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pannier sizing

Old 03-18-09, 08:01 AM
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pannier sizing

He Folks: I have been touring with a trailer for the last few years and really enjoy it. No issues at all. I am planning a western tour this summer and am thinking about switching to panniers. I want to do this because traveling on a plane and/or train will be easier w/out a trailer. I have never worried about what I brought along because it ALWAYS fit in my drybag on the trailer. Now I want to trim the load so to speak. What are tourers typical cubic inches or liters for 1-2 week long tours? I was thinking that 4 Lone Peaks P-100 totaling 4,000CuI should be enough. My tent(TNF Tadpole), cooking gear(Jetboil), sleep pad(Thermarest pro 4) and sleeping bag(cantaloupe size)are pretty small. I tend to take only 2 sets of bike clothing, 1 or 2 sets of non-bike clothing, rain gear,food, etc.. Nothing electronic nor fancy. Thanks for any advice. Charlie
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Old 03-18-09, 07:06 PM
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You're pretty good, particularly if you strap the tent and sleep gear to the rack to free up space *as needed*. I doubt you'll need to do this too much. 4000CuI is quite a large volume (~65.5 liters). How many days food and water do you intend to carry?

Gear wise, you could probably fit the tent/sleep gear on the rear rack, and probably carefully pack the remainder in ~2000 CuI worth of rear pannier. This won't give you a great deal of space for food and water (especially water, where are you going??), but it might be sufficient, and perhaps save the cost of a front rack and 2 extra panniers.

Really though, you should get a variety of used boxes from somewhere, like a grocer, and pack everything you intend to carry (including food and water), then measure the box that has a little "wiggle room" left. That will give you the best estimate of what kind of pannier volume you should be looking into...
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Old 03-19-09, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by J.C. Koto
You're pretty good, particularly if you strap the tent and sleep gear to the rack to free up space *as needed*. I doubt you'll need to do this too much. 4000CuI is quite a large volume (~65.5 liters). How many days food and water do you intend to carry?

Gear wise, you could probably fit the tent/sleep gear on the rear rack, and probably carefully pack the remainder in ~2000 CuI worth of rear pannier. This won't give you a great deal of space for food and water (especially water, where are you going??), but it might be sufficient, and perhaps save the cost of a front rack and 2 extra panniers.

Really though, you should get a variety of used boxes from somewhere, like a grocer, and pack everything you intend to carry (including food and water), then measure the box that has a little "wiggle room" left. That will give you the best estimate of what kind of pannier volume you should be looking into...
Thanks for the reply. I hope to tour through Glacier Park for 10 days this summer. I will carry food for at least 5 days at a time, perhaps all 10. I wanted to use 4 panniers to balance the load. I don't think water will be an issue since there will be campground where ever I go. I liked your idea of using boxes to simulate panniers. Thanks again. Charlie
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Old 03-19-09, 06:04 AM
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If I were buying new panniers, I'd get the largest available. Calorie hauling capacity is the biggest issue. I can pack only about 2 days into mine on top of eveything else. OTOH, the weight of food can really add up when hauling it up long mountain grades.
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Old 03-19-09, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum
If I were buying new panniers, I'd get the largest available. Calorie hauling capacity is the biggest issue. I can pack only about 2 days into mine on top of eveything else. OTOH, the weight of food can really add up when hauling it up long mountain grades.
uhh, well, I have discovered that the largest I could find that were available at a local dealer were entirely TOO large. I tried a pair of Jandd Mountain Expedition Panniers on a trek 520 and loaded it with all my stuff for a month long tour, and the panniers would have held twice as much junk, i think. AND on my trek 520, a full on touring rig, I could NOT pedal the bike. the bags were SO large I had no heel clearance - - so biggest not always best - my advice, get bags that at least give you heel clearance.

I went with the Axiom Cartier Rear Panniers (1220 Cubic Inches) and the Jannd Mountain Panniers for the front and had ODDLES of room. see picture - this is about 60 pounds of gear.
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Old 03-19-09, 07:55 AM
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The sure fire way is to put all your stuff in a box and measure the cubic inches. You have to add in a safety factor and take into account that your stuff will be divided between 2-4 panniers. Like jbpence said too big can cause clearance problems, but the next size up from your measured size makes sense too. Just like on your trailer, wet tent and smelly clothes should be in a separate mesh bag on top, so keep that in mind. Also it is best not to compress a sleeping bag more than necessary, so that can fill a bag pretty easily.
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Old 03-19-09, 08:00 AM
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I'm not sure I understand why you want to carry so much food. Are you going to be away from services for that long? One thing I like about bike touring versus backpacking is that you don't have to carry much food. I usually plan things so I stop at the last grocery store before arriving at the campground; I only have to carry my food for a few miles. Of course, I always have a reserve stash just in case, including a small jar of peanut butter, a small jar of jam, and a loaf of bread. I can survive for a couple of days on P. B. & J. sandwiches if I have to.

Based on your description of what you carry (other than food) you'll have plenty of room in 4 panniers, and could probably get by with just 2 (though I'd still prefer 4 if it was me, to put less weight on the back wheel.)
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Old 03-19-09, 08:06 AM
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I agree with bigbluetoe. I only carry the food I use that day, plus a BUNCH of cliff shot blocks and things like them for energy management while riding. when touring in the USA sometimes I am days from a source of gel or whatever so i tend to carry a few days supply of energy management stuff, plus the days food.

water, on the other hand, I carry a LOT of water.... usually about a gallon. touring in the southwest US, ya need the water - hard to find a lot of the times. I DO carry a filter, but some of the puddles I've seen, i'd hate to use it... so the filter is mainly for an emergency situation.
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Old 03-20-09, 07:17 AM
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Food: Good points. I hope to spend the entire time in the National park. They have food stores so might be able to reduce. I do plan to spend a bunch of days on the less visited west side of the park and I think stores are not very frequent here. I will check out food stops though and might be able to drop weight in this area.
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Old 03-21-09, 08:23 AM
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When bike touring,I basically pack my backpacking gear in four panniers and plan on replenishing food as I roll along. You can get a lighter stove than Jet Boil (I recommend a Pocket Rocket with a mini Trangia cookset). My food reserve is mac and cheese, augmented with beef jerky, Clif bars, and other items that bear a remarkable resemblance to food. My food reserve weighs less than a pound, and I buy whatever strkes my fancy along the way for the daily meal.
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Old 03-21-09, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie
I liked your idea of using boxes to simulate panniers.
I have a pair of Lone Peak P100's, and I find that the large reusable bags from my grocery (or paper bags, for that matter) simulate the panniers' capacity fairly well. To be specific, I use the Lone Peaks for grocery but generally leave them on my bike, and I know that two full bags of groceries will fit in there. Only thing with the Lone Peaks is that since it's split into two compartments, sometimes you have to do a bit of re-packing to get everything to fit in nicely.
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Old 03-21-09, 08:18 PM
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FYI you don't need that much volume to be fully equipped. Here's my set up, I have recently replaced the small front bar bag with an Acorn handlebar bag to fit my netbook computer.

https://www.acornbags.com/hdlbarbag.html
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Old 03-23-09, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Crast
I have a pair of Lone Peak P100's, and I find that the large reusable bags from my grocery (or paper bags, for that matter) simulate the panniers' capacity fairly well. To be specific, I use the Lone Peaks for grocery but generally leave them on my bike, and I know that two full bags of groceries will fit in there. Only thing with the Lone Peaks is that since it's split into two compartments, sometimes you have to do a bit of re-packing to get everything to fit in nicely.
Can you tour(camping) with just these 2 bags?
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Old 03-23-09, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by nun
FYI you don't need that much volume to be fully equipped. Here's my set up, I have recently replaced the small front bar bag with an Acorn handlebar bag to fit my netbook computer.
Do you do self supported touring this way? Camping? Food?
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Old 03-23-09, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie
Can you tour(camping) with just these 2 bags?
I'm a commuter, so I am just carrying school books, small laptop and my change of clothes; or groceries on occasion. I've never tried touring. I imagine for anything more than a credit card tour, the two bags alone is nowhere near enough. If I had a second pair of P-100's, I think I'd be good for most touring; and I might go that route this coming Memorial Day weekend; as the P100's are a good deal. I've also considered buying a large single compartment bag for the rear for touring so I can pack bulkier items, and then moving the P100's to the front.

For day-to-day commuting, I love the multiple compartments of the P100 though. Not having to fish around to find stuff because I have arranged tools, pump, energy bars on my outer left pannier pocket and usually my spare layers in the outer right pocket is very handy.
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Old 03-23-09, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie
Do you do self supported touring this way? Camping? Food?
Yes!, tent is under the saddle, sleeping pad and stove etc are in the orange stuff sack on the front. Sleeping quilt is in the saddlebag. I carry 2.5L of water and enough food for a couple of days, stuff like couscous, instant oats, dried soup and jerky and honey. If I buy extra food I carry it under the Longflap of the saddlebag
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Old 03-23-09, 10:35 AM
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If you're using Jetboil, odds are you're not planning to cook elaborate 3 course meals anyway. More like dried stuff, add water, boil and let it sit for a moment. I'd imagine that kind of food is readily available pretty much anywhere. I don't see any reason to carry all the food with you all the time, unless you're on a diet or otherwise want to eat something very specific. Carry enough water, maybe couple of days' worth of food and something extra as emergency reserve.

65 litres sounds like a lot of volume. I tend to pack my panniers near full capacity regardless of how big they are, so I've started to cut down on pannier size to keep unnecessary stuff at minimum.

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Old 03-23-09, 10:48 AM
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If he have not been mentioned yet consider https://www.thetouringstore.com/index.htm. He has helped me.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by nun
Yes!, tent is under the saddle, sleeping pad and stove etc are in the orange stuff sack on the front. Sleeping quilt is in the saddlebag. I carry 2.5L of water and enough food for a couple of days, stuff like couscous, instant oats, dried soup and jerky and honey. If I buy extra food I carry it under the Longflap of the saddlebag
really!! I'm impressed.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Juha
If you're using Jetboil, odds are you're not planning to cook elaborate 3 course meals anyway. More like dried stuff, add water, boil and let it sit for a moment. I'd imagine that kind of food is readily available pretty much anywhere. I don't see any reason to carry all the food with you all the time, unless you're on a diet or otherwise want to eat something very specific. Carry enough water, maybe couple of days' worth of food and something extra as emergency reserve.

65 litres sounds like a lot of volume. I tend to pack my panniers near full capacity regardless of how big they are, so I've started to cut down on pannier size to keep unnecessary stuff at minimum.

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True, just boil water and mix. What volume do you recommend? I will be in the mnts so need a little extra warm clothing.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ken cummings
If he have not been mentioned yet consider https://www.thetouringstore.com/index.htm. He has helped me.
I am thinking of ordering from him. I will drop him a line. The reason for the full set of this size is price and spread out the weight. I did not think a full set of the smaller bags to be enough. Maybe they will especially if I can pack like nun.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie
really!! I'm impressed.
I got back into touring after 20 years so I had few preconceived ideas. I'd done tours between youth hostels when I was in college using a saddlebag and handlebar bag so I took that as my baseline and added the camping gear i needed. i borrowed a lot of ideas from the ultralight camping world and found that I didn't need panniers. Obviously I don't carry stuff like camp chairs, but the limited volume is a good way to keep weight down and really make you think about what you really need.
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Old 03-24-09, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie
What volume do you recommend? I will be in the mnts so need a little extra warm clothing.
It's so highly subjective, I cannot really recommend anything. But as you can see, nun tours with admirably little stuff. Compared to that I carry the proverbial kitchen sink (e.g. 3 sets of riding clothes, one raingear for riding, another for camp etc), with a total pannier capacity of maybe 55-60 litres. You seem to weigh in somewhere in between. That's why I said 65 litres sounds like a lot.

One practice that has helped me get rid of unnecessary junk is to unpack one item at a time after a trip, making a note of whether I used that particular item or not. And if I didn't, was there a reason for not needing it on this trip? Or was it simply, you know, unnecessary junk?

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Old 03-24-09, 12:34 PM
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I fit everything, excluding water and pump, into two rear panniers, 43 litres in total with some space to spare. Most people consider that very small, but it is definitely possible. Here is my rough equipment list.

Hennessey Hammock
summer sleeping bag
fleece blanket
MEC inflatable air mattress
3 pairs of socks (lost one pair along the way)
2 pairs underwear
2 pairs bicycle shorts
cycling liner underwear thing
cycling jersey
lightweight pants
regular board shorts
3 t-shirts
thin fleece sweater
long underwear top and bottom
rain jacket
hat
gloves
penny stove
small Walmart pot with handle chopped off
assorted food (~5 lbs)
fuel (HEET)
sunglasses
repair kit
tools
lube
grease
tubes
spare tire
first aid kit
bunch of little stuff (lighter, headlamp, knife, pegs, cord...)
handkerchief (very useful)
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Old 03-25-09, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by nun
I got back into touring after 20 years so I had few preconceived ideas. I'd done tours between youth hostels when I was in college using a saddlebag and handlebar bag so I took that as my baseline and added the camping gear i needed. i borrowed a lot of ideas from the ultralight camping world and found that I didn't need panniers. Obviously I don't carry stuff like camp chairs, but the limited volume is a good way to keep weight down and really make you think about what you really need.
I too got a lot of idea from "backpackinglight" My sleeping bag, pad, stove ideas all came from them. Not sold on the tarp tent yet. Very good site. Excellent gear section.
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