So far we’re pretty pleased with the Happy-Trail 38L Teton Panniers, but we’ll hold off until they’ve been a few thousand miles over crap roads before writing a full review. In the meantime we thought you might be interested in the mods we’ve made to them.
Things we’ve added:
- Carry handles
- Touratech 2 Bottle holder
- Touratech 2 liter Canister holder
- Rubber Feet
- Retro-reflective stickers
The carry handles are constructed from
- 5 feet of 1″ nylon webbing (about $0.38 per foot)
- 1 Metal 1″ strap adjuster ($1.50)
- 1 Thermo-plastic Handle ($3.50)
Place one end of the strap through the adjuster and tie off, or sew. This is the knot just above the adjuster. Run it around the top-left footman loop, through the Thermo-plastic handle, through the top-right footman loop, botom-right footman loop, back through the handle, through the last footman loop, and into the adjuster.
Upside: You can now carry these without having to grip them from the bottom.
Downside: You have to open them to remove them from the bike, then close them again to make the latches hold the lid down so you can carry it. Also, the full weight of the pannier is being held by the latches when you lift. They seem to hold up just fine, but obviously weren’t designed for this.
We’d considered adding a handle to the front and back instead of one on the top, but abandoned the idea because of all the additional holes we’d have to put in the case, and the fact that it’d limit available space for the bottle and canister holders.
Bottle and Canister Holders
As you can see in the top image we use these to hold, the MSR bottle for the camp stove, 2Liters of spare fuel, and a Fire Gone Fire Extinguisher. It’s not the world’s greatest fire extinguisher, but it’s small enough to fit on a pannier and and it’s not one of those stupid aerosol ones.
The rubber feet may seem like a trivial little mod but they’re actually one of my favorite additions to these panniers. Before them every time I set the panniers down on concrete or tile floors you’d hear the metal scraping on the stone. It was rather unnerving. These are actually rubber feet for a computer tower, so there’s a chance the adhesive will fail along the way, but if it does I’ll just replace the fallen foot with some Sugru.
I’ve added standard Master Lock padlocks with a single key for both. When hung from the padlock hole as in the top image they do no damage, but as dealing with a padlock every time you want to open it can be a pain I occasionally just attach the lock to the webbing handle. If you ride with it attached like that it will rub against the lid (note the dark spots above the left edge of the handle in the handle image).
The built in lid locks work fine, but we figure there are some cases when an extra padlock might add a little piece of mind.