Make professional looking panniers from mostly re-used materials. As an added constraint for me, it has to work with my recumbent bike AND your traditional diamond frame bike.

At a Glance

Total Cost
$20 - Costs vary based on price of bag and quality of hardware (if you have a bag already, cost is ~$5 for new hardware)

1-2 Hours

Cargo Capacity
15.4" Laptop, Charger, Mouse, Fleece Sweater, Brick Digi Camera, Multi tools, cell phone, wallet, city maps, spiral notebook etc. etc.

The bag can accommodate 2L bottles (3) and even gallon (milk container form factor).

Step 1: Choosing Your Pannier Style

There are many resources available for DIY panniers. Steven E. Pav has an awesome write up on sizing and making custom panniers from the ground up - this is excellent reading.

Of course, there's your DIY standard "bucket pannier" made from old cat litter buckets (or similar) as seen here or [http://web.archive.org/web/20050208161130/http://members.rogers.com/bphuntley/BikeBucket.html here] or even here. While utilitarian and high capacity, these lack a certain sense of sexiness. You can make the panniers seen in this instructable for the same price as these bucket panniers if you use some recycled material.

There's also the surplus army bag conversion - [http://web.archive.org/web/20041020064156/http://www.twowheelfetish.com/Ezine4/diypanniers.html as seen here by Peter Moore].

You could, gasp!, buy panniers... Arkel makes some great bags - the one closest to my DIY version is the Arkel Bug Pack. It's convertible - it goes from pannier to backpack easily. It also has a quality engineered mounting mechanism. The price isn't something I get excited over, $165... But I've met a happy customer, and will vouch that it is quality.

Photo Credit (Buckets): Brian Huntley
<p>For all fabrics, an awl is the best choice for making the holes. Slip the point into the weave, making sure you don't sever any fibers, and slowly widen the hole by rocking the awl and pushing it farther in. This way, you don't have to worry above the weave coming apart.</p>
Later when you take the bag off the bike and carry it around, don't the hooks poke into your body?
Oh, these are lovely! I recently made my own paniers as well and I'm in love with them :P Details<a href="http://www.bit-of-green.com/nats/crafts-extreme-bike-makeover-roll-up-paniers"> here</a>! I'll probably upload another version for instructables when I find the time :)&nbsp;
<strong>Update</strong>:<br> If anyone's interested, we have uploaded some kind of pattern in our site, <a href="http://www.bit-of-green.com/crafts/crafts-roll-up-panniers-pattern" rel="nofollow">bit of green</a>, I'll try and make another version for instructables; I just don't have many photos from the process so it's not that easy! :)
How is it possible to do it on the gears side as well? I'm a bit stumped at the moment on how I can attach the cord to hold it down on that side (everything else will work fine)
this can be easily done on the gears side, the rack goes outside the cogset (gears) so the bag never touches the cogset.<br><br>As long as there is sufficient clearance between the d&eacute;railleur (the arm holding the chain) and the bag, the gears will work perfectly.
<div class="media_embed"> Here is mine:<br> <a href="http://www.vimeo.com/13347233" rel="nofollow">http://www.vimeo.com/13347233</a></div>
I just made Panniers about 2 weeks ago. Neat instructable. <br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidcousins/sets/72157606621815140/">http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidcousins/sets/72157606621815140/</a><br/>I had the easy job. I cut the frame and hooks. My wife did all the sewing.<br/>
these are sweet. any chance your wife would be willing to share the sewing pattern?
Love those monster panniers... add a splash of color with boot laces (your favorite color) through the 'exterior bungee loops'. They would act as compression straps, that could be cinched down after you're all loaded. just a thought...
Those are some monster panniers - for touring? Or Mega groceries (and similar)? What material are they - just curious. I should say - awesome monster panniers :p
They are for touring, carrying camping gear, sleeping bag and clothes. Material is a medium/light canvas. The bags are for my daughter. My wife had the hard part, all the sewing. I cut the structural back plate and made the hooks to hang it. I like your recumbent bike. I'd love to try one. You know, try before I buy. Anyway, thanks for posting your Panniers.
Thanks :) If you're ever in the central Florida (Orlando) area - let me know. My 'bent isn't the easiest to learn on (short wheel base and very sensitive steering), but you can go for a test ride :)
&nbsp;Thanks for the info. &nbsp;My husband just bought a recumbent (Lightning P38) and we have been researching racks and panniers. &nbsp;Did your rack come with the bike, or did you purchase it? &nbsp;its a very interesting design.
&nbsp;It came with it ;) The bike and rack were designed for each other :p Have fun with your P38!<br />
Here's mine!
I don't understand how you get the bag to keep its shape. It seems that the bungee would pull the bag corners together... Perhaps your backer board goes all the way down?
I think the mirror hook is better because it does not have a tapered profile and it has 2 holes for more secure fastening (though I guess one hole might do the trick, and be lighter at that).
I used an old LP as a backer board... Make sure no one wants to listen to it anymore, then it is effective reuse! It is easy to shape if you score the surface and then snap it. I then sanded the edges so as not to poke through the bag.
i just realized that the defective bag i picked up from the bike shop i work at has the same inner pocket to store the backpack straps. i can totally use your design! thank you!
Love your "bent"..what is it?
I have these &quot;Drupa&quot; cutting boards from IKEA:<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90131935">http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90131935</a><br/><br/>$1.99 for a pair. I think they'll make a decent backing plate. They fit the laptop bag that I have perfectly. They are made of polyethelyne and are slightly flexible.<br/><br/>I'm going to look into an alternative for the hooks, maybe straps...<br/><br/>Thanks for the idea!<br/><br/>--Mister E<br/>
Very nice! I've just started bike commuting and have been mulling over ideas for some home build panniers. It's great to see different methods, choice of hardware, etc. Do you have any problems with the shallow, square angle of the mirror hooks versus the sometimes rubberized, deeper hooks used on manufactured panniers? Again, nice job.
I originally planned on plastic dipping the metal hooks - but my hooks just barely fit my 10mm rack. As far as shallowness - Nope, no problems with them coming off. Getting them on has given me trouble a couple times - but nothing to remake everything over. I've even gone riding without the bungee (accident) without a problem - but that's not recommended. The bungee really keeps everything secure.
Not to mention, replacing the hooks withsomething different only requires unscrewing what's on there now.
What is the brand and model of the bike pictured??
Its a challenge distance from holland
The company that made that bike is called <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.challenge-recumbents.com/html/index.php?taal=en&selectie=recumbentmodels">Challenge</a>-&lt; that's their model list.<br/><br/>The model is &quot;Distance&quot; - which is no longer made (it was replaced by the &quot;Seiran.&quot; I bought the bike, used, on eBay ;)<br/>
I found some fantastic hooks from Ikea (named Blecka, meaning &quot;pannier hooks&quot; in Finnish, I think) that work perfectly, and are easy to come by: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40031373">http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40031373</a> <br/>
This is great. I made two already. One from a bag I got at my local army navy store, a "Musette bag" for $15 (it looks a lot like the bag used by Peter Moore), and the other was an attache bag I got free from somewhere. I used 1/8" luan for the backer board. I used cable clamps for the hooks instead of mirror clamps. They're aluminum and cost $2 for a pack of 15 at my local big box hardware store. 1/4" brass grommets and cheap 10" bungee cords.
very cool. Hmmm, I have some nice african hessian coffee bags that I could cover some old laptop bags. thanks for the idea.
Clever use of acorn nuts. Provides a smooth interface (as compared to a hex- or pan-head) when putting the pannier on the rack and will offer some protection from the hook bouncing off the rack when in use. (The counter sunk flat head screws on my installation don't provide the anti-bounce feature. I guess you could call my self-releasing hooks a "feature".)
somehow I expected aerodynamic carbon/kevlar panniers from you... ;-)
Using the bungee's hook here is an excellent reuse of supplied materials. To copy the bungee system on one of my professional panniers, I am thinking of using a steel ring threaded on the bungee. These rings are found in the hardware store near the rope hardware. A "split ring" used for key fobs might also work and would be lighter.
This looks exactly like what I was thinking of doing with my bag/bike. But I imagine the hooks kinda ruin carrying the bag. Seems like it would poke you. Am I wrong? Perhaps I just want the best of both worlds, a good messenger bag and a good pannier setup. Maybe a bag inside a bag...hmmm...
So that's one thing to consider - hook spacing. If they're wide enough, they'll miss your shoulder blades and you can still use the bag as it was originally intended. I have pictures of me wearing the bag as a back pack - but the pictures look terrible so I'm not posting them. But, the bag works just as it did before in all configurations ;)
you could sew flaps over the hooks, with a little padding in them..? You could also use a soldering iron (or other hot pointy bit of metal) to make the holes - this would have the advantage of sealing the edges so they won't fray (this is only for nylon bags obviously). The local eye hospital has big and very gruesome poster up in its waiting room about bungee cords and eyes: apparently bungee cords are good for causing some nasty eye injuries when the hooks slip and come whizzing back at your face. I still use them, but I make sure I wince appropriately when I do.
<em>You could also use a soldering iron (or other hot pointy bit of metal) to make the holes</em><br/><br/>As written in step 5<br/><br/><em><strong>For Nylon (and probably other synthetics)</strong></em><br/><em>Ladies and gentlemen, start your soldering irons. Cutting the hole with heat is highly recommended to fuse the material together such that it doesn't unravel. It also melts a little bit of plastic (or burns wood) on the backplate to mark where you'll need to drill.</em><br/><hr/><br/>The local eye hospital has big and very gruesome poster up in its waiting room about bungee cords and eyes: apparently bungee cords are good for causing some nasty eye injuries when the hooks slip and come whizzing back at your face. I still use them, but I make sure I wince appropriately when I do.<br/>Should you accidentally let go of the hook while the bungie is under tension - there's minimal risk of hook--&gt;eye contact considering the bungie is constrained at the two free ends. I imagine bungie associated injuries come from people overloading/improperly using them... Or kids trying to fling them and using their face as a sight like an archer. It's good to know there's a hospital for such things though...<br/>
Awesome project. I've looked on-line to find pannier hooks and find they are outrageously expensive. I found some well-worn (OK, make that worn out) panniers at a garage sale for $1. I repurposed the mounting hardware and put it in a discarded laptop computer bag. Now I have a laptop-commuter-pannier that cost me $1.00. I like your bungie retaining system...I think I will use that model for an upgrade from the repurposed retension spring.
Most Dutch bikes (even cheap ones) comes with pannier...mine unfortunately was not Dutch, so I don't have one...:P So consider some panniers are cheaper than $1! :D
<em>I like your bungie retaining system...</em><br/><br/>It's what Arkel uses - and using a knot rather than a crimp clamp is a very good idea should you need to adjust tension - knots are easy to adjust on the road :)<br/>
Actually, the pinzgauer was made by Puch, an Austrian company ;) I'm a vintage moped junkie, and Puch made some of the best mopeds. Coincidentally they made some really cool vehicles as well. If my Puch didn't get wrecked, I'd be making some panniers for it.
Cool - thanks for the info... Up-dated :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Engineer making renewable energy products for African entrepreneurs.
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