Whether you bike to work or pedal cross-country, you’ll definitely need a bicycle cargo carrier to carry all your stuff.  Bicycle panniers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and easily attach to bicycle-mounted racks. Confused by so many choices? Read our bicycle pannier review below and see a comparison chart for our very own Maya Cycle bicycle trailers.  For a full list of your cargo carrying options, download FREE  ‘Your Bicycle Trailer & Cargo Carrier Buyers Guide.’

Need help choosing a bicycle rack? Read our Bike Racks or Bicycle Trailers | Bicycle Cargo Carrier blog post.

Things to consider when looking for bicycle panniers:

  • Weatherproof or water resistant?  There is a difference, weatherproof is just that, Dolphin Backwater and weather PROOF.  Water resistant does not protect your cargo from heavy rain, snow, salt, etc.
  • Size: How much cargo carrying space do you need?
  • Durability: What are you using your panniers for? Touring? Commuting? Materials and strength of each matter
  • Weight: Would you trade a more durable pannier for a little more weight?
  • Mount ing: Some panniers simply cross over the top of your rack and stay fairly sturdy, others clip to the rack for more security
  • Handlebars: Do you need them? They can make a pannier a lot easier to carry


Our Recommendations:

You ride: To work or to the local coffeehouse to check your email.

Bag it: Look for a commuter pannier, preferably one that’s waterproof or has a rain cover.

Commuter PannierCheck out: For toting a laptop and office accessories, look at Jandd’s Laptop Pannier w/Raincover, which includes a shoulder strap and rain cover. Need more space? Try the Novara Commuter Single Pannier. Recommended by Bicycling magazine, this bag has several roomy pockets with dividers and is large enough to carry a laptop, clothing or groceries. For a waterproof option, consider the Downtown Commuter Pannier from Ortliebwhich features three pockets for organization, enough room for a laptop and is available in four distinct colors. If wrinkled clothes cause a commuting conundrum, Nashbar’s Commuter Garment Pannier has enough space to carry clothing in a garment bag, wrinkle-free.


You ride: To run errands

Bag it: Seek out a grocery/shopping specific bag, which easily detaches from the bike to become the perfect tote. Look for a large main pocket and water resistant material.

Check out: Some commuter bags, like the Novara, double as grocery haulers. For a basic and inexpensive setup, look at the TransIT Grocery Bag Pannier, a simple rectangular bag with a shoulder strap, that holds a large paper grocery bag. Just don’t get caught in the rain! For more concealed transport, Racktime’s Buyit Shopping Pannier has an integrated handle, a large zippered compartment and resembles a stylish canvas tote. The tall design of the Ortlieb Bike Shopper is convenient for loading up groceries and its waterproof zipper keeps your grub dry. The addition of a shoulder strap makes it the perfect farmer’s market companion.


You ride: Long distance and prefer to sleep under the stars.Topeak Pannier

Bag it: You need touring panniers that are durable, protected from the elements and securely mount to your racks. Utilize front and rear racks, ensuring that the weight is balanced on both sides. Add or subtract bags based on the length of your trip.

Check out: For a durable solution to light touring, tryArkel’s T-28. For longer trips, add the T-42. The bags feature a large inner pocket and smaller ones for easy organization. Need a waterproof front and rear pannier? Try the Arkel Dolphin 32. For the long haul, check out Ortlieb’s Bike Packer Classics, a heavy duty rear pannier that’s waterproof and holds 40 liters of gear. If you want a more budget-minded bag, Axiom offers the Monsoon Aero DLX featuring waterproof polyester and a more aerodynamic bag shape. The pair holds 35 liters of gear.


Maya Cycle Bicycle Trailer Comparison Chart

Maya Cycle bicycle trailerMaya Cycle bicycle trailers can be used in combination with or without a bicycle rack and/or bicycle  panniers.  It easily attaches to your rear axle and stays out of the way of anything around the bicycle frame, including you.  See below a comparison chart for bicycle pannier and Maya Cycle trailer pros and cons.




  • Removable for easy packing, ride with or without
  • Weatherproof materials available
  • No need to buy a new bike, use your own
  • Not always secure-able to prevent theft
  • Weighs down your bicycle at the back tire causing more wear
  • Need to purchase and attach bike rack to use panniers
  • No flatbed for large heavy cargo
  • Heavy cargo on one side only can make for an uncomfortable bike ride


  • Detaches quickly and easily at the pivot point and/or at the axle
  • Secure-able to prevent theft
  • May be used with a rack/panniers
  • Provides a flatbed for larger and heavier cargo
  • Can be used as a wheelbarrow or support your bike with its kickstand
  • Doesn’t put pressure on bicycle tires
  • Unique design keeps center of gravity low
  • Must be aware of the attachment behind your bicycle
  • Heavy weight stacked high can affect rider
  • Must consider trailer when locking bike (bring extra lock or long cable lock)
  • Trailer has a third tire you must consider on long bike trips or tours


  • Used by commuting, touring, leisure cyclist
  • Perfect for urban environments
  • Ride your bike around sharp turns and corners as you would without one
  • Heavy cargo can affect the riders maneuverability