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Green Guru Dutchy Review
Cons: Boxy, insecure
Bottom line: An eco-friendly townie champion for cruising to the farmers market or carrying frolf discs.
The Green Guru Dutchy was hands-down our favorite pannier to use whilst running errands around town, which is why we gave it the Top Pick Award for Townie Riding. Made in Colorado, this pannier is built out of upcycled billboards, banners, and truck tarps, making no two styles alike. Aside from being environmentally conscious, this pannier is exceptionally easy to use and carries over your shoulder comfortably while you're out and about away from your bike. Easy to install and remove from your rack, this bag would also be a good option for a commuter who also uses their bike to run errands. However, if you're looking for a pannier that greater resilience for long, wet rides, we would suggest looking at the Thule Adventure Touring Pannier.
RELATED REVIEW: The 10 Best Bike Panniers for Commuting and Touring
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
This pannier is well thought-out and downright fun to use. While it is best suited for cyclists who mostly use their panniers for hauling groceries and the like, it has features that also make it possible to serve as a commuting pannier. While it didn't outshine the other competitors in any particular category, it had very solid performance across the board and in our eyes was the most user-friendly townie pannier.
Townie panniers are most convenient if they can be quickly mounted and removed. But they must also offer a secure hold when carrying heavy and bulky items. We found that the hook and loop style hardware on the Dutchy was straightforward to use and could be mounted quickly. Similar to what we found on the Banjo Brothers Market Pannier, this model had two simple hooks at the top of the bag with an elastic strap to secure the bag at the bottom. Although the hooks were set in place, the bottom elastic loop was adjustable to accommodate different rack types. When it came to removing the pannier, this mounting system was also rapid to grab and go.
The relative ease of this hardware was geared towards casual riding. Although quick and easy, this mounting system wasn't very secure with a full load—extra weight seemed to buck the bag around a fair amount. Though, we expect most townie riders don't seek out rough terrain on the way back from the grocery store. But on the off chance you encounter some curbs on your ride home, be wary that your cargo could get tossed.
We were very pleased with the storage abilities of the Green Guru Dutchy. This model is intentionally designed to accommodate the standard sized paper grocery bag, but also complements the dimensions 12-packs and boxed macaroni quite well. During our storage test, the Dutchy was able to fit all of the grocery items that we had selected other than the awkwardly shaped cantaloupe—which, frankly, was added as a wildcard.
There were no bonus pockets on the Dutchy, but we weren't very concerned with that considering that the primary storage space would be used to carry bulky items, not knick-knacks. Despite its boxy dimensions, we were impressed with how easily this pannier folded down when not fully loaded. Though, like any single-sided pannier, heavy loads tended to throw our posture off balance when rolling down the road.
Recycled or up cycled materials don't always equate to high-quality materials. However, in the case of the Dutchy, this couldn't be further from the truth. The thick and burly billboard material used on the outer material of this pannier is quite stout. Made to withstand UV exposure and all types of weather, we found that these materials were a great reinforcement for townie panniers that may experience abrasion from rough surfaces.
Beyond the durability of the external fabric, we were pleased to see high-quality webbing and plastics used for the straps and securements of this pannier. Furthermore, there was an additional piece of fabric that covered the back ends of hardware that could have potentially rubbed against the contents of the pannier. However, the internal nylon fabric seemed to be a bit thin, which may cause concern for longevity. But as long as no sharp items are stored in this pannier, we suspect there would be no issues.
We might argue that a townie pannier does need not be as weatherproof as a touring pannier. But we still wanted to hold all tested models to the same standard. In our testing, we found the Green Guru Dutchy to be the most weatherproof of the townie panniers. The billboard material exterior was able to shrug off water with ease, letting virtually no moisture in from the top and front of the pannier. The nylon sides were less resilient to water and mud but were able to keep the contents dry during our overnight rain test.
Despite having an incomplete closure, the Dutchy is equipped with gussets that cover the openings at the top of the bag. Because of this feature, rain and road spray weren't able to enter the bag if they were employed correctly. However, these gussets still didn't protect the contents after a dunk in the river. For that reason, we cannot award this pannier the waterproof seal of approval, though we consider it protective enough for urban riding in wet conditions.
Ease of Use
The Green Guru Dutchy was one of the most user-friendly bags in this lineup. Requiring no tools or assembly, this model was ready for use out of the box and was very easy to mount and dismount from the rack. The adjustable shoulder strap made off-the-bike use a breeze, but we wish that it had the ability to detach from the pannier when not in use.
Although the Dutchy had minimal reflective material sewn into its sides, we were satisfied with the other additional features it had to offer. On either side of the pannier, there are webbing loops for you to attach bike lights for extra visibility. And the plastic insert at the bottom of the bag had a handle to remove it for use as a cutting board—making this an ideal option for picnic biking.
There's a reason we chose this as our Top Pick for Townie Riding: this pannier is a superb choice for getting groceries, taking picnics, or jetting around town to run errands. Its boxy dimensions are great for hauling larger loads, but it doesn't have the packability or waterproofing we'd look for in a dedicated commuting or touring pannier.
Priced at $70, this pannier offers a marginal value. It is the most expensive townie pannier in the lineup, but it also the highest-scoring townie pannier. But, if you aren't in need of a bag that can hold bulky grocery items, you could get a better deal with a different pannier.
Overall, we were satisfied with this pannier. It was perfect for hauling boxy grocery items or carrying oddball assortments of stuff you would expect to bring on a picnic or a day at the watering hole. Because it performed so well in this niche, we were confident to choose it as our Top Pick for Townie Riding. We would recommend this pannier to the environmentally-conscious cyclist who needs a bag and wants to hit the farmers market.
— Rob Woodworth
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