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Total Volume of Bags

Old 02-05-17, 04:04 AM
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Mri G.
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Total Volume of Bags

Hi, my partner and I are planning for our first tour at the end of March this year and are struggling to figure out how many panniers, frame bags, and other bags we should have? Looking at our list we thought 60L was okay, but having actually started to test pack, not so sure. So what do you recommend having as a total bag capacity?

Also, what weight distribution would you suggest?
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Old 02-05-17, 05:27 AM
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My Axiom Lasalles are 20 litres each. My Nelson Longflap Carradice is 20 litres. And my MEC handlebar bag is about 5 litres. Total: 65 litres.

We did go to larger panniers for our Round-the-World tour ... I think they were just shy of 30 litres each. They were probably just a bit too big. Total: 85 litres.



Are you still planning to go with a tandem? If so, you may have more difficulty with the packing because both of your luggage will have to go onto one bicycle.
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Old 02-05-17, 06:30 AM
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Many travelers need more than 60L each. Some need little more than a large pocket, like, say, John Muir. I manage to make do with two average rear panniers and a foam pad strapped to the top of the rack, and that felt minimal. Most carry more, some carry less--it's highly variable, highly personal.
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Old 02-05-17, 08:24 AM
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This was my bike by the end of my 3 week Tour.
Tent on top, 45L Axiom rear panniers. The front, used about 25L. My insulated lunch kit as a bar bag/purse. The frame bag is empty. I bought it at the end of my trip. Intention, groceries etc. Nice to have extra room. My trek was real hot, fluids were a problem.

Hope this helps,



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Old 02-05-17, 08:38 AM
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It would be good to know what you are packing first and why. So where are you going, when, weather expected? Camp comforts means carrying more. Cycling comfort means carrying less. Your choice. For example size of tent, if at all. I own a 1 lb chair that I did not bring as another example. So if your not so sure of the pack size, why? Too much gear for pack size? So let me suggest working on a pack list first to figure out what you will be bringing.
It also depends how much you will tie to the racks also. I had 20 L for just the tent, quilt, and pad. I could have tied that to the rear and moved the food bag from rear to front. Wt distribution might depend on your bicycles. I did about 60/40 but will put a little more wt. on the rear next time. There was a nice thread a bit ago about how to organize your packing. Worth finding.
Machka Are those numbers for each or both of you combined.
Happy trails!!

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Old 02-05-17, 08:40 AM
  #6  
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Volume its a dangerous thing as more invariably leads to more weight. Make a gear list and let that drive the volume. Remember that compression sacks are your friend and use them for items like clothes, sleeping bag and tent fly.

I have two bags, 6L and 24L making 30L in total. That probably won't work for you so you need to make a list, then go over several rounds of editing to remove stuff you don't need (seriously I once saw a list with a "favorite paella pan") and once you have a list you'll be able to estimate how many bags you need and the sizes.
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Old 02-05-17, 08:44 AM
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60 liters for one. Two will be more, but not double.
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Old 02-05-17, 08:44 AM
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Stuffed my tent gear in the front 2 panniers.

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Old 02-05-17, 11:48 AM
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Everyone is different. I have an UL backpacker's background and use a total of 30L (~20 gear/clothing, 5 consumables, 5 spare room). Best to try packing all YOUR gear in an known volume bag to determine what YOU need. eg, a full-size carry-on is 14x9x22=2772 cu in=45 L.
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Old 02-05-17, 12:06 PM
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Hundreds of Or coast tourers use a larger rear , and a smaller front pair.. + some extra stuff on top of the rear rack. and..a bar bag too..

light weight ? no panniers Big saddle bag + bar bag .. leave other stuff at home.. stay in Hostels..
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Old 02-05-17, 01:08 PM
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My solution to finding needed volumn, which was a tip from a backpacker, is to assemble all the gear first, then toss it all into a cardboard carton, then measure the carton, which being rectangular is easy to measure. I pay close attention not only to weight but also to volumn. More volumn means bigger and heavier panniers and maybe a stronger rack also. Weights as well as volumn can get out of hand. If you pack heavy you may not mind this much.
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Old 02-05-17, 01:54 PM
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I think my Nashbar rears are 31L each. Way too easy to overpack, and also put no thought into smart organization, when you have way more room than necessary. Just something to keep in mind.
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Old 02-05-17, 02:18 PM
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I ran ~35 liters (total gear including 2-man tent) this passed summer. I like a 2-man tent, cooking, some clothes, and tools. So that's pretty much my minimum for anything longer than a weekend (where I've done done 25 liters).



My full-on living-on-road, multi-weather, full-kitchen, is 65 liters (2-man tent included).


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Old 02-05-17, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeezebox View Post
Machka Are those numbers for each or both of you combined.
Each.

However, Rowan doesn't bring a Nelson Longflap and instead carries the tent on his rear rack.
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Old 02-05-17, 07:19 PM
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These photos were taken during the Japan portion of our 8-month RTW tour in 2012 using our large panniers. Mine were rarely full.

As for where we keep our stuff ...

Rowan carries the tent and cooking gear. Tent on top of the rack, cooking gear in one of his panniers.

And me ...

One of my panniers is the "bedroom" - all my sleeping stuff.
One of my panniers is the "kitchen", "dressing room", and "bathroom" - my clothes, dishes, and toiletries
My Carradice is my "workshop" - tools, off-the bicycle shoes, jackets
My handlebar bag is my "office" - electronics, personal stuff, paperwork, etc.





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Old 02-05-17, 07:29 PM
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My setup while cycling around Australia for 3 months in 2004 ... using my Axiom Lasalle's, the smaller panniers = 40 litres in total.

You can see both my cycling partner and my bicycle in these photos. That's all we had between us for 3 months. We did collect stuff along the way, and mailed packages home a couple times to keep the load light.







This was Rowan and my setup for a 1-month tour in Europe in 2007 ... and no, you're not seeing things. Rowan rode a fixed gear for that whole tour.

Again, I was using my Axiom Lasalles.







On Rowan and my 8-month round the world tour in 2012, we carried a bit more than I usually like to carry, but we knew we were going to pass through several seasons (and it seemed we ended up in a lot of autumns) and a variety of weather conditions. Plus the plan was to cycle as much as possible, and supplement the cycling with planes, trains and automobiles.

In Hong Kong, we just walked and took the trains. In Taiwan, we used trains, shuttle vans, and our bicycles. In Japan, we used our bicycles exclusively (see photo in post above). In Europe it was a combination of bicycles, buses, trains and ferries. And when we got to North America, we employed a motor vehicle, but stopped to cycle as often as we could.

But several times along the way, we stopped in one location, left our stuff in the B&B or hotel, and cycled without it all.


Nevertheless, this was our setup. This is taken in the UK ...

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Old 02-05-17, 07:42 PM
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A lot of variables to consider.

This discussion from REI in choosing backpack volume is useful:

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/backpack.html

In some ways backpacking is different (you need to carry more food usually) but still these are decent rules of thumb.
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Old 02-05-17, 10:41 PM
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Four-pannier setups are probably the most common, Ortlieb is the most popular brand, and the front-roller and back-rollers appear to be their most popular models.

Front-roller capacity (pair): 25 L
Back-roller capacity (pair): 40 L

So that's a total of 65 L.

Some people add a duffel bag, handlebar bag, frame bag, or strap thing on outside of their panniers. Others ditch the front panniers, or rear, or ditch both and use a bikepacking setup, which tops out around 40 L total.

But 60-65 L is a good starting point. From there, you can decide if you'd rather carry more for the comforts, or if you could live without a few luxuries in exchange for a more pleasant ride while you're on the bike.
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Old 02-05-17, 11:14 PM
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Depending on the destination and the buseasons we will encounter, my load will vary from 35-40 lbs. We have been on tours where the temperatures have ranged from 105F to freezing. I carry my gear in 4 panniers plus my sleeping bag, our 2-person tent, and Tremarest pad on top the rack in an Ortlieb Rackpack. I do not come even close to utilizing the total capacity of my panniers. I like the weight distribution, and I carry the kitchen (stove, bowls cups, fuel, utensils) and most food for both my wife and me. My panniers have a total of about 65 liters, and distribute the weigh nicely on my bike.

You can see the difference in my rear Ortlieb Back Roller Classic panniers which have a lot of space unused, and BigAura's Back Rollers that are filled close to capacity. However, he does not have anything strapped on top of the rack. There are many ways to pack. The same with my front panniers which have space unused. Just because you have the space does not mean that you have to use it, but it is there if you need it. A good packing list and some discipline works well.



I also prefer the weight penalty of using a bag for my camping gear rather than just strapping them to the rear rack. It is more convenient, offers more protection and keeps everything dry. It also has a much cleaner appearance; handy when asking a hotel clerk if you can take your bike into the room.

Having said all that, my wife rode across the U.S. using a pair of Ortlieb Packer Plus front panniers(30 liters) on the rear rack, and her camping gear strapped to her rear rack.



Our daughters use Ortlieb Backroller Classics (40L), and strap their camping gear, including tent, to the rear rack. I don't have any idea what their gear weighs. They have been at it long enough to figure it out for themselves. The loads look huge on the first 3 bikes, but the frame sizes are 47 cm, 50cm, and 42 cm. Both daughters received Ortlieb Rackpacks for Christmas this year This was on the Selkirk Loop in BC, and they handled the hills very well.

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Old 02-06-17, 04:12 AM
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Yes, we're still going to tour on a tandem, but we do have lightweight sleeping gear that all (minus the tent and cooking) fits into one back pannier (20L) and all of our clothes including jackets fit into one front pannier (12L). However, we want to carry 14L of water so that will probably take up most, if not all of the frame bag area. I think we finally have most of the kit we're taking so we can get a better idea of size soon, but I suck at visualizing things.

So we have around 32L left to carry everything else, but that doesn't sound like a lot when I look at everything else still on the (partially done) list... There aren't too many things I can cut out I don't think, if only cuz my partner's never done bare camping before (I backpacked and slept on the street for two years so am fine with sleeping in the rain without any waterproofs kind of sorted). Though I have vetoed a lot of his requests so the list isn't too crazy, it just has Aldi micro towels (instead of drying out in the hot desert sun) and other small bits and bobs like that.

So do you think 32L is big enough to fit food, cooking gear, and tools in?
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Old 02-06-17, 04:30 AM
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So ... what time of year are you planning to travel? March?

From Las Vegas, if I recall to ... Jasper?

I'm curious where this hot desert sun is going to come from ... and why you need to carry so much water?


For reference: https://www.vegas.com/weather/averages.html

And might I suggest down jackets. We bring them on our tours and really appreciated them on chilly nights.

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Old 02-06-17, 08:17 AM
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I decided long ago that space is dangerous and it results in carrying more stuff which equals more weight. But again, it's what makes you happy and helps you enjoy your trip. I go light now and enjoy it much more, still comfortable camping, I just realized that I was never that far from civilization to get whatever I needed at that moment.
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Old 02-06-17, 08:37 AM
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53 litres does the job for me, 33 on the rear and 20 on the front. One person tent (stuffed directly into pannier without stuff sack) and foul weather gear in left front bag fills that one. Kitchen is in the right front bag with lots of spare room for food. Everything up front is allowed to get wet so waterproof bags are not needed there. Tent could be moved to the rear rack in the event of needing extra food storage.

The rears contain a highly compressible summer down sleeping bag, clothes and sandals, each bag with extra room on top for food. Stove, fuel, tubes and tools in the rear pockets. Miscellaneous ditties (head lamp, clothes line, first aid, etc.) in the side pockets. Sleeping pad with tent poles wrapped inside are the only items on top of rear rack. Small zipper bag on handlebars with wallet, phone and glasses. Rear items are organized inside in water resistant stuff sacks. Sleeping bag is in a supplemental plastic bag for insurance.

edit: As you can see I like to have stuff relatively low. The width doesn't bother me. I don't like bulky handlebar bags/rolls, high seat bags sticking above the saddle or duffel bags sitting high on the rear rack.


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Old 02-06-17, 09:29 AM
  #24  
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My Ortlieb Backpacker (45l) and Sportspacker (35l) carry too much weight, and still leave the tent riding on the back rack.


Bungee the tent to the rack, cut out gear until it'll all fit in your bags, and enjoy the (lightened) ride!
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Old 02-06-17, 09:29 AM
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Weight distro? I tend to favor 50/50 or a little more in the front. I do like to have some extra empty space to fit the days food and beverage. My most recent summer trip saw a small duffle bag on the bars, small handlebar bag, a medium frame bag and 2 small rear panniers.
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