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  1. #1
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    Panniers that convert into daypacks

    I like hiking and I like biking, so if I'm on a bike tour I'd like to have the option to get to a scenic area and go hiking for a bit. I'm gradually accumulating more gear and I'm starting to look at panniers, one pair at a time. I want some solid touring panniers where one of them can be converted into a backpack that's comfortable enough for hiking all day or even for several days with a small load. I know that by doing that, you kind of have to compromise on comfort, but that's how it goes. I guess my other option would be to get some ultralight daypack and just take that along on tours.

    Anyway, the two options I've found by googling are any Ortlieb panniers, which can apparently be turned into a daypack by adding a harness you buy separately, and the Arkel Bug, which seems more intended for commuting. From these two, I'd really favor the Ortliebs, both because they're waterproof and because for some of them, the price per pair is barely more than the price of a single Bug.

    I haven't been able to find any reviews of the Ortliebs used as backpacks, so I'd like to hear about any other options people know of and especially of people's experiences using the backpacks, since I'd like to know which ones are at least decently comfortable.

  2. #2
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Other bags with backpack option:

    Arkel GT18bp and Swithback
    MEC panner/daypack
    Panpack

    There are others. I've never used any of them. I put a small photo daypack on top of the front rack with platform (photo). Before, I used to put a daypack on the rear rack with the tent, matress or clothes in it (photo).
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

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    If it was me, I'd just buy a comfortable day pack and use it as a storage area for things on the top of the rack while riding. I doubt any of the convertible panniers will be that comfortable to wear, you can't bring all your panniers along on the hike anyway, so why have all the extra stuff/straps on them. You can even pick up one of those lightweight day packs with no backpad that folds into a little pouch or just a fanny pack that doubles as another bag to hold things while riding. Really depends on how serious a hike you'll be taking, but I think all these are a better option then the convertible pannier.
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    Yeah, I was thinking about adding a GoLite or Gossamer Gear or some other type of light backpack just for hikes and either folding it up in a pannier or using it for extra storage space. Still I'm wondering if any of the pannier/backpack combos might be a good choice.

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    George Krpan
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    How about taking your favorite daypack and figuring out how to attach it to the rack, just like a regular pannier?

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    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
    How about taking your favorite daypack and figuring out how to attach it to the rack, just like a regular pannier?
    It's a good idea, but I actually don't really have a good daypack now. I've been getting by for day hikes with a school-style backpack left over from college so I'm hoping I can upgrade to a pannier that can also fill the daypack role.

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    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Gnashbar has a pannier that converts into a backpack .. pretty cheap ..
    so does Ortlieb, + they have a padded back and strap kit
    to convert any pannier of theirs that way

    I used a Day pack rucksack as the top of the back rack bag , in a tour,

    filled it with my stuff and strapped it on , when I needed one,
    I took out the stuff bag of stuff, and had the pack..

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    If you're just doing day hikes, I say go with a daypack.

    Another option aside from those mentioned is to get a hydration pack with some additional storage. Use it during the cycling for water, and throw a few items in it when you're doing your hikes.

  11. #11
    Hooked on Touring
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    Getting a fish to ride a bicycle has always proved problematic.
    Too often, you end up with an oddly shaped bike and a smelly rider.

    Although I have never used any of the above -
    I suspect that they are neither good panniers nor good backpacks.
    As panniers they have less storage and are weightier.
    As a backpack they are less comfortable.

    So why not just get a good pack and strap it across the back rack??

    I have hiked in dozens of national parks and wildernesses - overnight -
    using a pack that I have strapped onthe back rack.
    Last edited by jamawani; 08-12-11 at 05:00 PM.

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  13. #13
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    I've used the Ortlieb backpack conversion gizmo on a couple of tours, I'm not that crazy about it. Ortlieb should stick to panniers, IMHO, and let someone else make backpacks. There are a lot of ultra light day packs on the market at varying price points that weigh within a few ounces of what the Ortlieb backpack harness ways, and are probably much more comfortable. Patagonia and REI offer them, and I'm sure there are others. I just got a Black diamond Shot daypack, it's worked well on a couple of rock climbs that I've taken it on, and I plan on taking it on my next cycle tour instead of the Ortlieb backpack harness.

  14. #14
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jude View Post
    It's a good idea, but I actually don't really have a good daypack now. I've been getting by for day hikes with a school-style backpack left over from college so I'm hoping I can upgrade to a pannier that can also fill the daypack role.
    Then just buy one. You can find them for as cheap as $10-$15 at those stores that sell clothing that did not sell at other stores.

    Most of those pannier attachments are expensive and look so uncomfortable. Besides you will most likely get more use out of the daypack than a pannier. And wouldn't you rather leave a cheap day pack somewhere rather than you expensive pannier?
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jude View Post
    I haven't been able to find any reviews of the Ortliebs used as backpacks, so I'd like to hear about any other options people know of and especially of people's experiences using the backpacks, since I'd like to know which ones are at least decently comfortable.
    The (expensive) Panpacks seem to be the only ones actually intended to be really usable as a back pack.

    I suspect many of the other (eg Ortlieb) are really just for short-term convenience. While that isn't a bad thing, I'd be a bit wary about expecting too much out of them.

    If you can deal without needing a frame and are not carrying a lot of stuff, using a medium sized day pack (1800cc) might be the way to go.

  16. #16
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    If the panniers that convert to a back pack are all like the ones I have seen, I'd skip them. If you are doing only day hikes, I have found that all I need is a shoulder strap for my handlebar bag. That works fine for all-day hikes if I keep it pretty light. Another option is to use a handlebar bag that converts to a fanny pack, Topeak makes one that is pretty nice if a bit small. You would probably want to add a bottle bag to the belt to carry water with that one.

    If you are going to actually go backpacking, I'd do as Jamawani suggested. In that case I'd probably take one of the ultralights like the ones mentioned above (GoLite etc.).

    If you are a trailer user with a BoB or similar, I'd consider just packing everything in a backpack and carrying it in the trailer.

    Personally I am have thus far kept backpacking trips and bike trips separate. I tend to stick to hikes of a couple hours or less, with the exception being when we stayed a week in Yosemite. For me I think that is a better compromise, but if you want a more hybrid type trip it is certainly possible.

  17. #17
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    I'm inclined to believe that a good convertible pannier/backpack is in fact impossible; the qualities that make for a good pannier make for a lousy day pack, and so on. Depending on how much you carry when hiking, a small handlebar bag might be enough, it's what I use. I just added a third leg strap to keep it stable. If you need a little more storage space, you could use something like this.

    On a related note, can anyone think of a clever way to use the frame of a backpack as the base of frame of a trailer?

  18. #18
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Another way to go is to get a grocery bag pannier and drop your daypack in there. No compromises in the quality of your pack, but you'll want to make sure you don't end up with your heel kicking the pannier, and you probably want make sure water can drain out of it.

  19. #19
    experience over lungs
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    I've got a great day pack from Sea to Summit that weighs three ounces and packs to nothing. It's what I take on tour for day hikes. I wouldn't want too mu h weight in it but is great for some food, a layer, and water.

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    The REI Flash 18 might also be something to consider as an ultralight day pack. Turned inside out it is a stuffsack, or just take it along. The Sea to Summit mentioned sounds similar.
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  21. #21
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    +1 on Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack. Every pannier/pack conversion I've seen is over-engineered and adds TOO MUCH weight and bulk. The ultra-sil day pack weighs 68 grams (2.4 ounces) and doubles as a stuff sack. I used it on my recent tour and loved it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
    +1 on Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack. Every pannier/pack conversion I've seen is over-engineered and adds TOO MUCH weight and bulk. The ultra-sil day pack weighs 68 grams (2.4 ounces) and doubles as a stuff sack. I used it on my recent tour and loved it.
    Wow, I might have to pick up one of those. Also looking at the REI Flash18. My packing list for my next trip is trimmed down to what will easily fit in two smallish panniers with room to spare since my tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow (actually a down vest in a tiny pillow case) will be on top of the rear rack. One of these would be great to hold the stuff on the rear rack and it would be handy for side hikes and shopping runs as well.

    Does anyone know how water resistant either of these packs are? I am guessing I'd need to pack stuff in plastic inside the pack in wet weather. Is that the case?

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    All this advice is pretty convincing that I should just get an ultralight pack instead. Heck, at some of the weights, I might get an ultralight overnight pack just in case I do want to go full on backpacking. Of course, not all my stuff is light enough for that, but that's another story...

    In any case I'm about to pick up some barely-used Trek Basic panniers from craigslist for 30 bucks, that'll get me touring for the 2 weeks until I start working. Too bad they're not Ortliebs since it's looking to rain every day in the 10 day forecast, but I can live with trash bags for a few short trips. Ortliebs have to wait until I get a paycheck anyhow.

  24. #24
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Does anyone know how water resistant either of these packs are? I am guessing I'd need to pack stuff in plastic inside the pack in wet weather. Is that the case?
    I would consider it to be quite water resistant and have used it in rain and the contents did not get wet. Of course it could not be considered waterproof it does have a zipper that's not sealed, nor are the seams. The ultra-sil is the same the sea-to-summit ultralight stuff sacks.

    I use it on tour for day hikes and store runs and in my panniers to separate clean/dirty clothes. Also to note: the shoulder straps very flimsy being doubled up ultra-sil, I would not consider it equivalent to the (4 times heavier) Flash18.
    Last edited by BigAura; 08-15-11 at 07:38 AM. Reason: clarirication

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    what exactly do you mean "go hiking for a bit"?

    If it's abandoning your bike somewhere safe and doing on feet what you are doing on bike that's carrying a fair amount of stuff in a bonafide backpack in which case I'd eliminate panniers and mount small/med dry bags to the bike and carry a full sized back pack on the rack and bars. If it's day hikes with the possibility of overnight that's something less substantial that can be done with a narrow day pack that can do double duty while riding from store to camp.

    maybe something like this:

    http://www.rei.com/product/813360/bl...mond-bbee-pack

    Personally I'd rather have a day pack with comfortable straps for hiking than a light sack with thin straps. The latter is perfect for the short ride between store and campsite or shopping. But for hours of hiking with 10lbs of stuff I'd want a daypack.
    Last edited by LeeG; 08-15-11 at 10:25 AM.

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