Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 96 total)
  • Panniers vs Bikepacking Bags
  • Premier Icon phil5556
    Full Member

    I’m looking to dip my toe in to the world of overnight adventures on the gravel bike.

    My wife has done a couple already and I’ve watched & helped her strap various things all over her bike to carry stuff in – she’s not yet had to take & tent or stove so only light kit. And I can’t help thinking that a set of panniers and front “anything cages” are a better solution than handlebar and big saddle bags.

    Now my bike has a pannier rack (it was only £15 when I was buying the bike so thought I might as well get it).

    So can anyone convince me that I shouldn’t just buy a pair of panniers? Did it just start as a solution for bikes that didn’t have mounts and now it’s become fashion?

    Premier Icon gowerboy
    Full Member

    Use whatever suits your ride and load. I use small panniers on a rack for bikepacking and it works well for me. I have ridden all all over Wales and the Highlands with that setup. I don’t like the swaying seat packs and I don’t like a heavy bulky quivering bag on my bars. I like the ability to pack quickly and easily. I always use a strap around the panniers to stop them rattling on the rack. I pack quite lightly but not super light (I cook rather than rehydrate and I use a light tent rather than bivvy)

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Imo if you can get the weight down to 5 or 7 kilos bikepaking bags guve better weight distibution and handling than panniers but oce you start haing to strap stuff allover you forks etc then panniers are better. For bigger loads 12kgplus i prefer a trailer

    Premier Icon longdog
    Free Member

    I’m currently away on a city break (50k gravel and road each way) on the bikes with my wife and I’ve just put one of these 20l dry bags on the rack. No panniers.

    It’s great for this sort of thing with just a few clothes and odds and sods. Just really convenient and easy to access or carry about; like a poor man’s tailfin bag.

    I do have the full load of strap on bike packing bags which are useful for more off road stuff and camping but are also quite a faff getting in and off when you need to.

    Premier Icon convert
    Full Member

    In agreement with others.

    Panniers for the win if stuff is getting heavy. They (plus the rack) are heavier before you fill them, so this is going to be a heavier trip regardless of what you are carrying. Then when use the rule of holiday suitcase (the will alway fill whatever suitcase you take no matter how large but will always get by regardless how little you take) you’ll fill them up. They can be rattly though so depending on your obsessiveness that might drive you mad off road.

    Bikepacking bags – imo, unless you are staying away for a super short trip, or eating takeaways and sleeping hostels/bus shelters, you are going to have to either deprive yourself or spent a shit ton on super small and light camping kit to get it all packed. Solo travel makes that situation worse. The cooler and damper the environment, the logistically harder it is to achieve too. I also am currently loathing my alpkit oversized saddlebag thingy – I load it with anything more than very low density stuff and it starts swaying, then the straps come loose. It is about to undergo some surgery to try and resolve the hassle it’s given me.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    So can anyone convince me that I shouldn’t just buy a pair of panniers?

    why would anyone want to convince you? You do you 😉

    Bikepacking: lighter, bike handles better/easier to lift over stuff, arguably more enjoyable riding, have to compromise on kit (not necessarily a bad thing!), probably have to spend more on lighter/more compact kit. Can use (some of the) same kit on road/gravel or MTB. Looks cooler 😎
    Panniers: look fine with SPD sandals

    Premier Icon montgomery
    Full Member

    Agree with the above. Worth noting that even small rear panniers can be a right pain if you’re doing much pushing/lifting of the bike. That BTR rack bag looks handy. Before I bought a seatpack I did long trips with an Ortlieb stuffsac strapped to a rack, which worked fine, but that refines the concept. Might buy one myself for longer trips.

    Premier Icon qwerty
    Free Member

    I agree, panniers are a better option, their only drawback is the extra width and the rack being the weak point, but these only apply to hard off road riding. Any bikepacking saddlepack must be 100% waterproof or its pointless.

    Premier Icon anagallis_arvensis
    Full Member

    I prefer bikepacking bags if tricky off road is to be encountered and/or you are traveling light. I would find it hard to use bikepacking bags on a solo trip unless I spent big on small lightweight stuff.
    Trailers are good if you have an imbalance in abilities of riders. I went on an over nighter with my 11 year old son last week, he used bike packing bags to carry a few spare clothes and look cool, I lugged everything else in the trailer. Worked well.

    Premier Icon kormoran
    Free Member

    Each has there pluses and minuses but key to both is to try and reduce your load as much as you can. You don’t have to spend a fortune, maybe even nothing but the lighter the load the easier it gets. First off I would get some digital scales and start weighing stuff so you get an idea of what weighs what – it’s very difficult to tell which spare fleece is the lightest for example!

    Then start trying to reduce what you take.

    Premier Icon martymac
    Full Member

    Panniers are more convenient when you stop, because you can quickly remove them to set up camp etc.
    on my surly, i use a rack with 2 medium panniers, with a framebag, and 2 bottle cages on the forks. I load heavier stuff in the framebag, i find the bike is more stable that way.
    Ultimately, there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way, do what works for you.

    Premier Icon shermer75
    Free Member

    I’ve been eyeing up that BTR trunk bag for a while- the price is great too. What are they like to get on and off the bike? And is there a shoulder strap or something to carry it with? The slightly annoying thing with Ortliebs is that the bag needs to open to carry it one your shoulder

    Premier Icon qwerty
    Free Member

    Anothe big plus of panniers is that if you have to lift your bike over a gate etc you can rapidly remove the pannier weight to lift the bike and bags separately. A fully loaded bike and a huge gate isn’t much fun.

    Premier Icon longdog
    Free Member

    @shermer75 yeh there’s a shoulder strap. The bag has two straps you wrap around the rack top and then click fasten, pretty quick and easy to do, but maybe a little faff wrapping round the bar each side. There’s also an additional third strap you can wrap around the whole lot for more belt and braces,but I’ve not bothered with that. You can unclip the top and roll fastenings and get some access to the bag with it in place if you need too.

    It’s quite long so would be too big on my wife’s small bike and rack with low seat height, but is fine on my medium framed Topstone.

    I’ve also used is as just an overnight bag travelling as it’s just the right size and easy to carry with the shoulder strap.

    Not sure how durable the welded plastic style would be for a long term roughly toughty tour, but it’s been great so far.

    For proper off road bikepacking in the hills I’d still go BPing specific bags, but for road and easy gravel/track credit hotel/hostel/b&b trips it’s great.

    Premier Icon fooman
    Free Member

    Bikepacking bags are more aero I’m told by someone who uses them. They had Restrap rear one that just pops out of the seatpost holder easy peasy.

    Premier Icon stevious
    Full Member

    As others have said there are a whole bunch of advantages and disadvatages of eitherr set-up.

    What I’ll add is that going on a bikepacking trip – even one with sub optimal kit – is way more fun than sitting at home wondering about what kind of bag to take.

    Premier Icon butcher
    Full Member

    Bikepacking bags work really well once you get them set up well and you know what goes where. It can be a long journey to get to a setup you’re happy with though and even then they’re still a bit of a faff. It’s something you refine over time.

    With panniers, you bolt your rack on, attach your bags, and just drop all your stuff into the cavernous space. Any oversize items can be attached to the rack with bungees. It’s a world of simplicity. They’re heavy, and they create some aero drag, and you’ll worry the rack’s going to break when you go off road, but they generally work in my experience.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    I’ve got both, it’s horses for courses.

    Panniers are great for “bike camping”.

    Bags are great for “bikepacking”.

    The distinction is that panniers make the bike handle like crap but you get a good camping experience.

    Bikepacking bags barely affect the weight of the bike (if you pack accordingly) but the trade-off is the measure of overnight success is not waking up with hypothermia.

    The lightest I’ve gotten away with bikepacking was a 1 season sleeping bag and bivi up front and mat, down jacket and leggings in the saddle bag. Had an amazing time as the aim was just to ride bikes for 2 days. As soon as you move away from that ethos then you’re straying into panniers (or so much weight in bags that you lose any advantage of it).

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Full Member

    Sensible comments and no arguing?

    What’s this place come to?

    Premier Icon Marin
    Free Member

    Bikepacking bags for off road all the way. I can manage about 4 days of kit and food in bags. Bike rides well still though you may not want to sit next to me in a cafe.

    Premier Icon Marin
    Free Member

    That’s on a HT not a gravel bike though.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Free Member

    I use panniers for road/ easy off road touring, and frame bags for proper off road. Each suits its purpose.

    I think I will buy a Carradice saddlebag for long audaxes.

    Premier Icon phil5556
    Full Member

    Cheers all.

    Plenty of yes votes to panniers there with no horror stories.

    I think for me for simplicity it’s the way to go, it’s not something I’m going to do loads of at this stage so don’t want to spend hours and £££ perfecting the most streamline set up I can find.

    What I’ll add is that going on a bikepacking trip – even one with sub optimal kit – is way more fun than sitting at home wondering about what kind of bag to take.

    This is great advice ta 🙂

    Bikepacking bags are more aero I’m told by someone who uses them.

    I’m not very aero so that’s not too much of an issue! 😁

    Premier Icon mikeyp
    Full Member

    Panniers are more flexible and easier to use. You have to be v disciplined to make bike packing set ups work as otherwise you end up unpacking everything to find something. I even struggled with bar packs as I couldn’t pack stuff right. Pannier racks are also helpful for carrying food/booze to camp. Might be worth borrowing someone’s to see as either way they are ££

    Premier Icon qwerty
    Free Member

    And… with my 30″ inseam & a 29er tyre (i’ve used 3″ before) theses not enough clearance between the tyre / bag for carrying anything of any volume.

    Premier Icon steezysix
    Free Member

    If you already have a rear rack, you could also look at something like a Carradice longflap camper. Best of both worlds, easy to access but less obtrusive than side mounted panniers so can still work well on off road stuff.

    Here’s how I run my bike normally, can easily get everything I need for 3/4 days out, including food.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    carrying food/booze to camp

    this is where roadie tops come in handy. Find a shop close to camp, food & empty bidons in jersey pockets, wine bottles in cages 😀

    Premier Icon irc
    Full Member

    Nobody has said 1 pannier yet. One pannier on lh side combined with bag strapped to top rack

    Pannier convenience with less increased width and no pannier getting in the way if you need to push a bit.

    Premier Icon dovebiker
    Full Member

    I’ve used both – panniers can shake themselves loose so need constant checking plus they can catch on narrow singletrack / deep ruts. I had a pannier rip-off when I caught a tree stump in a Finnish forest at night in winter – how I laughed as I had to unscrew the broken clip and reattach the pannier with cable ties and bare hands at -20C. There’s also a temptation with too big/many bags to take too much stuff – the discipline of bike packing is to take the minimum. A 20 litre drybag bungeed to a rack works very well for short trips. For short-butts, most big seat pack either rub the back wheel or requires a straddle jump to remount – a right, royal pain.

    Premier Icon Aidy
    Free Member

    I have both. Bikepacking bags for fast and light, panniers for bringing lots of stuff/touring/commuting.

    Aero penalty for panniers is not to be sniffed at. Also, you’re probably looking at a 2kg weight penalty for panniers, too.

    Panniers off-road is generally a frustrating experience.
    Bikepacking bags are often fiddly to not have them rub against knees/thighs, and sometimes you just have to live with it.

    Getting things in and out of panniers is so nice. Even if you’re organised, it’s a total faff with bikepacking bags.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Nobody has said 1 pannier yet. One pannier on lh side combined with bag strapped to top rack


    Exactly what I’ve been sporting today. One pannier, one bar bag, jackets bungeed to the rack deck.
    Ok, it’s been 95% road…

    Premier Icon fatbikedog
    Free Member

    I,ve been using Ortleib gravel panniers. Not very big so the bike handles ok. Top quality but not cheap. I cant see me using any thing else. I put heavy stuff in a full frame bag courtesy ‘ Beerbabe.’

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    Any off-road …. Bike packing bags.

    If it’s all on road. Appropriately sized panniers all day long. 4 of = balanced bike. Handling not ruined.

    L

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Trailer for off road handledmuch better than panniers

    Premier Icon intheborders
    Free Member

    Plenty of yes votes to panniers there with no horror stories.

    If you’re off-road then my experience (based on my pal using them when we did the Cairngorm Loop) is that they’re a bad idea:
    – they catch on trail-side ‘obstacles’
    – hard-ish luggage rattles
    – difficult to manoeuvre/jump over ruts/water-bars
    – encourages too much gear
    – PITA if you’re pushing

    I’ve ended up with a front harness (so can use on either drops or flats) c/w dry-bag, a seat pack and frame bag.

    Premier Icon jkomo
    Full Member

    I got a £20 waterproof pannier from Decathlon, it’s ace and works well.

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    Panniers for bigger loads or non technical riding. Bike packing kit for the opposite.

    If you already have a rack get the toughest dry bag you can and strap it onto the rack. Much less hassle and much cheaper than a myriad of bike packing bags and handles just as well.

    Premier Icon trail_rat
    Free Member

    Trailer for off road handledmuch better than panniers

    I once met a group heading into the the inner Cairngorm loop with trailers.- looked like a hire/guide set up. (Heading down from an lurg)

    They may still be out there……

    Premier Icon garage-dweller
    Full Member

    I think if what you’re doing is what the CTC / Cycling UK would have classed as rough stuff 30+ years ago then panniers (small front and back) or a Carradice style long flap/camper saddle bag have got to be easier to pack and deal with and the handling impact should be well manageable. I wouldn’t have any qualms about riding along (say) the South Downs Way in Hampshire/West Sussex with panniers but I wouldn’t want to take in trails around for example Edale with panniers but then I wouldn’t ride a gravel bike there either.

    If you’re doing the kind of thing that involves pushing and carrying and nadgery trails with lifting/ carrying then you probably want the bike packing stuff.

    Edit: I’m not (yet) a bike packer but did run a similar thread on this in April time more around day riding with more gear (expanding kids mileages riding in company). I’m therefore speaking from historic riding off and on road with a touring mindset.

    We are also thinking about a dad and boys, no car tour in France or Holland next year so been thinking about this a bit for the three of us.

    Premier Icon dufresneorama
    Free Member

    Agree with most of above. Cycled a coast to coast last summer with my wife. 2nights 3 days and we camped. Used bikepacking bags only, and even using a lot of lightweight gear we use for hiking it was a struggle to get packed up easily. We managed and had room to spare for food etc, but it took a fair bit of fiddling before we got the system down.

    Lomo do a 20l motorbike drybag that works well as a rack top bag. Pretty cheap too
    Motorbike bag

    They also do a rack bag, bit smaller but maybe a bit more useful. This is what I would have bought, but they were out of stock so went with the motorbike dry bag instead. Rack top bag

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 96 total)

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