I just got my first touring bike a few weeks ago and I'm beginning to outfit it. Initially I was thinking of going with Ortlieb or Arkel panniers but I've been doing some research and the Axiom stuff seems pretty hard to pass up given the price. I'm planning on doing a cross country tour in the next year or two, but for now I'm going to use the bike for commuting and the occasional fully-loaded 2-4 day camping tour . I'd like to go with just a rear rack and panniers for now to keep costs down, and I'm trying to decide between the Axiom Champlain (3300 cu. in.) and the Axiom Lasalle (2400 cu. in).
I'm leaning towards the Champlain's because I anticipate needing the extra space for a fully loaded cross country tour, but would I find all of that space unnecessary for just weekend touring. I'm contemplating getting the Lasalle's to use as rear panniers for now, and then moving them up front for the xc tour. I know that pannier size is a personal issue but any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.