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Touring Backpacks? Touring Backpackers?

Old 04-05-12, 09:36 AM
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Touring Backpacks? Touring Backpackers?

Touring, hiking and backpacking seem to work well together.

A backpack can be strapped to the top of the rear rack, and used in place of panniers. With ultalight, light, or even moderate touring loads, and reasonably sturdy racks, this can work just fine.

It simplifies, and saves the cost of panniers, along with various other pannier issues.

It also makes it easy not to leave valuables and other nickable gear on the bike -- it's easy to take them with you, especially using quick-release straps to detach or re-attach the backpack.

(Or, the backpack can be used along with panniers, and offer additional carrying capacity when or if needed.)

My old backpack is ready to replace, and I haven't yet seen the more recent offerings -- what's out and available now. Backpacks keep evolving. I'll be buying a new one to use in combination with touring, and wondered if there are any (specific or more general) recommendations out there?

Any other backpackers out there?

Or any other ideas or experiences related to combining backpacks or backpacking with touring?

Last edited by Niles H.; 04-05-12 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 04-05-12, 10:10 AM
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We tour with panniers and also use an REI Flash 18 ultralight daypack. Originally we were going to use it on the rack, as you suggest, but wound up using a compression sack there and used the Flash for temporary overflow and day hiking during a tour.
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Old 04-05-12, 10:27 AM
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my friends and i were just pondering this since we like bike touring and hiking / camping. we came up with something similar to carbonfiber - the REI flash packs 50 and 65 are plenty good for a 2 - 3 day hiking trek. it can be stripped down by leaving the internal structure and top compartment at home getting the pack down to about 2 pounds.

we were thinking of each bringing one rolled up in a stuff sack and strapped to the top of our racks and biking to a trailhead and then hiking / camping for a couple days. we'll let you know how it goes as far as real world experience.

as you say: it would also be good for long trips using different types of transportation. sometimes you want to put all your gear / panniers in one easy to carry bag at train stations / hostels etc...
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Old 04-05-12, 11:02 AM
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I think a frameless ultra light backpack would be perfect for this, after all, you're going to be carrying a sleeping pad anyway.

The other option, I have a slightly crazy idea to use an old external frame backpack as a trailer. Add wheel mounts and a BOB tongue to it (somehow), remove the bag and use it Luxurylite style. No idea if it would actually work, but I'm going to give it a try one day.
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Old 04-05-12, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
We tour with panniers and also use an REI Flash 18 ultralight daypack. Originally we were going to use it on the rack, as you suggest, but wound up using a compression sack there and used the Flash for temporary overflow and day hiking during a tour.
I have done similarly.

BTW, I love the Flash 18. They redesigned it and I have not had a good look at the new version, but my older one is a great little pack.
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Old 04-05-12, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Niles H.
Or any other ideas or experiences related to combining backpacks or backpacking with touring?
I am not sure if this falls into the category the OP's asking about, and not exactly ultralight...




This type of bags can serve very well as backpacks. They are designed specifically to replace the panniers, providing actually more space and they fit rear racks just as well as the conventional panniers do. Though there is so much space that is easy to overload your rear ruining the balance a bit. But it can be tighten down to rather small size.
For some offroad mountain trips people even use to add straps where they can attach their bicycles to, so that one can carry the luggage AND the bike at the same time.



This type of bags is more or less a standard in exUSSR area, just as the panniers are in the Western world.

Last edited by mikhalit; 04-05-12 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 04-05-12, 03:46 PM
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I have an equinox katahdin backpack (25 ounces/55 liters). I turn it inside-out so the straps and belt are contained. I fill it with other stuff and strap it to my rack, on top of foam cushion. I also carry other gear in front panniers. When I'm ready to backpack I stash my bike, load the backpack and go. I've done this for weekend bike-camping trips.
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Old 04-05-12, 06:17 PM
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I am trying out a what basically a waterproof bag with backpack straps on it on coming bike trip . Weighs like 250 grams and holds about 50 litres. Rolls up to about the size of a 591 mL pop bottle. Its going to see some seroius use as about 2 months of my trip I will be using it full time (girlfriend is joining me but does not cycle, bike will end up in storage ). May buid a light frame for it when this happens.

Last edited by SparkyGA; 04-05-12 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 04-06-12, 06:26 AM
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I do a lot of ultra light touring. Specifically using a 19lb road bike and less then 10 lbs of gear, though my winter touring rig weighed in at 70lbs for a 1,500 mile trip down the eastern divide in January of last year. Both these rigs use no racks or panniers, just frame bags, though I do also have a more traditional rack and pannier touring setup.

Sea-to-summit makes a superb 2oz backpack that's capable of carrying up to ten or fifteen pounds. I love using it for overflow when picking up extra food or water. Indeed on my eastern divide trip I would throw two hot water bladders in it after lunch or dinner. The additional water was necissary for evening camping and morning riding untill I came back through civilization, but having it on my back under my jacket kept my body temp warm and stable as I road into the January evening.

The sea-to-summit bag only costs about $30 and stuffs down to the size of your typical salt and pepper shaker. It's perfect for packing stuff you want quick access to in a pannier. Just pull it out of the pannier and throw it on your back.

There is a pretty good thread on UL packs including more information on the pack I mentioned at: https://www.bikepacking.net/forum/ind...topic=1571.new
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Old 04-06-12, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by mmeiser
I do a lot of ultra light touring. Specifically using a 19lb road bike and less then 10 lbs of gear, though my winter touring rig weighed in at 70lbs for a 1,500 mile trip down the eastern divide in January of last year. Both these rigs use no racks or panniers, just frame bags, though I do also have a more traditional rack and pannier touring setup.

Sea-to-summit makes a superb 2oz backpack that's capable of carrying up to ten or fifteen pounds. I love using it for overflow when picking up extra food or water. Indeed on my eastern divide trip I would throw two hot water bladders in it after lunch or dinner. The additional water was necissary for evening camping and morning riding untill I came back through civilization, but having it on my back under my jacket kept my body temp warm and stable as I road into the January evening.

The sea-to-summit bag only costs about $30 and stuffs down to the size of your typical salt and pepper shaker. It's perfect for packing stuff you want quick access to in a pannier. Just pull it out of the pannier and throw it on your back.

There is a pretty good thread on UL packs including more information on the pack I mentioned at: https://www.bikepacking.net/forum/ind...topic=1571.new
+1 on the Sea-to-summit UL day pack. I bring it on my long tours and use it much as you do.
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Old 04-06-12, 09:41 AM
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Burly Travoy trailer seems perfect, to strap your loaded back pack onto..,

load it straps out and you can wear the trailer when you carry the pack.
I have a Portage Bag, it fits in my Carry_Freedom-City trailer, ..
with straps around everything
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Old 04-06-12, 10:18 AM
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I personally own a Burley Travoy trailer that is used exclusively with my Dahon Mu SL and yes, I tow a backpack (a 65L Lowepro Alpine that I had for years). Works beautifully beyond my expectation. I got it because of 2 things. One, my only 26" touring rig was totally destroyed and crushed recently by an 18 wheeler truck and second with money tight these days and an inspiration that I got from Laura Crawford and Russ Roca (the two who toured with a backpack and a Brompton), I decided to take the leap of faith and assign my folding Dahon the job that was held by my 26" wheel touring rig. Being a light folding, I needed something to haul a heavy camping load. That's where the Burley Travoy came in and it is simply amazing. I'm not new with trailers (had BOB, copy of Burley Nomad, and a Leggero Max) and wasn't too happy with the quirks each have. Except this Travoy is just stable, not slow, has soft linkage with a decent amount of yaw and pitch to deal with road camber and you can fold it up small and strap it to the backpack when not in use without much fuss either. With a folding bike and a folding trailer, it makes mobility on trains and bus shuttles actually quiet easier than my standard touring rig!

Also, you can fold the linkage down and tow your backpack like a carryon suitcase if you fly with wheels, take the wheels off, stick it into a TSA X-ray machine, pop the wheels back on and then off you go. The straps are included in the stock Travoy for this purpose.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by pacificcyclist; 04-06-12 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 04-07-12, 09:16 AM
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I've been using Gossamer Gear packs for my last several long-distance, ultra-light (UL) hiking trips. My hiking base load is eight to ten pounds. I'm just gearing up for a Northern Tier tour, through some excellent hiking country. I was amazed at the difference the UL gear made on a short shake-down cruise last fall. I'm taking my Gossamer Gear G-5 (discontinued) that weighs 9 oz and can carry 25 pounds. I'm starting with a set of rear panniers, but if I can get the load to carry well in just the backpack I'll send the panniers home. (I'm heading eastbound in June, so I want to carry some extra camping stuff and clothing through the western mountains, which overloads the pack.) Or if the pack doesn't work well on my bike, I'll send it home and stick with the panniers. The panniers alone weigh nearly four pounds, so I'd really like to loose them. My bike plus gear currently weigh 45 pounds. I want to reduce that without buying anything new.

Great tip above about turning the pack inside out. For some reason, that never occurred to me.
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Old 04-07-12, 05:42 PM
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I sewed up a rack bag which also functions as a backpack. This pack is similar in design to the one I used for the Pacific Crest and Applachian trails, though about 50% heavier because I used 1000d cordura rather than lightweight fabrics. Weight is 620 grams, which is less than the ortlieb rack bag, but much larger capacity (about 50L or 3000 cuin).



The design is very simple to sew. This rackbag works fine as a supplement to panniers, because all I use the rack bag for is a bulky foam pad, bulky synthetic quilt, bulky synthetic sweater, plus some other clothes and a bivy sack. In other words, though the rack bag looks enormous, it only weighs about 3 kilos total (7 pounds). Heavy stuff (food, water, tools) goes in the panniers or saddle bag. It you put heavy stuff on top of the rack, the bike will be unstable. Especially if you carry lots of water (I carry 23 liters for desert touring, plus 7 kilos of food max).

All items in the rackbag are loosely packed, so there is plenty of room to compress them and make room for some food and water, in case I want to use the pack for hiking while leaving the bike and remaining food, water and tools behind.

Sewing details here:
https://frankrevelo.com/hiking/sewing_bike_rackbag.htm
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Last edited by revelo; 04-07-12 at 05:43 PM. Reason: add url
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