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  1. #1
    Senior Member djyak's Avatar
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    Need advice on pannier size for 2-4 day touring.

    Hi everyone, new to touring, but have been mountain biking for a long time. I was given some new panniers, they are 30L, (15L each side) for my touring bike. I only plan on doing touring for 2-4 days at a time. Do you all think I'll need larger ones? Maybe one for the front as well? Any and all ideas are appreciated since I've never done touring/camping before.

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    They are a bit small for long duration trips but OK for 2-4 days.
    You can put your sleeping bag and tent on top of the rear rack.
    If you reduce your footwear and cooking luggage, the rest takes up very little room.

  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djyak View Post
    Hi everyone, new to touring, but have been mountain biking for a long time. I was given some new panniers, they are 30L, (15L each side) for my touring bike. I only plan on doing touring for 2-4 days at a time. Do you all think I'll need larger ones? Maybe one for the front as well? Any and all ideas are appreciated since I've never done touring/camping before.
    30L bags are on the large side. You could go with a smaller front pannier which are typically 15L to 20L. However, once you get past 2 overnights (3 days of riding), you are usually carrying as much stuff as you would for a week, a month or a year.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    30L bags are on the large side. You could go with a smaller front pannier which are typically 15L to 20L. However, once you get past 2 overnights (3 days of riding), you are usually carrying as much stuff as you would for a week, a month or a year.
    Agree. Temp expectations are more relevant to pack volume than length of tour. With experience, you'll probably find that 30L panniers are too big as you learn to minimize your needs. Especially for summer touring, and with a rack pack. OTOH, never hurts to have a little extra room for unexpected this and thats.
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    It'll depend much more on your own packing style than on the length of the trip. Some people carry 40 lbs of stuff on an overnight outing while others manage with 15 lbs to go 3000 miles. So get together the things you plan to take along and see how well they fit in your current panniers.
    Bike handling is usually better if you have some of the weight up front, so if things are tight with the panniers you have it's probably best to supplement them with a front pair rather than getting bigger ones.

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    smaller is better than bigger.

  7. #7
    Senior Member djyak's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I'm thinking of getting some small ones for the front, even out the load a bit, but again keeping them small. From the list I've compiled from here and a few other sites and friends, I won't need a whole lot. I've actually cut a lot out of the lists.

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    don't go cutting out to much its a holiday on a bike after all why suffer comfort enjoy yourself buddy pack enough gear thats going to keep you smiling.

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    Senior Member mtnbud's Avatar
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    Totally agree it's better to have some weight up front. I used to tour with all of my supplies on the rear rack. I finally bought a front rack and small panniers after seeing how much better my buddies bike handled with front panniers. Evening out the load does wonders for the handling of the bike. Small panniers up front and back are should be sufficient unless you plan on going hog wild on cooking gear and extra amenities. I try to keep my cooking needs simple. Packing light makes the hills much nicer.

    If you plan appropriately, you probably don't need panniers up front and back. - It'll be nicer for bike handling and you can pack a little more.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member djyak's Avatar
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    Just sticking to the minimum on cooking supplies, and my main focus of events is photography. The more I read all of the advice from all these forums, the more excited I'm getting for the trip.

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    Two days is only one night, you can do that without cooking gear. As noted by Cyccommute, once you are up to four days, that is a full load.

    No two people carry the same amount. I usually carry a liquid fuel stove but a butane type is usually much smaller and lighter. I also enjoy food that has more preparation than freeze dried, which means more pots and utinsels. And, I usually avoid the heat, thus have to carry clothing and sleeping bag for sub freezing temperatures. You need to decide are you on the light side or heavy side on these types of issues, as they will dictate how much gear you need.

    You can start with the two you have and a small duffle strapped on the rear rack and see if you need more or not. I preach trying what you have first before incurring major expense. But do not scrimp on the warm clothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    30L bags are on the large side.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Agree. Temp expectations are more relevant to pack volume than length of tour. With experience, you'll probably find that 30L panniers are too big as you learn to minimize your needs.
    30L is the combined volume of his panniers. Each bag has 15L and I would not call 15L panniers as too big.

  13. #13
    Senior Member djyak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seb71 View Post
    30L is the combined volume of his panniers. Each bag has 15L and I would not call 15L panniers as too big.
    Correct, each pannier is only 15L. From all the photos I've seen, most are noticeably larger than these. So I should upgrade?

  14. #14
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seb71 View Post
    30L is the combined volume of his panniers. Each bag has 15L and I would not call 15L panniers as too big.
    I know that 30L is the combined volume of his panniers. I didn't say they are too large but they are large(ish).
    Stuart Black
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    I think that the best way to get an answer is to put your gear inside your panniers and decide for yourself. For instance, some are using only a tarp as a shelter and others are using a 2 person 4-season tent. The needed volume is different for different people, as can be seen from the replies from this thread.

  16. #16
    Senior Member djyak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seb71 View Post
    I think that the best way to get an answer is to put your gear inside your panniers and decide for yourself. For instance, some are using only a tarp as a shelter and others are using a 2 person 4-season tent. The needed volume is different for different people, as can be seen from the replies from this thread.
    Well, that's some good advice there. I suppose that really is the only way to find out. I do have a two person tent I'll be using, and have worked up a good packing list. I suppose I'll just have to pack it and see.

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    train safe buelito's Avatar
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    not having done much touring since the early 70's, I can only say things that are similar... If you are a backpacker, the larger the pack, the more you will carry, as you will tend to fill the pack. The same applies to panniers on a bike. Figure out what you need to carry, then re-analyze and THEN buy your bags. I am always amazed when I come back from a week long bike trip (where I don't carry y stuff on the bike), and realize how much I took with me that I never used. Obviously the weather is a big factor, as you need dry clothes to get into if you get wet, or ride wet; you need cold weather gear in some areas and so on.

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  18. #18
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djyak View Post
    Well, that's some good advice there. I suppose that really is the only way to find out. I do have a two person tent I'll be using, and have worked up a good packing list. I suppose I'll just have to pack it and see.
    Don't waste pannier space on the tent or bag. Those go on the rack deck. Save your space in the bag for things that need to go in there.
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    I liked having my 7x5 tent, rain fly, ground cloth in a front pannier.
    Tent poles on the rear rack.
    Air mattress, pillow, fan in the other front pannier
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    My vote is for Ortlieb panniers. I now have Ortlieb Sport-Packer Plus panniers but Ortlieb's Front-Roller Classic would do the trick I think. I have a review of the earlier version but it should give you an idea. Just one point to note, these panniers only have a capacity of 12.5 litres.



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  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    those you got,+ maybe a stuff sack for Sleeping bag, top of rear rack..

    then if you feel like adding 2 front bags, balance is improved..

    Or just put the panniers on the front , big fluffy bag on the back rack.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-12-12 at 08:29 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    My wife used a pair of Ortlieb Front Packer Pluses to ride across the country. She supplemented this with a small Ortlieb Rack Pack. Depending on your weight, 25 pounds on the rear of the bike may not affect handling at all. She has since switched to the Rear Packer Plus, for more capacity. Also depending on your load. the 30L bags should do fine for 2-4 days.



    This was on a 3 week trip, including camping and cooking. We were using our lighter road bikes and relatively small capacity panniers. I doubt if either set had a capacity greater than 30 L. She had about 20 lbs of gear and I may have had 25-30 lbs.
    Last edited by Doug64; 02-12-12 at 10:40 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member djyak's Avatar
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    Definetly feeling better now about my free panniers. I was worried I might now be able to use them. I laid out some of my gear last night, just to get a bit of a visual, it's still too cold here to do the touring I want, but from what I've laid out, I don't think I'll need to add front panniers, but will get a bar bag instead.

  24. #24
    Senior Member mtnbud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djyak View Post
    Definetly feeling better now about my free panniers. I was worried I might now be able to use them. I laid out some of my gear last night, just to get a bit of a visual, it's still too cold here to do the touring I want, but from what I've laid out, I don't think I'll need to add front panniers, but will get a bar bag instead.
    Excellent! A bar bag will be a great place for your photography equipment and other items for quick access.
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