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Old 07-08-05, 08:52 AM   #1
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How many bags?

Hello. Im going on a trip from France to Italy and basically I would like to know how many bags I need. I'm trying to take as little as possible and I know bags are expensive. So how many bags do you think I should get and has anyone got any specific bags they think would be suited? I was thinking maybe 2 23 litre bags for the sides and one bigger bag in the middle. Then just pack sleeping bag and stuff outside. Behind my seat. My equipment list is:

Equipment List.


Bivi Sack x1
Sleeping Bag x1
Ground Mat x1


Shorts x2
Tshirt x4
Boxers x2
Socks x6
Jeans x1
Coat x1
Boots x1
Trainers x1


Bottle (2L) x1
Food x1
Lighter x1
Cord 10m
Tarp 6ft 9ft x1
First Aid kit x1
Knife x1
Binocculars x1
Black Bin bag x4
Bike Repair kit

Cleaning Stuffs

Soap x1
Toothpaste x1
Toothbrush x1
Towel x1


Cigaretts 20(for trading)
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Old 07-08-05, 09:21 AM   #2
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you might be able to go with just 2 rear panniers if thats all your taking. may want to leave out the boots if your short on room.
generally speaking ortlieb and arkel seem to be the most popular panniers. both are very good. if you do a board search on panniers you'll find lots of other options also.

oh, and don't forget to add a camera to your list
No matter how fast I'm going, I'm in no hurry.
there are no bicycles in the valley, the only bicycle you find in the valley is the bicycle you ride down there.
Ride in the front, this space is available to anyone that wishes to take it-jjmolyet
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Old 07-08-05, 06:51 PM   #3
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On my tours I use two medium-sized panniers (not really huge, but not the little bitty ones either), one Carradice bag, and one handlebar bag.

In these photos I'm using my large panniers, but on my upcoming tours I will downsize. Those large panniers aren't full, and I really didn't need that much room.

That's all I carried on a three month tour of Australia.
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Old 07-09-05, 08:03 AM   #4
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Your pack list should fit into a couple bags. If they're medium sized or "expandable", you should also have some room for extra food. My front Jandd bags are kind of on the small size, but they have a zipper type expansion system (like a bellows along the sides). My rear Jandd bags are the waterproof roll type ones (like Ortliebs)-these let you "smoosh" clothes down-then free up room for food.

If your going to use 2 bags, I'd set them up on the front similar to Machka's setup. Your sleeping bag/bivy/sleep pad can then go on top of the rear rack (in a dry bag). This setup will make for a nice stable ride, as well as taking a bit of weight off the rear wheel.

Also, many cycle tourers (myself included), use a quick release handlebar bag to keep small items of value (money, passport/ID, journal, camera, maps, tools etc) in sight&at hand. It comes with me even if off the bike for a few minutes (has a shoulder strap). Mine has a handy clear map case on top, and I keep pepper spray at hand in an outside pocket.

[edit] If cost is a factor, and you have time before your trip-keep an eye on ebay (or Craigslist if in the states) for bags/racks. I picked up my bags (2 at a time), in new condition, for less than half retail. I picked up a rear Jandd expedition rack & a brand new older model Arkel handlebar bag locally off of Craigslist for super cheap as well.

Last edited by Camel; 07-09-05 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 07-10-05, 03:21 PM   #5
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One lesson I learned the hard way is this: Just because you can load all this weight on the back of your bike doesn't mean that it's a good idea. IMHO, the value of front bags is not the added capacity but the ability to distribute some of the additional weight toward the front of the bike. The alternative puts a lot of stress on the rear wheel and this can easily manifest itself in broken spokes. Repairing spokes or worse, relacing a wheel while on the road can be very dicey. If it only costs you a day you got very lucky. If you can keep the weight way down, this may not be a problem but weight has a way of creeping up on you.
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