I've been building EL Tandem panniers for nearly 25 years now, and in that time I've had the opportunity to design them in many different ways, always working toward a very good balance of complex detailing and design, superb performance, the finest craftsmanship, low weight and a narrow design profile. Custom-building the panniers allows me to accomplish these things as I can develop a good mix of features for each of my customers to meet their specific demands that are relative to the amount of gear that they will be carrying, the conditions in which they'll be touring and with regard to the types of racks that will be used.
To keep the profile of the panniers narrow I now always build them in an 18" version, in either a dual-lateral or triple-lateral compartmental design in which I always design the inner, primary compartment as narrow as is functionally possible relative to the volume of gear that will be carried. For example: I've designed front tandem panniers in a dual-lateral design with an inner, primary compartment (which has a zip-in / zip-out vertical divider to bisect the panniers into forward and rear halves) that is 2.5" deep and an outer compartment which is 2" deep. In an 18" pannier this compartmental combination creates a mid-sized front pannier in tandem touring. Such a pannier may be matched with a rear EL Tandem that has a primary compartment 4" deep and an out compartment (which is also vertically bisected) that is 2" deep. The combination of compartmental depths is always relative to the amount of gear that must be carried. If a greater carrying capacity is required, I either add a third lateral compartment or I increase the depth of the two compartments in a dual-lateral design. The end designs are always a response to the specific gear-carrying requirements of each of my customers, and are also a reflection of design that is centered on great access to gear (through 38" compartmental entry zippers), precise gear distribution from the rack outward and a high level of pannier stability, through advanced mounting and compression systems (I always build the EL Tandem with triple compression straps) that are combined with HDPE perimetric load-support stiffeners.
In the way that I'm designing and building the EL Tandem panniers today, there is a tremendous amount of design overlap with the various configurations of Discovery Hybrid tandem-oriented panniers that I'm building. The inner compartments are often virtually indistinguishable from the outside (detailing within the panniers is quite different). Also, as in the Discovery panniers, the EL Tandem panniers are highly customized in a multitude of ways to meet the quite variable design demands of tandem touring, and expedition-oriented touring as well, as the EL Tandem Hybrid panniers are also commonly used by serious, long-distance bicycle tourist that ride extensively on dirt and demand the highest levels of performance. Whatever design version of the Tandem Hybrid I build, it will always be in a completely different dimension of performance compared with any other pannier.
Base price of the EL Hybrid Tandem in a dual-lateral design: $335
Base price in a triple-lateral design: $385