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Old 08-28-10, 06:03 AM   #1
ak08820
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Backpack as pannier

I used a backpack as a pannier for a short ride, hanging the backpack from the top loop from a spring loaded clip (I think it is called a belay) from the other side of the wheel. I know that was not the best way but it worked in a pinch.

I wonder if large backpacks like the Jansport Superbreak ($20 when on sale) or Jansport Big Student which have about 35-30 L capacity can be equipped with hooks, plastic sign panels inside and other hardware to be used as panniers. Has anyone tried it? It is hard to cough up hundreds of dollars for bike luggage.
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Old 08-28-10, 06:10 AM   #2
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I for one dislike using a backpack as a faux pannier. All it takes is for one strap to get sucked into the rear wheel somehow, and you're dining on asphalt. Separately, putting all that weight on one side seems like a handling nightmare.

Go to Nashbar.com, they have tons of affordable panniers.
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Old 08-28-10, 06:29 AM   #3
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I agree on the strap issue but I meant converting the backpack to pannier permanently, which means permanently remove the straps. (In my one time use of the backpack, I brought them to the front and secured the dangling ends by tying them together.) If I would keep the straps, I would make some arrangement to fasten them out of the way of the rear wheel.
Also, I would use 2 backpacks not one, or possible 4.

I did try the Nashbar pannier set, one of the largest ones, and returned them as the hardware was so flimsy.
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Old 08-28-10, 06:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
I for one dislike using a backpack as a faux pannier. All it takes is for one strap to get sucked into the rear wheel somehow, and you're dining on asphalt. Separately, putting all that weight on one side seems like a handling nightmare.

Go to Nashbar.com, they have tons of affordable panniers.
I've been using my nashbar panniers (the water proof ones, and the daytrekker) for 4 years now with no problems.
Most of the time I just use one pannier with no handling problems whatsoever, even riding hands free for stretches.

OP, the clip(s) you're probably using are carabiners.

I've seen some really good DIY panniers made from backpacks (Just be careful about the straps.
you may want to pull them around the front of the pack and attach them together with a tie or bungie.
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Old 08-28-10, 06:45 AM   #5
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Yes, you are correct in both, I used a carabiner and did bring the straps to the front and secured them with their own ends.
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Old 08-28-10, 11:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
I for one dislike using a backpack as a faux pannier. All it takes is for one strap to get sucked into the rear wheel somehow, and you're dining on asphalt. Separately, putting all that weight on one side seems like a handling nightmare.

Go to Nashbar.com, they have tons of affordable panniers.
+1 When I first got started, I used small cheap Sunlite panniers. I also used a small backpack on top of the rack but placed it in a light rucksack, for the reasons you mentioned. I brought the backpack along for overflow but thought I could use it for day walking trips.
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Old 08-28-10, 12:08 PM   #7
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Gnashbar has a $50 pack with hooks under the back pad. why Kludge something more potentially dangerous together.

plan B) : Wald wire folding side baskets , stuff your backpack in there..
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Old 08-28-10, 06:13 PM   #8
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I did my first tour with two backpacks duct-taped together and bungee cords holding them on the rack, out of the spokes, etc. It was a huge inconvenience, especially since the bungees squished everything inside, but also because it took forever any time I wanted to remove something from the "panniers." But having said that, if I would have taken the time to actually fashion something a little more permanent, especially if it eliminated the need for bungees, it might have worked just fine.

On my second tour I tried using those soft-sided lunch containers. ha ha. That worked too, but again, very inconvenient. I was working way too hard to not spend much money.

Eventually I succumbed to Ortlieb fever. I have a full set of roller classics now.
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Old 08-28-10, 11:32 PM   #9
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Arkel makes a pannier/backpack hybrid. they also sell a pannier mounting system to add to non-Arkel panniers.
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Old 08-29-10, 12:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ak08820 View Post
I agree on the strap issue but I meant converting the backpack to pannier permanently, which means permanently remove the straps. (In my one time use of the backpack, I brought them to the front and secured the dangling ends by tying them together.) If I would keep the straps, I would make some arrangement to fasten them out of the way of the rear wheel.
Also, I would use 2 backpacks not one, or possible 4.

I did try the Nashbar pannier set, one of the largest ones, and returned them as the hardware was so flimsy.
Guess I'm not sure what objective you're trying to achieve. I can understand converting a backpack to a pannier so you can combine hiking and riding on a tour, but you seem to want to use them only as panniers rather than retaining the backpack function. But for equivalent quality, panniers are likely to be cheaper than backpacks since they don't need the nice padded straps, back ventilation, or other features that add cost and complexity to good quality backpacks.

I've been using a pair of the large Nashbar panniers for over 30 years (from when they were called Bike Warehouse) and, yes, the quality of materials left a bit to be desired and they are starting to fall apart. But they served me quite well on innumerable tours as well as grocery shopping runs during that time so I recently supplemented them with Nashbar's current 'Waterproof Rear Panniers' for $30 and I've now used those on a few tours down the Calif. coast and to Yosemite. I was a bit concerned about the security of the attachment hooks so I purchased a set of 4 Lone Peak hooks and added one to each of the Nashbar panniers for redundancy.

I attached the remaining two Lone Peak hooks to a backpack I already had to let it double as a pannier on combined bike/hike trips. It works fine in that role, but I don't plan to use it for regular bike tours - it's heavier than a pannier of similar capacity and less convenient to use when on the bike. So again, I don't see the point of turning backpacks into panniers if you don't need the dual function - there's a reason for the different designs and panniers do work better on bike racks while backpacks work better for hiking.
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Old 08-29-10, 07:06 AM   #11
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I agree on the strap issue but I meant converting the backpack to pannier permanently....
Yeah, sorry, I don't see the point.

A cheap container is a cheap container; I don't see much reason why a $30 backpack, that you've chopped to bits, will work any better than something specifically designed to carry luggage on the bike. Whenever possible, I try to use the right tool for the job.


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Originally Posted by ak08820
I did try the Nashbar pannier set, one of the largest ones, and returned them as the hardware was so flimsy.
So, how exactly is a backpack that you're hacking together going to have better hardware?

Look around a little bit, you can likely find panniers that are relatively affordable and well made, e.g. http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FSBP
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Old 08-29-10, 08:41 AM   #12
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I think his reasoning was stated up front.
Quote:
It is hard to cough up hundreds of dollars for bike luggage.
The babkpacks he mentioned were in the $20-$35 range. He's looking for a way around the what he believes is a high "initial entry fee" to touring/panniers.
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Old 08-29-10, 09:33 AM   #13
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I think his reasoning was stated up front.....
Sure, that's why most of us are recommending affordable panniers.
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Old 08-29-10, 09:33 AM   #14
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i actually just got done converting two framed back packs ive had for years into "panniers" sorry i dont have pics as of now, i really like em cause they are expandable and becuse of the frame i dont worry about them falling off etc. as described above i didnt really do it to save money mostly cause i like the bags and they work great. Im gonna use em on the next ride i do, the last one i used cheap saddle bags and hated it but never gonna get rid of my milk crate. So long story short i think some backpacks can work great and other not so great.
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Old 08-29-10, 09:38 AM   #15
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These are close to the bags i used, i actually think they cost more than a lot of panniers but once again i didnt do it to save money
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