- This is about a type of luggage. For other uses of the word, see Pannier (disambiguation).
Traditional panniers for animal transport are typically made of canvas, leather, or wicker. Modern panniers may be rectangular boxes of hard-sided plastic. Panniers are loaded in such a manner as to distribute weight evenly on either side of the animal. For horse packing, and when carrying particularly heavy loads on other animals they are supported by a pack saddle to distribute weight more evenly across the back of the animal. In some cases, additional items are placed on the back of the animal, between the panniers.
There are many styles of bicycle panniers. Touring panniers come in both rear and front styles, usually sold in pairs, intended to hold enough equipment for self-sustained tours over days or weeks. Commuters who bicycle have pannier options designed to hold laptop computers, files and folders, changes of clothes or shoes and lunches. Some cyclists create makeshift pannier bags out of grocery bags, grocery baskets, garment-bags, convertible backpacks, and various multi-purpose bags as alternatives to purchasing a commercial pannier.
Bicycle panniers are usually made of nylon or other synthetic fabric. As bicycles are often ridden in the rain, many panniers are built to be water-repellent or waterproof by themselves. Others include built-in rain-covers, or rain-covers are offered as accessories.
Panniers are usually built to attach to a rear rack or front rack already fitted to the bicycle. Removable panniers hook onto the top edge of the rack and are often held in place by a latch or elastic mechanism.
Motorcycle panniers are generally boxes (often called saddlebags), and may be metal containers with lids, hard plastic, leather, or fabric. The panniers may be permanently fixed to the motorcycle or may be removable.