In 1982, Hartmut Ortlieb founded ORTLIEB Sportartikel GmbH in Nuremberg, Germany. In 1997 the company 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! The first products were hand-made on Hartmut 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 250 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 with high frequency welding methods at the German headquarters in Heilsbronn. „Made in Germany“ guarantees high quality outdoor equipment for all demands, all weathers and all terrains.
ORTLIEB products are characterized by tightly sealed closure systems such as roll closures, waterproof zippers, Velcro closure or sliding seal closures. Numerous design features are protected by patents and keep on setting new standards in the bike and outdoor market. The quality products with their special design features are developed by new ideas of a multidisciplinary team that orientates towards the requirements of the market, and thus the increasing demands of the users. And the innovations keep on coming, and are on an average monthly awarded with top marks by independent juries, trade press or design agencies.
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 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 the EOCA (European Outdoor Conservation Association). This initiative collects finances and invests in projects protecting environment and nature all over the world.
ORTLIEB Sportartikel GmbH
Location of Company
Heilsbronn, district Ansbach, Bavaria, Germany (since 1997)
Year of foundation
1982 in Nuremberg, Germany
Hartmut Ortlieb , Jürgen Siegwarth, Martin Esslinger
Waterproof bags, backpacks, travel luggage, camera bags
Number of employees
ORTLIEB Germany approximately 230 employees
Position in the market
A leading manufacturer of waterproof outdoor equipment and global market leader for waterproof bicycle panniers.