Minnehaha pannier long-term review

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I snagged one of these Minnehaha canvas utility panniers last year (on sale at Restoration Hardware – weird, right?) and have put it through daily rides since then. Minnehaha touts the “Utility without a utilitarian look”, which I think means it doesn’t look super sporty like the Ortliebs and others. It passes my can-I-take-this-into-a-meeting-at-work test. They retail for $64.99.

The design is simple without frills. Black canvas, leather fastening strap, one interior pocket, 2 top hooks, and a shoulder strap.

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With a 13″ laptop, pants, a shirt, spare tube, and a paperback book, there was still a little bit of room for lunch. It’s by no means a large pannier, but I’ve adapted my grocery runs to fit this bag for the last year, except when I ride the xtracycle (and buy way too much — economies of scale).

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The rear profile shows the approximate volume of the bag, which is to say it’s much slimmer than my bargain-bin Nashbar pannier (nicknamed “The Tumor”) by this guy.

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The interior pocket is big enough to fit a tube, phone, multi-tool, and a candy bar. During a downpour, I put my cell phone in it, and it stayed dry. On that note, the pannier isn’t waterproof, but Minnehaha says you can use a trash bag as a waterproof liner. I spray the pannier with some Nikwax before it rains, and it seems to help the rain bead and roll off a bit.

The upper mounting hooks have stayed put, but I lost the lower bungee-hook thing, so I replaced the hook with a cheap carabiner. Before I replaced the hook, I learned the hard way that the pannier will bounce off without a lower mount. Oops.

Overall, I’ve been pleased with the bag, and I think it’ll see a few years of good use. It’s great around town, good for an overnight bike camping trip, but not stout enough for a long tour.

For roughly 3 times the price, the Philosophy bags take canvas panniers to a new level – waterproof, made in US, touring-grade mounts. The Minnehaha pannier is a great place to start.

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9 thoughts on “Minnehaha pannier long-term review

  1. Kacey Close says:

    Nice review! I’m always curious about new bags and panniers. Until recently, I was using a pair of panniers of unknown model and origin that I bought used on eBay. They smelled like someone’s garage and the only indicator as to their birth was a Koala patch that was industrially bonded to the back of both panniers.

    As I found that I was carrying less and less, I finally removed them both and have replaced them with a very svelte bike trunk from XLC (http://bit.ly/mYMjWK) that carries my tools, lock, earmuffs and gloves. Everything else rides in one of a pair of hydration packs that I wear daily. Minimalism is great!

  2. Nice! I have actually been checking out the different options of panniers, bags, etc. Mostly, I need something that will hold a 6-pack or a to-go box of food upright. Any suggestions?

  3. […] Minnehaha pannier long-term review by bikedenton I snagged one of these Minnehaha canvas utility panniers last year (on sale at Restoration Hardware – weird, right?) and have put it through daily rides since then. Minnehaha touts the “Utility without a utilitarian look”, which I think means it doesn’t look super sporty like… […]

  4. Remington says:

    Related: http://youtu.be/OaTO8_KNcuo

    I’ve carried six packs and to-go food in Minnehaha’s medium saddle bag (found here: http://www.minnehahabags.com/canvas-saddle-bag-medium/) which I think is a great commuter/utility bag. You’d be surprised how much it can hold. The bag requires that your saddle has bag loops on it, but if your saddle doesn’t, you can buy these Viva bolt on Bag Loops: http://velo-orange.blogspot.com/2007/09/arrivals.html

  5. Opus the Poet says:

    I use the kitty-litter bucket panniers but I made mine before Instructables.com.

  6. HiTecHoBo says:

    I’ve made do with bargain basement panniers. The rears are Closeouts sale Nasbar items I bought in the early 90’s, the fronts are actually modified tool backpacks I bought for less than 20 bucks each at Lowe’s. The bar pack is a rather large waist pack. They served me well in the various combinations, including using them all on a multi-day camping trip down the Colorado trail and in Yosemite. 
    http://gallery.me.com/dvideographer/100015/Denton%20Station

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