Using bicycles for utility transport is becoming increasingly popular, whether for bicycle touring, commuting to work or school, or making trips across town to shop for food or goods. Yes, there are many commercially available panniers that cater to all sorts of tastes. But creating one’s own panniers, either by making them, or by using ready-made items (with modifications) allows a level of personalization and customization not found in commercial “bolt-on-and-go” products. We have assembled some links to inspire others to make their own cycle panniers. In nearly all the links below, these are not our bikes, and these are not our customers. If you want help in making your own bags, we can assist, but the real goal of this page is to encourage you to do the work yourself. It’s much more satisfying that way. Feel free to email us with any pages you might dedicate to your homemade (or readymade) bicycle panniers.
Homemade pannier links in alphabetical order, and by no means exhaustive (look for our favorite(s)):
- Bamboo panniers;
- Duct tape and dog chow bucket panniers;
- Homemade messenger bags (panniers could be made like this);
- Ken Kifer’s (sadly, the late Ken Kifer’s) homemade panniers (second favorite);
- Laptop and shaving kit bag panniers;
- Military surplus panniers (our absolute favorite);
- Paul Woloshansky’s military surplus panniers (also racks & fenders);
- Plastic garbage can panniers;
- Plastic storage container panniers (mounted vertically);
- Square 4 or 5 gallon plastic bucket panniers (faux Cobbworks);
- Tim Grahl’s small, under-seat bag made from a pair of retired pants.
And for our two-wheeled motorcycle friends:
For information on waterproofed or waterproofing cotton (oilcloth, waxed duck, etc.) in the traditional manners (with 50/50 beeswax & turpentine, or linseed oil, or “paint,” etc.):
- Waterproofing (by Gene Hickman);
- Ebay guides: What is oilcloth? (and how to make your own);
- History of waxed cotton (at David Morgan);
- Oilcloth and painted accouterments (by David Cox);
Nota bene: some of the traditional means of waterproofing cotton involve volatile or dangerous materials, such as turpentine or linseed oil. We expect our readers to educate themselves on safe use of these products. This page only links to other web pages that provide educational information; this page is NOT a tutorial.
Sources for cotton duck (if you want to make your own panniers/bags from scratch):
- fabric.com (their cotton duck page);
- fashionfabricsclub.com (cotton duck page);
- Seattle Fabrics (cotton duck page);
- Blick Art 7 oz. Duck;
- Pearl Art Supplies #10 duck;
- A.H.&H. Textiles canvas and duck (#2, 4, 8, 10);
- Textile-for-you numbered duck;
- Old Trail Fabric Center duck (#8, 10, 12);
- Scotty’s Canvas and Marine (#4, 6, 8, 10, 12);
If you have wondered about the difference between artist canvas, numbered ducks, and military duck, see…
Web sources for some cool bags. Note: We have no affiliation with any of these companies; we have no knowledge of their business practices; we have no knowledge of the “history” of these products. etc.. You will have to do any necessary research yourself as to whether or not you would like any of these items on your bike or in your life.
- Cabela’s (unused) German alpine rucksack (German mountain backpack);
- Sportsman’s Guide German military combat packs;
- Sportsman’s Guide German military bread bag;
- Sportsman’s Guide German military gas mask bags;
- Sportsman’s Guide (used) German alpine rucksack;
- Sportsman’s Guide Dutch military shoulder bag;
- Sportsman’s Guide Swiss ammo pouch;
- Sportsman’s Guide Czech leather pouch;
- Sportsman’s Guide Czech medical shoulder bag.
And don’t forget:
- Sportsman’s Guide German military ponchos (old school rain protection);
- Sportsman’s Guide Swiss military backpacks (for motorcycles).