Reliable Panniers That Keep Rain Out
Ortlieb has strong brand recognition in the cycling world for a reason: they design good product. I was satisfied with the back-roller and front-roller panniers that I purchased for my rig. Not once did any gear inside the panniers get wet or damaged during my five month expedition. The clipping mechanism which attaches the pannier to the rack worked well, keeping the saddle bags firmly connected to my ride at all times. Though I did have one incident where a fastener inside my bag broke, I was able to use zip ties as a stopgap then have the part replaced at the next REI store.
Bikepacking tip: If I could do it again, I think I would exchange my front panniers for a handlebar bag. On extended bikepacking tours, wind resistance and weight are you biggest enemies. I found that the marginal increase in my surface area caused by the front panniers was enough to slow me down compared to fellow touring cyclists who did not have them. Plus, the additional storage space of the front panniers was excessive and unnecessary. For thousands of miles I had empty space in the front bags, which simply equated to more weight and more drag for me. In my opinion, bikepacking is a practice of minimalism. The redundant front panniers were not the most parsimonious choice for my ride. I think next time I'll try a handlebar bag instead.