- Hauling things on a bicycle? What you need is a container that attaches to a bike, called a pannier.
- High-quality bike panniers have enough room to fit everything you need on your trip, are easy to attach and remove, and they are built to last.
- The Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic Panniers are our top pick because they’re incredibly waterproof, can fit 20 liters of gear in each bag, and are backed by REI’s limited lifetime warranty.
When deciding whether to drive or bike as you run errands, commute to work or school, or even take a weekend jaunt, the decision often comes down to how much stuff you’ll want to carry. Without good bike panniers, you’ll likely decide to just hop in your car. It’s scenarios like this that make panniers, also called bike bags, a must for living a green lifestyle.
When shopping for a bike pannier, it’s important to have a budget in mind and to consider what features you want. For example, you can save some money buying water-resistant panniers instead of waterproof if you live in an area where it rarely rains or if you just don’t bike in the rain. Water-resistant panniers can keep your contents dry if they are lightly splashed with water. Waterproof bags can typically handle torrential downpours without soaking your stuff.
Panniers are typically sold in pairs so you can mount one on each side of your rear rack. However, there are some brands that sell single bags. If you want two panniers, make sure the product description specifically states that you get two with your purchase. Or, if you want to save money and only need one, look for models that are sold individually.
Lastly, a rear bike rack is necessary for attaching panniers. Most panniers will work with just about any rear rack. But, we recommend checking out the Ibera PakRak Touring Carrier Plus+ Rack.
While researching the best bike panniers, we examined hundreds of expert and buyer reviews and ratings of dozens of brands. Our guide features panniers that have a track record of performance, durability, and utility.
Here are the best bike panniers you can buy in 2019:
- Best bike pannier overall: Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic Panniers
- Best affordable bike pannier: Roswheel 14892 3 in 1 Multifunction Bicycle Expedition Touring Cam Pannier
- Best affordable waterproof bike pannier: Ibera PakRak Clip-On Quick-Release All Weather Bike Panniers
- Best for groceries: Bushwhacker Omaha Bicycle Grocery Pannier
- Best eco-friendly bike pannier: Green Guru Gear Dutchy Bike Pannier Bag
Updated on 09/03/2019 by Les Shu: Updated links, formatting, and prices. Added related buying guides.
The best overall
The Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic Panniers can handle anything the weather throws at them and are easy to mount and remove from any rack style.
The PVC-coated polyester of the Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic Panniers is designed to stand up to the elements. And, thanks to the roll-top closure, it’s nearly impossible for moisture to sneak in. The bags come as a pair and measure 16.5 inches by 12.6 inches by 6.7 inches. Together, they hold an impressive 40 liters of gear.
These panniers use Ortlieb’s proprietary QL2.1 mounting system for a very secure hook-and-latch mount to your rear rack. This makes it easy for you to attach your panniers and remove them quickly, yet provides a strong hold. The bags also have inner pockets for your smaller belongings and shoulder carrying straps. Lastly, Ortlieb also offers a level of safety by adding large reflectors to the sides of the panniers.
Several expert sites recommend the Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic Panniers. Outdoor Gear Lab gave it their Editors’ Choice Award because it performed consistently across many long, demanding rides. The reviewer appreciated the “bombproof” construction and effective waterproofing. The only negative he noted is that there are no outer pockets. Dave’s Travel Pages recommends the bag because it leaves contents nice and dry after cycling in torrential rain. The reviewer was also impressed with the mounting system.
The majority of the buyers who reviewed the Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic Panniers on REI.com gave it 5 stars. One customer rode more than 6,000 miles with these bags, on three bikes. He appreciated that his items remain dry in the bag no matter the weather, and never had issues with the panniers coming loose.
There are a couple of complaints about the clips on the mounting system busting after limited use, but these reviews were posted three years ago, and it appears Ortlieb has addressed this. REI also offers a one-year 100% satisfaction guarantee and an excellent limited lifetime warranty.
Pros: Exceptionally weatherproof, large 40L capacity, quick mounting system, backed by REI’s limited lifetime warranty
Cons: Expensive, no outer pockets
The best affordable pannier
The Roswheel 14892 3-in-1 Multifunction Bicycle Expedition Touring Cam Pannier provides you with plenty of space to carry your things without breaking the bank.
With the Roswheel 14892 3-in-1 Multifunction Bicycle Expedition Touring Cam Pannier, you are essentially getting three bags for the price of one. There are two side bags (12 inches long, 12 inches deep, and 5 inches wide) and a top bag (14 inches wide, 12 inches long, and 5 inches deep) connecting them, for an impressive 37 liters of volume. The bags are made of 1000D reinforced polyester with a water-resistant polyurethane coating. You can keep your gear organized with the many compartments, and the angled design keeps you from hitting your heels while cycling.
Tactical Gears Lab recommends the Roswheel 14892 Pannier because it was waterproof, durable, and solid in their tests (the manufacturer does not claim it’s waterproof). The reviewer also noted that thanks to the large reflective handles and logos, the bag was easily visible in low light. However, he found the zippers to be weak. Stats Pros, C Top Reviews, and Ezvid Wiki also recommend this pannier.
The Roswheel 14892 Pannier has garnered 5-star reviews from around 64% of the buyers who rated it on Amazon. Riders are impressed with how well a pannier in this price range works for commutes. One reviewer found it can handle light splashing, but it’s definitely not waterproof: wet pavements or downpours will drench your contents. Some commenters appreciate that there are so many pockets, while others wish there were fewer pockets and larger main storage compartments.
Pros: Affordable, has plenty of pockets, durable and large enough for touring, reflective elements
Cons: Isn’t waterproof, no taillight hanger
The best affordable waterproof pannier
Whether touring or commuting, the Ibera PakRak Clip-On Quick-Release All Weather Bike Panniers provide waterproof protection of your items at an affordable price.
The Ibera PakRak Clip-On Quick-Release All Weather Bike Panniers are different from the other bags on our list because they come with rain covers that ensure your gear stays dry. Made of water-resistant 1680D nylon, the panniers come as a pair – each holding up to 15 liters and 20 pounds of content. And, they rely on a three-point quick release and clip-on system for secure attachment. Each bag has a top zippered pocket, two large inside pockets, and a drawstring pouch to keep items organized.
Average Joe Cyclist recommends the Ibera PakRak All-Weather Bike Panniers because the reviewer found they were easy to attach and remove. He also noted that the bags kept their contents dry in nasty weather. And, he was impressed with the appearance and the many compartments. The site recommends the panniers for both touring and commuting. Rydoze, Runner Click, and The Elite Product also recommend this model.
The Ibera PakRak All-Weather Bike Panniers has more than 200 positive reviews on Amazon. Buyers appreciate how spacious the bags are and that the rain covers do a good job of protecting gear from the elements. One reviewer used these panniers on a five-day tour and was impressed with its ability to hold all of his stuff, including a sleeping bag, hammock, and cooking equipment; even after a night of driving rain, the contents were dry.
Another commenter was disappointed that the zipper broke after two months of use, but the vendor-provided him with a full refund.
Pros: Waterproof, 30L of storage, easy to attach and remove, attractive design, excellent customer service, reflective trim
Cons: Some concerns about durability
The best pannier for groceries
With the Bushwhacker Omaha Bicycle Grocery Pannier, you’ll have room on your bike for all of the items on your shopping list.
When most people are heading to the market in an SUV or minivan, it’s sometimes hard to imagine going grocery shopping on a bicycle. But, products like the Bushwhacker Omaha Bicycle Grocery Pannier make this task easier without forcing you to buy only what will fit. These panniers come as a pair; each is 14 inches long, 9 inches wide, and 11.5 inches deep so you’ll have plenty of room.
The panniers attach to the top of your rear rack with two metal cooks. An S-hook and bungee are used to attach to the bike frame or bottom of the rack for added security. When not in use, you simply fold the panniers up.
There are relatively few expert reviews of the Bushwhacker Omaha Bicycle Grocery Pannier. However, BMX Online recommends this product as the best grocery pannier for your bike. The reviewer appreciated how spacious the baskets are and that they could accommodate full-sized paper grocery bags. He also pointed out that installation was effortless, and when the panniers are not in use, they fold up for a sleek look.
Approximately 84% of the people who reviewed the Bushwhacker Omaha Bicycle Grocery Pannier on Amazon gave it a positive rating. The most common positive from buyers is that the panniers hold a lot of groceries. One commenter fit six 2-liter bottles into a single side. Another found each could hold full grocery bags. On the downside, there are reports that the panniers bow when loaded up with heavy items. And, there are some complaints about how you can’t easily use them as grocery bags because of the protruding hooks, and there’s only one handle.
Pros: Folds flat when not in use, can hold full paper grocery bags, easy to install
Cons: Hard to use as a standalone grocery bag
The best eco-friendly pannier
The Green Guru Gear Dutchy Bike Pannier Bag is made from upcycled materials, is easy to install, and holds up to 22 liters of gear.
What sets the Green Guru Gear Dutchy Bike Pannier Bag apart from other panniers is that it’s made of upcycled truck tarps, banners, and billboards. This is great because many of us ride bicycles to do our part for the environment. The downside is that no two bags are alike. The look of your bag is based on whatever upcycled material is used. However, the bag performs well. It’s weather-resistant and can hold 22 liters of stuff. And, the reflective webbing light loops will help you remain visible.
Outdoor Gear Lab recommends the Green Guru Gear Dutchy because it’s excellent for when you’re riding around town running errands. The reviewer found the pannier to be incredibly easy to use and install. It also felt comfortable to sling over his shoulder. However, he does note that it isn’t ideal for long, wet rides that require greater resilience. Men’s Journal recommends this pannier because it’s easy to attach and remove, fits groceries or a gym bag, and is weatherproof.
Out of the 38 Amazon reviewers, 36 gave the Green Guru Gear Dutchy 4 or 5 stars. One likes the pannier because it can hold a significant amount of groceries, including 22 pieces of produce, a bag of rice, and three 16-ounce cans. That customer also likes how visible it is and that it rides low enough to still use the rack for carrying a bag of cat food. Others like how the bag folds up easily and has hard sides and a base to protect its contents. There is one complaint about the banner material tearing, but that appears to be an outlier.
Pros: Made from upcycled materials, holds 22 liters, easy to install, has reflective elements, reinforced sides
Cons: Not waterproof, you don’t know exactly what design or colors you are getting
Check out our other bicycling guides
- Brooklyn Bicycle Company
Biking to work is not only a great way to save money, but it’s a great exercise and environmentally friendly. But not all commutes are the same, and you may be restricted to a certain budget. Whatever your needs are, here are some of the best commuter bikes to consider:
- Best commuter bike overall: Brooklyn Bicycle Co. Franklin 3
- Best high-end commuter bike: Co-op Cycles CTY 2.1 Bike
- Best bike for longer commutes: Mongoose Men’s Elroy Adventure Bike 700C Wheel Bicycle
- Best commuter bike under $200: Schwinn Wayfarer Hybrid Bike
- Best full-featured commuter bike: State Bicycle Deluxe 3 Speed City Bike
Whether you’re biking to work on a smooth road or racing downhill, you need a helmet to protect your head. You can’t predict or prevent accidents, so make sure you’re properly protected with a quality helmet. Here are the best you can buy:
- Best bike helmet overall: POC Octal X SPIN
- Best budget bike helmet: Bern FL1 Trail
- Best high-end bike helmet: Giro Aether MIPS
- Best portable bike helmet for bike-share: Priority Bicycles Stack
- Best bike helmet for commuters: Lumos Kickstart
You’ve spent a good amount for your bicycle, so make sure it’s secured with a good lock that deters thieves from attempting to seal your ride. Here are some locks to look at:
- Best bike lock overall: Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Mini Bicycle U-Lock
- Best bike lock on a budget: Titanker Bike Lock Cable
- Best standard-size U-lock bike lock: Kryptonite New York Standard Bicycle U-Lock
- Best U-lock/cable bike lock combo: Kryptonite Kryptolok Standard Bicycle U-Lock w/ 4-foot Flex Cable