MYOG Bicycle Panniers

We are off the Denmark for 11 weeks this (southern) winter with me carrying the bags.  My partner is working there but I plan to be off exploring as much as possible.  I have decided to take my bike as Denmark is very bike friendly and also rather expensive so camping is definitely on the cards.

I have a very average hard tail mountain bike but need panniers to make cycle touring feasible.  Looking around at panniers I decided to save money and try making them as I have various fabrics, tape, buckles etc lying around. In sorting though some ancient gear recently I discovered an old Karrimor Iberian pannier (80’s vintage), unfortunately one, not a pair and in poor condition.  I like the design of these panniers – not too big or too small for my minimalist needs (about 17-18 litres per pannier) with a decent sized single pocket on the rear. There is also a considerable cutaway to prevent heels clipping the panniers when riding.

Stuffing the old pannier with my sleeping and cooking gear I find that one pannier will easily hold my basic camping gear (quilt, Thermarest, pillow and cook set) with the tent strapped on top of the rack leaving the second pannier for clothes and food.

As I won’t be taking walking poles I have purchased poles for my tent. The problem with bikes and poles is that they need to be quite short or else they become a pain to pack.  I found Zpacks have carbon fibre poles which pack down to 30 cm in length to suit either my Zpacks Solplex if my partner decides not to camp or my SMD Haven if she will camp on the weekends – awaiting her decision.

I have unpicked the old pannier and now have a pattern for the new pair with a couple of minor modifications.  Once I have built the panniers I will provide a detailed pattern. In laying out the pattern on fabric I find they fit beautifully on 1 metre of 1.5 metre wide Dyneema X pack fabric I have been saving for a couple of years. The draw-cord throats will be cut from my supply of lightweight sil-nylon (1 metre x 40cm).  All I need to buy are some clips to attach the panniers to my rear rack and some reflective tape for visibility.

The pattern laid out on the fabric

The pattern laid out on the fabric

I went with Altura Twist Hook pannier clips (actually made by Rixen and Kaul) that I will bolt onto the panniers rather than use the optional mounting plate.  I like the way they clip securely to the rack so that the panniers cannot bounce off. I bought these from SJS Cycles ( costing about $40 delivered. I will use a hook and shock cord system to attach the bottom of the panniers to the frame. The reflective tape came from eBay for $4.95 delivered.


Pannier clips

Twist hook pannier clips

To stiffen the backs of the panniers I will use some 3mm plywood but will experiment with Corflute when I return from Denmark. I don’t want to have problems over there and I am unsure just how durable Corflute will be.

Materials List

  • Dyneema X fabric 1.5 metre width – 1 metre.  Many fabrics could be substituted here.  I think one of the X-Pac fabrics may be better.
  • Sil-nylon – 2 @ 1 metre x 20cm – 1.1 or 1.9oz
  • Nylon tape – 5 metres – I went with 20mm width but 25mm is fine
  • Quick release buckles – 5 –  to suit tape
  • D rings – 4 @ 12mm – lashing points for gear on rack
  • Light nylon tape – 12mm x 50cm – for D rings
  • Cord – 2.2 metres – draw cord in throats
  • Cord locks – 2 – to suit cord
  • Pannier clips – 2 pairs – Altura Twist Hook
  • Zips – 2 @ 30cm – no 3 coil
  • Reflective tape – 25mm @ 1 metre – I went with 3M 9810 silver sewn on tape

In the next post I will detail the construction.


About ozwalk

My interest is long distance walking in natural environments. I am returning to this after my middle years of family, full time work etc. As part of this is a quest to go lighter.
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