The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Green Guru Carbon Cooler Review

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $100 List | $82.76 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy and secure attachment, made of recycled material, versatile.
Cons:  Fairly expensive, heavy, does not completely seal.
Manufacturer:   Green Guru Carbon Cooler
By Gentrye Houghton ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 13, 2016
  • Share this article:
66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Installation Removal - 30% 9
  • Capacity - 25% 5
  • Water Resistance - 25% 5
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7

Our Verdict

The Green Guru Carbon Cooler was one of our favorite panniers for commuting. This Colorado-made pannier is well thought out, offering many applications for an ultra "green" pannier, including the ability to quickly throw it over your shoulder while walking around town. Using up-cycled billboards, banners, and truck tarps, this pannier is not only friendly to the environment but strong enough to hold up to the everyday uses of bike commuting. Due to the recycled materials used, no two designs are the same, giving you a unique (and easily identifiable) pannier. While the funky and bright colors that are typically used are highly visible on the road, if you're looking for something with a more professional appeal, consider the Thule Pack 'n Pedal Adventure Touring.


Our Analysis and Test Results

This eco-friendly pannier has an internal volume of 22 liters, weighs around three pounds, and can easily carry groceries, keep a six-pack cool for picnics with friends, or keep your work cloths wrinkle free. Unlike the appearance of the other commuter panniers we tested, which focused on a professional messenger bag style, the Green Guru Carbon Cooler can pull off all sorts of different identities, making it a tester favorite.

Performance Comparison


This pannier is an excellent companion for your daily commute  with ample room for a stop by the grocery store. It also keeps food and beverages cool while being transported.
This pannier is an excellent companion for your daily commute, with ample room for a stop by the grocery store. It also keeps food and beverages cool while being transported.

Installation and Removal System


The ease of installation and removal is important to quickly take us from the bike to the office, and it also affects the security of the pannier while riding. The Green Guru Carbon Cooler attaches on and off the bike very easily with two durable metal hooks that sit on the top bar of the rack. An adjustable elastic strap tightens the bag securely by hooking to the bottom of the rack. This pannier was the most secure non-mechanical hook attachment system we tested, and more secure than the gravity reliant system used on the Timbuk2 Tandem.

This system is simple to take on and off  and the adjustable lower hook stays tight and secure while pedaling.
This system is simple to take on and off, and the adjustable lower hook stays tight and secure while pedaling.

Capacity


With a 22 liters capacity, we wanted to know what we could fit into this pannier to determine the ability for this bag to take us between the office and home or out touring. This pannier is two liters larger than one of the single Ortlieb panniers and passed our multi-day touring pack test. However, it would require purchasing a second pannier to fit all the camping gear, nourishment and clothing needs of a multi-day adventure. This pannier carries a couple days worth of groceries or a change of clothes for work, including shoes. This pannier also comes with a cutting board that sits at the bottom of the bag, which is a great feature for picnics at the park. As a side bonus it keeps the pannier from collapsing, which help keeps your work clothes wrinkle free.

This pannier is lined in order to keep foods hot or chilled  and it will keep a six pack cold while you're on the way to meet friends.
This pannier is lined in order to keep foods hot or chilled, and it will keep a six pack cold while you're on the way to meet friends.

Water Resistance


We rely on panniers to keep precious cargo dry, especially important items like our computers. This pannier is not 100 percent waterproof, but it did an adequate job during our water sprinkler testing at keeping things mostly dry. With that said, this pannier does not seal completely like the Ortlieb Back Roller Classic or the Seattle Sports Titan panniers, and allowed water to completely fill it to the brim during our dunk testing. You should be cautious while transporting electronics on rainy days. However, the small outside zipper pocket would be a safe spot for smaller electronics like a phone or MP3 player.

In the photo on the left, you can see how water balls up and does not seep through after our sprinkler test. However, in the photo on the right, you can see how this pannier begins to sink as water fills the bag during our dunk testing. Feel free to take a closer look by clicking on each of the photos.

This recycled material does an excellent job of keeping things dry after a romp in our sprinklers.
Unfortunately  this pannier does not seal completely and tips forward as water begins to fill the bag.

Ease of Use


For Ease of Use, we took into consideration the ease of using the pannier as a whole, its durability and how visible it was to oncoming traffic. This is a well-made product, and you can be assured that the recycled materials used during construction will last throughout time. Plus, the funky, colorful designs made our reviewers visible to traffic and kept us feeling safe. This was the favorite pannier we used for commuting and one of the higher scorers within this category. However, if you're looking for a pannier that excels for touring pursuits, check out our Editors' Choice winner, the Ortlieb Back Roller Classic.

Our testers felt safe on the road with the bright colors and funky patterns used for this pannier.
Our testers felt safe on the road with the bright colors and funky patterns used for this pannier.

Best Applications


This pannier is the ultimate picnic partner that even comes with a cutting board and ample pockets. There's enough room to grab groceries on the way home, as well as throwing this pannier over your shoulder while shopping around town. We also loved the unique, eco-friendly style, and the assurance that we won't see another pannier exactly like it.

This is our favorite commuting pannier. It stays secure on your rack  and you can sling it over your shoulder on your way to the park.
This is our favorite commuting pannier. It stays secure on your rack, and you can sling it over your shoulder on your way to the park.

Value


The Carbon Cooler is not the cheapest pannier we tested, but at $100 we still felt like it was a great value. This pannier was $30 cheaper than the Timbuk2 Tandem, but more durable and versatile than that model, with a more secure attachment system to boot.

Conclusion


The Green Guru Carbon Cooler is a well-made, "green," fun and versatile carrying device. We can't stress enough how much we loved this pannier for commuting around town. With its ease of installation and removal, it quickly takes you from the bike rack to pounding some pavement and right into the office or classroom.


Gentrye Houghton