ORTLIEB Sportartikel GmbH

ORTLIEB Sportartikel GmbH logo

In 1982, Hartmut Ortlieb founded ORTLIEB Sportartikel GmbH in Nuremberg, Germany. In 1997 the firm relocated to the Middle Franconian town of Heilsbronn, in the regional district of Ansbach.

The first ORTLIEB bike panniers were created in pure personal need for waterproof equipment – it wasn’t available at that time! ORTLIEB’s first products were hand-made on his mother’s sewing machine: dry bags and bicycle panniers made of truck tarps. These prototypes were tested by Hartmut and his friends on self-organized bicycle and climbing tours. What started very simple has soon developed into a story of success.

In the meantime, the company has more than 190 employees, and ORTLIEB’s collection has grown to include over 500 individual products. Even today, everything is located under one roof: from development and design to engineering, production, sales, marketing, and shipment. All waterproof products are produced in a high frequency welding method at the German headquarters in Heilsbronn. „Made in Germany“ guarantees high quality outdoor equipment for all demands, all weathers and all terrains.

Within Germany, ORTLIEB supplies via its own distribution system directly to specialized retailers in the bike, outdoor, trekking, expedition, motorcycle and water sport markets. From the Heilsbronn production site in Germany, ORTLIEB ships worldwide to distribution partners in more than 30 countries. All ORTLIEB products are backed by a 5 year warranty against defects in material and manufacturing. ORTLIEB puts high emphasis on customer service including after sales, a fact highly valued by both end consumers and retailers. The principle of short ways within the company allows quick reaction to special customer wishes.

Sustainability plays a key role in daily life of work and production. ORTLIEB is an active member of various interest organizations and working groups. Since 2008 the company is a member of EOCA.

When did you join EOCA?

ORTLIEB Sportartikel GmbH is an EOCA (former Association for Conservation) member since 2008.

Why our company is involved with EOCA?

The protection of nature and the environment is one of our main targets as a manufacturer of waterproof outdoor and bike equipment. This is also one of the reasons for our principle „Made in Germany“ in order to guarantee high quality for our products and short distances to our retailers. Sustainability includes the durability and long life in connection with high service standards – ORTLIEB and ORTLIEB products have since the brand inception been a synonym for both. By being part of the EOG, now the EOCA and as in coalition with other outdoor companies, we regularly support it not only financially, but also with our input.

What else do we do to support conservation?

Since the foundation of the company, ORTLIEB has supported local and international projects. The company has sponsored persons, groups, projects, initiatives and organisations with equipment and financial means, with targets either social and/or ecological. ORTLIEB is e.g. a member of the society for the promotion of German Cyclists Association (ADFC e.V.) promoting biking in Germany. ORTLIEB also supports organisations for the protection of the environment or aid agencies supporting people in crisis areas. ORTLIEB’s product collection is a byword for durability and long product life. ORTLIEB products are said to be „indestructible“. 90% of all manufacturing processes are located in our premises in Heilsbronn, Germany. We cooperate with local and regional companies. Selection of material and manufacturing is the basis for long product life, high service scope and avoidance of long transport distances. These principles characterize ORTLIEB „Made in Germany“. We are also a member of the initiative „Sports Made in Germany“ of BSI, Federal Association of the German Sport Article Industry (Bundesverband der deutschen Sportartikelindustrie e.V.)

What else do we do to support conservation?

Our most „green“ product is probably our bike pannier model Back-Roller Plus. Biking itself is a very sustainable way of moving. The Back-Roller Plus can be used in daily life but also for extended touring, they are therefore a very universal set of bags. Fabric, manufacturing and year-long consistency in the ORTLIEB product collection make it a long runner in the bike and outdoor scene. The production processes have been improved and optimized over the years, everything is perfectly tuned thanks to a broad experience, which again results in optimizing material use, resources and energy. There have been continuous developments and improvements of the first Back-Roller, as well as a growing range of accessories, but it still is – due to its simple design and easy handling „the“ perfect bike pannier, and in the meantime also a synonym for „bike panniers“.