LAST UPDATED: October 5, 2019
Best Bike Panniers: Haul and Load Your Gear
Carry everything you need for school or work with these high-quality bike panniers
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON October 5, 2019
Many people use their bicycles as a way to commute around the city or to and from their homes. It’s healthy and fun to zip around on one, but carrying things can be difficult. That’s why there are panniers designed specifically for bikes. Think of them as backpacks for your bike. They allow you to carry around your gear, groceries, and equipment while you focus on the road. Check out the best bike panniers on the market.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Bike Panniers
- Take the weight off you. These products allow you to add weight to your bike rather than you, helping to eliminate any strain or pressure.
- Don’t restrict your ride or vision. Quality panniers conveniently sit on a back panel, so they won’t restrict your vision or control, unlike baskets or saddlebags.
- It allows you to carry large volumes. If you use your bike as your main transportation, you’ll sometimes need to carry shopping, clothing, or other items. These products are designed for large volumes, so you can take your essentials with you.
Types of Bike Panniers
As the name suggests, a briefcase pannier is designed for carrying a laptop, making it ideal for the commuter. Some of the best products are designed so you don’t need a laptop sleeve. These types of panniers tend to be one of the thinnest designs, since they’re built with protection and durability in mind, as opposed to capacity and size. Many briefcase panniers detach from the bike easily and convert into a shoulder backpack for easy transportation while off your bike.
This type of pannier is the smallest and fits the front of your bike. Many of these products fit the front wheel, though they’re not designed for heavy loads. Alternatively, they connect to your handlebar similar to a bike basket, but with added protection and support. As front panniers are smaller than rear ones, you can avoid overloading your front wheel and straining your bike.
Rear panniers are the most popular panniers and feature two compartments so you can store items on both sides of your bike. You’ll need a rear rack to attach one to your bike panel. They have a capacity of around 20 liters and are designed for shopping trips. These have some of the best style panniers and come in a range of volumes with waterproof, durable features to protect your items. Most feature a roll-top closure, so you can conveniently access your belongings when you need them.
Banjo Brothers is based in the United States and was launched in 2003. The company prides itself on designing functional and affordable panniers. Their waterproof bags are great for bike commuters. One of their best products is the Banjo Brothers Waterproof Pannier, which features reflective accents to keep you safe on night rides, as well as convenient storage side pockets to itemize your groceries.
Hide & Drink
Hide & Drink produces high-quality, handmade bike products that come with a lifetime warranty. The brand uses luxury materials such as 100 percent leather for a stylish and long-lasting pannier, while attaining a beautiful appeal. Unlike other brands, Hide & Drink has a wide collection of panniers, ranging in colors, designs, and styles. One of our favorites is the Leather Frame Bag, which features a Velcro closure. This product is great for people on the go and features a roll-top closure.
Roswheel was founded in 2008 in the United States and sells an array of bike accessories. The company creates a range of bicycle accessories, including a plethora of quality panniers to choose from. Their Multifunction Bike Pannier is designed with an angled pocket to prevent your heel from hitting the bag while riding. The bag is easily detachable and can convert into a shoulder bag. Alternatively, the Water-Resistant Bicycle Pannier uses ultra-durable materials and is a great choice for long rides.
Bike Panniers Pricing
- Under $20: For this price range, you can expect a pannier within a volume of around 15 liters. These panniers are some of the simplest designs, featuring up to two storage compartments within the bag while remaining water-resistant. They’re not suitable for carrying bulky items, such as grocery shopping.
- Between $20 and $50: If you have this budget, you can purchase a durable pannier, designed with high-quality materials that don’t break, snap, or bend easily. The pannier can carry weights up to around 20 liters without adding any restrictions to your movement.
- $50 and up: For panniers over $50, you’re looking at leather products with a volume up to 35 liters. These panniers feature multiple compartments to help you locate your items, and they also attach and detach to your bike easily, thanks to the mounting system. Many panniers over $50 can convert to a backpack for versatility, too.
Opt for a capacity that’s suitable for your needs, as a larger, bulky pannier isn’t always the best choice. Take into consideration the weight of your bike and whether or not you can steer your bike with a full-capacity pannier. A heavy-duty bike can carry a heavier pannier than a lightweight bike with a thin frame.
Some of the most luxurious panniers convert into a backpack once removed from your bike. This is great if you intend on walking with a bag and not always biking everywhere. Consider if this versatility is essential to your routine, and if so, purchase a versatile design.
You ride your bike outside, so make sure your pannier is well-suited for weatherproofing. Look for the best panniers with waterproof materials such as high-density nylon and TPU film form a rain cover to protect your belongings. These materials are also easy to wipe clean after biking in muddy locations.
- Safety Features. If you use your bike at night, opt for a bag with safety features, such as reflective components. A reflective logo enables drivers to notice you in dark conditions. You may also wish to choose a bike bag with several attachment points to securely connect it to your bike without any risks of falling.
- Attachment Point. Some of the best bike bags feature multiple attachment systems that allow you to adjust the bag into a comfortable and safe position on your bike rack. This prevents the pannier from bouncing out, and it can be easily detached with a quick-release system. Most rear panniers require a bike rack.
- Suitable Compartments. Perhaps you’re looking for a pannier to store multiple items. If so, one with multiple compartments offers easy access to your belongings when you need them. There are many storage designs for your needs.
Best Bike Panniers Reviews & Recommendations 2020
We voted this as the best pannier to purchase due to its versatility to transform into a shoulder bag when transporting on food. The durable fabric and built-in magnets make this a long-lasting, durable purchase for business use.
The internal pocket can hold a 15-inch laptop, and you can also place stationery and a charger on the other side. Our favorite feature of this pannier is the waterproof design and lined interiors that keep your belongings protected and dry during a downpour.
Some factors to consider with this purchase is that the bags don’t separate and there aren’t multiple components within the bag to organize your belongings.
This Rhinowalk accessory is made of 100D polyester with a PVC layer on both sides, making the product waterproof and durable. It’s also an anti-tear, wear-resistant, and heat-resistant pannier to protect your items with its weatherproof quality.
This pannier can hold up to 25 liters and fully expands to hold more, without bulking out and limiting your space on footpaths. Its best feature is the adjustable nylon shoulder strap that allows you to effortlessly install and remove the pannier to convert into a shoulder bag while you’re not biking. This mounting system is ideal for the average cyclist.
However, Rhinowalk didn’t design compartments within this pannier, making it unsuitable if you wish to carry numerous small items.
This Ibera bag can carry up to 19.8 pounds, and features a smart quick release clip-on system so you can attach and detach bags within seconds, without the use of straps. Its convenient design features a top zippered pocket and two side pockets to hold small items and prevent overflowing.
This bike pannier attaches to your bike securely, thanks to the three-point connection system. This includes two hooks on the top and one clamp underneath to prevent the bag from falling off during your rides.
However, this product isn’t as durable as the others on this list, as it’s designed from a thin plastic. However, it’s still suitable for the average cyclist.
If you’re an avid cyclist and need a high-quality pannier to transfer your gear around, consider this one from BV. It’s a large pannier with plenty of storage space for books, laptops, gaming gear, workout equipment, or anything else you may need. Each side offers a large amount of storage space and is easily accessible both on and off the bike.
One of the best features of this pannier is its ability to be carried by hand. It can be simply lifted from its base and carried inside, increasing its versatility and functionality. You’ll also notice a bright, reflective trim along the side that reflects light when riding at night. This helps let others see you so you aren’t hit or injured by accident.
However, it may not be the most durable of bike panniers and won’t take a lot of punishment. Sharper items may leave holes in the material or scratch it. It also may not be the best for long trips through rain, as it isn’t waterproof.
This Roswheel convertible bike pannier is a durable and waterproof travel bag. It’s akin to a bag you may take to the gym full of workout clothes and equipment. The bag’s central compartment is large enough to hold 2.11 gallons (8 liters) and includes a handy shoulder strap to carry it to and from the bike.
It includes three pockets to store whatever you need for a trip or work. The two outer pockets allow plenty of space for smaller items and are easy to access. It’s designed with an inner waterproof liner to protect gear inside, while the outside features 300D water-resistant polyester and PU leather. Plus it features reflective logos that shine when light hits them.
The handle may not be all that durable and can rip at the seams. The zippers aren’t the strongest and may require a gentle hand to open and close as well. It also may not fit on all types of racks.
As the name suggests, this bike pannier is designed to be used for long journeys. If you’re planning a long ride across the country, this may be the pannier for you. It’s built with 1000D reinforced polyester with PU coating that’s water-resistant, which increases its durability, reliability, and quality.
When it comes to holding gear, it’s rated to carry around 10 gallons (37 liters) of items. It features three bags with various pockets to store goods inside. The bags are angled in such a manner that they won’t interfere with the pedals or your heels while you ride. Plus the bags include light reflectors so you can be seen riding at night.
Yet, like with a lot of other zippers, the ones included on this pannier may not be all that great. They feel weak and are only one-way zippers. You lose the option to unzip and zip both ways, which would make opening the bag a bit easier. And while it does offer water resistance, you’ll need to take care when riding in the rain, as water still can leak through.
Ortlieb’s pannier is built to stand out on your bike. It offers a different look and aesthetic while traveling and feels more like an adventure pannier. It’s developed out of a PVC-coated polyester fabric that not only makes it more reliable, but also reduces abrasions, tears, and rips in the bag itself.
The material is waterproof, so you can ride through the rain without fear of damaging anything inside. Another benefit of this bag is it’s easy to remove and simple to install. It includes a small carrying handle so you can transfer it from the bike to your workplace, the gym, and your home.
One problem you may encounter is with the screws on the back of the bag. They’re sharp and can cut your skin if you’re not careful. Another issue is they may be difficult to open but are rather easy to close.
The Bushwhacker bike panniers come as a set of two bags. They have a classic grocery bag appearance and make transferring groceries and other items a breeze. Each bag can hold one full bag of groceries, but you can also pack them with clothes or work items.
They each include a carrying handle so you can easily move them from the bike to the car, store, or your home. Another great benefit is both easily fold flat so you can store them away for when you need them another day. They’re one of the most versatile and accessible panniers on our list, but also one of the most expensive.
One of the biggest letdowns is their lack of a lid or a way to close them. Items you transfer are left open to the breeze and may blow out if you’re moving quickly. They also can feel quite flimsy and may bend or bow under a lot of weight.
Roswheel is back on our list with its Water-Resistant Bicycle Rear-Seat Carrier Bag. Right away you’ll notice the classic military-style design of these bags. They’re built out of ultra-durable materials and are best for long-distance cycling. They also look great and are multifunctional bags that can be set on the bike or carried around by hand.
They feature 12-ounce organic canvas that makes them rainproof and resistant to tears and rips. Each also includes side pockets where you can store small items inside, while the large central pouch can be used for groceries, clothes, and business-related items. The bag even includes straps so you can tie items to the top of it.
You may run into issues with the bag interfering with the spokes or wheels on certain bikes. The buckles and straps may not be the strongest, and it’s a heavy bag that can be a pain to attach and remove.
- Even if the pannier is water-resistant or waterproof, you may not want to leave it outside in the rain to avoid water seeping through the material to the gear inside.
- Make sure the pannier is securely attached to the bike rack before setting off. Check that the cables and connections are properly connected to prevent them from falling off.
- Make sure everything is firmly in the pouch before carrying or riding with the bag. They can fall out if they are not secured.
Q: Will a pannier protect what’s inside during a fall?
A: That is a difficult question to answer without knowing what is inside of the pannier. If there is enough padding in the bags, then everything should be ok during a light fall. However, if it’s a heavier impact, the bags may not be able to protect what’s inside. They are designed for carrying and hauling gear.
Q: Where should I keep a pannier when I’m not using it?
A: Make sure you store it somewhere out of the elements and where animals can’t get to it. Consider putting it someplace high or in a storage shed.
Q: How many pounds can a pannier hold?
A: This will depend on the brand and manufacturer. Typically, a pannier is capable of holding around 20 to 25 pounds. Any more can slow down the bike and cause it to be heavier on one side.
Q: Will a pannier fit on any bike?
A: Not necessarily. Your bike must have a basket either in the front or the rear in order to properly mount the pannier.
For a great and versatile double-storage pannier, consider the Timbuk2 Tandem Pannier.
Save some cash and check out the Rhinowalk Waterproof Bike Pannier for a sturdy and waterproof pannier.