Field Test & Review: Ortlieb Back-Roller Plus


Review: Ortlieb Back-Roller Classic

Ortlieb Back Rollers used on the rear as well as on the front rack for extra storage

Ortlieb Back Rollers used on the rear as well as on the front rack for extra storage


Peter Van Glabbeek has decades of experience in bicycle touring, including a 4-year trip around the world.

Review: Orltieb Back-Roller Plus

The popular waterproof Ortlieb panniers are by far the most used panniers among cyclo-campers. Most people use the more affordable Classic models which are the ones I have used for many years. Two years ago, I purchased a set of back-roller plus panniers. This article is a review of this fancier pair of bicycle bags.

Like all Ortlieb panniers, the back-roller plus are 100% waterproof and very durable. The roll down top closure is the same then the classic counterpart. Also the size is the same, 20L each – 40L per pair. The plus panniers have the same great reflectors for good visibility (definitely noticeable on a flashed picture!).

New models come with an inner pocket with zips to organize your packing. We usually store paper items or valuables in them. But I prefer the older models without this pocket. They take some room away and make packing big items like your sleeping bag a bit more difficult.

The Ortlieb Back-Roller Plus features the QL2.1 mounting system. It offers more anchoring possibilities than the QL1 system, so you can really find the perfect hook position regardless what rack you are using. See the matrix for which pannier fits which rack: here.

Each pannier has a shoulder strap. You can use it to carry the bags into a shop or around the city. You can use this strap to close the pannier nice and tight, but not everybody does.

One-handed easy set-up
The pannier is placed on the rack in one easy move. You lift the handle with one hand and you place the hooks on the rack. It takes two seconds and you won’t get your hands dirty. No need to lock anything, once the bag sits on the rack and you release the handle the hook closed up automatically.

Classic vs. Plus
There are a few differences between the Classic and the Plus models. The Plus model is about 4oz (110 gr) lighter per pannier. The material of the plus line is thinner – yet sturdier – and not as shiny; giving them a nicer look in my opinion. My experience is that they are even more durable than the Classic line.

Ortlieb Back-Packer Plus Pannier can withstand the harshest conditions

Ortlieb Back-Packer Plus Pannier can withstand the harshest conditions

Expect to pay roughly 30% more for the Plus models. Is the back-roller plus are worth the extra money? It depends on your tastes and budget. They are lighter, look better and are more durable than the Classics.

With the Back-Roller Plus model, Ortlieb has manufactured another fabulous product. Easy to use, very strong and 100% waterproof panniers. They will make your bike trip a more pleasant experience for sure. Buying a pair of Ortlieb panniers is definitely a good investment. You will probably use them for 10 to 20 years if used for commuting or short tours. In my experience they withstand an extended 4 to 5-year trip in rough condition.



About Stephane Marchiori

Owner of
Bike touring since 2003, including:
a 5-Year Bicycle Journey Around The World!

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