This is about a type of luggage. For other uses of the word, see Pannier (disambiguation)
Pannier (disambiguation)
A pannier is a storage container used during transportation.Pannier can also refer to:*Pannier tank locomotive, a type of steam locomotive*Pannier , an 18th century undergarment...


A pannier ˈ is a basket
A basket is a container which is traditionally constructed from stiff fibres, which can be made from a range of materials, including wood splints, runners, and cane. While most baskets are made from plant materials, other materials such as horsehair, baleen, or metal wire can be used. Baskets are...

, bag, box
Box describes a variety of containers and receptacles for permanent use as storage, or for temporary use often for transporting contents. The word derives from the Greek πύξος , "box, boxwood"....

, or similar container, carried in pairs either slung over the back of a beast of burden
Working animal
A working animal is an animal, usually domesticated, that is kept by humans and trained to perform tasks. They may be close members of the family, such as guide or service dogs, or they may be animals trained strictly to perform a job, such as logging elephants. They may also be used for milk, a...

, or attached to the sides of a bicycle
A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....

 or motorcycle
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.Motorcycles are one of the most...

. The term derives from the Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

, from Classical Latin
Classical Latin
Classical Latin in simplest terms is the socio-linguistic register of the Latin language regarded by the enfranchised and empowered populations of the late Roman republic and the Roman empire as good Latin. Most writers during this time made use of it...

, word for bread basket.

Animal panniers

Traditional panniers for animal transport
Pack animal
A pack animal or beast of burden is a working animal used by humans as means of transporting materials by attaching them so their weight bears on the animal's back; the term may be applied to either an individual animal or a species so employed...

 are typically made of canvas
Canvas is an extremely heavy-duty plain-woven fabric used for making sails, tents, marquees, backpacks, and other items for which sturdiness is required. It is also popularly used by artists as a painting surface, typically stretched across a wooden frame...

, leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

, or wicker
Wicker is hard woven fiber formed into a rigid material, usually used for baskets or furniture. Wicker is often made of material of plant origin, but plastic fibers are also used....

. 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
.A packhorse or pack horse refers generally to an equid such as a horse, mule, donkey or pony used for carrying goods on their backs, usually carried in sidebags or panniers. Typically packhorses are used to cross difficult terrain, where the absence of roads prevents the use of wheeled vehicles. ...

, and when carrying particularly heavy loads on other animals they are supported by a pack saddle
Pack saddle
A pack saddle is any device designed to be secured on the back of a horse, mule, or other draft animal so it can carry heavy loads such as luggage, firewood, small cannons or other weapons too heavy to be carried by humans, etc.-Description:...

 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.

Bicycle panniers

There are many styles of bicycle panniers. Touring
Bicycle touring
Bicycle touring is cycling over long distances – prioritizing pleasure and endurance over utility or speed. Touring can range from single day 'supported' rides — e.g., rides to benefit charities — where provisions are available to riders at stops along the route, to multi-day...

 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. Since the movement against disposable shopping bags emerged, many panniers are made easily detachable from the bike, to allow using them for shopping bags. 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.

The first panniers designed specifically for bicycles were patented by John B. Wood of Camden, NJ, in 1884. The modern bicycle pannier was invented by Hartley Alley (1919-2001) of Boulder, CO, in 1971. Alley also designed a handlebar
A handlebar is part of the steering mechanism, in lieu of a steering wheel, for vehicles that are ridden on, instead of in, such as bicycles, motorcycles, tricycles, ATVs, snowmobiles and personal watercraft. It may also be simply the handles on a device such as a zip line trolley or a floor buffer...

 bag and other bicycle luggage that he manufactured and sold under the Touring Cyclist brand in the 1970s until his retirement in 1984.


Bicycle panniers are usually made of nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

 or other synthetic fabric
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

. 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. The shape of the pannier may be enforced by a frame or stiffening panel made of plastic or metal to help keep it in place and prevent it from contacting a wheel.

Panniers are usually built to attach to a rear rack
Luggage carrier
A luggage carrier, also commonly called a rack, is a device attached to a bicycle to which cargo or panniers can be attached. This is popular with utility bicycles and touring bicycles....

 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

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.

Aircraft panniers

External cargo compartments on aircraft are also called panniers. They are similar to drop tanks, although they carry cargo rather than fuel and are usually not jettisonable. Aircraft panniers are usually mounted singly under the aircraft's belly along its centerline. Streamlining is an important consideration in the design of aircraft panniers.
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