Guest post by Andreas Kambanis from the London Cyclist blog, where he covers cycling accessories such as bike locks and news such as the London Cycle Hire Scheme, and is generally to be found happily cycling around London.
The Altura range of panniers have always been popular. The good price point and solid design are the two obvious reasons for this. Two of the panniers in the Altura range that stand out are the Altura Dryline and the Altura Arran which I recently tested out on a shopping trip to Sainsbury’s.
Before I talk about my very exciting shopping trip let’s take a quick look at the stats. The Altura Dryline (pictured above) is a 28 litre waterproof pannier which costs £89.99. The Altura Arran is a 16 litre water repellent pannier which will set you back £49.99.
Both the panniers are quick and easy to clip on. The Altura Arran uses the classic design where you hook the bottom part so that it doesn’t rattle and the top part snaps into position. You then twist the clip that prevents it from falling off. The Altura Dryline uses a slightly different quick clip design which works even better. You simply push the top part until it snaps into place and then wrap the bottom part around the rack. This works really well and is a great extra feature.
Panniers loaded I set off on my way to the supermarket. You instantly feel like a much more heavy and slow vehicle with panniers which is why they have never quite found a place in my heart. Seconds into my journey I’m hitting some of London’s many potholes. Whilst there is some rattling there is no sign of either of the panniers falling off.
Arriving at the supermarket I quickly unclip both the panniers. The Altura Dryline is faster to remove by simply pressing the big red button. While shopping around I have that age old problem of what to do with the bags. I shove the Altura Arran inside the great big Dryline pannier.
Leaving the supermarket the 28 litre capacity Dryline is comfortably holding two very full shopping bags with a little bit of extra space still available. Where as the 16 litre Altura Arran is holding one bag comfortably but it is clear it would struggle to get a second fully loaded bag in there.
One big feature I do like with the Altura Dryline is that it has a large front pocket. In there you can fit your wallet, phone, puncture repair kit and pump. The Arran has a pocket located at the top of the bag but it doesn’t have that much room.
Arriving home I empty the bags and decide to give them a thoroughly scientific test to see how waterproof they are. This basically involves shoving them under my shower for a couple of minutes.
It feels like you are perving on a bag taking a shower doesn’t it?
Of course the Altura Dryline comes out with flying colours. Not only is the outside design waterproof but also there is a separate bag inside that means it is next to impossible for water to reach your goods.
The Altura Arran doesn’t claim to be waterproof which is a good thing because it isn’t. However, it is water repellent so a large amount of the water simply rolls off. Feeling around the inside everything is dry but the walls of the bag are feeling damp. In heavy rain it is sure water would manage to creep in.
Overall, these are two really good panniers. If you want the extra capacity and the waterproofing as well as the time saving quick-release “big red button” then the Altura Dryline is your bag. Otherwise, if carrying less things and not so worried about them getting a little bit damp in the rain then you can save some money and go with the Altura Arran.
The Arran design also comes in the larger 23 litre capacity.
What I like:
- Good, dependable design
- Amazing waterproofing with the Dryline
- The quick-release saves you time
What I don’t like:
- Panniers in general! I’m more of a backpack/messenger bag cyclist..
We say: thank you for your informed review Andreas! You can read loads more Pannier reviews here, including the ones Andreas tested.