Many people love the idea of having soft panniers but still having some form to them… Semi-hard panniers.
Naz always had cut down jerry cans in hers when she was travelling. They had rope handles
and one side was the kitchen which she could simply lift out at camp. This idea works well for our Big Fella Panniers. You can get 20L plastic jerry cans cheaply then you simply cut the tops off, drill or burn holes for handles and attach rope handles.
For smaller panniers such as our standard size motorcycle panniers or small saddlebags another idea is to construct boxes from coreflute sheets. The sides can either be taped or you can use the angle joiners that are used for sheeting in bathrooms (see the picture in the gallery).
These panniers were developed with an initial enquiry via email about a set of Big Fella panniers without straps. Over a number of emails a design evolved that allowed a sheet of ply to slip inside the back of the panniers and a sheet of pvc on the outside. Mounted to these are the fittings of a quick mount system as many have on hard panniers.
The flap was shaped differently to cover the rolldown more than our standard panniers and there is a pocket inside the front for a piece of corflute for stiffening.
This last week has been custom and new product week. Often a custom order turns into a new product that I have been considering for a while. One I have finished today is the second set of our new Big Fella Panniers. This set has pockets for water bottle on the back of each and has one side narrower than the other. They also called for a longer throw-over strap which I will keep in future sets. It will now cover a 600mm distance between bags. The finalised template for these large 25 – 35 litre panniers is now done, which mean it won’t feel like reinventing the wheel every time.
Our adventure bike panniers have been designed as throw-overs that should fit almost any adventure bike or road bike. They are very adjustable with hook and loop tape on strong webbing that can go over or under the seat. There are also tabs at the rear base that can attach to various spots via straps or zip-ties and a loop on the end of the front buckle straps that could have a strap ran through it.
So far we have sold them to a KLR owner (with custom pockets) and a KTM690 rider. Both are very happy with the fit and adjust-ability.
The panniers are suitable for adventure bikes as they are made from 11oz ripstop canvas with a water resistance rating of >200 mbar. We both use them and have never had anything wet inside. This is probably due to the roll-down top (sealed with hook and loop tape) and flap over the top.
The standard panniers are about an 18L capacity.
*Note: The newer and specific adventure bike panniers called the Big Fellas have different features such as molle webbing front and back to hold pouches or water bottle holders. They are also now 20 – 35L capacity and made from 18oz ripstop.