Ortlieb panniers or ...?

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by Tim330, 18 Dec 2017.

  1. graham bowers

    graham bowers Über Member

    NW Leicestershire
    I've been very pleased with my 40 litre classic backrollers. They were new this summer but have had quite a few wet days, some very wet, and didn't let a drop in.
  2. froze

    froze Well-Known Member

    If you want the best get the Ortliebs, but they are expensive and I've heard from a few tourists that they wear out after about 2 years on the road. As far as I'm concerned, I can't see spending that kind of money for Ortliebs only to have them last only 2 years, so the heck with them I buy cheaper Axiom, I got the Monsoons because they hold 45 liters total. The Axiom's are NOT as water tight as the Ortliebs, but I sprayed my bags with a water repellant (which I'll do twice a season), then I put anything I don't want to get wet in zip lock bags, and so far no problems even in a downpour the inside of the bag didn't get wet, and the Monsoons don't have an optional water proof cover. I paid $129 for mine but the Orts would have cost me twice that. The Axiom seems to be a decently made product too. I haven't had them long enough to see how long they'll last but someone I ran into had his for 2 years and he was still using them but his has a different model from the Monsoons I got, his model is no longer made, so I'm not sure how his experience will reflect on how long mine will last, I don't recall what model he had. Another trick you can do to water proof a water resistant bag (proof and resistant are not the same), is simply take a plastic trash bag with cinch cord and line your pannier then put your stuff in.

    I don't have front panniers, haven't needed them yet, they make stuff so light and small nowadays I only need rear panniers. I do have a front handlebar bag, which again I went cheap only because the reviews were high, and they were right it is a good bag, anyway it's the Ibera large model that only cost $43.

    I also use a Topeak Aero Wedge large saddle bag which I always carry on the bike touring or not, but after 5 years it has a rub area on the seam that opened the seam up just a bit, so I'm going to try a cheaper saddle bag by BV and get the large version, it got high reviews and it cost half as much as the Topeak.

    You can watch You Tube and gain a wealth of information on backpacking and bike touring, the good ones are the ones that show you how to do it real cheap. Here in America we have Walmart, and many experience tourists, and those on You Tube get a lot of their stuff from Walmart because they find it to be almost if not just as good as the more expensive stuff but cost at least half as much. I example after watch You Tube I got a small camping fry pan, a pot, lid, handle, and a plastic cup in a kit for $8 and it works good and it's lightweight. Walmart also has a cook kit that is nonstick but it is quite a bit heavier then the one I got, but you only get a pot with a lid and a spatula, but the price on that one wasn't bad either at $15. Only problem with Walmart is that some of the stores will carry more of this sort of stuff then others, and it's seasonal, so you have to go now if you want to make sure you get a decent selection.
    Last edited: 7 Jan 2018
  3. HobbesOnTour

    HobbesOnTour Senior Member

    The Netherlands
    40 l sufficient? It all depends on what you want to bring! ^_^
    But I think the Ortliebs are great! My first self-supported tour half my panniers were full of books! :training:
    My back roller classics have clocked up over 10,000km are are still in perfect working order.
    A friend has the Vaude Aqua Plus and while I love the idea of pockets, it's a pain in the ass to stop and cover the bags with the raincovers when it's raining (especially when they also have to cover themselves up at the same time! Plus, off the bike care needs to be taken to keep them dry on wet ground. Once my ortliebs are closed I have no worries.

    Don't overpack the Ortliebs because you do need to roll them down a few times to make sure they stay water-tight.

    I carry my stove & food in my front panniers and here the waterproofing can be an issue because rain can get in as these are open more times in a typical day. Then they stay wet!

    I have the old system and for anyone having the same problem a handy hint is to remove the inserts altogether and instead put some high-pressure tubing (from any hardware store) on your rack. It protects the rack, removes all vibration and you need never lose an insert again.

  4. Blue Hills

    Blue Hills ^

    @froze, not sure where you are getting reports of ortlieb's wearing out after 2 years from. Had my bikepacker pluses for getting on for 20 years. Still look good as new. I wouldn't use semi waterproof panniers of any sort for touring. They often get put down on wet ground and if i am wildcamping or bivvying they are sometimes just left out in heavy rain. Which they are fine with.

    Your experience/feedback doesn't seem to match that of many folk on here. Or other touring forums.
    Last edited: 7 Jan 2018
  5. furball

    furball Veteran

    There is no guarantee that the materials used in the manufacture of new panniers are the same as those used 20 years ago.
    Having used other panniers before Ortliebs I'm not an Ortlieb fan. There are better designed pannier on the market.
  6. Blue Hills

    Blue Hills ^

    How do you think it has changed? For the worse?
    What do you think are the problems with Ortliebs?
    Honest questions.
  7. Perhaps Arkel? Not that I have any issues with most panniers. Buy something nice, and you only buy once. Tried cheap panniers, and an experience with them does a good job of sellling Vaude, Ortlieb, and Arkel.
  8. gom

    gom Active Member

    For myself, I recommend the Ortlieb add-on pockets https://www.ortlieb.com/en/Outer Pocket/
    I have them on my rear panniers (see avatar) and now on the front ones as well. Size small in both cases.
    You have to punch 4 small holes in the pannier which seemed a bit alarming, but the fittings are tight and I’ve had no problems.
    4 pockets may seem a bit much, but I’ve found them all useful - sun hat, sun cream, waterproofs, pains aux chocolats, cans of drink, ...
    Blue Hills and Gravity Aided like this.
  9. Blue Hills

    Blue Hills ^

    No problems with punching holes and subsequent damage to the pannier from subsequent loading of the pockets, chucking the panniers around? I ask because my ortlieb backpacker pluses have lived a tough life the last close on 20 years. Used for lots of heavy shopping including tins, often left outside overnight when camping or bivvying. Totally waterproof and I like the lighter more flexible plus material. Are your panniers the thicker "classic" material?

    I have been very well pleased with mine them but am wary of spoiling them.

    The other reason I ask is that though Ortlieb stuff is great, they do get it wrong sometimes. Their original QL2 hook is poor - inserts wear and keep dropping out, so much so that on two recent trips I was plagued by the panniers detaching themselves. Fortunately the new hook appears to solve this and can be simply retrofitted - congratulations on that Ortlieb but I remain surprised that it didn't realise from the start that inserts that went in from the bottom and were so lightly attached was a very poor idea.
  10. gom

    gom Active Member

    I’ve had no problems with the holes for the pocket fittings. The panniers have survived several trips in the hold of the European Bike Express and general use without special care. I have front and rear roller classics, both more than 10 years old.

    The fitting for 1 pocket is 2 pairs of fairly flexible plastic rails that screw together, for each pair: one inside and one outside the pannier. This provides a good seal. The pockets clip on these, and I’ve had no issues with them coming off.

    They can be sort of seen here https://www.ortlieb.com/en/Outer Pocket/ under “more images”, or look at the downloadable instructions.
  11. Blue Hills

    Blue Hills ^

    Many thanks for the comprehensive reply gom. I didn't realise that the puncturing was just for a mount and that the pockets just clipped on to these mounts, I had the idea that they were permanently attached.

    So you can pierce, put the mounts on and sometimes use the panniers without the pockets?

    I suppose them possibly coming off unseen on a ride might concern me but I assume that it's possible to rig up a failsafe restraining cord of some sort?
  12. gom

    gom Active Member

    Yes, the pockets are easily removed/attached.
    I’ve never had one come off in years of use.
    Blue Hills likes this.
  13. Mike Ayling

    Mike Ayling Regular

    I have both rollers and bike packer classics and I find the bike packers easier to open and close than the rollers.

  14. Blue Hills

    Blue Hills ^

    Yes, agree. I have front roller c!assics and bike packer rears and find the bike packers way easier. This might be partly because the rears are the plus material which i think is worth the extra** as it is both lighter and more flexible/easier to wrestle with, whilst i understand actually being stronger. ** May not be the case with the front bikepacker pluses, called the "sport" or something. A pretty fearsome price for small front panniers these days, so might stick with my front roller classics which also serve as occasional rear panniers, they are great around town for holding my heavy D lock. Don't think you can go far wrong with ortliebs.
  15. PJ520

    PJ520 Member

    One grouse about Ortliebs is that they don't have compartments - everything is in one bag making it difficult to find anything.The answer to that that is packing cubes like those made by Eagle Creek
    Heltor Chasca likes this.
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