Instructables

Make bicycle panniers out of swiss army surplus bags

Featured
Picture of Make bicycle panniers out of swiss army surplus bags
When you use your bicycle to commute you need someplace to carry stuff.  Bike bags (known as panniers) are expensive

Lets make a set of our own panniers!

You have lots of choices of materials when making bags.  Plastic kitty litter boxes are popular but just do not look good to me.  Some people make panniers out of corrugated plastic signs. Others reuse cloth bags either military or backpacks.  One of the biggest problems with home made cloth bags is they do not have an internal structure and are limp when not loaded with stuff.  These bags could get caught in the spokes causing an abrupt stop.

The Swiss army surplus ammo bags are made from canvas and leather.  These bags are sturdy and have enough structure to hold their shape when empty.  Canvas is not a waterproof material, but it dries out pretty fast and does not hold water in like other bags might when water eventually gets in the bag.

The tools you will need:
  • A drill to make holes for the mounting hardware
  • Screws to attach the mounting hardware
  • Rubber gloves if you plan to dye the bags a different color
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Secure the materials

Picture of Secure the materials
swiss_bags_3_small.jpg
swiss_bags_2_small.jpg
Materials needed:
  • 2 Swiss Army ammo bags 
  • 2 sets of pannier mounts
  • 8 stainless steel screws
  • 8 stainless steel nylon lock nuts
  • Leather dye (optional)

If you do not have an army surplus store near you there are some on line that sell these bags for a reasonable price.  I was able to get a  pair of Swiss army ammo bags for $48 but your mileage may vary.  Check with Omaha Surplus, or Swiss Link or eBay for "swiss army ammo bags".

You can make mounting hardware but I have not found any home made solutions that will not chip the paint on the racks or work very well.  Mounting parts can be found at Trek for a reasonable price.  Go to:  http://store.trekbikes.com/ and search for "pannier parts" which should bring you to the "Bontrager Interchange System Parts" page.  This page has multiple options to choose from different pannier parts.  The ones used in this instructable are "Interchange Transit w/Sway Hardware" and are ~$14 each.  Asking the local bike shop (Trek dealer) to order the parts can save on the shipping costs.

The pannier mounting hardware will be attached with screws through the thickest part of the bag.  Go to the hardware store and find some stainless steel machine M5 screws (8 screws needed per bag) long enough to pass through the mounting hardware and the bag.  Also buy stainless steel nylon lock nuts so the hardware does not come loose.
mazzmn10 months ago
Cool, looks even better on the bike, the black on black is pretty stealthy !
Let's see the bike with them on
MattBruzer (author)  luckymonkeygarage10 months ago
I did not have a picture of the panniers on the bike! I went out and did that today. Since the bags are a little small I use them on the front rack. Hope you like them.
panniers_front_rack.jpg
Tymkrs11 months ago
Wow this looks amazing!!
Judith75611 months ago
And they look cool and retro besides holding all your things. Very nice!