Font size: +

Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers

Ortlieb Classic Panniers

The Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers are a popular choice among bicycle tourists. These panniers are designed specifically for bicycle touring and bicycle commuting and are manufactured by Ortlieb, a German-based company that has been producing waterproof bags for over 35 years. The company was founded in 1982 by Hartmut Ortlieb, who was frustrated with the lack of waterproof bags available on the market at the time. Today, Ortlieb is a well-respected brand in the cycling community, known for its durable and waterproof bags that are ideal for bicycle touring, bikepacking, commuting, and other outdoor activities.

I myself have used the Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers for approximately 10 years and find them to be an excellent choice for bicycle touring. It is the robustness of these bags that impresses me - they just take everything you, your journey, and the weather throw at them. And they are not just there to carry my kit - I use the open top of the bags to sit on when the ground is wet, wipe them down and prep food on them, and use them as a table to eat from. It is their fairly rigid style of them that allows this. The downside is they are bulky and heavy, but for me that doesn't matter, if I'm touring, I'm generally not in a rush. Cost is the other factor - they are in the more expensive category, however, I wouldn't be surprised if they outlive me! Like any item of equipment, it has to work for your needs. Work out your needs and compare products to get the best fit.


Ortlieb Classic Panniers Rear View


Let's take a look at the technical specs:


The Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers are made of durable and waterproof PVC-coated polyester fabric. This material ensures that your gear stays dry even in the wettest weather conditions. The panniers feature a roll-top closure system that allows you to adjust the size of the bags depending on the amount of gear you need to carry. They are also equipped with reflective detailing for increased visibility in low-light conditions.

Build Quality

The Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers are made of a durable, abrasion-resistant polyester fabric that is coated with a PVC material. This combination of materials provides excellent protection against water, dust, and dirt, making them suitable for any weather conditions. The bags are also designed to withstand wear and tear, ensuring they will last for years of use.

Storage Capacity

Ortlieb Classic Panniers - Inside View

The panniers offer a spacious main compartment with a roll-top closure that allows you to adjust the volume of the bag based on your needs. The bags have a combined volume of 40 litres, which is sufficient for carrying all your essential gear on a multi-day bike tour. The large opening and wide mouth make it easy to pack and access your belongings. Inside there are a couple of smaller compartments for your smaller (perhaps loose) items, or things you need quick access to.

When it comes to packing your panniers for a bike tour, it's important to prioritise your gear based on your needs and the available space in your bags. Here are some tips for packing your Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers:

  1. Prioritise Essential Gear: Start by packing the essential gear that you'll need for your trip, such as clothing, toiletries, and food. Use packing cubes or compression sacks to keep your gear organized and save space in your bags. Trust me, having your toothbrush at the bottom is a pain!

  2. Keep Heavy Items Low: When packing your panniers, it's important to distribute weight evenly to ensure stable handling and balance on the bike. Place heavier items that you don't need all the time, such as tools or cooking gear at the bottom of your bags to keep the center of gravity low.

  3. Leave Room for Extras: Leave some extra space in your bags for any souvenirs or additional gear you may pick up along the way, especially food.  A top tip for extra space in the panniers is to roll your clothes, which saves space and reduces wrinkles.

  4. Balance the Weight: When you have both bags on your bicycle, it's important to ensure that the weight is distributed evenly. Aim for equal weight distribution between the two panniers by checking the balance of your bike. When you get this right, your bicycle will feel great to ride, and when you go downhill, cornering is great fun!


Ortlieb Classic Panniers Exmoor


Ease of Use

The Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers are designed to be easy to install on most standard bicycle racks. They come with a quick-release mounting system that allows you to attach and detach them from your bike quickly and easily. The panniers also feature an adjustable, padded shoulder strap that makes it easy to carry them off the bike. The bags are also easy to clean and maintain, requiring only a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth. A top tip is to take care with the quick-release mounting system - it is the one area I have concerns about, especially if it breaks on tour. Don't force it and take your time.


One of the biggest advantages of the Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers is their waterproof design. The bags feature a roll-top closure that ensures a tight seal and keeps your gear dry in even the wettest conditions. If you 

Reflective Features

The Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers feature a reflective logo that enhances your visibility and safety on the road. The logo is visible from all angles, making it easy for motorists to see you in low-light conditions.


  • The Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers are relatively heavy, which can be a downside for some cyclists who prefer lighter gear. Think about bicycle handing when carry lots of gear.
  • They are expensive compared to other panniers on the market. Are the features worth the investment?
  • The panniers do not have any external pockets, which can make it challenging to access smaller items quickly. 


 Ortlieb Classic PanniersOrtlieb Classic Panniers


As mentioned earlier, I have used the Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers for approximately 10 years. They are my go-to choice for longer trips when I need extra space and am not concerned with my pace. For shorter, sometimes faster weekend trips, I may use my smaller bikepacking style bags and scrap the rack and panniers. It all comes down to your requirements.


The Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers are well-built, spacious, and waterproof, which makes them ideal for all types of weather conditions. If you like to take everything including the kitchen sink along for your bicycle touring adventures, these panniers will be there for you. 

If you're a keen bicycle tourist looking for a high-quality and durable set of panniers that can handle all types of weather conditions, the Ortlieb Roller Classic Panniers are definitely worth considering. With proper packing and attachment to your bike, these panniers will provide a secure and stable way to carry all of your essential gear on your next bike tour.


Stay Informed

When you subscribe for updates, we will send you an e-mail when there are new posts and updates.

Bivy Bags for Touring & Bikepacking
Terra Nova Tents for Touring & Bikepacking