Hi, just throwing this out there. I have a Tubus cargo and Ortlieb classic back roller pannier for the rear of a 520 touring bike. My stuff weighs about 20-25 pounds and all fits in the rear panniers. The two problems I am having is that I already bought an Ortlieb med Handlebar bag and want to use aerobars. I do not want to put a second stem on the bike. I would also like to put some weight on the front. But since I don't have much weight (without food and water) and will probably only cook Ramon noodles and tea with the Pepsi can stove, I would like to balance some of the weight on the front. I don't want to use 6 pounds for a rack and panniers when I only want to put a 3lb tent on one side and a 3lb down sleeping back on the other side. I've heard people talk about homemade panniers with silicon-nylon or I could use a Sea-Summit dry bag. So.... they have a cheap alloy rack for around $15 on ebay that has has a top tray. Anyone know of a way to mount a handlebar bag on the top rack and perhaps some permanent panniers to the front rack??? I was thinking I could carry the JB Weld I have left over from the Pepsi can stove in case the rack breaks. It seems high to buy a Tubus front rack for around $100 and front panniers for around $100 plus the extra weight 6 pounds to carry only 6 pounds of goods. Any ideas?
You might be able to strap your tent/sleeping bag directly to the top rack without using panniers. If you want to get the weight down lower, you can also get a Blackburn lowrider rack, which is very light.
I've had the small and large Nashbar Waterproof panniers for a few years and I really like them for commuting and touring. Of course, they don't compare to the Ortliebs...but they are WATERPROOF and SUPERLIGHT! No pockets or other luxuries--just basically a waterproof sack with hooks. I've never had one come flying off yet. One negative--the backboard stiffener bends, but this is only a potential problem on the larger rear bags.