Cleaning and Caring for Your Pack Pannier

Cleaning and Caring for Your Pack Pannier

When it comes to keeping your pack pannier clean and cared for, I have a few simple tips for you to use both at home and in the backcountry. However, your cleaning process depends solely on the kind of pack pannier you use, so let’s start with the basics - what kind of pack pannier material are you using?

Pack Panniers - Materials

Cordura Nylon: I recommend this material - it doesn’t rot, mildew or hold smell. The tough, durable fabric easily resists abrasions, scuffs and tears and it’s easy to clean and prevent stains due to it’s high quality material. It’s also comfortable for pack mules to carry and easy to attach to your saddles.

Canvas: This option is known as the classic pack pannier made for pack mules and pack saddles. It has durable fabric and water resistant material, making it easier on your mules to carry and for you to clean. However, this material stains very easily, especially if it’s in contact with blood.

Iron Cloth: It’s extremely durable and tough synthetic material makes it a great option. The cleaning process will look similar to other cloth material and it’s a good choice for your pack mules.

Vinyl: This synthetic material is tough and waterproof. It’s easy to clean because it consists of plastic made from ethylene.

Aluminum: This is the toughest pack pannier out there, some are even bear proof. The material is low maintenance so cleaning it won’t be a problem.

Poly-Plastic: This is a hard pack pannier that offers protection for items that could easily break. The plastic material is easy to keep clean and dry. It may be a little tougher to use on your pack saddle simply because the material isn’t as flexible or easy to adjust.

Leather: It’s flexible material makes for a good pack pannier for both you and your pack mules, but it won’t be the easiest material to keep clean or remove stains.

How to Clean Your Pack Pannier

If you’re in the backcountry and need a quick cleaning then take your pannier down to the creek to wash it out. You can use a horse brush to scrub any stains or debris. Then turn it inside out and lay it in the sun to let it dry. Just make sure you don’t leave it out in the sun too long because it can cause the color to fade.

At Home Cleaning Options:

      • If it’s a fabric pannier, throw it in the washing machine - depending on the stains it may take a few runs
      • Hose it out in the yard
      • Wash it in the sink or bathtub with dish/hand soap and a soft bristle brush
      • Use a bucket full of soap/sanitizer to initially wash it then pour the water over it to rinse
      • Let it air dry in the sun or speed up the process by using a fan

Deodorizing Options:

      • Throw some Scent Killer powder into the washing machine
      • Mix Pine-Sol with water to make a liquid cleaning solution
      • Fill a sock with baking soda/sodium bicarbonate and pat down the interior
      • Use climbing chalk to absorb the odor
      • Use Gold Bond Body Powder in a sock and tap the interior
      • Sprinkle in some baby powder
I know that cleaning and caring for your pack panniers can be a pain, but next time you’re out hunting in the open fields of the backcountry, you’ll thank yourself for taking the time to wash and deodorize your pack panniers.


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