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Deuter Rack Pack II Panniers Owner Review

Deuter Rack Pack II

I have been using a set of Deuter Rack Pack II panniers since I first got into bicycling in 2007. I have used these panniers on tours, on commutes when I need to take clothes etc into the office and on food shopping expeditions. I thought it was about time I wrote up my experience with these panniers which I am now passing on as they are being replaced with a pair of Ortlieb Bike-Packer Plus Panniers. Hopefully they will continue to provide years of service to the future owner.

Deuter Rack Rack-II Panniers

Deuter Rack Pack II Panniers

Specifications of the Deuter Rack Pack II Panniers

Deuter Rack Rack-II Rain Cover

Deuter Rack Pack II Panniers

The Deuter Rack Pack II panniers are rear mount panniers with an approximate capacity per pair of 48 litres. These are not waterproof panniers but they do come with integrated rain covers. They also have two pockets on the outside plus an external pocket in the lid. If you like panniers with pockets these tick that box for sure.

Deuter Rack Rack-II Front Mesh Pocket

Deuter Rack Rack II Front Mesh Pocket

Deuter Rack Rack-II Side Pocket

Deuter Rack Pack II Side Pocket

It does appear that Deuter now market the latest incarnation of these panniers simply as the Deuter Rack Pack 2012 but I not 100% sure as they do not seem to list panniers on their website. Looking at the Deuter Pack Rack 2012 as shown on retailer websites it does seem similar to the Deuter Rack Pack II but the mounting system has been updated to the Ortlieb QL 2 mount. The Deuter Rack Pack II has what appears to be the earlier version of the Ortlieb QL 1 mount as fitted to Ortlieb Front-Roller Classic which I reviewed early on.

Deuter Rack Rack-II Rear Panel and Mounts

Deuter Rack Pack II Rear Panel and Mounts

In summary the features of the Deuter Rack Pack II panniers are:

  • What I believe to be is the Ortlieb QL 1 mounting system as fitted to the Ortlieb Front-Roller Classic;
  • Integrated nylon bright yellow rain cover;
  • Small external pocket in the pannier lid;
  • Front mesh pocket;
  • Fully enclosed external side pocket;
  • Internal dust flap;
  • Lid with compression straps as opposed to a roll-top closure.

Performance of the Deuter Rack Pack II Panniers

Deuter Rack Rack-II Panniers on Tour

Deuter Rack Pack II Panniers on Tour

As mentioned above I have been using the panniers since 2007 and hence my comments below reflect that experience.

Fitting the Deuter Rack Pack II Panniers: I have used the Deuter Rack Pack II panniers with a Tubus Cargo Expedition which is fitted to my Surly Long Haul Trucker and also with a Tioga rack that I had on a early bike. With both racks the panniers fitted fine without any hassle or rattles.

Loading up the Deuter Rack Pack II panniers: A pair of Deuter Rack Pack II panniers have an estimated capacity of 48 litres. On my tours and commutes I have this capacity to be more than enough for my tours up to 14 days in length. They are easy to pack, the shape seems to work okay at fitting in gear without to much wasted space. With respect to the external pockets, I did occasionally made use of the small pocket in the lid for small items (e.g., knife) which I wanted easy access to on the road. The external side pocket was also handy for holding items that one may want easy access to. I really didn’t find the mesh pockets of much use and rarely used them. They maybe good for wet clothes but not much else in my experience.

The lid of the panniers with its compression straps is easy to close down and I do like the convenience of this style.

Waterproofness of the Deuter Rack Pack II Panniers: The Deuter Rack Pack II panniers are not waterproof and I have never seen any claims by Deuter to suggest otherwise. That said, they do have rain covers which work much better than I expected in that they keep the panniers and contents pretty dry. On the downside they mark pretty easily and I have managed to make a mess of main from them rubbing the chain, etc.

Durability of the Deuter Rack Pack II Panniers

I have used my pair of Deuter Rack Pack II panniers for four plus years of commuting and touring including some touring on the Munda Biddi Trail, which includes single-track riding. The panniers have handled all this with aplomb. I have had no holes in the panniers, no rips or other significant damage. All that has occurred is that the material has been marked a couple of places; black marks possibly from my hands after touching the chain and the rain cover is well and truly a mess of black stain marks. That is it after four years of use.

Deuter Rack Rack-II Rain Cover Damage

Deuter Rack Rack II Rain Cover Damage

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of the Deuter Rack Pack II Panniers

The Good

  • The QL 1 mounting system secures the Deuter Rack Pack II panniers to the rack well;
  • Easy to pack;
  • Good capacity at 48 litres;
  • Handy external pockets in the lid and sides;
  • Durability.

The Bad

  • Over priced compared to the competition today;
  • Not sure of the value of the external mesh pockets;
  • Not waterproof.

The Ugly

  • Rain cover is easily marked.

Conclusion

Personally, whilst these haven’t been bad panniers by any means I wouldn’t buy these again or the later versions today for the simple reason I can get Ortlieb waterproof panniers with the QL 2 mounting system for similar dollars. These simply don’t compete in my view plus the lack of waterproofness is a major drawback for me.

That said, if you are looking for a commuter pannier set with external mesh pockets and don’t need waterproofness these are a reasonable option. Especially now the 2012 model has the Ortlieb QL 2 mounting system.

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