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Riding Saddle Panniers

pannier1Saddle panniers, these humble bags tasked with holding the camp goods of aspiring packers have a new leader in town. Many riding saddle panniers are built for exclusive use with riding saddles, forcing their users to purchase new bags when they graduate to real packsaddles. Not these. The Riding Saddle Panniers by Chris Tornow offer the ambitious novice packer the ability to use these pannier bags on both riding saddles and packsaddles.

The Claim: “These are the most secure and versatile saddle panniers on the market.”

The genius behind these pannier bags are the four heavy duty straps that connect the bags, as opposed to the solid material that is often used. These straps are used to securely connect the bags together to hang over riding saddles or connected in loops that hang from the crutches of a sawbuck or from the hoops of a decker packsaddle.


The Specifics:

  • Heavy duty cordura nylon construction
  • Reinforced corners and edges of heavy duty polypropylene webbing
  • 8 pounds total weight
  • Pannier dimensions
    • 10 inches deep
    • 20 inches tall
    • 23 inches long
  • Panniers have a combined volume of nearly 160 liters. Or 4,800 cubic inches per side.
  • Aluminum bar across top of the panniers give shape and form to the bags making it very easy to load, as well as evenly distributing weight.
  • Bag lids cover the tops with a generous overhang and even have Velcro to secure them.
  • A bottom strap serves as a lash cinch and keeps the bags from flopping about.

Using the Riding Saddle Panniers:

When we used these bags with a riding saddle we found that it was best to remove the stirrups from the riding saddle as well as use a good breast collar and crupper or britchen (the best bet) to improve the stability of the load. For use with a modified decker packsaddle we simply buckled the straps together to from loops that hang from the decker hoops.

pannier3The wide webbing reinforcements really help keep the bags together when your riding / pack animal inevitably “kisses” a tree or other trail obstacle.

The best thing about using these soft sided pannier bags is that riders wanting to learn more about the art of packing, or who just want to venture a bit further afield, can do so easily and using much of the equipment that they already have. And when they decide to explore more of the packing world these same bags can continue to be used.

pannier6The only downfall that we found for these pannier bags is their size is slightly too small to insert a standard pannier bag liner to provide additional structure and protection for the items that you transport in the softsided pannier bags. We made a set of liners from cardboard fruit boxes. From our research into these bags we found that in 2015 they will be able to accommodate the ready made liners.

pannier5The Verdict:

We like these Riding Saddle Pannier Bags from Chris Tornow. You can learn more about them, as well as the rest of the quality packing and riding equipment that Chris makes, at