"Best" panniers for cycle camping

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Psamathe
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby Psamathe » 14 Aug 2018, 5:16pm

I appreciate Ortliebs have been rejected, but as comment as others might read and seek advice from this thread:

What I love about my Ortlieb Rollers is that they are normally sensible full. But as I get near my camp site I can stop off at a supermarket and buy a load of food and supplies. Non-roller paniers and you’ve nowhere to put your shop. Rollers you just unroll them, fill to the brim and put the middle strap across. Do this on several and you can carry a lot of extra stuff for tonight’s meal. I tend to do it on front roller panniers 1st then back ones if more space needed. I’ve not yet had anything even try and escape.

The extra capacity for a shop without pannier space I find incredibly useful. Things like bread are bulky (and I eat a lot) so the unrolled extra capacity invaluable.

Ian

iandriver
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby iandriver » 17 Aug 2018, 12:09pm

To throw something else into the mix, another option might be to ditch only one pannier and use a backpck/ pannier hybrid on the other side, something like one of these: https://www.cyclingabout.com/list-of-co ... k-or-bike/
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pjclinch
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby pjclinch » 17 Aug 2018, 5:29pm

We have one of the vau De convertibles from when my daughter cycled to school (school is closer now, she walks). And it's pretty good for what it is, but...
  • A lot of the target market is commute oriented, so plenty of laptop pouches, pen slots, document organisers which are all very well, but not necessarily much use on a tour
  • Anything that tries to do two jobs is almost always not as good at either of them as single-purpose kit, assuming all are well designed. And that's true of the vau De Cycle 28, which isn't as convenient in pannier use as our Orts or in rucksack capacity as our selection of Lowes

That's not to say these are bad, but for a tour we have a wee pack along anyway, bungeed to a rack and either empty or with surplus bulky food and ready for off-bike excursions from a camp.

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meic
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby meic » 17 Aug 2018, 5:55pm

I have a Jansport pannier set and one side is a zip-off rucksack. I hardly ever use it as such because after being on the bike it is frequently too filthy (and wet) to handle, even though the straps and the bit which contacts your back are zipped away whilst on the bike.
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foxyrider
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby foxyrider » 18 Aug 2018, 9:14am

Of course, if you choose Ortlieb you don't need different bags for off bike - just get the rucksac converter. Works with any Ortlieb panniers, its light, takes up little space, adjustable and the 'back board' protects you from the fixings and dirt on the panniers.

I have taken it on tour but I generally have a pertex shopping bag that's the size of a duck egg packed that's usually ample for a shop.

The point about the over stuffing the roll top is quite important - if packed to 20l point you get @ 5l extra and can still seal the bags. If I see panniers maxxed out for a trip it's a sure sign that the owner is taking too much stuff. I could get everything in a pair of rear rollers overstuffed but I take fronts as well - gives me more play for buying supplies, souvenirs and means I don't have to rummage to find stuff. Setting camp only needs one bag opening and everything else is still bagged - important if it's wet!

It might be a little more hassle at times but the load is better distributed on the bike which cuts down on load related issues with the rear wheel and the handling.if you can't get a 60/40 weight split you should really look at your set up and gear.
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pjclinch
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby pjclinch » 18 Aug 2018, 9:34am

foxyrider wrote:Of course, if you choose Ortlieb you don't need different bags for off bike - just get the rucksac converter. Works with any Ortlieb panniers, its light, takes up little space, adjustable and the 'back board' protects you from the fixings and dirt on the panniers.


OTOH I actually own one of these, and pretty much never use it. It taes up a similar amount of space to a light rucksack, and IME the combination of pannier and straps is an inferior rucksack to the rucksack. So a bit meh as far as I'm concerned. If I can remember where it is it might find its way to eBay.

foxyrider wrote:The point about the over stuffing the roll top is quite important...


Indeed. While I use Sport Packers with flaps and buckles for day to day pannier duty, and they come as llowriders on tour, my main luggage is in rolltops at least in part for their graceful overloading characteristics. Call in at the bakery you pass on the way to the campsite and it's easy to find space for a fresh loaf without crushing it etc.

Pete.
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willem jongman
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby willem jongman » 18 Aug 2018, 11:23am

My 33 litre Altura panniers were a bit tight indeed as my only panniers, but I did manage. This summer, with the apocalyptic heatwave in Europe, I started the day with an additional 0.75 litre Platypus winesack in the panniers, but filled with water. By the end of the morning I had finished the first of the water bottles on my frame, and would empty the winesack into that bottle on the frame. This gave me just the necessary extra space in the pannier for the shopping that I would do sometime in the afternoon, whenever I spotted a supermarket.
I don't think I needed front panniers to achieve a nice balance on the bike (but this may be bike specific). On my bike, handling only deteriorates when I carry more than about 18 kg. Thus far I have always been able to avoid that on European trips, even to cold and wet countries like Norway (but in that case only just). My normal total load (excluding food) is some 12-15 kg, depending on the conditions that I can expect. I use the 1 kg a pair Altura panniers when my load is at the lower end of the range and my 40 litre Ortliebs when I need to take more bulk for colder weather.

philsknees
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby philsknees » 18 Aug 2018, 1:36pm

I started with Ortlieb Bike Packers(lidded) at the rear & Front Rollers but after a few years refining my touring/camping gear found the bike felt best balanced using a set of Sport Packers (smaller, lidded) at the rear & the Front Rollers. A set of packing cubes keep everything easily accessible on the bike & off it in the tent. A small first aid kit/basic tool/puncture kit fits accessibly under the flap of one of the rear panniers, above the spray collar, with waterproofs under the other lid. The tent goes on top of the rear rack in one of these:
https://www.alpkit.com/products/airlok-xtra-8-litre.
For me this is by far the most user-friendly set up (along with a small Ortlieb bar bag for valuables) when cycle camping for a week or more & I still have spare space for food purchases in one of the front panniers.
All that said, I roundly curse that set up when travelling by train when I'm frequently juggling at least 4 separate panniers, a bar bag & a bike, to the extent that I once found myself on the platform with panniers, luckily at the terminus, with my bike locked on the empty train by a driver obviously very keen to get off shift!
I've yet to find a solution other than to restrict myself to using only the two large Bike Packers (without front bags) but then find that the bike feels much less balanced & demonstrates excessively light steering.
I'm certainly a +1 for Ortliebs for their durability, weather resistance & user friendliness but do feel that the handling characteristics of the particular bike, the load being carried & the nature of the trip being undertaken are prime issues to be considered in deciding the type & best distribution of "bike luggage".
To me, organisation of contents hasn't been a major issue - get some variously coloured packing cubes, pack them consistently so you learn the contents of each colour & which pannier they kept in. You can then position them in their pannier each morning to take account your likely access priority for the day ahead.

MrsHJ
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby MrsHJ » 24 Nov 2018, 9:45am

I thought that I had better own up.

I bought the monster size pro plus ortlieb in green (so it was a big plus for the colour and size and aesthetics when I was choosing which to get).

Good stuff- the 70 l was more than generous (it led me to the conclusion I’d had before buying that about 55l is perfect).

The outside pocket was brilliant and very generous in size and easy to use but nothing fell out. I loaded everything I would be likely to need on a days ride into these and my small bar bag and was very happy with the access.

It didn’t rain at all when I was on the bike (and scarcely at all when off it) so I have no comments on waterproofness although I presume it’s excellent. The fabric overall was really nice actually- more flexible and better looking the pvc style one. The green is really nice (I’m a tad biased though towards my favourite colour).

Fixing into the bike good-I’ve always like the ortlieb lift off to unlock approach.

Bucket nature- better due to the size but I still got mildly irritated by my neatly packed inner bags becoming disordered inside the bucket, maybe I’m a touch more ocd than I’d realised- the scale of the bags and lack of structure contributed to that too. They don’t look particularly elegant on the bike -sort of a bulgy bear style. The straps to pull everything together needed to be improved for using the bag in various sizes-for instance two or three small straps on the side to limit space would have been better than the one general one.

Biggest downside for me (and I had vertigo so couldn’t look down for the whole trip so this was maybe more trouble than others would have) was the Houdini nature of the sealing process. By the time all the fabric had been wrapped over a few times and then the carrying handle had gone through the semi loops at the bottom of the bag no one could have got into it without a large gin and plenty of time. This was for me solved by the big exterior pocket but basically once everything was packed at the beginning of the day that was it until stopping in the evening.

Next tour (DC to Missouri) I’m leaning towards credit card touring to help me get the distance in so I’ll have to reflect on what to take. I would use these ones again for camping trips though (I’m not paying that sort of money for them to sit in the garage and they fit many criteria-would be good for camping with the kids plus one of them can use my old set of ortliebs).

I’d give them 7/10 I think for cycle camping touring. Not perfect but some very good features.

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Sweep
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby Sweep » 24 Nov 2018, 9:00pm

Many thanks MrsHJ.

Must admit I am inclined to agree with your criticism that Ortlieb have basically gone a bit overboard in addressing the limited 40L litre capacity of their normal rears.

I get the sense though that you found them pretty usable when filled to maybe 55-60 litre capacity.

Slightly surprised that they haven't released a bigger version of the Bikepackers in the same material.

I have a pair of bikepacker rears, but yes for sure they are on the small size.

Current plan - get some of those panniers you bought longer term while holding off until I really need them in case they introduce something else - refine them - for they sure aint cheap.

Thanks again for reporting back.
Sweep

slowpeddler
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby slowpeddler » 29 Nov 2018, 1:26pm

Hi everyone

Until this year

Ortlieb back rollers (on the back, of course) Carradice front panniers.

BUT I wish I had bought the Super C for the front all those years ago, they are just so good. My Carradice Carradura front have fallen apart and cannot be repaired, Always buy the Super C.

I also use a medium Ortlieb Rackpack for tent, poles, sandals etc, The small size would been fine, I wasn't sure about tent pole length.

To replace the front Carradura, I have just bought half price from Evans online, A pair of Ortlieb front City Rollers. (Was £100, bought for £50) for next year's big Germany tour. I currently use them as rear panniers for day trips. I am very impressed with them. Ortlieb stuff is so good. Don't look a the upfront cost, work out the cost per day and they are very affordable and very tough and always keep your kit dry.

And yes, I always cycle camp.

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Sweep
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby Sweep » 29 Nov 2018, 1:31pm

Had the impression/idea that the Ortleib city stuff wasn't as rugged/up to touring as their more traditional bags. Anything in this?
Sweep

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pjclinch
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby pjclinch » 29 Nov 2018, 3:00pm

Sweep wrote:Had the impression/idea that the Ortleib city stuff wasn't as rugged/up to touring as their more traditional bags. Anything in this?


We had some City Rollers for a while that we'd bought for our kids to cycle to school with.
I was underwhelmed (as were the kids), but it wasn't anything to do with the construction, which was from the same materials as the "classic" line (i.e., totally bombproof). The problem was closing them up, which was a roll to a captive buckle on each side of the bag. I found it relatively fiddly and my kids just couldn't reliably do it (which in practice meant they didn't, so giving them a waterproof bag for school became a moot point as there was always a big hole in the top).

The standard rollers can be sealed by connecting the two ends of the roll directly or connecting with the shoulder strap, plus an optional strap over the top, and this gives more flexibility with overloading as well as being much less fiddly in practice. But quality wise they're fine and have great fixings.

Pete.
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nick12
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby nick12 » 29 Nov 2018, 5:57pm

I've been using the city rollers for several years now and love them robust as you expect for ortlieb's . I only use them on the front it was the fasteners that appealed to me as I often go off-road and there's no strap to snag on brambles and the like. Downside is the capacity is fixed but they are perfect for me And my sleeping stuff fits in the front and my jacket and overtrousers so nothing heavy.

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foxyrider
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Re: "Best" panniers for cycle camping

Postby foxyrider » 29 Nov 2018, 6:32pm

pjclinch wrote:
Sweep wrote:Had the impression/idea that the Ortleib city stuff wasn't as rugged/up to touring as their more traditional bags. Anything in this?


We had some City Rollers for a while that we'd bought for our kids to cycle to school with.
I was underwhelmed (as were the kids), but it wasn't anything to do with the construction, which was from the same materials as the "classic" line (i.e., totally bombproof). The problem was closing them up, which was a roll to a captive buckle on each side of the bag. I found it relatively fiddly and my kids just couldn't reliably do it (which in practice meant they didn't, so giving them a waterproof bag for school became a moot point as there was always a big hole in the top).

The standard rollers can be sealed by connecting the two ends of the roll directly or connecting with the shoulder strap, plus an optional strap over the top, and this gives more flexibility with overloading as well as being much less fiddly in practice. But quality wise they're fine and have great fixings.

Pete.


+1 for that daft buckle arrangement - I couldn't undo easily, the mounting plate prevented getting fingers fully onto the buckle. I used the ones I had (a pair of city fronts) for one credit card tour then sold them on immediately.

As for Classic straps getting caught offroad - WTH do people use the daft shoulder strap method for closure in the first place? I worked out pretty quickly that a simple side to side join one the roll was secured was much quicker, easier and unlikely to snag. IME the shoulder straps are more problem than help even when carrying - the bags have a built in handle that works very well after all!
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!