Review: POE's Biking Bags


Touted as high-performance and eco-friendly, Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s new line of bike bags include front and back fender panniers, under-the-seat cases, trunk bags, and other items that clip onto a bike’s frame and rack system. They are equipped with waterproof fabrics and roll-top closures. They have airtight welded seams, light-reflecting buckles, and reflective patches for added safety.

The company’s Randoneer Series, which includes bags for self-supported adventures, can facilitate a cycling vagabond — and his or her gear — for a multi-day bike trip across country. Pacific Outdoor’s One Less Car Series, another line of products, includes urban-styled panniers built for city bike commuters and people who hope to replace their dependency on an automobile for errands in their neighborhood and around town.

Pacific Outdoor Equipment Bike Bags.jpg

Set for the long hual: POE’s line of bike bags

As an eco bonus, all Pacific Outdoor Equipment ( bike products incorporate renewable and recycled fabrics. The plastic buckles use reclaimed material, and the company offsets the energy used in production and shipping with Green Tags to give its bike bag collection a carbon-neutral footprint, according to company press materials.

I tested Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s Rear Fender Panniers, which go for about $230 a pair. Like other bags in the Randoneer Series, they are equipped with a waterproof roll-top closure. A watertight zipper seals a small pocket on front.

Pacific Outdoor Equipment Panniers.jpg

Pacific Outdoor Equipment’s Rear Fender Panniers

The bags are made of welded waterproof nylon fabric. There are interior organizational pockets and straps inside to keep loads compressed toward your bike’s rack.

On the bike, the Rear Fender Panniers were a slick system. They are built with left- and right-side specific shapes to provide better heel clearance when you pedal. The interior space — which totals about 2,500 cubic inches for the pair — is ample for multi-day excursions.

Pacific Outdoor Equipment Urban Bike Bags.jpg

Commuter bags from Pacific Outdoor’s One Less Car Series

The panniers clipped onto my bike rack with no issue. Pacific Outdoor Equipment has made setup a tool-free experience, as there are sturdy plastic clips and a large hook below that allow you to slide and lock the bike bag into place.

Each pannier weighs about 2 pounds — a very reasonable weight. They ride well on the rack and can function to carry copious loads for long distances on the open road or commuting in a city with cargo in tow.

—Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at

Posted by Kyle - 08/25/2009 12:19 PM

I don’t get the concept of loading you bike with luggage. I am sure that these bags are great, but wouldn’t you rather carry a backpack? and the concept of pulling a trailer seems dangerous going downhill. My $.02 as a non-vagabond roadie.

Posted by dan - 08/26/2009 12:47 PM

actually backpacks get pretty heavy and uncomfortable on long rides. try it some time — the same weight on your back and then in a pannier. trust me, you won’t be wanting a backpack for that long.

Posted by rufus - 09/01/2009 10:30 AM

Disappointed with this review and other recent ones as well. Most info appears to come right off the manufacturer’s website; specifics in terms of real subjective appraisal now seem to be missing. How do these compare to Ortlieb’s, which are priced less and considered the de facto standard when it comes to waterproof panniers? Specifics on the type of mounting system: plain hooks/bungie, lock on system similar to Ortlieb/Arkel? Do they shift around under load/on non-smooth roads? C’mon, folks, give us the subjective opinions you did so well in the beginning. You’re starting to look like you’re trying to become all things to all people, and short-changing everyone in the process. And worse, just plain pandering to the manufacturers.

Posted by Stephen Regenold - 09/01/2009 11:03 AM

Rufus — I have not tested the Ortlieb panniers, so can’t compare the two. I agree that this review lacks a lot of the subjective appraisal, as you call it, that I offer in many reviews. Some gear items demand more personal review/appraisal than others. In my test with these bags, they worked great. They clipped onto the rack easily, sealed up tight, and were unnoticeable on the back. They hauled gear on a rack. . . I just didn’t have a ton more to say. (So that you don’t lose faith, here are some recent Gear Junkie reviews full of subjective appraisal you may want to check out: Fire Steel and K-Swiss Shoes )

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