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.
Green Guru Carbon Cooler Review
Cons: Fairly expensive, heavy, does not completely seal.
Manufacturer: Green Guru Carbon Cooler
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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