For my 6 week bike trip down the Pacific Northwest Coast this summer, I needed to make sure that I had a waterproof way to store and carry my things. After riding for hours in the rain, nothing will really ruin your evening like unpacking your panniers to discover that your supposedly dry pair of pants is just as soaked as you are. For my trip I had the opportunity to check out Avenir’s RainCity Panniers.
- Capacity: size medium= 910 cubic inches, large= 1170 cubic inches
- Includes reflective light mounting tab and reflective strips on side of bags
- Roll top opening with single strap closure
- Includes carrying handle
- MSRP: $124.99
After 6 weeks of use, my panniers were still in great shape! No tears in the material, and most importantly, no leaks! They were waterproof throughout the entire trip, for the most part. Though I had no leaks, the bottom of the bag is made of a different material than the sides, and after hours of riding in the rain, that part did get a little saturated. However, I don’t fault Avenir for this- it was a LOT of rain. Only on 2 days of our entire trip did I have mildly damp panniers. Avenir also makes a seatbag and handlebar bag of the same material, and I’d have full confidence that those would be waterproof enough to stand up to the PNW elements as well. Overall the access in and out of the panniers was super easy, and I was thrilled to have the RainCity Panniers on the front of my bike, where I kept things that I’d need easy access to throughout the day.
- Easy to get in and out of frequently, since the closing system is a single strap. Good for things you need to access a lot.
- The panniers come with an inner foam piece that adds a little structural integrity to them, especially when you don’t have the bags totally full. They’ll keep their shape whether you’ve got a single snack bar or a full cookset plus food inside them.
- Color selection. Most other panniers come in bright reds, oranges and yellows, plus reflective tabs for even more visibility. While the Avenir panniers are black and silver, and the silver is reflective, this doesn’t add visibility for daylight hours. Anything to alert motorists to my presence earlier is a bonus, and color would have done that.
- Attachment system is cumbersome, especially if you are taking the bags on and off quite frequently. While the top attachment point is great, the back of the bag has an elastic bungee that circles around your rack to re-attach to a fabric clip on the bag. Thank goodness I had small hands, or it never would have made it on the bike. Lots of wiggling around to make it work.
A well constructed pannier that could use a little more color. It’s ease of access makes it perfect for a daily commuter bag.