they don't need them. There are certainly some good reasons you might want to skip panniers, but I guarantee there are many more reasons you should use them.
Some riders say they don't need panniers because they can carry everything they need in a backpack. I've ridden many, many miles with a backpack, and it's certainly doable.
Some of my longest tours I've done with a backpack. But there are some big downsides to using a backpack.
It's not as safe as using a pannier. Backpacks are always flopping around, especially when standing on the pedals attacking a climb. Any way you try to secure a backpack, it's just not as stable as a properly fastened pannier.
The weight is also completely on your back. With panniers, you secure them to your bike and can focus on the road and have a good time while your stuff is safely secured.
When it's hot, your back and shoulders can get horribly sweaty and chafed by a backpack. In the winter, it's too cold and uncomfortable. You'll also have to worry about stuff falling out from either the top or the front zipper as things bounce around.
A good set of panniers can make for a great trip. Selecting the wrong one can either leave you with wet clothes after a rainfall or not enough room for the groceries you need to carry home or other such problems. We're confident that our list of the top mountain bike panniers will have your items secured behind you as you ride and will be a wonderful addition to your tours. Now, get your pannier and get out and ride!