Traditional panniers are designed to haul gear from the trail-head to camp. The wrangler loads the panniers, straps them to the pack animal, covers them with a manty and a well placed barrel or diamond hitch and heads off down the trail. Once the animal arrives at camp the panniers are removed from the animal and the contents unloaded. This is a great system that has worked for hundreds of years and it’s a trusted method for hauling gear in the back-country or on the trail. However, traditional panniers are not designed for someone who’s on the ground, walking with the pack animal.
I wanted a pannier that was easily accessible so if I wanted to stop and take a break and have a drink of water or a snack I could. Or, if I needed to get to my binoculars or a spotting scope, a GPS or a digital camera I could do so without having to dismantle the entire load. I combined my knowledge of military backpack design and tried and true cowboy ingenuity to create a pannier that meets the needs of a person who’s on the ground, leading the animal. Not only are my panniers designed to be accessible while on the trail, they are also modular. There are places to attach water bottle pouches or a pouch for a GPS or binoculars. I have numerous pouches designed to mounted on the sides of the panniers. I’ve designed straps so a jacket, ground pad, tarp or camp chair can be lashed to the bottom. Plus, there are pockets under the messenger bag style flaps for storing smaller items like sun block, bug spray or a few treats for your pack animal. The bottom and sides are double lined with fabric and so is the closer flap. I use heavy #10 YKK zippers for non-binding, easy access to the contents. These panniers are tough, designed to take the abuse of the trail. I’ve also added connecting points so that a top load can be easily strapped down. Internally, there is a 6” x 12” hanging pocket and two grommets at the bottom to serve as drain holes. I included a removable aluminum stay along the top edge to distribute the weight along the sawbuck or saddle as well as help keep the bag open while loading and unloading. Best of all, my panniers are made in the USA with the best materials available. I use 1000D urethane coated Cordura nylon and military grade webbing and buckles. Urethane coated 1000D Cordura nylon is 10X more durable than cotton duck, 3X more durable than standard polyester and 2X more durable than standard nylon. Plus, it’s quick drying and will not rot like leather or cotton duck. The ITW Nexus 1 1/2″ buckets are rated at 250 pounds. With five connecting points it’s almost impossible to load enough weight to break a strap or buckle. Plus, I have alternated the buckles as straps so they can be hooked together to carry over a riding saddle. No more need to buy two sets of panniers!
These panniers have been extensively tested in the back-country of Colorado in the harshest conditions possible. Before I offered them to you I made certain they would handle what I could put them through. I am confident if gear meets my strict standards it will meet yours. You can rest assured that Mountain Ridge Gear panniers are built to last and will stand up to years of use.