Review: Thule Pack ‘n Pedal Panniers


Nearly everyone is familiar with Thule rooftop bike racks and boxes for motor vehicles. With the introduction of the Pack ‘n Pedal series the company’s cargo-carrying knowledge expands to bicycles. The Commuter and Tote panniers are sold individually for either matching or mixing.

The Commuter is a 19-liter pannier. It has a roll-top opening with a half-hood containing a small pocket perfect for keys and wallet. Inside is an 11”-wide laptop sleeve. With my computer, there was enough room left over for a pair of shoes, change of clothing and lunch.


On the outside, there are compression buckles, a large stretchy pocket and an open top pocket. Thule describes this pocket as a blinky light holder that the light can shine through. I use it to carry the included rain cover—the pannier material is heavily water-resistant but not waterproof. Even so, I’ve ridden through plenty of rain and made it home with dry contents. Only in a heavy downpour did I use the rain cover. A detachable shoulder strap is included and the pannier is sold left- and right-side specific, in black only, for $120.

The Tote has a 23.5-liter capacity. The zippered main compartment opens wide enough for a gallon jug to fit. Two internal handles pull out to make the pannier more tote-like, but get in the way when depositing and extracting items.


Externally, there’s the same open-top pocket, a carrying handle, and a zippered pocket containing an attached shoulder strap with enough space for phone storage. I like the simplicity of the Tote but would’ve preferred a small internal pocket instead of handles. A rain cover is not included. The Tote is available in black or green for $80.

Both styles use Thule’s slick mounting system, a set of molded channels that rotate when the attached cable is tensioned. For carrying the bag off-bike, the mounting hardware can be concealed by flipping over a panel.

A magnet attached to the rack attracts the bottom of the pannier to prevent swaying. This setup is amazingly simple and I love not having to fumble with straps and hooks. The magnets are strong enough to hold the panniers in most situations, but hitting a sharp bump or curb with a heavy load, the pannier will sway once, then reconnect.

Both panniers are made with non-PVC material and have reflective piping. Because the mounting system is so easy to use, I’ve stopped wearing a backpack and haven’t touched my other pannier set. Having two different panniers is a winning combo. The Commuter is large enough to haul the day’s necessities and the Tote perfectly holds vinyl records for when I find an unexpected yardsale. A five-year warranty is included.



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