Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Flying to location to start tour... Best way to pack panniers and stuff?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Flying to location to start tour... Best way to pack panniers and stuff?

Old 03-31-13, 10:15 PM
  #1  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 49
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Flying to location to start tour... Best way to pack panniers and stuff?

I am planning a tour starting in Vancouver and ending in San Francisco, with a flight to or from my hometown for each. I would love to do a from-my-doorstep tour but I only have 5 weeks and I live about 4 weeks from anywhere I'd like to tour. (smack dab in the Canadian prairie).

I know there is lots of information for packing a bike for a flight, but what is the best way to pack all of my gear and panniers? In their touring configurations and all just in all just in a big garbage bag or something? Previously when I have flown with a large pack the airline put the pack in a bag to make sure none of the tie-cords etc. caught on anything.

Tips?

Thanks!
umcade is offline  
Old 03-31-13, 10:32 PM
  #2  
Bike touring webrarian
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 2,071

Bikes: I tour on a Waterford Adventurecycle. It is a fabulous touring bike.

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 120 Post(s)
Liked 94 Times in 53 Posts
I bought a $15 big canvas zip-up bag with a compression strap that holds my racks, gear, and bags. I line it with a slit cardboard box and thick plastic. I've used this bag for a couple trips now and it is starting to show wear and tear. At that price, I figured it would be one and done.

If it won't all fit in there (camping gear often makes for too much space), I either ship the rest using UPS/FedEx or take my rear panniers as carry-ons chock full.

My next tour is in Texas in a couple weeks and I hope to take all my gear with me (bike in one case, gear in bag and carry-on panniers). If it won't all fit, I'll be shipping some.
raybo is offline  
Old 03-31-13, 10:58 PM
  #3  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,152

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 141 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3203 Post(s)
Liked 596 Times in 329 Posts
We recently travelled around the world, including many flights, with ...

1 Cardboard Bicycle Box each, which contained our bicycle and our 2 empty panniers
1 Cardboard Square Box each, which contained the contents of our panniers
1 Duffel Bag each, which could pack down to about the size of a baseball, and which we used for our clothes. That was carry-on.
1 Backpack each, which could pack down to about the size of half a baseball, and which we used for our handlebar bags and handlebar bag contents.

That took us from Melbourne to Hong Kong to Taiwan and to Japan.

In Japan, we ditched the square cardboard boxes because they were looking a little worse for wear, and we picked up large woven nylon bags for about $15 each. We used those the rest of the way ... from Japan to London, folded and carried all over Europe for 3 months, then London to Calgary to Vancouver to Hong Kong to Perth to Melbourne.

I've flown many times with various bags and boxes, but what we did on this RTW tour worked the best.

Last edited by Machka; 03-31-13 at 11:48 PM.
Machka is offline  
Old 03-31-13, 11:13 PM
  #4  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,152

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 141 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3203 Post(s)
Liked 596 Times in 329 Posts
Outside the Taiwan Airport, with our air-travel setup ...




And as I said, later, we exchanged the cardboard boxes for woven nylon bags with zips, of about the same size. I'm not sure if I have a photo of them ... but I'm looking. If not, I've still got one out, and can take a picture of it.
Machka is offline  
Old 03-31-13, 11:33 PM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 6,495
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1185 Post(s)
Liked 842 Times in 438 Posts
We've used this method a lot on planes, trains, and buses.

The empty panniers (Four in my bike box, 2 on my wife's bike. Sometimes my wife will fit one of my front pannier in her bike box if I am cramped for room.) go inside the bike boxes with the bikes. All the contents of the panniers and camping gear go into the lightweight duffel bags. Clothes, etc goes in the rack packs; and valuable, tickets, etc. go in the bar bag. This give us 3 pieces of luggage apiece. The duffel bags are checked, and the rest is carry-on.

The light ripstop nylon duffle bags go into the the bottom of a pannier while on tour.



We used it here for a bus/train connection, but it works for any mode of transportation. The boxed bikes are already in the bus's cargo bin. Actually, this is an Amtrak bus taking us to Vancouver, BC. Probably to start the same trip you are going to do. FWIW- Head north to Powell River, over to Vancouver Island and then head south. It is a great way to start the Pacific Coast Route.


In this case the airlines offered to check my rackpack free so I checked both. The rackpack,duffle and bar bag are manageable.


My wife grabs her duffle from the conveyer belt.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-31-13 at 11:51 PM.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 03-31-13, 11:46 PM
  #6  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,357 Times in 863 Posts
After an Airport pick-pocket experience . I wear the important stuff under my clothes..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 04-01-13, 12:04 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
saddlesores's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Thailand..........Nakhon Nowhere
Posts: 3,664

Bikes: inferior steel....and....noodly aluminium

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1056 Post(s)
Liked 343 Times in 230 Posts
1 standard cardboard bicycle box, contains bicycle with front wheel, seat and hbars removed.
remove the water bottle cages and one pannier loaded with lightweight stuff (water bottles,
helmet, cycling shoes, pedals) will fit inside the frame. section of 3/4" PVC goes in the fork
held in place with the skewer. total weight around 26-28 kg.

1 cheap nylon backpack will hold your heavier stuff at the bottom (toolkit, extra chain, lock),
and your second pannier above that with clothing. total weight 10-12 kg.

1 hbar bag as carry on with passport, meds, cash, camera, toothbrush. total weight 3-5 kg.

if you're doing a circuit, hotel/guesthouse can store the bike box n' backpack. if not, trash 'em.
(ok, recycle 'em....) backpack can roll up and ziptie to the rack (or in bottom of pannier), or buy
a new one later.

i like to make a net with thin rope/cord to hold the box together, tie on some handles made of
6" sections of PVC. gives the baggage handler gorillas something to grab other than the
handholes in the cardboard box. with this setup, you can wear the backpack and hbar bag
with shoulder strap, and carry the bike box all together in places where there are no trolleys.

note: the box in the picture was taped together from old post office mailing cartons and
survived four flights before getting recycled.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
IMG_0006.jpg (94.4 KB, 34 views)
saddlesores is offline  
Old 04-01-13, 02:00 AM
  #8  
imi
aka Timi
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 3,261

Bikes: Bianchi Lupo (touring) Bianchi Volpe (commuter), Miyata On Off Road Runner

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 169 Post(s)
Liked 138 Times in 104 Posts
Flying to location to start tour... Best way to pack panniers and stuff?

It all depends on the specific airline's baggage rules and policies (sporting goods, excess baggage...)

Typically I take one pannier as hand baggage maxed out to the allowed weight (7kg usually)

Everything else is in a cardboard bike box which then comes close to the max allowed 23 kg.

To save space and weight you can wear ALL your clothes until through the last security check. Gets a bit warm tho

Disposables (food, shampoo etc) can be bought at destination.

Pack and weigh everything at home, so there's no costly confusion at the airport

Last edited by imi; 04-01-13 at 05:34 AM.
imi is offline  
Old 04-01-13, 06:09 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,457
Mentioned: 211 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18505 Post(s)
Liked 15,818 Times in 7,428 Posts
My bike box is big enough to hold my racks. I carry on one pannier (used to be two) and put everything else in a duffle bag. You can usually get a cheap one at thrift store and then toss it or mail it home.

Note that if you fly with a stove these days (even without fuel) you risk having it confiscated according to the TSA people I have spoken with.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 04-01-13, 06:42 AM
  #10  
imi
aka Timi
 
imi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 3,261

Bikes: Bianchi Lupo (touring) Bianchi Volpe (commuter), Miyata On Off Road Runner

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 169 Post(s)
Liked 138 Times in 104 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz
Note that if you fly with a stove these days (even without fuel) you risk having it confiscated according to the TSA people I have spoken with.
Yes, this is becoming more and more of a problem. I have been through security checks where they smell the stove for traces of fuel. This is a major problem for multi-fuel burners.

I have Trangia burners which cost about $15 so I've even bought a new one just to be on the safe side on outbound multi month tours.
imi is offline  
Old 04-01-13, 06:50 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,878
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1253 Post(s)
Liked 764 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz
Note that if you fly with a stove these days (even without fuel) you risk having it confiscated according to the TSA people I have spoken with.
I am curious how often that actually happens.

I have flown with a Pepsi can stove and/or a Pocket Rocket canister stove quite a few times and they have never given them a second look as far as I could tell. With either of those I do not need to take a fuel bottle, since the fuel is purchased on arrival and in the container that I will use. I have avoided flying with gasoline, white gas, or kerosene stoves though, in part because I figure they were more likely to be confiscated.

A plus for the pop can stove is that if it were confiscated, I could make something serviceable on location if necessary.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 04-01-13, 07:00 AM
  #12  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,152

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 141 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3203 Post(s)
Liked 596 Times in 329 Posts
Originally Posted by Machka
Outside the Taiwan Airport, with our air-travel setup ...




And as I said, later, we exchanged the cardboard boxes for woven nylon bags with zips, of about the same size. I'm not sure if I have a photo of them ... but I'm looking. If not, I've still got one out, and can take a picture of it.

A photo of the woven nylon bag with zipper. It had two functioning handles until the last few moments of the trip. It turned out to be quite durable and yet light and foldable. Rowan and I each have one, and were quite pleased with how well they held up.

So if you substitute the cardboard box in the photo above with the blue bag in the photo below ... that's what we used for the last half of the trip.




Last edited by Machka; 04-01-13 at 07:04 AM.
Machka is offline  
Old 04-01-13, 07:11 AM
  #13  
 
BigAura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chapin, SC
Posts: 3,423

Bikes: all steel stable: surly world troller, paris sport fixed, fuji ss

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 623 Post(s)
Liked 55 Times in 33 Posts
I've boxed up all my equipment and bicycle and shipped it ahead to a FedEx facility near the airport. I then flew with only my tiny sea-to-summit backpack. When my flight left I knew my bicycle was ready and waiting for me. No checked baggage to haul around and worry about. It was simple and cost slightly less than what the airline would have charged me.
BigAura is offline  
Old 04-01-13, 04:54 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
lucille's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,720
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My bike fits in a suitcase. For luggage, I have an inexpensive duffel bag with two wheels on one end that 4 packed panniers fit into - making it one piece of luggage.
lucille is offline  
Old 04-01-13, 05:18 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,849

Bikes: 2012 Specialized Elite Disc, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 681 Post(s)
Liked 755 Times in 435 Posts
Originally Posted by BigAura
I've boxed up all my equipment and bicycle and shipped it ahead to a FedEx facility near the airport. I then flew with only my tiny sea-to-summit backpack. When my flight left I knew my bicycle was ready and waiting for me. No checked baggage to haul around and worry about. It was simple and cost slightly less than what the airline would have charged me.
This is my latest preference. It worked great on both air legs on my last tour, except the cost difference was closer to half ($55 vs $100). Look at bikeflights.com for a possible deal. ACA members get a discount there, too.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 04-02-13, 02:32 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Aushiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Walyalup, Australia
Posts: 1,411

Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Salsa Mukluk, Riese & Muller Supercharger GT Rohloff (Forthcoming)

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 29 Posts
My last touring bike trip was with my Surly Long Haul Trucker and my Extrawheel Voyager trailer. I have documented my experience here but the flight out was much along the lines of others but coming back (unplanned) I ended up with nearly everything in one box and the balance carried as hand luggage in a single pannier.

I generally pack my panniers pretty much ready to go on the bike but as I had six panniers on that last flight out two went empty with contents finding spaces in the boxes.



Andrew
Aushiker is offline  
Old 04-02-13, 04:04 AM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,878
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1253 Post(s)
Liked 764 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by BigAura
I've boxed up all my equipment and bicycle and shipped it ahead to a FedEx facility near the airport. I then flew with only my tiny sea-to-summit backpack. When my flight left I knew my bicycle was ready and waiting for me. No checked baggage to haul around and worry about. It was simple and cost slightly less than what the airline would have charged me.
FedEx works well for me for the return trip and is often my choice for that leg of the trip. That said, I have generally not found it to be cheaper than flying with the bike on Southwest ($50) or Frontier ($20 for economy or free for classic or better) and the "hauling around" can be pretty minimal depending on your packing style. I really like to just ride the bike out of the airport when that makes some sense, so for me that usually means I fly with the bike on the first leg of the trip. I also like that I don't have to plan transportation to the pick up location or worry about when they are open. I make that decision individually for each trip though.

Heading home I usually am happy to get rid of the bike with as little fuss as possible and don't mind a bit of extra expense, so dropping it at a bike shop and having them box and ship it works pretty well and typically costs about $100 between their packing/handling fee and the shipping fee. That is twice what I'd pay on Southwest and 5 times what I'd pay on Frontier, but it is nice to not have to mess with boxing up the bike and schlepping it to the airport in a strange city.

The exception is when I use my soft case. With it I find it easy to pack up and also to carry the bike and baggage. So I fly with the bike both ways. The problem is that I seldom seem to fly too and from the same location, since I prefer point to point trips.

Last edited by staehpj1; 04-02-13 at 04:12 AM.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 04-02-13, 06:00 AM
  #18  
nun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,670

Bikes: Rivendell Quickbeam, Rivendell Rambouillet, Rivendell Atlantis, Circle A town bike, De Rosa Neo Primato, Cervelo RS, Specialized Diverge

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 180 Post(s)
Liked 43 Times in 40 Posts
Another advantage of reducing the amount and weight of gear you carry on tour is that it makes transporting your bike and gear so much easier. I carry my Ortlieb handlebar bag as carry on luggage and pack bike and all my gear into a single soft sided carrying bag. The weight comes in around 30lbs and the dimensions are small enough that it can easily fit in a taxi on a bus or go on a plane as regular luggage. It makes life so much easier.
nun is offline  
Old 04-02-13, 06:09 AM
  #19  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,152

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 141 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3203 Post(s)
Liked 596 Times in 329 Posts
Originally Posted by nun
Another advantage of reducing the amount and weight of gear you carry on tour is that it makes transporting your bike and gear so much easier. I carry my Ortlieb handlebar bag as carry on luggage and pack bike and all my gear into a single soft sided carrying bag. The weight comes in around 30lbs and the dimensions are small enough that it can easily fit in a taxi on a bus or go on a plane as regular luggage. It makes life so much easier.
That's one reason we're seriously considering folding bicycles. And one reason why we travel with only 2 panniers. After 10 flights in about 8 months, and numerous train trips in that same time period ... light is good.
Machka is offline  
Old 04-02-13, 06:26 AM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
B200Pilot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 68

Bikes: Custom Surly LHT Deluxe + Bob Yak Trailer

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Today's airlines are trying to cut costs at every corner and their prices are a pure rip off when it comes to charging passengers for extra check in bags. I face the same predicament as you do, since I also live "smack dab in the Canadian prairie". If I want to go anywhere exciting, I must fly. For this reason alone, I bought a bike with S&S Couplers that fits in a "standard airline case" (that statement alone is a bit of a lie. True, "standard case" from an airline point of view, but not your regular travel case).

As far as carrying your gear, there are options. If you don't want to fly with it to Vancouver, BC a good alternative is to back it very well in boxes (double box it if you have to) and ship it via Greyhound a week before you get there. Greyhound is very reliable so there's no way you can go wrong with them. Once you arrive at YVR you can go pick up your stuff.

Now depending on what type of tour you want to do you may have more gear than Air Canada or Westjet will allow you. How will you carry you bicycle? For the gear / panniers, you can pack them as you would for a tour and then put them in a plastic bag then box it, assuming you're going to take things like electronics with you on the aircraft.

For my upcoming Euro Trip, once I decide if I want to camp or go to hostels, I can either pay for a 2nd check in bag (my 1st bag is my bike) or if I stay in hostels I can carry everything as carry ons.
B200Pilot is offline  
Old 04-02-13, 06:27 AM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
I wrap all my various bags and bits in a sheet of polythene so it is classed as 1 piece of lugagge. On Euro budget flights you get charged per piece.
Keep your packing materials handy until the last moment in case you have to reconfigure the pack or show bits to security. They don't like un-inspected water bottles packed with the bike.
You may need a knife to pack put have top pack the knife !!.
MichaelW is offline  
Old 04-02-13, 11:30 AM
  #22  
40 yrs bike touring
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Santa Barbara,CA.
Posts: 1,021

Bikes: Bruce Gordon Ti Rock N Road [1989], Fat Chance Mountain Tandem [1988], Velo Orange Neutrino (2020)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
I have used an Osprey Airporter LZ to check panniers and other gear on airplanes as one piece. They offer different sizes depending on your needs. Sturdy yet light enough to carry with you on the trip or to mail ahead to your departure point.
arctos is offline  
Old 04-02-13, 12:33 PM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 6,495
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1185 Post(s)
Liked 842 Times in 438 Posts
Remember when shipping bike by air, that no matter how well you pack your bike, it is likely that TSA folks will unpack it. The more elaborate/complex the packing method the more chance there is that it will not be repacked the same way. Simple is better. That is why there is only 4 pieces of tape sealing the tops our bike boxes. It is the easiest for TSA personnel to inspect the bike and the are going to tape the heck out of it when they are finished.



Box was on 4 different flights to get us to our starting point. Note TSA taping job. Actually they did a good job. As the agent said, "I'll tape it up better than you did."



I've not had problems with my liquid fuel bottles on airlines. I air them out really well, and snap tie the top to the bottle rather than screwing it on. I'm not sure if they just did not see them, or it was OK. Even though my Whisperlite International will burn several types of liquid fuels, I stick to white gas. It burns cleaner and does not leave a residual odor like kerosene. If we are flying home from a tour, I generally give any extra extra fuel from our canister stove away at the end of the trip. However, I've traveled on trains and buses with canister fuel.

Last edited by Doug64; 04-02-13 at 02:24 PM. Reason: correction
Doug64 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
cyclezealot
Touring
39
02-09-18 08:51 PM
Mri G.
Touring
31
02-08-17 03:46 PM
mdilthey
Touring
20
06-22-16 01:03 AM
micah356
Touring
41
12-23-09 07:32 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.