Looking for the best bikepacking panniers for your cycling adventure? Check out this guide to our top 9 favourite panniers.
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With so many options out there, it can be a little frustrating trying to find the best bikepacking panniers that suit your needs.
Whether you’re a long-time bikepacker looking for a new set, or a first-time buyer in need of a great set of panniers, this guide will help you make an informed decision.
But first things first:
What are Bicycle Panniers?
Panniers are bikepacking gears that are basically bike bags that attach to a rack, which in turn is attached to your bicycle. Usually, they have zippered pockets and are sold in left/right pairs and various sizes for the front and back of your bicycle.
As you may have guessed, the reason they come in pairs is to ensure that your bicycle remains balanced as you ride. Whether you’re bicycle touring through rough roads or just road riding, a pair of panniers really comes in handy.
Depending on the length of your trip and what you need to pack. You can choose to use just one set of rear bike panniers, or a full set of front and rear panniers to accommodate bulkier items. You can even get full waterproof panniers to protect your clothing items!
The added advantage of having rear panniers is that in many cases you can add additional gear to your rack, including sleeping bags, and tents.
Recommended Reading: Bike Touring Gear List: The Essentials You Need to Bring
How do I Choose a Pannier Rack
If you are a newbie to bikepacking you’re probably wondering what a pannier rack is and how to choose one to fit your panniers.
For you to attach panniers to your bike, you need a pannier rack. This is usually made with metal alloys and can be fixed to the front and rear of your bicycle.
Before you decide to invest in a pannier setup, it’s really important to know whether your bike is compatible with a pannier rack. What pannier rack you choose will depend largely on your bike.
May it be a traditional rack or a lightweight rack you need, you can visit your nearest bicycle store to find out. The good news is, that most pannier bags are made with a universal design and will fit most racks.
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Are Panniers Worth it?
You may be wondering whether investing in bike panniers is really worth it. There are other options out there like bikepacking bags that are attached to your frame and handlebars.
You could also use a backpack if you needed extra space. But there are two major problems with these alternatives.
Firstly, riding with a backpack doesn’t make room for much ventilation on your back, which will result in you feeling hotter, sweatier and ultimately uncomfortable. This is especially true if you’re planning a long-distance touring and in warmer weather.
Secondly, consider your seating position on a bike and the strain it already places on your arms and shoulders. A backpack is sure to leave you feeling sore and fatigued after a few hours of riding.
Bikepacking bags (which are not the same as backpack panniers), are great if you are willing to spend more and pack less. They tend to be much more expensive than panniers and have less carrying capacity for larger items.
For short trips, or if you are looking to stay as light as possible, these would be a great option. If you’re willing to pay the price of course.
The great thing about this lightweight gear is that they are cost-effective. Most Panniers are manufactured to be waterproof or semi-waterproof, and they are easy to take with you if you need to stop anywhere.
They are also way roomier, have a larger capacity to accommodate bulky items and are perfect for longer trips.
Recommended Reading: How to Cycle the Eurovelo 13 Alone Across Finland!
What Should I look for in a Pannier?
The best bikepacking panniers are durable and weather resistant. Even if they are not completely waterproof, they should at least be semi-water resistant to keep your gear safe and dry.
There are classic panniers, micro panniers, touring panniers and all sorts of bike panniers available in the market. Therefore, it’s important to know what size of pannier you require.
You need to think carefully about what it is you will need to carry with you and how well it will fit your bike and chosen pannier rack. The weight of the panniers will determine the effort you’ll exert on your ride, so make sure you don’t buy cheap panniers!
Lastly, remember that back panniers are always bigger than front panniers. You don’t want to add anything too bulky or heavy to the front, or steering will become a nightmare.
Related Reading: Adventure Cycling in Finland: Everything You Need To Know And More
The Best Waterproof Bikepacking Panniers
Rear Bikepacking Panniers
|Thule Shield 25L Pannier Bags
The large size makes these of the best bikepacking panniers for longer distances.
Will attach to most pannier racks securely.
Waterproof fabric is designed to keep your gear dry and undamaged in bad weather conditions.
Includes light attachment loops and reflective panels for increased visibility.
Easy carry-off shoulder strap.
|Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic Q2.1
The universal design is perfect for most pannier racks available on the market.
It is easily removed from the rack and converts into a carry-off with convenient straps.
The 20L storage capacity makes the Ortlieb Classic one of the best bikepacking panniers for multi-day trips.
Made with durable waterproof materials that will protect your gear.
Tip: I use Ortlieb panniers and absolutely love them. Although they are one of the more expensive brands, their durability makes them a well-worth the price.
|Vincita Top Load Double Pannier
The universal design makes these panniers compatible with most racks.
A durable waterproof design makes them perfect for all weather conditions. The Vincita panniers also come with a rain cover for extra protection.
Offers full portability with its nylon carry handle and also a rigid back panel.
Can be used for everyday commuting and multi-day touring.
Comes in a multitude of colours and patterns.
The best low-cost bikepacking panniers.
Related Reading: The Best Tents for every Backpacker
Front Bikepacking Panniers
|Thule Shield 13L Pannier Bags
Completely waterproof and perfect for any weather and trail conditions.
Has a universal fit and can be used on most pannier racks.
The light attachment loops and reflective panels give you added visibility.
A versatile design with a strap makes it easy to carry when you are off the bike.
|Ortlieb Front-Roller Q2.1
Made with fluorescent fabric and lightweight material to ensure visibility at night and in bad weather conditions.
Available in a selection of bright colours.
Designed with a versatile strap to carry off the bike.
Durable and perfect for the avid bikepacker.
One of the best bikepacking panniers on the market, but also one of the most expensive.
|VAUDE Aqua Front Backpack
The waterproof design makes it perfect for any weather conditions.
Includes attachable strap so you can carry it will you when you aren’t on the bike.
Can be used on most pannier racks.
QMR 2.0 attachment system is user-friendly.
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The Best Semi Waterproof Bikepacking Panniers
Rear Bikepacking Panniers
|Ibera Bicycle Bag PakRak All Weather
Compatible with most pannier racks on the market.
Secure a three-point interlock system that will hold your panniers in place on any terrain.
Multiple interior compartments for easy packing.
Comes with a rain cover to keep your panniers dry in bad weather conditions.
|Roswheel 3 in 1 Rear Bike Pannier
The 37L capacity makes this one of the best bikepacking panniers for multi-day trips.
Reflective handles and logos for increased visibility.
Easy tool-free installation to any bike pannier rack.
High durability makes these perfect for rough terrain.
These panniers are low-cost.
Front Bikepacking Panniers
|Moosetrek Zipper Front and Rear Pannier Set
The Moosetrek has a capacity of 13L in each pannier.
Easy and adjustable loading hooks make this pack perfect for almost any pannier rack.
Reflective logos give you increased visibility.