The 24-litre-capacity Vaude Aqua Back panniers are ‘carbon-neutrally’ manufactured in Germany from a PVC-free tarpaulin material.
The bags use welded seams, so there are no holes left by stitching to let water in.
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You’ll achieve closure by rolling the top of the bag over a few times. If the pannier isn’t full, it’s worth giving a little squeeze to get excess air out.
Once rolled – towards the back – pass the adjustable strap over and pull tight. For a belt-and-braces approach, the buckles on the side for the shoulder strap will take the clips at the top of the bag. I did this because the shoulder strap is best removed and stowed when on the move.
Vaude’s QMR 2.0 locking mounting system works well. Lift by the rear handle and the hooks open, place over your rack and then to lock simply press the clips to close. Lifting up releases the locking mechanism automatically.
You can also lock the bags to your bike by threading a suitable lock through holes in the mechanism. Both top and bottom hooks are easily adjustable – knurled plastic dials loosen and move them. I did find these needed occasional tightening.
A single Aquaback weighs 970g and can be stuffed with up to 12.5kg of underpants, laptops and camping equipment. The laptop slips into an internal pocket, which also has a mesh pocket for keys, passports and the like.
The closure system and the tough material with welded seams meant my belongings stayed completely dry in big downpours.