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Going Bike Touring? Here Are the Best Panniers

By Filippo Mari

In my previous article, I gave you the best tips about how to choose a good rear rack for your next bike-touring trip. In this article, I would like to help you find the best panniers to hang onto that bike rack.

Choosing good panniers is crucial for the success of your trip. For example, a mediocre pannier could let wetness get inside. Or it could not attach properly, compromising your stability. It is where you store all your precious gear for many days so it is definitely an important component of your bike-touring trip.

Ortlieb Back Roller Pro Classic panniers

Ortlieb bicycle panniers

Let’s start with a classic, the German brand Ortlieb. Probably the most famous producer of panniers and for a reason. Ortlieb bags are top quality. They are also pricy so sometimes first-time bike tourers can be a bit discouraged by that – I have been there too. But Ortlieb bags are worth every penny. My Back Roller Pro Classics are still in a good shape after many years and miles.

The Back Roller panniers are very large. Actually, they are the largest on the market with 35 litres. They are waterproof, of course. They are available in three colours: red, yellow and grey.

Volume: 35 litres

Weight: 2x 1,200 g

Price: approx. €180 (a pair) 

Vaude panniers

Vaude panniers

Vaude are another high-quality German brand. They are also quite a lot into sustainability. In fact, they claim that the bags are made under fair working conditions and are produced without the use of environmentally harmful fluorocarbons (PFC). The Aqua Back Plus model has a very distinctive welded outer pocket that makes it easy to store things separately. It is, of course, waterproof. It comes in seven different colours!

Volume: 25 litres

Weight: 1,060 g

Price: approx. €176

MSX SL 55 bike touring panniers

MS-X SL 55 Bicycle panniers

Germans are, without a doubt, into bike touring. So here is another amazing product made in Germany, the MSX SL 55 Advantage CX. These were my first panniers and I used them a lot before they got lost by an airline. I can say only positive things about them: sturdy, reliable and 100% waterproof. They come in two colours, black and red.

Volume: 26 litres

Weight: 2 x 1,250 g

Price: approx. €170 (a pair)

Topeak bikepacking panniers

Topeak bikepacking panniers

If you want to save a few bucks but still get a quality product, you should check out Topeak’s Dry Bag DX. Topeak is a Taiwanese brand that provides affordable, quality products. Dry Bag DX is a bit heavier but still waterproof. It comes in two colours, black and yellow. The look of the yellow version is very flashy but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it improves your visibility on the road.

Volume: 25 litres

Weight: 2 x 1 400 g

Price: approx. €150 (a pair)

Thule bike panniers

The legendary Swedish brand, which has been securing our bikes to car roofs for so many years, is now also producing panniers. The Thule Shields 25 bags are the perfect companion for your bike adventures. They are waterproof, have reflective panels for visibility and a sober look. They come just in two colours, black and yellow. The price is very affordable, making the cheaper half of this list.

Volume: 25 litres

Weight: 2 x 1 900 g

Price: approx. €130 (a pair)