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  1. #1
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    waterproof stuff sacks vs panniers

    I saw a post on a recent thread mentioning ditching panniers for some method of using water proof stuff sacks. I've been contemplating just that for weight savings, multi-purpose gear cost savings, plus a number of notions about carrying gear, water proofing, compartments, etc. This was initially inspired by the design of the Xtracycle Freeloaders and my own experiences with gear as an UL backpacker using a simple, single compartment, frame-less backpack.

    I imagine this has been discussed but I couldn't pull up a similar topic with the basic search. Feel free to point one out. In the meant time, I'm curious what strategies are in line with my thoughts where a sling like the Freeloader, or a non-waterproof pannier like Military surplus canvas bags, are used in conjunction with something like DrySacks. I'd also want to hear the arguments against such an approach. I've been most interested in making my own (not the Drysack), and I'm working on the sewing project with grandma. So, the systems of construction and attachment are important while I creep through the project's planning stages

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    I used a couple of drybags on an 8 week tour, the nylon kind, not welded Ortleib grade. One was used as a pannier liner for a Carradice and held all my clothes and electricals. The other was used on the racktop for a sleeping bag.
    I'm pretty happy with their performance. In the evening I would stash all my warm/waterproof clothes inside the sleeping bag drybag so I could find them easily.

    Some tourists use a large drybag on top of the rack with 2 panniers. I prefer the better balance of a 4 pannier system.

    Panniers need to be fairly tough material that does not flap around. The idea of a non waterproof drybag holder has some merit but my material of choice would be a flexible plastic mesh formed into a bucket. You can ziptie this to a correx stiffener and rivet on some mounts or use heavy grade zipties.

  3. #3
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Some type of harness:

    Check out the gear which some of the off road cycle touring folks are using.

    -I'm thinking of the Taco type roll-ups some use to go around a drybag. They then attach them to the handlebar (most use a long/narrow dry bag). There are also companies which make them.

    eg: http://www.revelatedesigns.com/index.cfm

    -Now just make some kind of harness bound onto a backplate for large pannier sized drysacks. (I think there were a couple Ultralite packpacks made with this type of a system in mind)

    -Or go with one of those "grocery-bag" type panniers.

    eg: http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FGBP
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    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    I think one of the main reasons folks are going to dry bags is to get rid of racks as they weigh around 1 lb (or more). Revelatedesigns offers some good designs to go rackless. Other companies (carradice) saddle bags that attach under your seat. A few here are using a saddlebag under their seat and webbing straps to tie a bag onto their handlebars. Nun and bekologist have trimmed their loads way down. They have some pictures of their rigs on this site.
    since you come from a UL backpacker background you might be aware that some UL guys have gotten their total weight down to under 5lbs. Impressive. Some cyclist have gotten their weight below 15lbs. We have a heavier weight due to tools and a need for a more durable bag/pack system. Can we break the 10 lb range. Some may have!

  5. #5
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I've mentioned it once or twice, usually for people who are considering an ultralight touring approach. The inspiration is from this article: http://adventurecycling.org/features/ultralight.cfm

    I haven't gotten around to trying it on my own setup yet though.

    One thing to keep in mind though is that for road bicycle tours, the weight savings are negligible -- especially if you're already using your existing UL gear (e.g. tent etc). In most cases, the added robustness , convenience and better weight distribution of real panniers is more than worth the added weight.

    Remember, you are NOT doing the work of lifting and carrying all that gear when you're on the bike. 5 pounds is a lot of weight for a hiker, but barely even noticeable on the bike, even on a stiff climb.

    If you are doing off-road tours, a small backpack and a waterproof stuff sack on a light rack is much more appropriate and beneficial.

    As to how to do it, it really shouldn't be that hard to find a small rack (e.g. Tubus Tara) and strap down the stuff sack to it. I'd use small stuff sacks to segregate gear and provide a tiny bit more protection. A little experimentation should suffice.

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    i have not used it before
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  7. #7
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
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    Stuff sacks/Dry-bags vs Panniers are a trade off IMO. You can get kayak bags a lot cheaper than quality panniers, but being able to move your equipment lower, closer to the ground, and separate/organize it is worth a lot. Kinda depends on whether you want to trade dollars for convenience and handling.

    BTW, anyone try these from Sierra TP? They seem well priced. http://www.sierratradingpost.com/d/4...-and-Misc.html

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    djb
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    some other factors to consider:

    -in terms of weight, a set of waterproof bike bags are not really any diff than wet-dry bags, my Ortlieb rollers with the thinner material are not heavy at all.
    -baggage stability, with just wet dry bags, you get into how to attach them securely to a bike. I have had a"regular" bike bag come partly off a few times on fast downhills when hitting a bad bump, Ortlieb and other brands have a system that keeps the latch system on your rack and avoids this. I slap my bags on and they stay there, its a no-brainer.
    -cost over time vs convienence--yes wet dry bags will have many other outdoor uses, hiking, canoeing, motorcycling--so may well be worth it more for you to have a set that will do many things. I personally am a life long biker, commuter, so spending more on a set of waterproof bags such as Ortlieb was worth it for me in the long run. I use them on day trips, longer trips, commuting, I put groceries in them, whatever. I just grab them and mine have lasted I think 17 years of nearly daily summertime use, a pretty good life expectancy.

    no matter what, waterproof stuff is great. I wouldnt want to go back to non-waterproof bike bags again, just for the convienence.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Both, organize your gear in small waterproof stuff sacks, then put them in leaky sewn together panniers.

    with an Xtracycle there is the practical use of a big truck tarp saddle bag , and then smaller stuff sacks in it.

  10. #10
    imi
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    I have two dry bags though I'm considering putting a pannier on the left hand side instead...

    IMG_0937..jpgIMG_0894..jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by imi View Post
    I have two dry bags though I'm considering putting a pannier on the left hand side instead...

    IMG_0937..jpgIMG_0894..jpg
    I've been working all day, and can't quite put a proper post together until later, but I've been reading and mulling over the thread so far. Need to followup on the links still. I hadn't considered forgoing a rack, as some mentioned. Sure, perhaps with a large saddlebag like the Carradice, but that's a very limited capacity. It would work if I could guarantee access to food and water along the tour... totally depends on the trip.

    But considering a tour or general use requiring larger capacities.... I'll have to gather my thoughts and get back to this.

    In the mean time, IMI, I'd like to see more pictures and hear more about that method you are using. What kind of rack is involved, and how do you attach? Stable?

    cheers,
    -Michael
    '82 Miyata 1000
    '85 Miyata 210M
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  12. #12
    40 yrs bike touring
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    I have been using a dry bag stuffer on my rear rack for over twenty years. Early on I found that they abraded in contact with the rack and with dirt b/t rack and bag. I enclose the dry bag in a more durable but light weight outer bag with straps to hold it on the rack. I recently had Carousel Design Works make an upgraded enclosure with external pockets for the dry bag insert which works very well.

    I only use two front panniers. this combination of panniers up front and dry bag on rear rack works very well on and off pavement for me. Good balance and the reduced volume limits overall weight. this was particularly effective on the Divide Ride for moments of bike pushing. There are no rear panniers to hinder legs while pushing.

  13. #13
    Godfather of Soul SBRDude's Avatar
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    On my upcoming credit card tour (i.e., no camping equipment), I'm planning on using Lone Peak bags, which are not waterproof. The P-100s are 2000 cubic inches per pair and weigh 36 oz. A similarly sized set of Ortliebs - Sport Packer Classic is a little smaller at 1831 ci and weights 53 oz, which is just over a pound more. A pound is not a lot, but all of the gear and clothing choices come with weight tradeoffs and an argument can always be made that the heavier selection comes with a worthwhile benefit. Everyone has to decide that for themselves. For me, after reading about waterproof vs. non-waterproof panniers, I decided that non-waterproof panniers with a couple lightweight dry bags inside would do the trick.

    Also, to the person who said that an extra 5 lbs doesn't make a difference on the hills, I beg to differ. Perhaps it isn't as noticeable to some people, but for the type of riding I usually do it makes a genuine difference.

    EDIT: I also thought about just strapping on a sturdy dry bag to a rack instead of using any panniers, but I was concerned that it might end up rubbing and falling apart or at least getting torn. Not sure if that is a valid concern or not.

  14. #14
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBRDude View Post
    On my upcoming credit card tour (i.e., no camping equipment), I'm planning on using Lone Peak bags, which are not waterproof. The P-100s are 2000 cubic inches per pair and weigh 36 oz. A similarly sized set of Ortliebs - Sport Packer Classic is a little smaller at 1831 ci and weights 53 oz, which is just over a pound more. A pound is not a lot, but all of the gear and clothing choices come with weight tradeoffs and an argument can always be made that the heavier selection comes with a worthwhile benefit. Everyone has to decide that for themselves. For me, after reading about waterproof vs. non-waterproof panniers, I decided that non-waterproof panniers with a couple lightweight dry bags inside would do the trick.

    Also, to the person who said that an extra 5 lbs doesn't make a difference on the hills, I beg to differ. Perhaps it isn't as noticeable to some people, but for the type of riding I usually do it makes a genuine difference.

    EDIT: I also thought about just strapping on a sturdy dry bag to a rack instead of using any panniers, but I was concerned that it might end up rubbing and falling apart or at least getting torn. Not sure if that is a valid concern or not.
    We strap a waterproof compression sack to our rack top. But under it, we put a piece of ribbed rubber stair tread material which was zip-tied to the SS rack. So no wear on the sack or rack, and the ribbing kept it from sliding beautifully. The same material makes great mudflaps, too. For $10 you can get a life-time supply.

  15. #15
    Godfather of Soul SBRDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    We strap a waterproof compression sack to our rack top. But under it, we put a piece of ribbed rubber stair tread material which was zip-tied to the SS rack. So no wear on the sack or rack, and the ribbing kept it from sliding beautifully. The same material makes great mudflaps, too. For $10 you can get a life-time supply.
    That's very good to know - thanks for the tip!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by imi View Post
    I have two dry bags though I'm considering putting a pannier on the left hand side instead...

    IMG_0937..jpgIMG_0894..jpg
    What ya packing for a guitar?
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  17. #17
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by depleted View Post
    I've been working all day, and can't quite put a proper post together until later, but I've been reading and mulling over the thread so far. Need to followup on the links still. I hadn't considered forgoing a rack, as some mentioned. Sure, perhaps with a large saddlebag like the Carradice, but that's a very limited capacity. It would work if I could guarantee access to food and water along the tour... totally depends on the trip.

    But considering a tour or general use requiring larger capacities.... I'll have to gather my thoughts and get back to this.

    In the mean time, IMI, I'd like to see more pictures and hear more about that method you are using. What kind of rack is involved, and how do you attach? Stable?

    cheers,
    -Michael
    Here's a link to the drysack tests I did. I like the light weight and there's plenty of capacity, but getting at stuff was a pain. My system was to attach the bags using nylon straps. That worked well and the compression sacks made the load very stable. Still I don't think the weight savings win out over the convenience of my Carradice Nelson Longflap and my new Ortlieb handlebar bag.

    http://wheelsofchance.org/2010/02/02/ultralight-setup/

  18. #18
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I've used some MSR brand compression waterproof stuffsacks in lieu of panniers before... if you keep your load light, absolutely.

    The bags still need to be stout IMO, a silnylon stuffsack wouldn't hold up very long, a hydroseal coated, tougher taslan or cordura compression sack would be the way to go IMO.
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  19. #19
    imi
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    Quote Originally Posted by depleted View Post

    In the mean time, IMI, I'd like to see more pictures and hear more about that method you are using. What kind of rack is involved, and how do you attach? Stable?

    -Michael
    Morning folks! (well it is here)... an' I've got to go to work so I'll get back to you this (my) evening gear wire broke yesterday on commuting bike, which I then forgot to fix so I'm in a bit of rush now...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    Here's a link to the drysack tests I did. I like the light weight and there's plenty of capacity, but getting at stuff was a pain. My system was to attach the bags using nylon straps. That worked well and the compression sacks made the load very stable. Still I don't think the weight savings win out over the convenience of my Carradice Nelson Longflap and my new Ortlieb handlebar bag.

    http://wheelsofchance.org/2010/02/02/ultralight-setup/
    Great info and links... and then more links and bookmarks. With this I'm starting to transform my UL Backpacking philosophies and strategies into an approach to loaded touring. I badly have not wanted to start from scratch, as I did with backpacking: loading up on the wrong gear, then buying a wealth of expensive, high-tech replacements before the practical/mindful realizations settled in.

    I would imagine that a compression sack as a saddlebag, paired with a neatly accessible handlebar bag would separate handy gear and supplies from the camp list. I've been rebelling against the notion that more compartments are better and panel access is better. It just leads to poorer organization and inevitably more "stuff". IMHO

    So, just like a frameless backpack, it comes down to capacity and weight. I have a 7lbs 3-season base weight, and can carry 5-7days of food and water (2lbs/day, 3-6lbs water), in a 50L/28lbsMAX pack. I have to do similar numbers to compare this to the combined capacity of the saddlebag and handlebar bag. And then reconsider front or rear racks for a pannier type system (but with slung sacks) if needed.

    And there's a cutoff, like in my pack; even if you wanted to carry 30+lbs of gear, the framless pack fails painfully. So, your base weight increases with a framed pack, but your capacity grows exponentially. Probably the same with the touring setups we're discussing.

    Somewhere it came up, the idea of a saddlebag/stuffsack + handlebar bag + front panniers. I can see that working great to push your food/water carrying capacity. But that's the real weight, food and water. What is the max load for front racks? And your front fork/wheel?

    thanks guys!
    -Michael

    Wait, one more: what happens to stability when all that weight is high behind your saddle? I've tied a milk crate to my rear rack and when loaded with goods, e.g. my backpack, market goods, it's a shaky ride. Peek at my sig to see what I'm riding. Maybe the old touring rig just isn't right for this method.
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  21. #21
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    Huh? Some people have waterproof panniers?

    Technically it seems hard to believe waterproof stuffs are lighter than a single membrane that covers everything at once...

    I like these:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...t=diy+panniers
    Last edited by NoReg; 10-21-10 at 03:20 PM.

  22. #22
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by depleted View Post
    I would imagine that a compression sack as a saddlebag, paired with a neatly accessible handlebar bag would separate handy gear and supplies from the camp list. I've been rebelling against the notion that more compartments are better and panel access is better. It just leads to poorer organization and inevitably more "stuff". IMHO

    So, just like a frameless backpack, it comes down to capacity and weight. I have a 7lbs 3-season base weight, and can carry 5-7days of food and water (2lbs/day, 3-6lbs water), in a 50L/28lbsMAX pack. I have to do similar numbers to compare this to the combined capacity of the saddlebag and handlebar bag. And then reconsider front or rear racks for a pannier type system (but with slung sacks) if needed.

    .
    Great idea to use a handlebar bag for stuff you need at hand.

    Food and water are the heaviest stuff you'll be carrying. If you're hiking the AT you might want 5-7 supply, but remember on a bike you can cover 100 miles in a day and that puts you far closer to resupply. Unless I was going to Mongolia 2 or 3 days is the max I'd ever carry

  23. #23
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by depleted View Post
    So, just like a frameless backpack, it comes down to capacity and weight. I have a 7lbs 3-season base weight, and can carry 5-7days of food and water (2lbs/day, 3-6lbs water), in a 50L/28lbsMAX pack. I have to do similar numbers to compare this to the combined capacity of the saddlebag and handlebar bag. And then reconsider front or rear racks for a pannier type system (but with slung sacks) if needed.


    -Michael
    I think you hit on it with the capacity and weight. I really think Lone peaks 2000CI front pannier and a lighter weight Tubus gives one the lowest weight with highest carrying capacity. Here's part of my post from a similar discussion earlier this year.

    "......I do think the Arkel Big Bag is way heavy if ultralight touring is the goal. It goes @ 3 lbs. You could easily put 2 small Lone Peak panniers and a Tubus Duo rack on the front and come in just over 3 lbs while picking up 1500CI storage in the process(total 2000CI=33L). The Carradice also seems a tad heavy but at least has a decent volume. I'm thinking the Tubus and LP front bags might be one of the lighter touring options. Use a tubus fly rear rack for an ultralightweight dry bag with tent, pad , bag etc. strapped down. Weights are almost equal and you have a lot more storage volume.
    I do like the way folks are really looking into ultralight touring. I almost bought a set(4 bags)of pannier but now will wait. Please report back on how much the Carradice can hold. I wonder if anyone has determined the volume/weight numbers of many pannier/saddlebag system. A quick look at the numbers show Arkel/Carradice combo weighs 2180gm with 34L and the Tubus/Lonepeak weighs 1420gm with 33L. That's750gms difference(1.5lbs) which can be used for a rear rack,Tubus Fly(300gms) and a dry bag(wt??). Less weight and more volume. Maybe I'm doing something wrong but this seems to be a lighter way to travel....."

  24. #24
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Home made panniers and dry sacks will work just fine. Heck, dry sacks alone secured with bungies will work fine too. All a matter of tolerance for some inconvenience and appearence, as well as your budget.

    That's one of the things so great about touring on a bicycle. It can be done on just about any budget.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  25. #25
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    Great idea to use a handlebar bag for stuff you need at hand.

    Food and water are the heaviest stuff you'll be carrying. If you're hiking the AT you might want 5-7 supply, but remember on a bike you can cover 100 miles in a day and that puts you far closer to resupply. Unless I was going to Mongolia 2 or 3 days is the max I'd ever carry
    I'm with you nun. 3 days unless some God-awful conditions dictate differently.

    Also when carrying water, it sloshes something awful. Better to split it up in 1 liter portions and spread it around the bike IMO.

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