Orca vs Dolphin: Which Waterproof Pannier is Right for You?
Dolphin 48 Panniers (left) and Dolphin 32 Panniers (right)
Table of Contents
Cam-Lock® Attachment System
Since Arkel’s foundation in 1988, a lot of progress has been made in developing key features that make Arkel products unique. Among these include the Cam-Lock®, the patented attachment system that is integrated in the Orcas and Dolphins. It allows cyclists to mount their bags onto their bike rack in a clever, hassle-free way. Thanks to its ingenious conception, the bike bag will never pop off the rack even in the toughest road conditions. It is also solid enough to trust it with your electronics such as your camera or tablet. Although a laptop may fit inside the bag depending on its size, it is not recommended because there is no dedicated laptop compartment like in other commuting panniers made by Arkel.
Assembled by folks with disabilities
Another distinctive Arkel trait is the inclusion of CRDITED, a social service program for folks with intellectual disabilities and disorders. These individuals participate in the assembly of the Cam-Lock® itself. While both bag shells come from an ethically sourced supplier in Asia, the entirety of the Orca and Dolphin lineup are assembled with the Cam-Lock® in the Arkel headquarters in Sherbrooke, Canada.
Waterproofness and safety
Thirdly, both bag lineups are entirely waterproof and open up thanks to a roll-top closure. D-rings have been sewn on the sides to attach an optional shoulder strap to carry the bag once off the bike. Even the minor details are important, especially when it comes to safety. For example, both bag types have two dedicated tabs for blinker lights and reflective material for extra visibility, especially at nighttime. Lastly, both lineups are available in red and grey.
Material & Fabrication Method
As for usability, they both feature outside pockets, but with different technicalities. The Orca lineup contains a 2D pocket that is ideal for small, flat items like ID Cards, keys, or a granola bar. On the other hand, the Dolphin models have two water bottle pockets as well as a front pocket that can hold bulkier 3D objects like tools, spare clothes and more. This can be explained due to the previously-mentioned fabrication methods. Indeed, the Dolphin panniers’ voluminous outside pockets are sewn and then taped for waterproofness. In the Orca construction, the welding process uses moulds that make outside pockets with any volume difficult, but flat 2D pockets possible.