Rucksack or panniers.. whats best?

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  • Rucksack or panniers.. whats best?
  • Premier Icon scotroutes

    For 5 miles it will make no difference. If carrying a laptop I much prefer a rucksack


    Its more like gym and shower kit.

    Also needs to be very waterproof.


    Panniers are best. You will get a sweaty back if you wear a rucksack, even though it’s not a long commute.


    Thats true I get a sweaty back now and its only 2.5 miles !!

    Do panniers make a bike handle funny?

    Premier Icon bigblackshed

    If it’s gym and shower kit then a messenger bag. I tried panniers when I was coumuting and could never get on with the weight on the bike. It was better for less sweaty back, but for 5 miles, not that much in it.

    If you do use panniers then you’ll need ones that detach to take your kit in to the gym.

    I used a messenger bag for 10+ years, by far the most comfortable for me.


    I used to have a 5 mile commute, tried both and preferred the load on my back rather than on the bike. It’s a personal thing and you need to try it for yourself. If you want really waterproof, Ortlieb panniers or I have their messenger bag (it’s a rucsack). I sweat anyway, so a sweaty back was no issue.
    I liked having my bike feel like my bike and gym kit won’t feel much different to a Camelbak with enough water for a long day.

    Premier Icon transporter13

    I prefer panniers now. Once you get used to using them, you hardly notice the difference other than for tight spaces if carrying a lot of kit. I’ve always carried with a bag on my back until last year but won’t go back now.
    Panniers also have the advantage of being able to pick up the after work 6pack


    any recommendations on panniers to look at?

    or rucksacks


    Depending on how much kit you are carrying, I’d go far a bar bag system with a dry bag on it.


    Im moving in August and will be commuting 5 miles each way(I know its not a great distance)

    I sometimes have to take a fair bit of kit to work with me so was wondering what would be best?

    I would need to buy either a decent pack or panniers and a rack.

    Thoughts please.



    Rock Wallaby

    I went neither, and purchased a carradice saddle bag like this one. Best of both worlds, no pack on back, no panniers (and racks) on the side.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    Definitely consider one of the Carradice or similar big saddlebags – no sweaty back, less effect on the bike than panniers. Though cotton duck often feels damp when it hasn’t actually leaked.

    fwiw, I picked up some Avenir panniers off eBay about 3 years ago – Ortlieb rolltop waterproof copies. Have never leaked in all that time in some awful weather, less than a third of the price.


    I mix it up. Pannier briefcase for commuter fixed wheel (although it is lightened without rack at the moment) and rucksack for road bike. Over five miles, it comes down to whether you will change or not. I’d take it slow, with pannier, unclip my briefcase and stroll in. For longer/faster rides, I like rucksack.

    The difference in weight for me is 2 kilos

    Premier Icon richmars

    Panniers for my 12 mile each way commute, if I need the laptop, that’s in a rucksack, but only a few days a month.

    Lomo do a couple of waterproof rucksacks at very reasonable prices. Panniers are good for stopping sweaty back and as said above good for picking up heavy extras on the way home.
    I had Panniers on my SS commuter and was perfect for the office, but since starting uni it’s not practical walking around with a pannier all day so I take a rucksack.


    All options here:

    Caradice stuffed with tool roll, lock & sonetimes waterproof stuff

    Timbuk2 bag for other day to day stuff.

    Rack for carrying bigger stuff home, e.g. small shopping load or if parcel stuff delivered to work to save trip to p.o.

    Thinkng of ditching the rack tho.

    Premier Icon giantjason

    I use panniers for my 12 mile commute each way every day. I use ortlieb panniers and they have been brilliant. I have a dedicated laptop bag for days when I need to carry it. So much better than a rucksack and I would never go back.

    Premier Icon cliffyc

    Prefer a rucksack,with a vented back, as I’m not a rack user. I find not having to take stuff out of a pannier at destination speeds up the job… .

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    My standard recommendation is one of these:

    Takes a laptop as long as it’s not a big one, 16L of space, waterproof, unclips in 2 seconds, when you’re not using it, you’ve just got a plastic block on the seatpost rather than a whole rack.

    Love mine, 2 friends who’ve bought them because of mine love theirs too.

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    And it keeps your back and bum dry if you get caught in the rain without guards – there’s a plastic strip underneath the bag to protect the fabric and help the road muck slick off.


    panniers any day, even for “only” 5 miles.


    I have a similar commute and have tried a selection of backpack courier style packs. But I moved to a pannier and haven’t looked back. The rear mounted rack also acts as a mud guard and while not 100% effective has been very good. It does add some weight to the bike, but I’d rather have it there than on my back.

    I have been using Altura panniers but they are starting to show their age after 3 or so years, the waterproofing is almost all gone.

    Premier Icon curiousyellow

    I used to take the following to work in an Osprey backpack:

    – Laptop, plus charger.
    – A 4 notebook.
    – Change of clothes (including shoes).
    – Gym kit (minus shoes)
    – Towel

    Never contemplated panniers. Unless I had a dedicated commuting bike.


    I do 10 – 20 miles each way and I am using a rucsack. I don’t mind it. Used to use a carridice seatbag and that was good too.


    I typically go panniers, for the reasons given above but also the flexibility. Fill a rucksack with your daily clothes and your maxed out, panniers typically have more space. Add in the fact you have a rack and it allows you to add chores such as shopping to your commute, or bring home parcels delivered to work etc.

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