Product Review: Garment Pannier Classic 2.0
The awesome team at Two Wheel Gear sent me this product, the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 in Graphite, in exchange for my honest review. The good news? I got an early look at a very high-quality product. The bad news? I have to send it back now that I’ve run it through the ringer. (They are prepping for a big product launch.)
If you want the short version of a product review, I’ll tell you right away that this is an amazing product that is designed to do exactly what it sets out to do and is worth every penny for bicycle commuters. If you want the version where I end up coated in mud and hoping I didn’t destroy my laptop, read on.
To give a bit of context, I get a fair number of opportunities to review products on the blog, but I only seek out these opportunities if I think I could really use the product or it would provide value to readers of the blog. Such is the case with this Garment Pannier. As a part-time bicycle commuter who usually packs a change of clothes in a backpack and suffers sore shoulders as a result, I was really excited to give this bag a try.
What is a garment pannier? A pannier is anything carried around the hips, so in the case of a bike, a pannier refers to something attached to the back “hips” of the bike. “Garment” style luggage means a suit can be packed flat to avoid wrinkles. A garment pannier is a bag that opens flat, can store a suit laid out, folds in half, and slings across the back wheel of a bike (across the bike rack.)
Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 – Unboxing:
The box stood in the corner for a few days while I waited for the weather to clear. When it didn’t, I decided to take seriously the Two Wheel Gear request that I “test the bag hard.” (Links to their social media pages indicated on the box: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.)
It’s clear right away that this is piece is well made. There are no cheap zippers in sight, and the fabric and stitching are really solid. It feels like a real piece of luggage, which is handy since it is carry-on compliant.
Here is the underside of the garment pannier with universal Rixen & Kaul Vario mounting system (rack required to mount properly.) You can clip the sides together for carrying off-bike.
One thing I couldn’t wrap my mind around with this garment pannier is just how much room there is. Pockets, zippers, more pockets and zippers, plus a padded spot for your laptop.
Packing the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 –
As a woman who works in a professional setting and lives in Utah where weather can turn cold fast, I have a good sized pile of stuff I pack with me for a bike-commute. Pictured here you see a dress, shoes, a sweater, undergarments, full makeup bag, small purse, hair straightener, hairbrush, notepad with pen, Macbook laptop, flat repair gear, rain jacket, balaclava, eye protection, earbuds with charger, and gloves.
There is a hook for hangers with a solid snap strap to hold them in place. No clothes slipping down into a pile with this setup. I didn’t end up using the clothing security strap but only because I forgot.
I’ll admit, putting my laptop into an untested bag made me a little nervous.
I packed in all my work clothes plus laptop into the inside of the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 and zipped it shut.
The outside pockets got all the cold weather gear I would want to keep accessible, hair and makeup stuff, notepad, and purse.
Also in the outside pocket that sits at the fold of the bag, everything I need to repair a flat plus eye protection and earbuds.
Once packed, it functions just like any other garment bag. It weighed a good amount, but anytime I add my laptop to a trip the bag is going to be heavy. Normally I don’t schlep it back and forth, but for purposes of this test, I had to bring it. The yellow bag clipped to the outside is a rain cover that packs into itself so it’s always handy. If you aren’t worried about needing a rain cover, you can unclip it instead of carry it. Today… I needed it.
Today… I needed it.
Riding with the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 –
Finally, it was time to give this thing a test.
Here’s what my bike looks like without any bag attached. For the record, it’s a pretty small frame to go with my short little legs. Sigh… I love this bike. (And props to the local cycle shop Loyal Cycle Co. for helping me pick a good bike rack. Davis County Utah locals, check this place out.)
Getting the bag secured was really easy. I love how it looks. I expected the hooks to be complicated, but it just kind of clipped on without a lot of effort.
Even with all that stuff inside it doesn’t feel very bulky on the frame. It’s worth noting, I don’t have a rear fender. I kind of wish I did. I expected the bag to sit down against the bike rack, but it left a good two inches of space.
It was a really rainy, cold day, so the rain cover got a solid test. My first thought when I pulled it out was that this could double as a scuba suit. I was really confident my stuff would stay dry under this cover.
I love how nicely the cover fits and that it doubles as a visibility booster.
Off I went on a very cold ride. It may be only a few days into the fall season, but parts of Utah already have snow! Boy did it feel like it. Three miles in I stopped to check the bag and see how well it was holding up to the elements.
It’s worth noting that if you’ve never used a pannier before, it will feel very different than you’re used to. It reminded me of the time my mom drove a rear wheel drive station wagon. I had to be a little more aware of how I went into turns. Once I got my balance sorted out it was no problem, but the bike did respond differently with weight on the rear.
Also worth noting if you’ve never used a pannier is that your aerodynamics will suffer a little. You can feel the drag. That is a little annoying, admittedly, but it’s much less annoying than wearing a laptop on my back and getting sore shoulders.
Aside from the fact that my phone battery was being drained in the cold, I had no problems. There was a fair amount of mud and water making its way to the underside, but I expected that. I took the cover off to take another picture because it’s just such a pretty bag.
I put the cover back, and I continued on, now without a phone to take pictures and show you my dumb choices. My city is building a new high school not far from the bike path, so I decided to take the route that would give me a chance to see how construction is coming along.
Not only was the rain really starting to come down, but the road I chose was absolutely coated in sopping mud, dirt, and grit. I would never usually take my road bike where I might get pebbled to death, but alas, it was too late.
At least the bag would get a good test?
That’s about the time I remembered I put my laptop in this garment pannier and would be in really bad shape if it were coated in mud, rain, and rocks. With hope the bag would hold up, I got back to the non-construction-zone trail as soon as I could manage and rode home.
How did the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 survive the muck?
As soon as I arrived home I grabbed my husband to snap a few pics for me.
I wish this picture were clearer so you could tell just how muddy my legs were. My black leggings were about 50% brown flecks, and my bike frame was just demolished with grime. You’ll also notice I’m still rocking my Wind Blox from a few months ago. I have no intention of ever cycling without them again.
The rain cover on the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 is really very good. It was hard to remove it without getting water and mud everywhere, but I think the easy solution is to stuff a towel in the external zipper pouch and wipe the bag off before removal.
Remember how I mentioned earlier I don’t have a rear fender? Yeah, that would have been nice to have. The underside of the bag was pretty well coated, and it made me nervous for my laptop. I flopped it open and gave it a quick wipe down before opening.
I was amazed at how easily all that grime came off. The cleanup took less than a minute.
The final test. Did the contents stay dry and clean?
Yes! I opened the bag, and everything inside was bone dry and where I left it. The laptop sleeve kept my machine perfectly protected even in a bumpy, muddy construction zone with no fender. I’m writing this review from my dry laptop right this second.
Garment Pannier Classic 2.0, the final verdict –
If you commute by bicycle and care about what your clothes look like when you arrive, the Garment Pannier Classic 2.0 from Two Wheel Gear is a smart investment. I say investment because at $189 retail it’s not a small purchase. Cycling with a pannier will make your bike less aerodynamic and handle a little differently, but it’s easier to manage than a handlebar basket and can hold more weight.
This bag gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from me. If you are shopping for a bike commuter for Christmas, this bag would be an awesome gift.
Thanks again to Two Wheel Gear for sending this my way to share. Be sure to find them on social media where you’ll get to see their awesome commercials as well.