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I've managed to tear a couple holes in my panniers. Nothing enormous; they can still hold their contents, but they definitely need patching.

What would be a good way to patch them, keeping them waterproof and hopefully durable?

They're Detours, 50% nylon and 50% polyester, just simple one-piece bags. They're several years old, and they were a gift - haven't managed to find the exact same thing online.

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More info would help people answer: What are your panniers made of? Model/type? (For example, Ortlieb sells patch kits specifically for their panniers, and plain canvas can be patched with a piece of material and a needle and thread.) Unless someone wants to tackle how to patch multiple kinds of panniers? –  Neil Fein Nov 2 '10 at 14:53
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@neilfein: Well, Detours doesn't appear to sell patch kits specifically for theirs, and they're certainly not plain canvas. I'm assuming I don't really want to poke holes in something I want to be waterproof, and that some adhesive patches may not stick well to the material. Hopefully nylon+polyester is enough to narrow it down? –  Jefromi Nov 2 '10 at 15:25

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The reality is that panniers are very similar to camping equipment. You have, "50% nylon and 50% polyester". So go to a camping store or online retailer and find a patch kit designed for that fabric combination. It may be included with the kit, but if not, you'll need a sealing compound to cover the patch.

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All you really need is some fabric to repair the whole (nylon) and a cheap blue tarp. You can sew the nylon/tarp combination to the outside of the bag then use seam sealer on bot the outside and inside to cover the seam and make the stitches waterproof. Even better if you can place the seam sealer between the fabrics and stitch through it then apply it to the outside.

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Tear-Aid is a great product that I use to repair drybags that I use on river trips in the Grand Canyon. It is self-adhesive, durable, flexible, and waterproof. Sticks to nearly anything. River supply stores like NRS will carry it. If you search the web for "tear-aid" you will find both the manufacturer's site and Amazon, which has it.

I have used this to repair bags that hold my down sleeping bag and keep it dry when it's lashed on top of a gear pile on a boat running the V-wave at Lava Falls. The stuff works. My sleeping bag has always been dry on four Canyon trips.

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Thanks for the tip - more convenient for me to try a generic tent patch kit first, though, I think. –  Jefromi Nov 3 '10 at 1:13
    
For most panniers a generic patch would surely be fine. If you are taking a nice set of Axiom or Ortleibs on a long tour in rainy climes, though... or if you are consumed with a desire to have your panniers remain watertight... the Tear-Aid is where it's at. –  DC_CARR Nov 3 '10 at 19:19

I gave up trying to keep my panniers waterproof - they're cheapish ones I got over 15 years ago from MEC. I just stuff my clothes and other gear inside a plastic bag (I'm using the white kitchen garbage bags now). Bags last for months before wearing out (eventually, something pokes through) and work well enough to keep my stuff dry in hard, driving rain.

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+1: My experience with water-proof (or even -resistant) panniers is that they do a fantastic job of keeping the water in once a pinhole leak develops. –  darkcanuck Nov 2 '10 at 20:24

At least in the short term I would recommend duct tape. Duct tape will stick even after it gets wet and is pretty solid. It may not be the best long term solution but it is easy and cheap. It will not add any structural properties to your bags but it will definitely deal with water proofing.

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The trouble with duct tape is that it leaves a residue that's really hard to get off and makes it hard to do a proper repair later. –  curtismchale Nov 2 '10 at 18:57
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I have a 2+ year old "short term" duct tape repair going on one of my panniers. Ahh! The miracle of duct tape. ;~) –  user313 Nov 2 '10 at 19:21

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