Panniers for off-road commute


Slippery scientist
My commuter bike is now pretty much ready. It’s an old rigid MTB to which I have fitted SKS Bluemels and a rack leaving me needing to choose panniers. I intend to use it occasionally but in any and all weather. My commute is about 12 miles and is around 80% offroad, along byways and bridleways - mostly the Ridgeway - which will be muddy. I’ll be carrying a laptop, ‘smart casual’ clothes/shoes and showering gubbins (small washkit and a towel). I thought I would probably get a pair of panniers and dedicate one to the laptop and day-stuff and the other to clothes and showering stuff. That way I can take one to my desk for day use and leave the other at the changing/showering location.

I don’t think I need huge panniers but I do think I need not only waterproof but wipe-clean. From what I can see the smaller panniers seem to be aimed at urban commuting and have a textured finish that I fear will quickly get muddy and dirty.

Any pointers out there? Do I just stop faffing around and get Ortlieb or is there another decent option? Any sales or reduced prices anywhere?


Slippery scientist
Any feedback on the Thule Shield panniers. Either 13 or 17 litres?

All uphill

Rolling along
I have a pair of Carradice panniers I bought in a cycle jumble sale in Bristol a few years ago; they were thick with mud and mould, but a scrub with hot soapy water had them as good as new.

Based on that experience I'd suggest buying any top quality panniers and then giving them an occasional clean.

PS Enjoy your commute, it sounds brilliant!


Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
I've got Ortlieb back roller pro plus but they're a fabric finish on the outside and shiney on the inside. I just preferred that matte / fabric look. If I was going to be washing mud off them a lot I'd go for the back roller classic, they're literally wipe clean and pretty much peerless as far as panniers go.
Both systems use locking hooks. Not all racks work with them. You need sufficient length of single bar or rod. The hooks dont work on dual sections of welded rod or where tabs and gubbins are welded on. Sold top plates shouldnt intefere but you dont need them and they remove lashing points for chords.
I find that both panniers can fit over a bungie hooked over the top frame which captures my U lock very securely.

Low Gear Guy

Über Member
Small panniers should do the job but you need to check your laptop dimensions against the internal measurements of the bags. Mine is a tight fit.


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
13 mile muddy canal commute, with a laptop in a shock proof wallet, all tucked inside my Ortlieb front rollers. Shiny finish easy to wipe down. I also use a bungee to stop the bottom clip bouncing off as most of the Ashton Canal has either cobbles or speed bumps (blady cyclists).
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