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How to pack a pannier. What are your "rules"?

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How to pack a pannier. What are your "rules"?

Old 12-17-13, 12:15 AM
  #1  
Aushiker
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How to pack a pannier. What are your "rules"?



Cycling About have three rules for pannier packing.

1. Their number one rule for bike pannier packing is to ALWAYS put your gear back where it came from.
2. Their number two rule is to pack your bags based on category.
3. Their number three rule for successful packing is to assign a couple of compression sacks to some bag management duties.

What your "rules" for successful pannier packing?

Regards
Andrew
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Old 12-17-13, 01:27 AM
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1. Lots of bags for organization. I have bags for cooking, food, sleeping, photography, and documents.
2. Put the camera/regularly accessed items in panniers on the opposite side of direction of traffic. Meaning if your in a country that drives on the right hand side, put the your camera on the left pannier... The reason being is your riding with traffic and if your leaning your bike against a guardrail/post etc, you can access your camera easily while it leans against something. Or have it in a handlebar bag if its small enough.
3. Every time you place your bike on the ground, make sure your panniers are still secured when you leave. Sometimes they will dislodge from your rack.
4. Don't put fruit or food on the top of your pannier. Birds will find it and proceed to eat your lunch.
5. Leave room for beer.
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Old 12-17-13, 01:50 AM
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I divide my stuff into "rooms" ...

Pannier 1 contains my "closet" and my "bathroom" ... all the clothing and toiletries I want to take.

Pannier 2 contains my "bedroom" and "kitchen" ... my mat, pillows, sleeping bag, dishes and utensils.

My Carradice contains my "garage" ... tools, and maybe things like sandals for off the bicycle, rain jacket and some other outerwear.

My handlebar bag contains my "office" ... paperwork, camera, and other personal things.
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Old 12-17-13, 06:06 AM
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Mine are "wet" and "dry."
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Old 12-17-13, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I divide my stuff into "rooms" ...

Pannier 1 contains my "closet" and my "bathroom" ... all the clothing and toiletries I want to take.

Pannier 2 contains my "bedroom" and "kitchen" ... my mat, pillows, sleeping bag, dishes and utensils.

My Carradice contains my "garage" ... tools, and maybe things like sandals for off the bicycle, rain jacket and some other outerwear.

My handlebar bag contains my "office" ... paperwork, camera, and other personal things.
This is pretty close to the system I use.

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Old 12-17-13, 07:59 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
Mine are "wet" and "dry."
I used to strap damp stuff on top of one of my frontroller panniers, assuming it was not raining. I eventually bought a mesh bag that is about the right size so I now strap the mesh bag on top with the damp stuff in the mesh bag. Thus my laundry from the previous evening that is still damp in the morning does not go anaerobic. On top of right pannier in photo, although hard to see well.

I strap the rain gear on top of the other frontroller pannier. This way when the rain starts, it only takes a few seconds to get my rain gear out and my panniers are already closed once I get the rain gear out. The red bundle
on top of left pannier in photo is the raingear rolled up into one bundle.



In rear panniers where the heavier dense stuff goes, the most dense stuff like tools and spare tire go in the bottom for better weight distribution.

My only other rule is that I have two compression stuff sacks that are perfectly sized when fully compressed to fit horizontally on top of everything else in each backroller. Thus, one holds sleeping bag and some clothing. The other holds most or all of my remaining clothing (excluding rain gear of course).

Other than the above, I am dreadfully disorganized. I used to be obsessive about trying to get my two frontroller panniers equal in weight. But, one morning when I was unduly rushed I just threw everything in the panniers haphazardly. I was surprised that my bike handled just fine with the weight balance between front and rear all messed up and between right and left even more messed up. Since then, I do not take much care to balance weight.
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Old 12-17-13, 09:40 AM
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Generally, sleeping/camping/clothing in rear, cooking/food, tools/supplies in front, extra water distributed throughout. Lots of ziplock bags in waterproof panniers.
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Old 12-17-13, 10:19 AM
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Clean dry clothes go together inside a plastic bag. Damp/dirty clothes stay outside that bag. Rain gear on top if it looks like it might rain.

If it's not raining today, but it was yesterday, wet clothes take their turn bungeed to the top of the rack. When they dry they go on the other side of the raingear in the panniers.

Ah, phooey. Just go ride. You'll figure out what works for you after a while.
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Old 12-17-13, 10:55 AM
  #9  
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My rules are:

Everything I cannot live without goes in the handlebar bag: passport, wallet, iphone etc. It also contains stuff I need off the bike or need quickly, so wash kit, rain jacket and first aid, snacks

Saddlebag left pocket contains tools and tubes, right pocket has food, noodles, couscous, honey, tea

Main compartment has layers consisting of clothes and sleeping mat, and cooking kit with gaps stuffed with socks, underwear etc.
last things in are compression sacks with sleeping bag and tent fly and my kung fu shoes.
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Old 12-17-13, 02:14 PM
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.. put things back in the same place you took them out of.

try to make the Right side weigh close to the same as the Left side.
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Old 12-17-13, 04:07 PM
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Thanks for sharing, it is very useful for me. I am just doing some light touring, so I don't have a lot of things yet, but I think it is good to store thing separately for easier access.
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Old 12-17-13, 04:42 PM
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Left front - food, toileteries if there's room. Cooking pot when I don't carry much food.

Right front - Cooking gear, fuel, lock, tools, dense stuff I don't need often.

Right rear - Sleeping pad and bag, clothes. Ultralight backpack at the bottom. Rear pocket has extra plastic bags, straps and flashlight. This is the only bag that needs to stay dry and the only one that comes in the tent.

Left rear - Rain gear, wet clothes, anything extra like bulky food (bread, bag of chips). Sometimes the tent goes in there but I usually put it on top of the rear rack). That pannier has straps on top so there goes the tripod and tent poles.

Bar bag (which is a backpack). Cameras, lenses, chargers, phone, wallet and that jazz. Warm clothes that I should not need often is used as camera padding.

Sometimes, I use only two rear panniers or two small front and a saddlebag so it changes but my 4 pannier setup stay pretty much the same.
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Old 12-17-13, 06:07 PM
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I make sure that what ever is put in my left side bags (looking from the rear) will likely tolerate greater abuse and is not as likely to be punctured since I always lean my bike up against something on the left or non-drive side. Hence you'll never see my air mattress or tent on that side but more likely clothes and cooking gear. Otherwise, I organize like Machka.
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Old 12-17-13, 07:21 PM
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1. Dense, heavy items go in the front panniers as balanced relative to the axle and left/right as possible.
2. Fill the front bags first, but don't block access to anything that will be wanted quickly.
3. Minimize the weight in the rear bags, if they are even being brought. Great place for sleeping bags, pads, tent.
4. Never worry about putting things back where they came from, just pay enough attention to where they have been put to be able to find them. About five days in, things tend to start staying in the same locations, at least until they don't.
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Old 12-17-13, 07:57 PM
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Everything made of fabric goes in a compression sack. Have one for wet/dirty. I use Extra Small bags mostly, 5 for the two of us. Tent, sleeping bag, hers, his, dirty. Sometimes we use a Small or Medium and put the tent and sleeping bag in it. She has one pannier, I have the other. Party items distributed equally. We only use 2 rear panniers on our tandem, plus two small saddle bags, bar bag, and a frame bag.
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Old 12-18-13, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
I make sure that what ever is put in my left side bags (looking from the rear) will likely tolerate greater abuse and is not as likely to be punctured since I always lean my bike up against something on the left or non-drive side. Hence you'll never see my air mattress or tent on that side but more likely clothes and cooking gear. Otherwise, I organize like Machka.
I pack along those lines too. Tools, tubes, rain gear and such on riders left.

My biggest rule is to keep anything that could rub through the pannier pointing away from the fabric and well-padded.
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Old 12-18-13, 12:08 PM
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I don't have hard and fast rules for any packing, and now that I intend to tour on my Bullitt, I think I will just try to keep wet from dry and the heavier stuff at the rear (which is still in front of the handlebars - so more like "In the middle" objectively speaking).

What's great about this, my new setup, rather than when I go out on, say, a rowing trip with camping gear is that I won't have to keep each and every thing protected from salt water. This will allow me to use much easier and lighter bags, and with the Bullit, it will mean a single (but big) main bag. Woot!

I will sew myself a cordura bag which will fit in the A-frame below the stem. At the very top will be two waterproof and deep pockets, and at the bottom, there will be mesh pockets for things that I don't want to pack away wet (rain gear, basically).

(Sorry, I'm just happy today for some odd reason).
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Old 12-18-13, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Simon Cowbell View Post
Tools, tubes, rain gear and such on riders left.
+1 as I usually lean my bike to the right, such as against a guard rail. If I might need it while in transit, it goes in the right panniers.
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Old 12-18-13, 04:21 PM
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I think that after awhile most folks get things sorted to fit their needs. It is a personal thing.

The system that works for me is first to mark my panniers. I use red and green zip ties threaded through one of the pannier's buckles to identify my port from starboard panniers at a glance. When all the panniers are sitting on a picnic table it can take extra time if you have to turn them around and check the mounting clips (Ortlieb panniers)

Right front- Is an insulated pannier used to carry food, beverages, and some miscellaneous items to balance the load.

Left Front- Tools, spare tube, stove, utensils.

Right rear- Has a red zip tie which not only signifies right, but also "Stop". All my off-bike clothes, toiletries, electronic chargers, book, sandals etc. I may also carry the first aid kit, and a spare folding tire there if used for the trip.

Left Rear- Has a green zip tie signifying "Go". It carries all my bike clothes, including rain gear when not needed. I generally put my rain gear in one of the front panniers where it is easier to reach when expecting rain. Extra maps and other touristy info we may want to keep is also stowed here.

Rackpack- Carries the tent, sleeping bag, sil-nylon groundcloth/tarp, tent poles, and Thremarest pad.

Bar bag- Valuables, wallet, camera, spare batteries, GPS, passport, sunglasses, etc.

Small seat bag- spare tube, tire levers, multi tool, latex gloves, and patch kit.

This is the max load configuration. As the requirements for specific tours change, the load will be reduced incrementally down to just one or two front panniers on the rear for a short CC tour.

Marking the panniers is even more important when they are essentially identical, like my old front panniers.



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Old 07-20-14, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I divide my stuff into "rooms" ...

Pannier 1 contains my "closet" and my "bathroom" ... all the clothing and toiletries I want to take.

Pannier 2 contains my "bedroom" and "kitchen" ... my mat, pillows, sleeping bag, dishes and utensils.

My Carradice contains my "garage" ... tools, and maybe things like sandals for off the bicycle, rain jacket and some other outerwear.

My handlebar bag contains my "office" ... paperwork, camera, and other personal things.
Bump ... to answer recent questions about packing.
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Old 07-21-14, 03:52 AM
  #21  
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Clothing is padding. Use to pad out corners and cover sharp items.
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Old 07-21-14, 04:08 AM
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My packing is based on need and sorted into sections but most of all I pack most of my things vertically so I can just pull out that one item and place it back again without disturbing other packed items that are not needed.
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Old 07-21-14, 07:39 AM
  #23  
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Something nobody seems to have mentioned, or I just missed it, is that I've always heard that it's best to pack your heaviest items toward the bottom of your panniers to lower the center of gravity. That's the main packing guide that I follow. I also try to distribute the weight somewhat equally between the sides and front-rear. However, it's interesting to see others systems to organizing gear and I can see how that would be an advantage, particularly on longer trips.
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Old 07-21-14, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
Something nobody seems to have mentioned, or I just missed it, is that I've always heard that it's best to pack your heaviest items toward the bottom of your panniers to lower the center of gravity.
I don't necessary care about trying to lower the centre of gravity but I do pack the heavier things closest to the pannier hooks making the lighter items towards the out side of the bag. In my opinion it's better to have the weight closest to the centre line of the bike rather than lower centre of gravity. Also closest to the bike reduces some of the stresses of the hook attachments and hardware.
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Old 07-22-14, 01:43 PM
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Due to bike camping in the woods, ALL smelly items go in one bag, the same bag every time. Food, cooking gear & toiletries & grease/oil should always be put into the same bag every time. That bag gets hung up at night. I have that bag marked so I don't mix them up. This way the smell doesn't permeate the clothing bag so animals don't normally go after that bag. Raccoons are the worst offenders.

Yes it makes the weight distribution tough sometimes.

The sleeping bag and sleeping clothes go into a dry bag on top of my rack.
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