But there's greatness to bucket panniers that are obvious after you use them. They are waterproof. Submersible? Maybe not, but they float, so you've got a chance to save them if they find their way into water.
They're cheap. Especially if you make them. But they're not as cheap as they look. To make them well costs more than you probably would guess.
They're just a bucket. I'm not a pocket person. I like Ortlieb bags because they're just a big sack. I prefer to organize with stuff sacks/bags.
They are a platform. When built correctly, they provide a huge platform to load stuff onto.
But here's the big one. To anyone who does a lot of bike camping or touring, some times you just want a place to sit. And often there isn't a bench or a log or anything but the dirt. These buckets make great camp stools. And tables.
The bucket on the left is an old one that I made back when Arkel sold their hook kit for $16. Can you imagine a day when that fine piece of machined goodness only cost $16? It's $48 now. But that's still a bargain if you make the buckets yourself.
The bucket on the right is a v1 try from Ryan and John at Pedals2People. They're trying to figure out a way to build a bucket for under $10 and have it work well. If they can do it with easy-to-buy hardware store parts then P2P will sell the buckets and will do bucket-building classes. I'm trying out the bucket for a few days. There are a couple changes we need to make, but it's getting close.
Btw: when we talk about bucket panniers we must always remember to give credit where it's due. The best of the best and the original bucket panniers are the brainchild of Mike Cobb. I'm not sure if he's still selling these, but he's got a page.
Bike hang tomorrow (Weds) night at Huckleberries. 5:30 PM