North St. Morrison Backpack Pannier ReviewNovember 3, 2016
- Fast & easy clip-on/off on bike rack
- Comfortable carry handle
- Fast transition from pannier to backpack
- Customizable organization pockets
- Handmade in the U.S.A.
- Mounting system is not adjustable to accommodate all bike racks
- Waterproof top flap has limited size
The North St. Morrison pannier is a durable, waterproof pannier that is made in the U.S. 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. However, its exterior zip pocket is not waterproof and the mounting system is not adjustable.
EASE OF USE
The North St. Morrison’s mounting system consists of two simple, non-locking, durable metal hooks that hang from the top of the bike rack and lower metal hook. However, the metal hooks are riveted in place and do not adjust forward and aft making it unable to accommodate all rack styles. An adjustable strap and bungee attaches to the bottom of the rack for additional security and stability.
Our tester found that the best sequence to attach is to clip the bottom hook first then the top. To detach, lift from the top first than detach the lower hook.
The North St. Morrison comes with stashable backpack shoulder straps that fit conveniently into their own pocket when not in use. Converting from pannier to backpack is the fastest of all the panniers in this test. The cyclist simply removes the straps from their pocket and clips them via a sturdy plastic clip. For even faster transitions, the cyclist has the option to “single-strap” the pannier.
The shoulder straps, which are made from recycled car seat belts, can be stashed in their tuck pocket without any bulk. The pannier itself is relatively comfortable to carry backpack-style for moderate distances with heavy loads.
Cyclists who prefer carrying by the grab handle will appreciate its durable and thick padding, especially with heavier loads.
The North St. Morrison is made from military-grade 1,000 Denier waterproof Cordura nylon shell and an X-Pac vX21 waterproof liner. It is relatively simple to clean with a washcloth as long as it is not mud-caked. If mud-caked, it will require a full submersion in a bathtub or shower.
The mounting system hardware is a durable vinyl coated metal. The bungee that secures the bottom hook is a heavy and wide elastic band and the bottom hook is also vinyl-coated metal.
The North St. Morrison is waterproof and features a draw-string top closure with a waterproof flap. However, the waterproof flap is limited in size. If the cyclist is carrying so much cargo that the drawstring cannot fully close, the waterproof flap will not cover the entire top. This would only be an issue in a rainstorm.
Organizational features of the North St. Morrison includes one large main compartment, two unsecured outer pockets for carrying items like a bike lock, pump, tools, water bottle or commuter coffee mug. These two pockets are deep making it very difficult for items to pop out.
A zippered outside pocket carries items that require easy accessibility, like a wallet, keys or phone. However the zipper itself is not waterproof and there is no waterproof lining inside this outer pocket. Items that need to be secured or protected from the elements are best carried inside the waterproof main compartment.
Inside the pannier are Velcro mounts that allow the cyclist to addadditional organization pockets(not included).A padded internal sleeve can hold up to a full-sized iPad but did not accommodate a 15-inch IBM ThinkPad.
Reflective elements include a wide five-inch stripe on the flap. However because North St. panniers are handmade in Portland, OR, their products can be custom made in addition to their stock panniers and bags. This allows the cyclist options to increase reflectivity with more stripes or flashy color combinations.Continue Reading
Marie Malinowski is a Minneapolis-based mountain biker, bike commuter, backpacker, and trail runner who covers our cycling accessories categories.