If you understand how Ortlieb has named their different panniers and handlebar bags, you will find it easier to tell them apart. Here are some basic facts about the Ortlieb panniers that will help you make your choices. Below the Panniers and Handlebar Bag info you will also find a Frequently Asked Questions section. Once you have read this page, please go back to the Ortlieb Packs Home Page and click on the individual photos and links for more thorough descriptions of each model.
Ortlieb makes two basic pannier styles – Packers and Rollers. The names Packer and Roller refer to the methods used to close the panniers.
Roller panniers have extra fabric at the top of the bag. To close the Roller panniers, simply squeeze the two sides of the top of the bag together, roll them down a couple of turns and buckle the ends to the shoulder strap. The shoulder strap attaches in a “V” to a hook near the bottom on the front of the pannier. A front strap can be routed over the top and fastened to the top back of the bag. You can also close them without using the shoulder strap. There is a male buckle half at one end of the roll and a female end at the other. Roll the two sides of the fabric down together, loop the two ends toward each other, and the buckle halves will click together. The top of the bag will then be closed in more-or-less of a circle. They sound a bit complicated to close, but with a very little bit of practice, you will find it quite easy to close a roller pannier.
Packer panniers have a double drawstring collar at the top of the bag – and a lid. To close the pannier, tighten the drawstrings, pull the lid over the top of the bag, and then buckle the lid to the vertical front straps. The Bike Packer Plus also has horizontal compression straps that close the lid of the outside pocket and compress the load in the main compartment. These horizontal compression straps are only on the Bike Packer Plus panniers, not the Sport Packer Plus or any of the other Ortlieb panniers.