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ALICE Packs as Panniers?

Old 06-13-12, 11:27 AM
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ALICE Packs as Panniers?

I have two predominant problems with traditional panniers. They are all too often small, expensive, or both and furthermore do not come in the lovely colors of khaki or olive drab. So to remedy these problems, I've been thinking about rigging a couple of ALICE packs to my bike. The greatest complication I can see, is finding someone to weld off part of the rack that protrudes forwards at the bottom.
Any thoughts?
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Old 06-13-12, 11:57 AM
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1, Never heard of them.
2, welding is a common industrial skill , look up welding in the phone book.

or, take a community college course to learn the skill yourself.

3, NB: 'the load expands to fill the size of the bag' common problem,
result: you carry too much stuff. then the bike breaks down.
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Old 06-13-12, 12:24 PM
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Not sure I would go with ALICE packs; the MOLLE are more up-to-date and modular; check them out at a surplus store.
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Old 06-13-12, 12:53 PM
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There are lots of people who DIY some panniers. But if you're talking about a bag with a steel frame, that's going to add some extra weight that you may not want. Plus, like fietsbob says, if you get bags that hold more stuff, you'll take more stuff, which is often not a good thing.

But find some bags you like with a focus on durability and functionality. There should be no shortage of instructions here and elsewhere on converting them to panniers.
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Old 06-13-12, 01:05 PM
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I use a medium Alice as a backpack with no frame to carry stuff on my enduro.
Not the best in my opinion because stuff can easily fall out of the front three pouches &
it's a pain in the butt to remove stuff from the main section because of how the two main straps are.
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Old 06-13-12, 04:04 PM
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Thanks for the advice so far!
I have a MOLLE pack, but it, and the others I've seen don't have the exterior frame that an ALICE has that seems well suited for keeping the pack off the bike components. Also, the MOLLE packs aren't as configurable, which is a draw.
I'll search the forums for DIY tips then, thanks.
The frame isn't too heavy actually.

Cool to hear someone's actually using this idea, although any particular reason for not using the frame? (I know that external backpacks are more easily accessed than internals, and I'm sure the same applies here)
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Old 06-13-12, 04:30 PM
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They look awfully big to use two of them for touring. Do you really need that much stuff? If so, they could work I guess. I rode with a guy who used two smaller packs converted to panniers. He cut the straps off and bolted them to plywood backplates that were bolted to his bike. The setup seemed too heavy to me, but it worked for him. He set up all his gear with very inexpensive items and seemed pretty happy with the lot of it.
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Old 06-13-12, 04:35 PM
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Hm, I agree that the have a lot of space but I won't be casually touring, I intend to pack full camping gear and food, yet at the same time I'm a minimalist so maybe I'll have too much room still.
Do you remember what kind of pack perchance?
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Old 06-13-12, 05:23 PM
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Bushwhacking single track a frame triangle pack. and a bag across the front
strapped to the handle bars, and a seatpost beam rack with another stuffsack
strapped to it.. is a typical choice for many.. prior posters..
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Old 06-13-12, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by brisvatne
Hm, I agree that the have a lot of space but I won't be casually touring, I intend to pack full camping gear and food, yet at the same time I'm a minimalist so maybe I'll have too much room still.
Where will you be touring? If on road and in first world countries I say don't carry much food, just buy as you need it. I personally find that even when cooking and camping for months surprisingly little gear is really needed. Everyone has different ideas on what to carry though. My preference is to go very minimal, but there is no "one true way to pack" so take what you feel you need.

Originally Posted by brisvatne
Do you remember what kind of pack perchance?
No, sorry. They were cheapie day packs though. I think he said they were from walmart or target as was his tent.
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Old 06-13-12, 05:48 PM
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Ah, okay thanks for first hand info. I'll be in the US, so you do have a point on not needing too much food.
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Old 06-14-12, 06:24 AM
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You can get drab-coloured canvas panniers from Carradice, Basil, and some small "home-made" brands that I forget.
Note the heel cutout profile. Panniers are often wider at the top than the bottom, the opposite of an Alice pack.
Canvas is still a good choice of material, esp when combined with modern mounts, rivetted though a correx stiffening back. Rixen & Kaul and Arkel do mount kits.
I used to use a respirator bag, ziptied to may rack.
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Old 06-14-12, 07:47 AM
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get yourself a camo spare time cover - should be large enough to cover both panniers
with a little minor surgery.

but why would you want to make yourself LESS visible when riding?
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Old 06-14-12, 02:11 PM
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this may pique your interest
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Old 06-14-12, 09:52 PM
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Below is one of best examples of packs-to-panniers I've seen.

You can read about his work on these here:

https://veloapocalypse.files.wordpres...vepanniers.pdf

Here's another set nicely done:

https://www.bikechina.com/tb1.html
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Old 06-17-12, 07:04 AM
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If you have one, test for heal strike when mounted. Panniers are designed to mount easily on a rear rack, provide adequate clearances from heal strike, and to not get caught in the rear wheel. If it doesn't work out, you can use the A.L.I.C.E. pack to transport your 782 gear on "hikes". Just don't try using a Ka-Bar as a tire iron when fixing a flat.
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Old 06-17-12, 10:48 AM
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I dig those examples of "packs to panniers", very cool.

Agreed, whether or not my heel touches the pack will be a deciding factor. Maybe having a longer rack (I hear they used to be much longer) will afford me the necessary clearance?
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Old 06-18-12, 08:48 AM
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I have a bunch of ALICE packs and I agree the MOLLE would be a better choice to attach to a regular bike rack system. If I were going to use the older ALICE pack I would use the small or medium size without the frame and attach one to the top of the rear rack. I use two fanny packs that are part of the ALICE system as panniers. Mine are the Special Forces black but if olive drab is your thing there are lots of them out there surplus. I made hooks out of flat aluminum strap and attached them to the fanny packs eyelets and they hang nicely over the bike rack top rods and one bungee at the bottom will keep them secure or a tie string. The GI buckles are a little slow to get into but will slow someone down trying to get into your stuff also. Many guys change out the old buckles to the newer clip type and most surplus stores will have boxes of them as well. Another thing I use is the GI rubberized nylon laundry bags they are about 3 bucks surplus and they are too big for touring. What I have done is remove the round bottom piece turn them inside out and sew them to the size needed for things like bed roll or tent storage.

I like the GI equipment but haven’t seen too many people using it for whatever reason. I have a Tennier RFI modular 5 part sleep system that I really like. Most bicycle tourists seem to go for lightweight backpacking equipment and not military stuff.
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Old 07-10-12, 01:18 AM
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Thought I would bump this thread because I have had good luck with using a pair of M-1961 "butt packs" as rear panniers. I used some lengths
of fiberglass rod from a kid's bike flag to make horizontal stiffeners the width of the back of the bag. Then I used zip ties to fasten the bags to my
rear rack, threading them around the fiberglass rods. I also used some thick cardboard cut to the profile of the bag bottom as an additional stiffener.

The canvas straps allow you to pack tall loads, the waterproof 'skirt' works well (a couple of plastic bags inside help too), and the bags can actually
collapse and sit flat against the rack like grocery panniers when not in use. I've carried groceries, bulky items and they work great! Plus, if you're
industrious you can find the bags in olive drab and in camo patterns like Digital!

Don't buy the imported nylon bags; look for the old style cotton duck, like what canteen covers were made out of. I'll post some photos soon.

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Old 07-10-12, 08:47 PM
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https://www.foxoutdoor.com/ItemDetai...194&win=54-207
These things?
https://www.foxoutdoor.com/item_images/54207.jpg
I use two of these for small panniers or for front panniers. They work great. I just use zip ties to attach them to the rack. Some camp-dry or other silicon spray makes them okay in the rain.
Definitely more "minimalist" than an alice pack.
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Old 07-24-12, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Jamoni
https://www.foxoutdoor.com/ItemDetai...194&win=54-207
These things?
https://www.foxoutdoor.com/item_images/54207.jpg
I use two of these for small panniers or for front panniers. They work great. I just use zip ties to attach them to the rack. Some camp-dry or other silicon spray makes them okay in the rain.
Definitely more "minimalist" than an alice pack.
Those are the ones, except i went for the canvas instead of the polyester. I think with two there's enough gear room for a S24HO;I have one planned for a couple weeks from now.

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