Go with the Ortlieb everyone said. The only bike bags you'll ever need they said. I've gotta call bullshit right here and now.
Went to REI this morning to pick up a pair as my old panniers are getting ever closer to dying on me and I figured that rather than spending my dividend on something completely frivolous, I'd use it for something to ensure that I can make my commute with all my assorted accoutrements in order.
The salesman told me he had his Ortlieb for years and never had any issues. The reviews online generally say the same thing.
I had thought about getting a backpack, that while designed for cycling, could be used for other pursuits, but decided that as I had purchased the race, I should sick with rack bags. I toyed with the idea of a Topeak trunk bag that goes with my rack? But like the idea of being able to use a single bag rather than being stuck with the overhead that comes with a trunk bag.
Now I'm not even half way home, only part of my ride complete and.... wait for it... the fucking Ortlieb is broken. Three miles. I used them for exactly three miles with what is an average weight load - average for me anyway, and the goddamed thing broke and I don't fraking know how I'll make the second half of my ride, let alone finding the time to get back over to REI to return them. And return them for what? Another set of Ortliebs? Hell, I don't know.
I'm just really disappointed right now by the situation. Maybe my Koki bags aren't that bad.