The Green Guru High Roller 36L Backpack pannier ($130) is a durable, waterproof pannier that is made in the U.S. of recycled bicycle inner tubes. It has a fast and simple rack mounting system that securely attaches the pannier to the rack. It comes with a stashable backpack harness that is fast and easy to use.
What I liked:
Made in the U.S.A. Colorado, actually. So you know it wasn’t thrown together on a Jinese assembly line. Sustainability and protecting the environment are their core values and that means keeping junk out of landfills whenever possible. So they partner with bike shops, outfitters, and other gear retailers to re-purpose gear waste (old bike tubes, ropes, tents, etc) that could normally end up in a landfill into high-quality new gear that is handmade in Colorado.
Mounting system is easy-on/easy-off. The Green Guru 36L High Roller Backpack pannier’s Quick Mount mounting system consists of two simple, non-locking, durable metal hooks that hang from the top of the bike rack and lower metal hook with an adjustable strap and bungee that attaches to the bottom of the rack. I found that the best method to attach is to clip the bottom hook first then the top. To detach, lift from the top first than detach the lower hook.
Integrated backpack harness makes its versatile. The Green Guru 36L High Roller Backpack pannier comes with a stashable backpack harness that fits conveniently inside a Velcro-sealed compartment. Converting from pannier to backpack and back is fairly quick and easy. I did find that carrying it backpack-style for longer distances and with heavy loads is not the most comfortable. But for transporting from bike rack to my office it’s fine. A webbing grab-handle is moderately comfortable as long as you’re not carrying heavier loads.
Durable. The Green Guru 36L High Roller Backpack pannier is made with recycled bicycle inner tubes and a durable ten-ounce vinyl waterproof tarp material with black nylon Cordura on the ends and bottom. Internal structure is constructed using an HDPE plastic framesheet. Cleaning the pannier is very easy and requires only a damp or wet washcloth. The Green Guru 36L High Roller Backpack pannier mounting system hardware is vinyl coated metal and the clips that secure the flap and attach to the bottom hook are a very heavy plastic.
Waterproof. The Green Guru 36L High Roller Backpack pannier has a TPU laminated nylon liner and a weather-resistant envelope-top closure that is secured in place with strip of heavy Velcro making it waterproof. And yes, I did test this part with a garden hose! Well done, Green Guru.
Simple but thoughtful features. The Green Guru 36L High Roller Backpack pannier is very simplistic in design. And by that I really mean simplistic! Its envelope-top design and sturdy plastic clip with adjustable webbing compression strap allows for moderate flexibility in cargo capacity. I managed to carry my lunch, clothing, shoes and a fifteen-inch IBM ThinkPad inside the main compartment. Tech fiends may find fault with the lack of a separate laptop sleeve.
A set of outer side pockets can hold items like a bike lock or water bottles. However the pockets are not stretchy or very deep. During the testing period, I rode over a pot hole in the bike path and my bike lock fell out. Reflective elements are generous and include a highly-reflective simple triangle on the front and reflective stripes on the blinkie light webbing loops on both ends of the pannier.
What I didn’t like
No adjustability to the mounting system. The Green Guru 36L High Roller Backpack pannier fit equally well on my Civia Hyland and my husband’s Trek District rack but the upper metal attaching hooks are riveted to the pannier and are not adjustable forward and backward so may not fit all bike racks.
I’ve always been aware of Green Guru–mostly because I have a drawer full of their little recycled climbing rope wristbands that I swiped from their “Free!” bin at Outdoor Retailers over the years. But this pannier, and the Frame Bag have been my first experiences with the brand’s products and level of quality. It’s waaaay up there. Like Moots bikes, they’re not the most highly-advanced brand technologically. But a lot of times, I don’t care about technology. I care about quality and where and how it was made.
So, yeah. I’m really impressed with Green Guru products right now and I’m excited to watch them continue to evolve as a Made-in-the-USA brand.
The Green Guru 36L High Roller Backpack Pannier is a Gear Gals Piece of Recommended Gear!