Review: Arkel Orca 25 Front Panniers

Arkel Orca 25 Panniers
For my 'Coasts and Cols' Tour next month, I'm opting for a luggage combination of front panniers, a handlebar bag, and a bikepacking seat pack; it should provide a good balanced set-up for the mountains. I spent a long time searching for the best front panniers to do the job, and finally settled on the new Arkel ORCA 25 pannier set.

A quick read of my previous reviews of Arkel Bike Bags, will tell you that this is kit of the highest quality. Designed in Canada, and proven the world over; it is a superb bike luggage collection - I use the Arkel Tailrider Trunk Bag and Randonneur Rear Rack on a daily basis, for my commute.

The new ORCA 25 panniers are the brand's new fully waterproof roll-top panniers. They could be used on a front or rear rack, but their small size makes them ideal for use as front panniers in particular.


Fully waterproof panniers

The ORCA 25 panniers are a fully waterproof design, with a roll-top closure and welded waterproof seams. This is by far my preferred pannier design; it is simple, but effective; giving you peace of mind that your kit is safely housed and dry, whatever the weather.
Arkel Orca 25 Panniers
The roll-top closure design and welded seams on the Arkel ORCA 25 panniers, provides peace of mind for dry kit


Secure rack mounting

The Arkel Orca 25 panniers mount using Arkel's patented Cam-Lock® mounting system. This is the same as on the Arkel Dolphin 48 Rear Panniers, which I have previously tested and reviewed on the blog. The system is super robust, and super secure; despite being relatively simple in its design. I have never managed to dislodge one of these panniers from the rack rail, to date.
Arkel Orca 25 Panniers
The Arkel Orca 25 Panniers use the brand's patented Cam-Lock system. It is super reliable, and super secure.


Added extras

Despite being relatively stripped-back and simple in their design, the Arkel Orca 25 Panniers have a few noteworthy features that demonstrate some quality product development from the Canadian brand.

For starters, there are reflective detailing and light clips; to help improve visibility. Then, there are D-rings on either side; to enable carrying with a shoulder strap. Finally, there are internal pockets for maps and small items, as well as an external waterproof zippered pocket for tools etc. It is little details like this that make a bag, and something I've always been impressed with on Arkel products.

Another noteworthy feature, is the internal removable support cradles. These plastic cradles give the bags extra structure, making them easier to load; while also protecting the contents from sharp objects. They can be easily removed though; to lighten the load, when weight saving is required.
Arkel Orca 25 Panniers
These little zipper pockets on the side of the Orca 25 panniers are ideal for small items like tools


Overall

Overall, the Arkel Orca 25 Pannier Set is another fantastic luggage option from the Arkel brand. It is smart, simple, reliable and well designed. There isn't any unnecessary bulk, or too many bells-and-whistles; but rather this is a functional and faultless bag set; still with a few neat added extras.

Incredibly well made; I am sure the Orca 25 panniers will see plenty of touring action over the coming months and years.


Read my other Arkel Reviews here (Link)

View the Arkel range at arkel-od.com (Link)

Arkel Orca 25 Panniers
Smart metal hooks lock firmly onto the pannier rack rails. A real quality detail in the Arkel Orca 25 panniers

Arkel Orca 25 Panniers
The Arkel Cam-Lock system is simple, but very effective at securing the panniers to the rack

Arkel Orca 25 Panniers
The Arkel Orca 25 Panniers promise to be a reliable and long lasting luggage option for bike touring


Comments

  1. Nice review. I just plopped a pair of Orca 45's on my bike and they seem ridiculously well built. I had to get a b-series retrofit for the clamps but that system is what I'm used to FWIW. I hope your trip is the most fun!

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