Review: Overboard Classic Pannier
Given that waterproof bike panniers usually adopt a similar roll-top closure, but just with pannier hooks and reflective detailing added, it seems logical that Overboard should also get into the bike luggage market. The Waterproof Classic Pannier is part of a wider range that includes rucksacks, phone cases and messenger bags. This is the first product I have owned from the Overboard brand, it appears to be a well designed bag for either the commuting or touring cyclist.
As with most waterproof bags, the Waterproof Classic Pannier is made from hard wearing and durable PVC coated tarpaulin, joined together with welded seams. The fabric means the bag is wipe clean, and will seal out any water and dirt from the bag's contents. The bag closes with a simple fold and clip system, which is quick and easy to use, and completes the fully waterproof seal.
The Classic pannier has a 17 litre carrying capacity, which should easily be enough for most daily commutes, and when combined with a second pannier, would be a good amount for a rear load when touring. 17 litres seems if anything a bit of an understatement, and this pannier will take that volume with ease; in fact, it carries loads better than many, because of its removable semi-rigid liner, which is held in place with Velcro and helps to hold the pannier's shape when it doesn't have a huge amount inside. It's a neat design, which I've found very useful when loading and drying the pannier, and avoids the PVC tarpaulin flopping around.
On the outside of the pannier, there are some neat features too. Reflective detailing and elasticated light loops on the front and rear provide added visibility (the pannier is also bright yellow!). D-rings on the outside of the pannier provide useful attachment points, and the waterproof zippered pocket is great for easy to reach items like your phone and keys.
If there is one thing that slightly lets down the Overboard pannier, it's the rack attachment system. The bag uses two simple hooks to affix it to the top rail of the rack, and then a lower clip to hold the bottom of the bag in towards the rack. The system is secure, and allows the pannier to be used on either side of the rack. The only slight problem, is that it's a little difficult to disengage from larger tubed racks, and if you have to do this several times on your daily commute, it might be a little tiresome. That said, for tourers, or those that leave their panniers on the bike for the majority of the time, there will be no issue with these mounts.
Overall, the Overboard Classic Pannier is a durable, well-designed and smart piece of bike luggage. Features like the internal rigid support, light loops and the waterproof outer pocket, have proven very useful when I've been testing this bag on my daily commute. The rack fixing system isn't quite as easy to use as some bags like Ortlieb, but they are still adequately functional and secure. A great way to safely transport kit in all weather.
View the Overboard Classic Pannier at Over-board.co.uk (Link)