It’s no secret that I adore my panniers from Overland Equipment. I love how they had an intuitive sense about exactly where I wanted pockets and what size they needed to be. Each pocket was truly functional and wasn’t dependent on the panniers being nearly empty like so many other pannier manufacturers seem to do.
Our Overland panniers held up beautifully to many years of full time bike touring and are, while a bit sun faded, still perfectly functional and will most likely serve us well for another five years of full time touring.
I only wish I could buy more to replace the rest of our panniers.
I was bemoaning the fact that Overland Equipment no longer made panniers on Twitter the other day, and they wrote back and mentioned that they had moved on and were now making dynamite shoulder bags – would I like to try one?
A shoulder bag is a far cry from a pannier, but I figured I’d check it out – I need something to haul my crap around when I’m not on my bike.
The amazing thing is this: Overland Equipment still has their intuitive sense about exactly what pockets I need and exactly where I want them. At least in the Donner version I chose anyway.
This bag is made of some kind of heavy weight nylon that will, most likely, last for many years. I’m sure I’ll grow tired of the bag and move on before it’s showing signs of wear. It’s got a main zippered section and then another front section covered by a flap – that’s the part I really like.
The front flap section contains a myriad of well-designed pockets just perfect for organizing all those little items we all need on a regular basis. It has a zipped pocket for the items you want to be extra careful with. And the best part of the flap? It’s got a Velcro closure that is designed to automatically fall into the right place. I love that I don’t have to fiddle with the flap to make sure the Velcro lines up.
Another feature I enjoy about this bag is the water bottle cages. I am a self-confessed waterholic and rarely leave home without my water bottle. The Donner has two pouches built into the design for water bottles. OK – that’s nothing particularly unique. Many bags have a water bottle holder built in. What’s wonderful about these ones is that, if you don’t have a water bottle in them, they somehow magically disappear into the bag and you would never know those pouches are there – yes, that’s honestly how it works.
And yet another plus – the shoulder strap is long. Really long. One of my long-standing pet peeves is shoulder bags with straps that are too short for my six-foot body. This bag comes with an adjustable strap that even I don’t have set on the longest setting. That’s remarkable.
Is there anything I don’t like about the Donner bag? Yep. There is a funky pocket in the interior of the main compartment that gapes open. I’m seriously considering just sewing it closed. This is the first time I’ve ever seen these guys blow it on a pocket.
I’m hoping that by writing this review and praising Overland Equipment, they may just bring back my beloved panniers. What do you think? Any chance of that? If you decide to buy one of these bags, please mention that I sent you – and beg them to start making panniers again.
In the interest of total disclosure, I should add that I get nothing from writing this post or from any product you may buy from Overland Equipment. Well, they did send me the bag and maybe – if we beg hard enough – maybe I’ll get new Overland Equipment panniers someday. A girl can wish, eh?