The Altura Arran 2 36L Panniers are the medium size of the Arran range. They consist of two 18 litre pannier bags made to meet the demands of both daily commuting and mini bike-packing adventures.
The Altura Arran 2 36L Panniers are made from P-Tec 600D Polyester. The ‘D’ standing for Denier (the weight in which a fabric is measured). The Polyester is lightweight, helping keep the panniers weight down – but maintains a high-level of strength and durability. The exterior of the pannier bags feature reflective trim and logos for improved visibility. There is also a loop to hook a rear light or reflector to.
The hoods of the Arran 2 panniers are elasticated around the sides. This helps with closing the panniers when they are fully loaded. The original Altura Arran panniers two thin clip buckles as a closure system. The Arran 2 replaces these with a large, single clip in a central position. Altura have also increased the width of the adjustable Nylon strap for a more secure fixing.
At the back of the panniers Altura have used the KLICKFix Vario Hook system. This is made up of two hooks at the top of the pannier which clip onto the top rail of the rack. There is then a horizontal hook which slides around the vertical bar of the pannier rack. All three hooks are adjustable using a screwdriver to adjust their tension and positioning. This means the upper hooks will fit most tubing diameters on a pannier rack. For a final element of security there is a central hook which twists 90 degrees – acting as a final clip once the panniers are mounted.
Inside each bag is a large (18L) pocket which is supported by a Polyethylene back board. This not only supports the Arran panniers when rack mounted, but it helps to hold the bag open. The Altura Arran 2 36L panniers are not waterproof but do have a degree of water-repellency to them. This is aided but the hem and draw cord at the top of the main compartment.
In addition to the main pocket, the hood features an additional zip pocket. This is useful for carrying items that you may need to access quickly.
I am not an experienced pannier user, so the idea of testing the Altura Arran 2 36L Panniers was going to be as much of a learning exercise as a review. Having decided after years of sweaty-backed commutes from carrying a rucksack, the Altura Arran panniers made for a pleasant change. The Arran range of bags are available in 3 size options. There is the single 16 litre pannier or the 36 and 46 litre paired bags. The Altura Arran 2 36L panniers are a good option for commuting. The Polyester fabric combined with the Polyethylene back board make them sturdy and robust. But at the same time, lightweight at just over 1.2kg for the pair. I really like the simplicity of the single clip closure. Its solid and secure and easily adjustable.
Despite their narrow dimensions, the Altura Arran 2 36L panniers actually hold a lot.
The internal space in the Arran panniers is good but I did find that some strategic packing was required on the first few outings. This is down to the fact that the panniers as actually quite narrow – approximate dimensions being 38 x 26 x 15cm. In spite of this, the panniers pack out well. I easily managed to carry a full change of clothes (jeans, t-shirt, trainers etc) in one bag. Leaving the other side for a table computer, packed lunch, rain jacket, spare tube and other various cycling tools and accessories. The zip pockets on the top are also roomy enough for throwing your keys, wallet and mobile phone into. However, I think had these panniers not been a pair, I may have struggled to fit in everything I need on a daily basis into one bag.
When it came to connecting the Altura Arran panniers to the bike, the KLICKFix Vario hooks do great job of holding them in place. Unfortunately I did find them frustratingly fiddly to set up. The hooks are adjustable using a screwdriver. Loosening the screws in the top hooks lets you connect them to a pannier rack with wider tubing. While the lower hook slides left or right to secure around the pannier rack vertical tube. The issue I had with these adjustments is that the screws are quite small – especially in the lower hook. This meant that once I had the panniers mounted in position, I found it difficult to tighten the screw again without removing the pannier. Once in the correctly set positions, the hooks hold very securely. I am able to test both on and off-road during my commute. In both scenarios the Arran panniers held fast with surprisingly little rattle. Through corners and over the rougher roads, the panniers produce little movement. I was also given the opportunity to test the panniers in a short downpour, although this wasn’t pre-planned. As advised earlier in the review, the panniers are not waterproof. But the P-Tec fabric and the internal draw cord hem did do an impressive job of keeping my things dry.
Altura Arran 2 36L Panniers Review Conclusion
Getting straight to point – the he Altura Arran 2 (36L) panniers are very good. I would suggest that they are ideally suited to those looking for a compact luggage solution for commuting – without looking like you’re on a cross-continent challenge. The finish is smart and the subtle features like light loops, reflective detail and large zip pockets are all positives. The space is ample for carrying most peoples daily essentials. Some may be put off by the lack of waterproofing, especially if you carry a laptop for example. But I was impressed by the water repellency. The KLICKFix hook fixings are annoying to setup but brilliantly secure once this has been done. With a retail price of £69.99 for the pair they a reasonably priced against the competition.
Altura Arran 2 36L Panniers are nice and compact panniers - ideal for commuting & mini bike-packing adventures. But not fully waterproof.