The 10 Best Bike Panniers

Updated April 15, 2018 by Sam Kraft

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We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. One of the primary pitfalls to biking is a lack of storage space for transporting things, which is why bike panniers are a solid investment for regular cyclists. Whether you commute to work or enjoy taking long rides for exercise or fun, these handy carriers will ensure that you're always able to haul spare clothes, food, drinks, and other essential personal items when you're on the go. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best bike pannier on Amazon.

10. ArcEnCiel Top Tube

If all you need is something to hold your phone and a few other small accessories, check out the ArcEnCiel Top Tube, which latches on to your frame to provide quick and easy storage for your personal items. A transparent window provides access to your phone's screen.
  • headphone jack for music or calls
  • anti-slip leather on bottom
  • not very water-resistant
Brand ArcEnCiel
Model B1007-01-02@#GM
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Timbuk2 Tandem

The versatile Timbuk2 Tandem serves as a dual carrier for your bike, but you can also separate the units to use as shoulder bags when you dismount. The slim profile and elegant, weatherproof exterior ensures that you'll look stylish wherever you go.
  • bags clip together via magnets
  • strong buckles on the flap closures
  • can feel rather bulky when full
Brand Timbuk2
Model 1572
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

8. Kolo Sports Tote

Built with heavy-duty zippers to keep all of your accessories secure, the Kolo Sports Tote is a handy, compact option that attaches to your bike with reliable Velcro straps. An elastic compartment on the exterior is ideal for a water bottle.
  • reflective strips for visibility
  • comfortable shoulder strap
  • storage capacity is a bit limited
Brand Kolo Sports Tote
Model pending
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Roswheel 3 in 1

Even heavy packers will enjoy plenty of room for their gear with the Roswheel 3 in 1, which features several compartments for storing all kinds of equipment. The top bag detaches quickly from the side ones to serve as a day pack, too.
  • absorbs shocks well
  • made with water-repellent fabric
  • top bag may sag a little when empty
Brand Roswheel
Model 14892-A
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Tourbon Trunk

Large, solid snaps make it simple to attach the Tourbon Trunk to your bike rack, and it’s equally easy to remove when you want to carry it like a shoulder bag. You can choose from a variety of colors to find a model that accentuates your style.
  • attractive vintage appearance
  • lightweight and easy to handle
  • straps are too small for some bikes
Model HS431NL
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

5. Ortlieb Back-Roller

Getting caught in a rainstorm with expensive devices, like laptops and mobile phones, in your bag — it’s every biker’s nightmare. Get the Ortlieb Back-Roller for some peace of mind, as it’s dependably waterproof and very simple to set up.
  • easy to wipe clean
  • 3 colors to choose from
  • can be tough to open and close
Brand Ortlieb
Model F5003
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

4. Topeak MTX

The functional Topeak MTX is built to last, with a water-resistant nylon construction and strong, durable stitching. The top compartment expands to hold extra gear, and it has a nifty handle for easy carrying once your bike is parked and locked up.
  • big main compartment with a divider
  • rigid side panels provide stability
  • elastic bungee cords for security
Brand Topeak
Model 63009807
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

3. Ibera PakRak

The Ibera PakRak clips onto and pops off your bicycle in seconds, thanks to its intuitive three-point connection. All of the straps are secured by an elastic band, so you don't have to worry about them getting caught in your spokes and causing an accident.
  • comes with a rain cover
  • 20-pound capacity
  • exterior drawstring pouch
Brand Ibera
Weight 4.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Venzo 600D

The roomy Venzo 600D is built with a hard back for stability and internal pockets for organizing your belongings. It also includes a reflective strip, which is nice for people who like to ride during low-light hours in the early mornings or evenings.
  • shoulder strap is removable
  • comes with a 1-year warranty
  • sleek and stylish design
Brand Venzo
Model pending
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Ibera Clip-On

It’s a bit of an investment, but the Ibera Clip-On is worth it if you’re looking for a long-term solution for accommodating your gear while cycling. The exterior will withstand inclement weather, and the interior has a zippered pocket to keep small items secure.
  • available in black or orange
  • very strong welded seams
  • holds a small laptop easily
Brand Ibera
Model pending
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Choosing Bike Panniers For Daily Use

If you use your bike for frequent crosstown commutes (without the need to carry a laptop or documents) or for short trips for exercise and recreation, then a compact set of panniers is a great way to carry your phone, some snacks, keys, and other small sundries. Consider a set that goes over the central tube of your bike, as this positioning can best center the weight you will add, admittedly minor though it may be. These compact panniers can also be a good choice for the cyclist who needs lots of gear, as they allow the addition of larger panniers on the back of the bike.

If you use your bike while shopping for groceries or other goods, consider basket style panniers that remain open on the top. These allow for easy loading and unloading of items, and can easily accommodate larger items like a gallon of milk or irregularly shaped items like a tall baguette. Of course the drawback with these options is the lack of privacy and the lack of protection against rain or other elements.

A good choice of panniers for the urban cyclist is a set that slings two narrow bags on either side of the rear wheel and offers additional storage space atop your rear of the bike. The side pouches should be able to accommodate a laptop or tablet and even a folded shirt and slacks, while the upper compartment can house other items, such as wallet, phone, charger, and more. A great set of panniers is the ideal way to make your bike as useful as possible.

The Right Bike Panniers For Long Distance Travel

For the distance ride, such as with bicycle camping trips, there are plenty of large pannier sets ready to help you tote along plenty of water, food, and supplies. Once you know how much gear you want to be able to carry, you can search for panniers that offer appropriate capacity. Your next choice should be about materials: make sure to choose baggage that can protect their contents against rain, mud, and any other substances you're likely to come in contact with while underway.

And consider whether or not you need to be able to easily remove your panniers. If you're in the middle of nowhere, this might be less important. If you will need to leave your bike locked up somewhere rather public, then it's imperative that you can pop those panniers off the cycle and keep them with you.

Of course there is a tradeoff to be considered when bringing gear along on a human powered trip: the more weight you load onto your bike, the more effort you will have to expend to move it along. It's a good idea to choose larger bike panniers for longer, multiple day trips, but that doesn't mean you have to load the bags to their capacity. And of course leaving some extra room in your panniers means that you can always acquire new goods, foods, or souvenirs along the way.

Carrying Gear Through The Years

The first device that can fairly be called a modern bicycle was first released in 1885. It was called the Rover and was designed by a British man named J.K. Starley. The bicycle as designed by Starley was, for the first time, both an affordable and practical means of transportation. Soon bikes were being used for everything from personal transportation to the ferrying of goods and messages to military applications; soldiers atop bicycles were a frequent site during the dark years of World War I, for example, and bikes were still often being used in World War II as well. Today bikes are used as the primary means of transportation by hundred of millions of people worldwide.

But of course the first "panniers" weren't created for a bike, but for a horse. The saddlebag is, as the name suggests, comprised of bags that hang below or behind a rider's saddle, hanging over each side of a horse's flanks. Other saddlebags can be large and bulky and are designed to be affixed to a pack animal, usually a donkey or mule, without a rider atop the animal. Saddlebags were usually made of leather, though brilliant Native American examples were also created by weaving cloth, often involving intricate patterns and vibrant dyes.

In centuries past, saddlebags were used to carry everything from a cowboy's food during a long ride on the range to the mail of the famous Pony Express to medical supplies to, of course, arms and ammunition.

Modern equine saddlebags are usually made of synthetic materials such as polyester and ripstop nylon. Still their purpose remains the same: to carry gear while out for a ride in a manner that's comfortable both for horse and rider.

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Last updated on April 15, 2018 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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