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  1. #1
    The Duke of Furl
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    Custom, handmade or DIY touring gear

    I have been surfing the "Pics of your loaded rigs" thread for a while now and it never ceases to impress or amaze me how talented some of the participants in this Forum really are. With that said, I'd like to open this thread to anyone who makes their own touring gear (panniers, tents, clothing, etc.) so we have sort of a one stop "clearinghouse" for such things. It seems like some of those designs I've seen in the Pics thread are scattered all about and having them all in one place would be nice.

    I also think it'd be appropriate for this to be a place where those that do such things can either offer the designs for copy or post assistance directions or even "hang thier shingle out there", so to speak, so that those of us who lack talent or time or resources might be able to enlist that talent for for trade, barter or cashola so long as the transactions take place in a different venue. It may be just the thing to get a maker over the top and become a bonafide advertizer on the Forum.

    So, let the posting begin!...just not with me. I have a hard enough time making ends meet let alone cool touring gear.

    Regards,
    Don Johnson
    http://www.geocities.com/salmn8r/northwestcountryflies.html

  2. #2
    The Duke of Furl
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    Well, maybe it'll just take time to get posts here or maybe I should've started this in the commuting forum. Regardless, there are a lot of ingenious, home-brewed solutions for touring and commuting needs including lights, panniers, trailers, and other goods. Hopefully it'll take off.

    Come on, all it takes is someone to start it all. Come on...
    http://www.geocities.com/salmn8r/northwestcountryflies.html

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    I'm working on a folding singlewheel trailer made entirely out of scrap bike parts that also works as a hammock and/or tent. It should be done in the next two weeks. I'll post it up when I'm done.

    I think a lot of the custom, handmade, or DIY gear thats been seen on the forum already has fairly detailed threads and the authors may be reluctant to retype all that info. I propose that they provide a link to the thread with a brief synopsis of the thread topic. Just having a thread full of links to other DIY gear threads would be really helpful.

  4. #4
    <3's Woolverton
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Johnson View Post
    Well, maybe it'll just take time to get posts here or maybe I should've started this in the commuting forum. Regardless, there are a lot of ingenious, home-brewed solutions for touring and commuting needs including lights, panniers, trailers, and other goods. Hopefully it'll take off.

    Come on, all it takes is someone to start it all. Come on...
    Alright, I'll bite...here is some panniers I made out of those kitchen catcher bins used for composting. They were pretty easy to make, I just cut a couple notches out of the ends and they slide right on the rack. Also, I really like the surface area of the reflective tape when biking later into the night.

    Theres a few downsides to them(they pop open if not bunjeed down well and clunk around a fair bit) but they were cheap and easy
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by chris_aug18; 05-08-09 at 08:22 AM. Reason: I didn't attach pictures

  5. #5
    Senior Member mechanicalron's Avatar
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    This set is in brown leather.

    This is the first set I ever made in nat, destresed lether.



    This is the back and they are well made and can mount to most anything!

    This is under the storm flap with 6 two liters of soda and two heavy hooded sweat shirts!


    I make them out of my home by hand, one set at a time myself and use all the good stuf. They are totaly weather proof so you don't have to stop and cover them! The cotton oil cloth breathes so your wet stuf wont get smelly and it can dry in the bags after some time. You can even use them for buckets to fetch water if you need or pack one with ice for a base camp cooler. I have more pictures on my profile, Ron.
    "newbie at heart"

  6. #6
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    great job excellent workmanship.how would you compair them to say ortlieb panniers for ware ,waterproofness/weight.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mechanicalron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
    great job excellent workmanship.how would you compair them to say ortlieb panniers for ware ,waterproofness/weight.
    My 1" brass buckles weigh a little less 1/2 the weidht of one plastic clip! I should find out the weight specs on them as they are not heavy. I am 6 years car free so I use mine all year long and every day. They transport every thing from power tools to ???, what ever and I have never had to repair them! I should buy a set of ortlieb so i can see how to trash them. Is that the brand to beat? If so, what model?
    "newbie at heart"

  8. #8
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Mechanicaliron:


  9. #9
    Senior Member Btflmutant's Avatar
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    Those are some beautiful bags!
    '09 Trek Madone 5.2 Pro
    '09 Salsa Fargo

  10. #10
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    mechanicalron, is it your intention to market those panniers,i would say your on to a winner depending on price.quality like that and 100% waterproof that kind of pannier dosent come about to often ,ortliebs are excellent as is vaude /carradice to name a few i would certainly put yours up there with them,.(oh the ortlieb i was thinking about was the bikepacker plus.)

  11. #11
    Senior Member mechanicalron's Avatar
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    WoW, "THANKS" so much, all of you! And yes I do know of carradice but I understand they are heavy as all get out but I don't know. I should check out vaud. I don't know about them at all and I love to see new (to me) items so I will do a search on them. I am so happy to hear from all of you, "thank you", Ron.
    "newbie at heart"

  12. #12
    Senior Member thehum's Avatar
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    This guy also used kitchen trash cans to make his own touring panniers(even went cross country with them).

    I'll be making a pair of my own trashcan panniers for summer touring sometime this weekend.
    Last edited by thehum; 05-08-09 at 11:59 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I made both sets of panniers and the rack bags.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Senior Member mechanicalron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thehum View Post
    This guy also used kitchen trash cans to make his own touring panniers(even went cross country with them).

    I'll be making a pair of my own trashcan panniers for summer touring sometime this weekend.
    That is cool
    "newbie at heart"

  15. #15
    Senior Member mechanicalron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    I made both sets of panniers and the rack bags.
    Godd job! They don't look home made at all!
    "newbie at heart"

  16. #16
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    No, I did not make the pannier, Nashbar had the Chinese do that. I thought I'd share something that I found very useful on a very warm x-coubtry tour. We were having trouble keeping food and drinks cool in some extremely hot weather(100-109 degrees F). We stopped at a Wal-Mart or some other big name store and purchased a $5.95 foam camp pad and a roll of duct tape. We fabricated an insulated insert to fit one of my front panniers. Stop at any gas station or convienance store and fill an empty gatoraid bottle with ice and you are good to go for most of the day.

    DSC_0011.jpg

    DSC_0007.jpg

    DSC_0008.jpg

  17. #17
    The Duke of Furl
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    Very nice setup. In fact all of the stuff that's been posted so far has been really cool. The yellow/black set looks a lot like those made by Swift Industries.



    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    I made both sets of panniers and the rack bags.
    http://www.geocities.com/salmn8r/northwestcountryflies.html

  18. #18
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    The basic pattern was made from a friend's panniers. I dont remember the brand. I used these on my road bike and made them with a little more taper so I'd have some heel clearance. I was a parachute rigger in another life and we fabricated a lot of our own gear. Being able to sew is a blessing and a curse. I always think I can make it just a little bit better. By wife had the same chainstay length problem. On her 50cm road bike a big pannier would not fit well. She now has a real touring bike, and I have a Bianchi Volpe that works well for me. We have also switched to Ortleib's. However, our homemade jobs worked well for several extended tours. I used .032" aluminum for stiffeners, got the hooks at the local ranch supply store, and the material,zippers, and Fastex buckles came from an outdoor materail store (Rainshed, Corvallis, OR).

    I'll take some picures of the detail tomorrow. I tried tonight, but it is hard to get black on black to show much.

  19. #19
    cyclotourist
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    Holy cow, Ron that is a cool looking bike and pannier set up. Awesome.
    What is destresed leather?

    My friend Paul Woloshansky built his own panniers and his own racks. Short article here

  20. #20
    Senior Member mechanicalron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skookum View Post
    Holy cow, Ron that is a cool looking bike and pannier set up. Awesome.
    What is destresed leather?

    My friend Paul Woloshansky built his own panniers and his own racks. Short article here
    I call it that but it is left natural with no dye and darkend by the oil and bee wax I use on them. That is the first set I ever made and I use them every day so they have had lots of slushy road salt splashed on them and year-round weather. Destressed may not be a good word to use, I just make bags
    "newbie at heart"

  21. #21
    cyclotourist
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    I couldn't figure out if you meant distressed or de-stressed, like you stressed the leather and then unstressed it to change its mechanical properties or something like that.

    Anyway fantastic looking bags and bike, too.

  22. #22
    call me T.J.
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    mechanicaliron: those bags look awesome! Is there any chance you'd explain how they attach to your racks? (and remember, a picture's worth 1,000 words!)

  23. #23
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Mechanicalron, I meant to compliment you before on the outstanding craftmanship. I tied to think of a word to describe your bags to my wife, and the adjective I came up up with is elegant. That's probably not quite the right descriptor, but they sure are nice!

  24. #24
    call me T.J.
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    I've just looked at the pictures again, and I have to agree with Doug. Those bags are simply beautiful. They match the bike's frame color quite nicely, too.


    Did you make your own bar tape? What about the handle on the frame pump?

  25. #25
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Posted today at lht/cc og. 14.5 lbs of mil surplus glory.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/3832168...7617941641468/

    4 cat litter pails would work too, with a higher volume:weight.

    Let's not forget Ken Kifer:

    http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/bags.htm

    Your best bet is to be patient and grab ortlieb roller-classics whenever they appear for under $120, or similar. Yesterday some brand new jandd mtn panniers sold on ebay for $101 total.

    I have some deuter panniers from a few years back - same hardware as ortliebs, 42L volume @1600g per pair - got 2 pairs and a rack top bag I use instead of a handlebar bag, bought from Sierra Trading Post for $135 with S&H.

    You can barely buy materials to DIY at these prices. Unless you're using Fresh-Step pails.

    Whatever you do, make sure they're well attached with no loose ends. Dental work can easily cost more than a full set of Arkel luggage.

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