Banjo Brothers Waterproof Pannier
Last summer I fell in love with overnight camping trips on the local rail-trail system and decided it was time to purchase some waterproof panniers for the travels. Not as easy as it seems, there aren’t terribly many economical choices for simple, waterproof bags suitable for light touring and commuting duties. Banjo Brothers markets their Waterproof Pannier as a commuting and grocery getting bag, and warned me that it may not be the best at touring duties and to expect what you will from a $40 bag.
The bags are simple – waterproof inner, nylon outer. Roll top closure makes a watertight seal when buckled down. I don’t really need pockets on panniers, just a big waterproof bucket and thats exactly what this is. Simple, with reflective piping to keep things safe. Want to roll with some brews on ice? The sealed seams of the waterproof liner work both ways.
Banjo Brothers is dead wrong about not being up to touring duty. These are bombproof, albeit with a few flaws that I’ve been able to work around. But first, the bombproof. Panniers are bound to brush the ground, as loaded bikes are likely to topple over when standing still. Much like the loaded person, loaded bikes just want to lay down when they’ve stopped moving. The denier nylon outer shell looks good as new after kissing the ground plenty of times. Nary a snag. And beyond my use, these bags went on loan for a few weeks of touring in South America under Erok, friend and Urban Velo contributor, and show no signs of wear from the trip.
The simplicity of these bags is their overall strength, but also highlights their few flaws. The mounting system of a pair of hooks up top and an elastic band to the bottom hook works well for easy on, easy off duty around town, and would be easy to hack together mid-tour if need be, but I’ve experienced them popping off over rough terrain when loaded with supplies. I’ve found that wrapping the buckle around the rack keeps it securely attached, but wish the strap on the buckle was longer to facilitate this easier and also to make it easier to overload the bags when needed. It’s easy to overload these bags to the point of the roll-top not sealing perfectly, as shown. It would be nice if the roll top was just a bit longer, but that could be a never ending exercise. Unfortunately, the hooks on the top of the bag are incompatible with some of the fatter tubed racks on the market. Maybe with some pliers they’d fit, but I have not tried. For total commuter use, it would be killer if the bags snapped together for easier carrying, but this is a review not a list for Santa.
After significant use, these bags are going strong where others have shown wear. Money well spent, as I think I’ll get many more overnight trips out of these before they give up the ghost. Now to purchase another pair for multiple day tours…