Looking for practical solution for transporting 20-25L of gear (change of clothes, food, 1st aid, camera/binoculars) for 2 adults and 2 kids in a way that doesn't involve unpacking pannier and repacking rucksack and also avoids cycling with rucksack on. We use our bikes instead of car when going out for the day on holiday - so they often get locked up and left while we go off exploring.
So far I've found pannier rucksack (not sure capacity is enough and 1 would surely be unbalanced) , tray on top of rack with rucksack bungee'd down or something like trunkbag with built in pannier and do the repacking thing.
We are now looking at Panniers, so will be interested in any replies you get.
I note your concern about 1 Pannier making the Bike unbalanced, we are wondering about this, and assume up to a certain weight it is not an issue.
We have seen that Ortelieb do a Rucksack conversion kit, maybe you have seen this, Vaude also seem to do good panniers, which are apparently more Eco friendly.
This would possibly fit the bill volume wise https://www.ortlieb.com/uk_en/vario+F7709 and I would be surprised if Vaude did not do something similar and probably cheaper as Ortelieb do seem to command a premium.
What about a saddle bag and handle bar bag combo?
I don’t do this myself but having recently biked with a massive rucksack I’m def thinking of finding a better solution.
When I used to cycle tour with camping gear I mostly used a pair of paniers plus a large handlebar bag. For walks away from the bike I used the handlebar bag which had a shoulder strap, not large enough for much in the way of spair clothes but fine for camera, bit of food, valuables etc.
Regarding the 1-pannier-is-unbalanced question. I commuted with panniers for a while and often had a single pannier fully loaded with laptop, towel and change of clothes. I found while cycling I didn't notice the unbalanced issue. I guess you just dynamically lean a little more one way? The only time it is noticeable or annoying was when wheeling the bike around where having the bike balanced makes it easier (although still considerably more annoying than wheeling an unladen bike).
I would go with a standard rack and a couple of large, simple but budget panniers. You should be able to simply drop small, lightweight rucksacs (KIMM sacs) straight in, together with any extra clothes you don't want to wear cycling, etc. Have a couple of bungees with you in case any extra shopping, souvenirs, beach combing relics (whale bones) need to be taken home.
Empty panniers can be left on the bikes as they are no more attractive than nicking the whole bike is already. You can take an extra small thin cable to thread through the straps to stop scallywags simply lifting the panniers off and away for the devilment. Alternatively the judicial use of a couple of cable ties makes nicking them more of a hassle. Secondhand / budget panniers also makes them less desirable and more easily replaced.
For that, I'd go with strapping a rucksack on top of a rack, ideally inside a drybag, so that straps can't get caught in the wheel and it also protects the rucksack from rubbing on the rack. Used to do this on the motorbike with a 35l rucksack for overnight trips and it's my preferred option for bike packing (I'm not a fan of the enormous saddle bag option). It does put the weight a bit higher up than a pannier, but at least it's balanced - also a bit more aero and you can't catch your heels on it.
Maybe use a small handlebar bag for easy access to essentials and to balance the weight a bit.
Another alternative....although pretty pricey
Just checked the capacity - 65l. That would def take care of having to carry a bloody big rucksack on my back for tackling bike/hike trips where you want to take a big sleeping bag, tent, stove etc.
Might just treat myself 😀
I've been looking at solutions for taking my gear to the crag. I hate wearing a rucksack on the bike but they are a pain to put on a rack as there are loads of dangly bits trying to get caught in the wheel. The best solution I've found so far is a bag-for-life from Sainsburys. Just chuck everything in and bungee it on. Much easier to pack and find stuff than any proper luggage and weighs hardly anything. You could always put your rucksack in the Sainos bag while on the bike, and put the Sainos bag in the rucksack for walking. And you have something to sit on for picnics.
It's not the most classy or elegant solution I'll admit, so I might upgrade to something fancier. Like a Waitrose bag.
Aiguille do a rucksack thats designed to also be a barbag:
having seen that I've played around with an alpkit Gourdon of similar size and can secure that to bars fairly well - seems like a good option?
Thanks Jim and all the other replies.
I'm going to start with two cheap panniers and load then each with a dry bag of stuff. The strap the rucksack with only a few things to the top. Then it's just two things to transfer to the rucksack when I park up.
> For that, I'd go with strapping a rucksack on top of a rack, ideally inside a drybag,
I'd do this too. Or get a drybag style rucksack like an Alpkit Gourdon and just bungee it onto the rack. Just be careful about the rack wearing through the rucksack, I put a bit of carpet between the rack and rucksack to stop this.
How about a 20 litre dry bag, strapped on to the top of a rack, over the back wheel? I used this system for a tour a few years ago (using an Alpkit bag that also has a strap to sling it over your shoulder).
You could also use an Alpkit Stingray bag to fit in your frame. After all, there must be a few things that you'll want to leave on the bike for most of the time (spare inner tubes, pump, tyre levers, a thin cag, a few chewy bars etc.)
I commute with a single pannier carrying lunch, laptop, shoes and change of clothes. It's fine while riding, I only notice it's unbalanced when wheeling or lifting the bike. The size/volume isn't a problem but I wouldn't want more weight on one side only, it's maybe 8kg... Never weighed it mind.
If you need more weight capacity you could fill 2 rucksacks (1 per adult), put one in either side pannier.
Standard pair of ortlieb panniers work for this- the top rolls down for adjusting the volume, and the shoulder strap carries fine for off the bike duties-
My saddle bag is that brand, quite impressed that 10+ years later I could do get spares. Not convinced a shoulder strap would be comfortable for half a days hike, but they'd do for the transporting part.
Is there anything to look out for when pairing racks with bags. I was going to get the Trek rack shown in the photos of the bike I bought. But also considering Alpkit.
I highly recommend going for a Tubus rack. They’re built to last! Old Man Mountain also seem to have a good reputation.
Regarding compatibility, Ortlieb panniers come with hook inserts to adapt them to different diameters of rack tube. They should fit pretty much any brand of rack.