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Waterproofing no-longer-waterproof Ortliebs?

Old 11-25-22, 09:01 AM
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Waterproofing no-longer-waterproof Ortliebs?

I have some 15 year old Ortliebs, BikePacker Plus I think.

They do not seem to be entirely waterproof any more. There is some kind of inner coating that appears to be coming off which could be responsible. I was wondering what the best way might be to 'renew' that. Perhaps a kind of waterproof spray?

The Ortlieb website just says that it's impossible that their panniers would lose waterproofing
I would like to renew the water repellency of my Bike-Packer Plus. What products can I use for impregnating your materials?ORTLIEB products are not impregnated. A permanent waterproof lamination of the material ensures that your bag is waterproof.

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Old 11-25-22, 07:31 PM
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I would look into this 40% of repairs:
https://www.ortlieb.com/en_us/repair-week

Ortlieb doesn't do coatings that I can ever recall it has generally for a long time been PVC or similar material so no need. Maybe reach out again and show them the pictures and say hey they are no longer waterproof what are my next steps. They should be able to help out in some regard if not take them to a repair center as shown above or your local dealer and see if they can help out in any way.

In terms of waterproof panniers I still put any mission critical items in another waterproof bag inside of say an Ortlieb or something like that. Good to have a back up to the back up and never hurts to have an extra bag in case something comes up.
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Old 11-25-22, 08:25 PM
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You can buy spray cans of material waterproofing, but my experience with them on PVC hasn't been the greatest. It turned my bright red panniers pink and lasted less than a season. I made my own solution with paint thinner and pure silicone, but once again, PVC doesn't absorb so it went flaky after a while and now they look like, well we won't go there. Good luck. If they were laminated and the thin laminate has worn through, there probably won't be much you can do with them. But keep us posted on anything suggested or tried, TIA
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Old 11-26-22, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by afrowheels View Post
I have some 15 year old Ortliebs, BikePacker Plus I think.

They do not seem to be entirely waterproof any more. There is some kind of inner coating that appears to be coming off which could be responsible. I was wondering what the best way might be to 'renew' that. Perhaps a kind of waterproof spray?
...
Yours look like they are all fabric, not the PVC sheeting on my classic rollers.

If you have no luck with Ortlieb offering help, my suggestion would not waterproof them, but may help improve water resistance. Something to make them more hydrophobic so in a drizzle, the water is less likely to soak in. But might not work in a heavy downpour.

Something like spray on Nikwax
https://www.nikwax.com/en-us/product...rect-spray-on/

I agree with VeganBikes, redundancy may be the answer. I always use a waterproof compression sack for my sleeping bag which goes inside the waterproof panniers. If my panniers looked like yours I would probably use an extra waterproof bag for clothing inside the pannier.
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Old 11-26-22, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by SpedFast View Post
You can buy spray cans of material waterproofing, but my experience with them on PVC hasn't been the greatest. It turned my bright red panniers pink and lasted less than a season. I made my own solution with paint thinner and pure silicone, but once again, PVC doesn't absorb so it went flaky after a while and now they look like, well we won't go there. Good luck. If they were laminated and the thin laminate has worn through, there probably won't be much you can do with them. But keep us posted on anything suggested or tried, TIA
I was going to suggest that treatment, but why wouldn't you treat the inside of the ortleib pannier? It looks like that is where the old coating is on these pannier in the pictures. Were your panniers fabric with a coating like the pictures or slick PVC on both sides? I wouldn't expect the silicone to take well on slick PVC.

I recall way back when I had a tent floor that had the coating go bad and peel. It also smelled really bad. The manufacturer suggested running it through the washing machine a few times to get he old coating off before recoating using silicone caulk thinned with paint thinner. I never got rid of the stink so I didn't bother recoating and just retired the tent. I do not know how well the recoating will work over top of the old layer of peeling coating. If the alternative is retiring the panniers it may be worth a try. If it was me I'd go with a pretty thin mixture and try to get it to soak in well. Maybe try a small area to see how it applies. Also maybe experiment with trying to peel off as much of the old coating as possible.

Maybe you could coat the outside if it is fabric, but that isn't the typical way to go. It might take better, but it might be ugly. Test a small area to see how it goes.
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Old 11-27-22, 01:27 PM
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Modern waterproof fabrics are so good that, when I had the rain covers for my non-waterproof Beckman panniers copied, I saved about half a pound. Based on that, if I were in your situation, and did not want to simply buy new, I would get covers made. They could even be in high visibility fabric.
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Old 11-27-22, 03:46 PM
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Insert a appropriate size trash bag. I've done it for decades with backpacks.
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Old 11-27-22, 10:57 PM
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Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions. Today I went for a ride with one of these panniers and got caught in a rainstorm which was useful, because I discovered that the panniers are also not waterproof in other parts (not just the top). Quite a bit of water seemed to come through the bottom. So I will most likely retire them/give them away and buy some new ones. (The Ortlieb prices here are pretty competitive so that helps). Might well still use some additional plastic bags inside panniers if I'm expecting particularly bad weather, or need to protect something especially vulnerable/important.

I would look into this 40% of repairs:
https://www.ortlieb.com/en_us/repair-week

Ortlieb doesn't do coatings that I can ever recall it has generally for a long time been PVC or similar material so no need. Maybe reach out again and show them the pictures and say hey they are no longer waterproof what are my next steps. They should be able to help out in some regard if not take them to a repair center as shown above or your local dealer and see if they can help out in any way.

In terms of waterproof panniers I still put any mission critical items in another waterproof bag inside of say an Ortlieb or something like that. Good to have a back up to the back up and never hurts to have an extra bag in case something comes up.
Thanks, unfortunately I am not in any of those countries at the moment - would have been worth trying.

The local distributor does not seem to assist with repairs.

Yeah, using an extra bag is sensible. Will probably consider that for some items/bags. Having said which, it can impede function. E.g. I keep a camera and binoculars in the handlebar bag for easy access. If I put those in another completely sealed bag then I lose the easy access. But the camera is definitely one of my most vulnerable pieces of equipment. Happy to say that it stayed dry during a downpour today so that's encouraging!

Originally Posted by SpedFast View Post
You can buy spray cans of material waterproofing, but my experience with them on PVC hasn't been the greatest. It turned my bright red panniers pink and lasted less than a season. I made my own solution with paint thinner and pure silicone, but once again, PVC doesn't absorb so it went flaky after a while and now they look like, well we won't go there. Good luck. If they were laminated and the thin laminate has worn through, there probably won't be much you can do with them. But keep us posted on anything suggested or tried, TIA
Right, this is in line with the information I have been able to find. Today I went into the local Ortlieb distributor who said they don't assist with repairs and just suggested I go to buy a waterproofing spray from Merrell, which was rather unconvincing. I think I may just suck it up, buy a new pair and give away the old ones.

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Yours look like they are all fabric, not the PVC sheeting on my classic rollers.

If you have no luck with Ortlieb offering help, my suggestion would not waterproof them, but may help improve water resistance. Something to make them more hydrophobic so in a drizzle, the water is less likely to soak in. But might not work in a heavy downpour.

Something like spray on Nikwax
https://www.nikwax.com/en-us/product...rect-spray-on/

I agree with VeganBikes, redundancy may be the answer. I always use a waterproof compression sack for my sleeping bag which goes inside the waterproof panniers. If my panniers looked like yours I would probably use an extra waterproof bag for clothing inside the pannier.
In my current setup I have all my sleeping gear in a waterproof duffle/rackpack (older version of this: https://www.ortlieb.com/en_us/rack-pack+K63H6) which I got secondhand many years ago but seems in solid condition. I'll probably take a couple of large bin bags as well just in case.

Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I was going to suggest that treatment, but why wouldn't you treat the inside of the ortleib pannier? It looks like that is where the old coating is on these pannier in the pictures. Were your panniers fabric with a coating like the pictures or slick PVC on both sides? I wouldn't expect the silicone to take well on slick PVC.

I recall way back when I had a tent floor that had the coating go bad and peel. It also smelled really bad. The manufacturer suggested running it through the washing machine a few times to get he old coating off before recoating using silicone caulk thinned with paint thinner. I never got rid of the stink so I didn't bother recoating and just retired the tent. I do not know how well the recoating will work over top of the old layer of peeling coating. If the alternative is retiring the panniers it may be worth a try. If it was me I'd go with a pretty thin mixture and try to get it to soak in well. Maybe try a small area to see how it applies. Also maybe experiment with trying to peel off as much of the old coating as possible.

Maybe you could coat the outside if it is fabric, but that isn't the typical way to go. It might take better, but it might be ugly. Test a small area to see how it goes.
Not slick PVC so in that sense there is more chance of a treatment adhering. But it also means the treatment would need to do a lot more work to seal what seems like a relatively permeable fabric.

In parallel I am actually resealing my MSR Hubba Hubba that had very similar looking flaking of the seam tape. But with the tent there is very clear manufacturer advice on how to deal with that (https://www.msrgear.com/blog/tents-1...-seam-sealing/) and the area needing to be resealed is smaller/better defined.

Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
Modern waterproof fabrics are so good that, when I had the rain covers for my non-waterproof Beckman panniers copied, I saved about half a pound. Based on that, if I were in your situation, and did not want to simply buy new, I would get covers made. They could even be in high visibility fabric.
Yeah, I thought about finding some covers. But with panniers being as exposed as they are to road spray and direct rain it seems less straightforward than, say, a backpack.

Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
Insert a appropriate size trash bag. I've done it for decades with backpacks.
Right, this is my fallback. Or using a more robust sack liner. Downside is that the panniers will absorb and retain water, a trash bag tears fairly easily and a thicker liner is unlikely to fit snugly.
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Old 11-28-22, 04:57 AM
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I toured for 10,000 with Beckman rain covers. It is straight forward.

You put them on and ride. Road spray and direct rain? Panniers are subjected to the same.

Last edited by indyfabz; 11-28-22 at 05:04 AM.
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Old 11-28-22, 05:55 AM
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On the covers... Yeah, I have used some inexpensive panniers from Nashbar or Performance that had covers.(Transit maybe?). The covers worked well enough. They were essentially just like big shower caps that you stretch the elastic to put them over the pannier. The opening was on the wheel side which seemed like it would be a problem, but it wasn't. Stuff stayed dry okay. They had the advantage of being high visibility yellow/green. They'd be pretty easy to make for anyone with some sewing skills.
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Old 11-28-22, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by afrowheels View Post
Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions. Today I went for a ride with one of these panniers and got caught in a rainstorm which was useful, because I discovered that the panniers are also not waterproof in other parts (not just the top). Quite a bit of water seemed to come through the bottom. So I will most likely retire them/give them away and buy some new ones. (The Ortlieb prices here are pretty competitive so that helps). Might well still use some additional plastic bags inside panniers if I'm expecting particularly bad weather, or need to protect something especially vulnerable/important.



Thanks, unfortunately I am not in any of those countries at the moment - would have been worth trying.

The local distributor does not seem to assist with repairs.

Yeah, using an extra bag is sensible. Will probably consider that for some items/bags. Having said which, it can impede function. E.g. I keep a camera and binoculars in the handlebar bag for easy access. If I put those in another completely sealed bag then I lose the easy access. But the camera is definitely one of my most vulnerable pieces of equipment. Happy to say that it stayed dry during a downpour today so that's encouraging!



Right, this is in line with the information I have been able to find. Today I went into the local Ortlieb distributor who said they don't assist with repairs and just suggested I go to buy a waterproofing spray from Merrell, which was rather unconvincing. I think I may just suck it up, buy a new pair and give away the old ones.



In my current setup I have all my sleeping gear in a waterproof duffle/rackpack (older version of this: https://www.ortlieb.com/en_us/rack-pack+K63H6) which I got secondhand many years ago but seems in solid condition. I'll probably take a couple of large bin bags as well just in case.



Not slick PVC so in that sense there is more chance of a treatment adhering. But it also means the treatment would need to do a lot more work to seal what seems like a relatively permeable fabric.

In parallel I am actually resealing my MSR Hubba Hubba that had very similar looking flaking of the seam tape. But with the tent there is very clear manufacturer advice on how to deal with that (https://www.msrgear.com/blog/tents-1...-seam-sealing/) and the area needing to be resealed is smaller/better defined.



Yeah, I thought about finding some covers. But with panniers being as exposed as they are to road spray and direct rain it seems less straightforward than, say, a backpack.



Right, this is my fallback. Or using a more robust sack liner. Downside is that the panniers will absorb and retain water, a trash bag tears fairly easily and a thicker liner is unlikely to fit snugly.

Also, Zip Lock Big Bags are for clothing storage and are more robust. Ziploc Big Bags, XXL Double Zipper Bag - 6 Count - Walmart.com
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Old 11-28-22, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
On the covers... Yeah, I have used some inexpensive panniers from Nashbar or Performance that had covers.(Transit maybe?). The covers worked well enough. They were essentially just like big shower caps that you stretch the elastic to put them over the pannier. The opening was on the wheel side which seemed like it would be a problem, but it wasn't. Stuff stayed dry okay. They had the advantage of being high visibility yellow/green. They'd be pretty easy to make for anyone with some sewing skills.
Unfortunately, I didn't have the same experience when my panniers began to wear. Everything in the bottom got wet first from road spray soaking up through the sides and bottom. I picked up some really stout plastic bags that fit the interiour of the panniers almost perfectly and they have actual zippers, not ziplocks. They were designed for storing clothing. Not sure where the DW got them, but they keep everything dry and are pretty tough material. Works for now. Not sure if I'll need new panniers down the road or not because I don't ride out in wet weather much anymore.
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Old 11-28-22, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I toured for 10,000 with Beckman rain covers. It is straight forward.

You put them on and ride. Road spray and direct rain? Panniers are subjected to the same.
Perhaps I should rephrase as: 'it would not be straightforward to get custom-made covers made in Colombia at fairly short notice that could be relied upon'. The issue is not the waterproofness necessarily but the fit, which is obviously not an issue for panniers themselves. The fabric of any cover would likely also be thinner and therefore more prone to getting torn. But glad that it worked for you!
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Old 11-28-22, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by afrowheels View Post
Perhaps I should rephrase as: 'it would not be straightforward to get custom-made covers made in Colombia at fairly short notice that could be relied upon'. The issue is not the waterproofness necessarily but the fit, which is obviously not an issue for panniers themselves. The fabric of any cover would likely also be thinner and therefore more prone to getting torn. But glad that it worked for you!
Well, you’ve been given other fine options. Which one is it going to be at this late stage?
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Old 11-29-22, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by afrowheels View Post
Perhaps I should rephrase as: 'it would not be straightforward to get custom-made covers made in Colombia at fairly short notice that could be relied upon'. The issue is not the waterproofness necessarily but the fit, which is obviously not an issue for panniers themselves. The fabric of any cover would likely also be thinner and therefore more prone to getting torn. But glad that it worked for you!
Maybe, but it is a very simple project that someone who does alterations or other sewing could do. Not sure what the beckman covers look like, but the covers I had were a very simple design that was pretty close to one size fits all. Like I said the things are basically a big shower cap. Any upolsterer, sail maker, or even dress maker could do the job. They might not do the seam sealing, but you could do that. The covers don't need to see all that much wear and tear. You can leave them off unless it rains.

Basically I am not lobbying hard for the covers, but just saying I wouldn't rule them out as a viable option. Besides double bagging with trashbags is always an option in the event or the covers not working out.

On the other hand... Faced with an upcoming trip of many months in a foreign country it would seem that the cost of some brand new panniers would be minimal and worth the peace of mind. Maybe it is time to retire your Ortleibs if the suggested solutions don't make you happy.
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Old 11-29-22, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Not sure what the beckman covers look like, but the covers I had were a very simple design that was pretty close to one size fits all. Like I said the things are basically a big shower cap.
The Beckman covers were unique because they were made to fit his particular pannier sizes and designs, and they included a "vent" at the bottom to allow any water that might get in to drain. As such, they were more involved than your normal covers. Several people on my cross-country trip had just what you describe: shower cap-like rain covers. They worked fine.

Here is an example:

Rain covers - Lone Peak Packs - Quality Packs Made in the USA!
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Old 12-15-22, 11:26 AM
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Thanks for the thoughts, I decided to give away the old Ortliebs and buy some new ones.

(Picture here: https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/6...l#post22740057)
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Old 12-15-22, 10:25 PM
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One advantage of riding with rain covers is that it protects the panniers from sun damage. I rode with Arkel panniers for a few years. Ultimately, the covers were worthless in the rain, but my panniers under the bottom looked brand new!

I have a friend who sews her own bright pink pannier covers. The bright color is important to her, she refreshes with a fresh set of covers about every six months.
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Old 12-16-22, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelly I View Post
One advantage of riding with rain covers is that it protects the panniers from sun damage. I rode with Arkel panniers for a few years. Ultimately, the covers were worthless in the rain, but my panniers under the bottom looked brand new!
....
A friend of mine has red Arkels, the panniers look brand new when the covers are off of them, he does the same as you, always puts the covers on. But there is no cover on his handlebar bag and it is badly sun faded. The red Arkels are the worst panniers I have ever seen for UV damage to the color.

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Old 01-14-23, 05:05 PM
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For anyone who comes across this with a similar problem and is interested in possible solutions, in my continuing quest to sort out my tent waterproofing I came across this product from GearAid: https://www.gearaid.com/products/sea...nt-tent-fabric

Judging by the illustrative photographs and video it may well work on the inside of panniers having this problem - and then you would need to apply a different product on the outside. Whether that's worth the money and effort is hard to say. I just had a go at doing something like that with my tent, in far-from-ideal conditions as is often the case on the road - and in the next couple of days I'll find out how effective it was...Right now I have my doubts. But panniers are smaller and the job could be done more cleanly, inside, so might be worth a go before buying new panniers.


Originally Posted by afrowheels View Post
I have some 15 year old Ortliebs, BikePacker Plus I think.

They do not seem to be entirely waterproof any more. There is some kind of inner coating that appears to be coming off which could be responsible. I was wondering what the best way might be to 'renew' that. Perhaps a kind of waterproof spray?

The Ortlieb website just says that it's impossible that their panniers would lose waterproofing



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Old 01-14-23, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelly I View Post
One advantage of riding with rain covers is that it protects the panniers from sun damage. I rode with Arkel panniers for a few years. Ultimately, the covers were worthless in the rain, but my panniers under the bottom looked brand new!

I have a friend who sews her own bright pink pannier covers. The bright color is important to her, she refreshes with a fresh set of covers about every six months.
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
A friend of mine has red Arkels, the panniers look brand new when the covers are off of them, he does the same as you, always puts the covers on. But there is no cover on his handlebar bag and it is badly sun faded. The red Arkels are the worst panniers I have ever seen for UV damage to the color.
Good point re sun damage and fading. Though of course if the covers are always on then no-one sees the pannier colour underneath anyway..!
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Old 01-14-23, 09:15 PM
  #22  
greatscott
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Those bags are shot, I wouldn't sell them, maybe give them to someone, but they're not worth selling, I would just toss them in the trash if they were mine. You could aways extend the life of them if you want to install heavy duty gardening brown trash bags, then simply put your stuff into the trash bag that's inside the panner and roll the trash bag so what can't get in. But you only have maybe one more year of use out of them with the trash bag.

I like my Axiom Monsoon Oceanweave 45 bags, they don't come with rain flys but don't need them, however they are made and I bought them to protect the bags from scuffs. Problem with Axiom is that when I bought mine they were about $100 cheaper than Ortlieb, but now they're almost the same. No matter what bag you buy, it's always a good idea to use a trash bag inside as a liner anyways, as an extra precaution against water coming in, but also to keep anything inside from spilling into the bag itself and ruining the bag or making it stink. Also you should put anything you want to make sure doesn't get wet into ziplock bags, or if there is something that could leak and spill inside the bag put it in a ziplock bag. Also ziplock bags can add a degree of abrasion resistance from some item like a mess kit, from rubbing constantly on the inside of your bag causing it to prematurely wear the bag out from the inside.
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Old 01-16-23, 09:17 AM
  #23  
JulesCW 
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Originally Posted by greatscott View Post
Those bags are shot, I wouldn't sell them, maybe give them to someone, but they're not worth selling, I would just toss them in the trash if they were mine. You could aways extend the life of them if you want to install heavy duty gardening brown trash bags, then simply put your stuff into the trash bag that's inside the panner and roll the trash bag so what can't get in. But you only have maybe one more year of use out of them with the trash bag.

I like my Axiom Monsoon Oceanweave 45 bags, they don't come with rain flys but don't need them, however they are made and I bought them to protect the bags from scuffs. Problem with Axiom is that when I bought mine they were about $100 cheaper than Ortlieb, but now they're almost the same. No matter what bag you buy, it's always a good idea to use a trash bag inside as a liner anyways, as an extra precaution against water coming in, but also to keep anything inside from spilling into the bag itself and ruining the bag or making it stink. Also you should put anything you want to make sure doesn't get wet into ziplock bags, or if there is something that could leak and spill inside the bag put it in a ziplock bag. Also ziplock bags can add a degree of abrasion resistance from some item like a mess kit, from rubbing constantly on the inside of your bag causing it to prematurely wear the bag out from the inside.

Not really shot, just not watertight -- giving them to someone who wants to use them for shopping or other daily use would be good -- or to someone who is ok with putting contents in watertight bags for touring -- the panniers pictured might not be watertight, but have plenty of good use left in them (it's just the PU coating that's wearing out, not the fabric itself) , and IMHO it would be a great waste to throw them away.
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