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.
As an eco bonus, all Pacific Outdoor Equipment (www.pacoutdoor.com) 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.
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.
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 www.gearjunkie.com.