Just as Capitol Hill is one of our favorite Seattle neighborhoods, the Hill is one of our favorite bags. And why not? It’s got a TPU-coated waterproof top flap, tons of room in the main compartment, and an exterior pocket for small items. Two simple and sturdy pannier clips fit on just about any rack and are covered by a neoprene flap when not in use. The Hill includes a hide-away rain cover, interior organization and removable shoulder strap. Pair it with the matching Sodo handlebar bag for extra capacity!
- Best Uses – Commuting, Touring, Around Town
- Waterproof lid
- Two zippered compartments
- Lots of storage pockets/sleeve inside
- Hide-Away rain cover
- Removable shoulder strap
- Easy to use pannier clips
- Volume – 13.9 l (850 cu in)
- Dimensions – 27.9 cm wide x 35.6 cm high x 12.7 cm deep (11 x 14 x 5 in)
- Measured weight – 976 g (34.4 oz, 2 lb 2.4 oz)
- Retail – $95
This is not the first Detours product I have tested. Located in Seattle, WA, Detours specializes in making carrying options for cycling. Being in Seattle, they also know something about adverse weather and how to make a bag that can handle it. The other bags I tested were both trunk bags, so I was excited to test one of their panniers. I want to thank Detours for sending me the bag to test.
My commute is 16 miles each way from Bend to Redmond and back. I like to carry a fair amount of stuff to and fro so having a quality bag is a must. I tested the Hill Pannier on my commutes over the last couple months, at least when the roads were not icy. I did get a bit of poor weather, but for the most part, it was dry. My commute is entirely on pavement but there are some bumps along the way to test the latch.
The Detours Hill Pannier is designed for commuting but also can be used for just about anything else. It is part of the Repel Series by Detours as it is made to be highly water resistant. As I mentioned above, Detours is out of Seattle, WA, so they know a thing or two about rain. I can say that as that is where I am from. The pannier is rectangular shaped with a solid back where they have attached the two pannier clips that are able to clip into nearly any rack. They use a levering mechanism to open when removing from your rack but can attach much easier with just some downward pressure. When not in use there is even a neoprene cover to protect them from damage or damaging your clothing when carrying it into the office. There are two small loops on the back as well that are used to attach the removable shoulder strap. At the top, there is also a small grab handle if that is your preference.
Other details on the outside of the pannier are two elastic drop in pockets, one on each side. These are ideally sized for water bottles but can be used for just about anything. On these pockets are sewn on reflective branding loops. You can even use these to attach a clip light if you so wish. On the bottom of the pannier is a hidden zipper pocket. This pocket contains the bright yellow rain cover that is attached with a tethered clip. It has an elastic perimeter strap so it will sit snugly in place and not flap in the wind. As a bonus, the cover when stashed in the pocket adds some cushioning at the bottom for your contents. The lid of the Hill Pannier is made of a waterproof material that covers the top third of the pack. This material is both tough and completely weatherproof. It also has two webbing loops on top for extra attachment points.
The Hill Pannier has several different storage options. On the outside, there is a drop in pocket that can be accessed without getting into the zippered compartments. Great for stuffing in a magazine or newspaper you pick up on the go. The first zippered pocket accesses the smaller of the two main sections of the pannier. It has a padded outer for protection and many storage features on the inside. There are two pen sleeves, two drop in sleeve pockets and a zippered mesh pocket. There is also a key clip for securing your keys, so they do not get lost. The second zippered pocket is the bigger main storage pocket. It has a laptop sleeve made of neoprene for better protection for your computer and a smaller sleeve as well. The laptop sleeve does not go all the way to the bottom, so there is no risk of hitting your computer on the ground if you do happen to drop your pack.
I did try to find out information on how sustainable the bag is. I was not able to find any information about the bag or any information about any initiative’s Detour has regarding sustainability. I know they are a big proponent for cycling and alternative transportation so on that merit alone I gave them a two for sustainability.
Ease of Use (25%)
Weather Resistance (20%)
I tested the Hill Pannier exclusively on my commutes. I often carry food, clothes, and other randomness to work so having a pack with good pockets is key for me. I am also a little OCD when it comes to organization, and the Hill Pannier is definitely made for someone like me. There are pockets for just about everything, and I feel like things are separated enough that I do not have to worry about things getting messed up. Nothing like stuffing your lunch into a compartment that is a little too small and having the lid pop of on the ride to work. It has happened to me before. So not only are the larger pockets appreciated, the overall shape of the pannier is good. With a rectangle, there is not any funny dimensions to worry about, just a simple and reliable shape. Having all the pockets is definitely nice but for me, I would have appreciated at least one of the smaller sleeve pockets to be zippered. I find the zippered much more functional than drop in pockets, but this may just be my preference. I tend to put more in the zippered mesh pocket as I like to have things secure.
The internal laptop sleeve was large enough to fit my 15-inch computer, but it would be a stretch to go any larger than this. I found that I only used the rear water bottle pocket while commuting. I could see this pocket becoming handy if you are using this for touring. The extra spot for a bottle would definitely help in hotter climates. The pannier does not have much adjustability when it comes to compressing things down. The lid can be tightened down a bit, which helps. I generally had it pretty full so it being to empty was not really a concern for me. What I really liked was the attachment clips. When putting it on a rack it is really easy to do. Just push it down in the right place and the clips will automatically clip into the rack. They were plenty secure on both bikes I tested it on, and I never had any problems. Taking the pannier off is a little harder than putting it on but not much. Just press the lever mechanism to open up the clips and pull it off.
The Hill Pannier has a couple of small reflective accents on it, but I felt like it could have used a little more. In particular, the one on the front could have been a bit bigger. It is pretty small. I do like how they have made the rain cover not only bright but also reflective. The rain cover definitely has to be one of the highlights on the Hill Pannier. You can go without on lighter weather days, even in a light rain without issue as the lid works great. However, if the weather really gets nasty, the rain cover will give you peace of mind. I did not get to truly put it to the test in the real world, but I can say it passes the sink test. =) The Hill Pannier is made of some tough products that have not shown any wear thus far for me. I have not been too hard on it but do think that apart from crashing you will not be able to do too much to the pannier. At seems really robust, which of course comes at a slight weight penalty.
Overall, another solid product from Detours. While the Hill Pannier is not as flashy as some of the other products they have released as of late, it is very functional and dependable. The overall design of the pannier is really well done as it can effectively carry everything you may need for work. I do think it would make a reasonable touring pannier as well but was not able to try that over the winter. Only thing I would be careful of is on a rainy day, make sure you use the included cover. The lid will protect the top, but I can see an instance in where heavy rain can get down the water bottle pockets and soak into the bottom of the pannier. Maybe small rain holes in these pockets might have been a nice addition. This would not keep me from highly recommending this as a commuter pannier. It is durable and carefully thought out. The Detours Hill Pannier retails for $95, which I think is a fair price. It will serve you well for many years. As always, your mileage may vary.
- Lots of pockets
- Durable materials
- Waterproof lid
- Stow able waterproof cover
- Easy to attach to a bike rack
- Slightly heavy, tradeoff for durability
- Reflective elements could be larger
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