Wednesday, 23 June 2010

I'm a packhorse, sometimes. A review of my panniers.

From Panniers and Such
Regrettably I often have to cart my laptop and all manner of other things around on my cycling perambulations. To do that, I use two Altura panniers with which I am pretty happy. But as is the way, I'm always interested to hear what the options are.

Photos with review comments are here

The first is the Altura Urban Dryline. That is about 3 years old, and it has ceased being dry for the last 18 months or so. Sure, it keeps light rain off (what wouldn't?) but in a downpour it will get wet from the bottom up. May not help that I don't use mudguards, but the chief cause is the abrasive London dirt. The only ones that might be more waterproof are the Ortlieb, and at twice the price I can't see that being value , unless they can do more than 3 years. From what I've heard and seen, that would be a lot even for them. So, I carry plastic bags into which things get stuffed if they need to.

The other is the Altura laptop bag. My one doesn't have a "dryline" (huzzah!) instead, it has a plastic cover which makes the whole thing waterproof. The storage facilities (pockets) on it are brilliant, especially the outside pocket. Why do so few bags have them? I suppose its because they would affect the waterproofing.

Given the life they have (the rack can attest to that), I am very impressed with the way they have held out.

In short I would definitely buy both again.


  1. I've got ortliebs that I love that are about a year old, noting that I don't use them in winter, opting instead for a big ugly plastic tub.

    Bone dry in the heaviest of rain so far... we shall see how they wear.

  2. Not knocking Ortliebs, just not convinced they will stand up 4 x better under the duress of London muck (the real London ;-) ) When I arrive home after a good ducking and let the bags dry, there is a brushable thick coating of dirt that seems to age everything. Also, their fixings appear suspect like this, at least for their cost.

    Also, if they really worked, I think I'd see more on my fellow commuters, especially the winter hardies, but maybe not. It's an expensive gamble.

  3. I don't think Altura sells in the US. Are they available in Canada?

    Regardless, the photo series explains a lot. Since two experts have already commented on this, with my Topeak rack, is there ANY advantage to Topeak panniers over the alternate brand of my choice?

  4. Perhaps I'll visit REI with my membership rebate check burning my hot hand...

  5. "is there ANY advantage to Topeak panniers over the alternate brand of my choice?" No. That's an easy one. Good fixing mechanism is what you need, then they are universal. (I think my rack is Topeak, too)

  6. I've never seen Alturas here in Canada. So far so good on the "grippers" on my Ortliebs too. If they started falling out that will drive me nuts and I'll have to try some of the hacks you guys wrote about...


Your thoughts are welcome