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Old 01-25-10, 03:14 AM   #1
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How do I mount a single rucksack to my bike?

I am gonna be doing a trip up the West Coast next month and I want to find a way to get by with just bringing my Baltoro 70 pack. I am expecting to do some good hiking along the way and don't want to have to deal with the Baltoro and panniers. Does anyone know of a way to get a pack of that size to stay on a bike without making the bike severely off balance?
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Old 01-25-10, 05:36 AM   #2
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Flat platform works on rear rack

A few years ago, I was carrying a pack on top of a rear rack. There is one big problem - no matter how the pack is lashed to the rack, it will find a way to shift to one side. I found that a thin plywood platform, the same size as the pack, worked to keep the pack in place. I made several versions from 3/16" ply with 1/2" hardwood rails glued and screwed to the bottom, attached to the rack with zip ties or plastic p-clamps. Later, I made a more permanent version with aluminum sheet and aluminum U-channel rails. I originally used rope to lash the pack to the platform, later used poly strap and plastic buckles with adjuster slots.

The wooden version will not last more than a few months of all-weather riding, but for one trip should be fine.

Be careful to load heavy items as far forward as possible. It doesn't take much weight behind the rear axle to make the front end squirrely.
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Old 01-25-10, 06:49 AM   #3
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If you have any 2 panniers, put them empty on back. They make a nice wide surface to attach anything wide to like your pack.
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Old 01-25-10, 08:33 AM   #4
ah.... sure.
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That's a big pack so.......... I'm guessing all your gear fits. At least all of mine would. That being said it will be pretty heavy and all on top of your rack,

If it was me I would find the cheapest set of panniers and use them. I would strap my empty backpack to the top rail and when I got to a destination would load it with only what I needed for the backpacking portion.

Your bike will handle much better.
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Old 01-25-10, 09:24 AM   #5
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how about getting a front rack and securing large items to it that came off the backpack then put the back pack on the back?

I put one of these on a Surly CC but instead of mounting the fork crown tang (angle wrong and I didn't have a good vise to bend it) I cut if off and used rubber covered ss P clamps to secure the rear vertical to the cantilever posts. Imagine strapping a tent bag on one side, sleeping bag on top and some other compression bag on the other side. Also there are small panniers that don't weigh much but I don't think it'll make as much difference as shifting some weight forward. The set-up I was going to try was a couple of light dry bags hooked together then layed over the top with sleeping bag over that. I've made up my own long bungies out of 3/16"x24" or so elastic cord with plastic hooks. That way I can wrap multiple times around a package and it's lighter than the store bought metal hook ones. You might need a plate or webbing inbetween the struts but experimentation would determine that. Also once the back pack is compressed into more of a tube like shape (with 1/8" cord or bungie) it'll stay put on the rack. I did that for my daughter when she went on a bike trip with a backpack and panniers. They were heinously overloaded but the idea is the same, reduce the pack to a tube and move stuff to under the seat and forward.

these aren't that big and might help to balance the load and carry foodstuffs. low tech but 2.5lbs. I've used them around town and they're better than the panniers I used on my month long trip in '73.

Last edited by LeeG; 01-25-10 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 01-25-10, 12:32 PM   #6
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It ain't going to be easy. You will feel more secure riding with a low centre of gravity. While climbing a steep hill with all of your luggage on the top of the rear rack, you may find you are fighting the bike's tendency to pop wheelies.

Get two small, inexpensive panniers, and put your heaviest stuff in them. Keep lighter and/or bulky stuff in the backpack bungy corded to the top of the rear rack. Use two bungy cords if possible, and mind your eyes! See:
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Old 01-25-10, 01:06 PM   #7
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There are several ways to haul something that large by bicycle, I recommend two: an Xtracycle or a trailer.
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Old 01-25-10, 06:46 PM   #8
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I met a guy who uses these they are Panniers that convert to backpacks. He told me that they were built well and were repairable in the field.
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