Gear Reviews: BOB Trailer and Panniers

22 02 2010


A look back: Skinny Horse and the BOB trailer on Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

panniers

The BOB (Beast of Burden) trailor was working sweetly until the drybag was stolen. Then I had a new vinyl bag made in Bolivia. It worked quite well, but a continuing frustration was the difficulty of carrying the bike AND trailor up and down steps, which happened quite frequently in non-wheelchair-accessible places.

In the end I dumped the trailer. I’m a big fan of the BOB for touring in the U.S. but I’m an even bigger fan of panniers on a Latin American tour.

So, what kind of panniers do I use, and what kind should you use? I got the cheapest ones I could find, but you should get Ortlieb panniers. They are king. My front Novara panniers aren’t waterproof and leak a bit even with raincovers. My rear TransIt panniers are waterproof but badly designed; I broke the top off of one when carrying it by the attached handle, had to re-sew it with dental floss and am now afraid to carry them by their handles anymore. So I carry them like babies. But I love them less.

In short, you can make anything work with enough plastic bags, zip ties, duct tape, and dental floss. But you see Ortlieb on most touring cyclists’ bikes for good reason.

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