I'm about to start cycling to work. Previously I've been taking the bus, and then just cycling home. But since I'll be cycling to work now, I need to figure out how I'm going to carry my lunch, spare change of clothes, etc. I've already figured out that I don't like a backpack while riding. My messenger bag is falling apart and needs replacing. I don't enjoy that, either. So I'm thinking it's time to add a rack and use panniers.
And that's where I get overwhelmed. There are so many different model racks out there, and the price is so varied I don't know what to think. Light/medium touring may be in my future, if that matters any. Just out to a campground for a few days and back, no cross continental expeditions(yet...but that'll be on a different bike). Are there brands to avoid? Features to require? Brands to trust? I don't know. Help?
I'm also not sure where to go with panniers. I'll be packing a change of clothing(possibly two, I might start working out after work and don't want to get back into smelly nasty ride clothes for it), shoes, two meals(I eat several small meals, not 2-3 big ones) and a snack or two. I'm thinking a pair of front panniers is probably a better choice than big huge rear panniers. I might end up using both, one for smelly clothing and one for food, iPad&miscellanity, unless everything fits in one bag comfortably. Trunk bags are also an option, too. But again, I don't know what to look for. Capacity, brand, I'm clueless. Advice? I will be commuting in rain, so waterproof is a must.
Also, I'm going to be buying a new saddle soon-comfort bike super wide saddle doesn't work for long rides. I've read&heard that brooks leather saddles are the best. I've also heard that they stain clothes, so only wear black cycling shorts. I'm willing to try leather and put the effort into breaking it in, but not if it's going to stain my clothes. So should I avoid leather, or not worry about it?
Thanks for reading, y'all.