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The Donkey Boxx – It will go well with your Work Horse

by Megan Fitch

Megan FitchIf Megan Fitch were a character in a movie, she’d be the 100-pound nerd who, halfway through the film, reveals herself to be a total badass who can crawl through enemy duct work, drop through the vent, incapacitate the security guard with Ninja-Yoga, and then splice the DNA of the terrorist biotoxin rendering it harmless. In real life her interests are bicycling and bicycle touring, Yoga and microbiology.


Not at all donkey, not quite box, it’s the Donkey Boxx – a simple bike pannier made out of recycled hard plastic, with a style that screams, I totally care about the environment! Donkey Boxx By The Lake

Installation

I bike 100 miles per week on both serene mountain trails and busy smooth roads in the continuously fickle Flagstaff weather, so I look for a good amount of carrying capacity in a pannier while keeping with a waterproof setup. The Donkey Boxx seemed up for the challenge.

As you can see from the pictures, I really do carry quite a bit of stuff. I pull a trailer with my daughter in it, fill up the back of the trailer with baby stuff, and then I have a basket on one side of my rack, and the Donkey Boxx on the other. I was using a backpack for work items, but decided to get the pack off my back and use the Donkey Boxx instead.

Donkey Boxx on the TrailI installed the Donkey Boxx to my daily commuter bike. You can affix the boxx to three points on your rack with zip ties. Plenty of sturdy zip ties are included in case you mess up, or want to switch the boxx to a different bike. This obviously makes the pannier less convenient to remove, and you want to make sure heel clearance and positioning is correct before tightening your points, but the resulting zip-tightened boxx is surprisingly sturdy and doesn’t move once you crank down on the zip ties.

As with any pannier, it’s necessary to remember you are now a wider load. Since the Boxx has solid walls and is not collapsible like other panniers, a little extra attention is needed when riding in traffic or on narrow trails. For exact specs, check the Donkey Boxx site.

Riding with a Boxx

On my first ride with the Donkey Boxx, I stuffed it to the maximum capacity, expecting to hear some rattling, or for the lid, which secures with Velcro, to pop open from the sizable load while bouncing around on the large downhill descent which graces my commute home — but neither of those things happened. The boxx was as quiet as a mouse, and the lid stayed securely shut.

Over the next three weeks I rode with the Donkey Boxx attached to my work horse (I call her “Red”, by the way). Through different weather and terrain, and by carrying lots of different types of loads, I decided the Donkey Boxx is best suited for my big, bulky items.

The perfect set up for the Donkey Boxx is to have it filled up just to maximum capacity. It’s great for a ride into the office with a change of clothes, delicious lunch, your shopping purse (or man bag) and a Nalgene bottle. Any lower capacity than that, especially off-road, will rattle around quite a bit, which is the nature of a big box.

Donkey Boxx In Front Of Mural In general, I think always having a light blanket covering the inside, or even a reusable grocery bag cuts down on the rattling when you have fewer things to carry.

Should you spend your bucks on the Boxx?

The Donkey Boxx did everything I expected it to do, and is well built to last a long time under reasonable duress.

The MSRP of $28.00 per pannier is very reasonable considering the cargo capacity and waterproofing. You can even make your boxxy foxy, being that the whole boxx is a blank canvas ready for artistic genius to flow… or for just supporting your favorite hobbies with colorful stickers. For the minimalist who wants a lot of boxx for their buck, the Donkey Boxx is a good way to go.

 
Burley nomad 229

7 Responses to “The Donkey Boxx – It will go well with your Work Horse”

  1. J-Dub says:

    Nifty. I really like hard shell panniers, but it seems like you basically have to make your own. It’s good to see some are sold.

  2. JohnnyK says:

    I think they are great I just wish they had locks on them and a way to bolt or lock them to the rack.

  3. JohnnyK says:

    I must say I do like the price :)

  4. MbK says:

    I have 2 donkey boxxes and ride daily. I’ve never had any issues with vandalism or theft (and I leave items in the boxxes all the time).

  5. janine says:

    I wondered how sturdy they are ? How much weight you can put in them. I couldn’t find that info listed and the plastic I’ve seen like the donkey box is not real heavy duty and I usually carry heavy objects like groceries, bottles. Great idea tho, although not to much of an on and off again tote if you need to use twist ties.

  6. janine says:

    OK just found it finally 30 pounds.

  7. Raiyn says:

    @Janine, sorry for the late reply but I did need to address some key points you raised.

    First, and I’m sure you realize this, the Donkey Boxx uses ZIP (or cable if you prefer) ties not TWIST ties like you find on bread or garbage bags.

    Secondly, as to the strength of the system / components, I’ve found that it’s really not an issue. The Boxx is made out of surprisingly strong #2 corrugated plastic. The top opening / main attachment point is reinforced with a steel hoop that encompasses the opening not to mention being two layers thick given the top / hinge is welded in place there. As for the lower point it comes with a reinforcement plate that you pass the tie through. The lower point really doesn’t bear any weight and is there mainly to keep the Boxx in position from front to back and keep it from flopping as the bike leans.

    I wouldn’t hesitate about the stock zip ties either based on prior experience.
    As for my setup I use releasable cable ties from Home Depot. The ties we use have an individual tensile strength of 50lbs (166% the rating of the Boxx) while having the added benefit of being removable which allows me to run with or without my Boxxes at will.

    We own 2 pairs of Donkey Boxxes and the one other selling point not listed above was the fact that they are made in the USA by developmentally disabled workers in northern MN. (Information available on the Donkey Boxx website.)

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