ultra light panniers

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willem jongman
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ultra light panniers

Post by willem jongman »

New technologies have created a wave of significantly lighter camping gear. Sleeping bags, mattresses or tents are now often only half the weight of what they were only a few years ago, and their volume is also much reduced. Therefore, using just a set of rear panniers is now perfectly feasible for many trips. However, thus far the panniers themselves were still as heavy as ever, and in fact modern panniers are often quite a bit heavier than classic panniers like the Karrimor ones of old.
Well respected Canadian pannier manufacturer Arkel has now changed all this in one dramatic move, with the introduction of their waterproof Dry-Lite panniers, at 420 gram for a 32 liter set: http://www.arkelpanniers.co.uk/uk/all-c ... lites.html These are not only much lighter, but also somewhat smaller than most alternatives, but that matches the reduced volume of much modern gear, and compares with modern ultralight backpacs. The Dry-Lites can be lighter because they use a lighter modern fabric, and because they avoid heavy stiffeners and metal/plastic adjustable hooks. As a result of such simplicity, these panniers are also relatively cheap.
I have not yet been able to test them personally, and I would perhaps hesitate to use them on an expedition tour. But for a fast tour in temperate Europe, they seem an appealing and 3 pound lighter alternative to traditional panniers. There are few cheaper ways to cut 3 pounds off your luggage weight.
Willem
mark a.
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by mark a. »

Hi Willem, good to see you back.

I've been wondering about the very thing for a while. If you can get ultralight rucksacks for multi-day walks, where are the ultralight panniers? It's great to see them finally start to arrive.

You definitely need to adjust to the lighter gear. For walking I am "light", not "ultralight". To go really light you need to go the whole hog - an ultralight rucksack doesn't work if you put standard kit into it. It's probably the same here with the panniers.

These panniers would be easily used for overnighters or weekends in an easy climate.
willem jongman
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by willem jongman »

I agree, these must be part of a more complete overhaul of one's gear, and they cannot be the beginning of that. I started about a decade ago, when our ancient gear needed to be replaced. Step by step we acquired modern much lighter stuff, and became increasingly conscious of the advantages of modern equipment, such as lower weight. The quantum leap came when a friend showed me that I did not need to reduce the volume that much before I could do without front panniers. Since these weigh a lot even empty, the reward for spending a bit more to reduce the volume was enormous. Modern sleeping gear could be so much smaller, so I bought a PhD sleeping bag to replace a 30 year old down bag with a heavy cotton shell and, first, an Exped Downmat and recently even a Synmat UL.
Replacing still fully functional gear is expensive, it is something I do not like, and it is something I have largely avoided (I am not a gear junky). But when you first buy gear, or need to replace worn stuff, it pays to spend more on good quality lightweight and compact sleeping stuff in particular. After all, you save the expense of a front rack and front panniers.
Now that I have the compact and light sleeping kit, a light stove, and can resist the temptation to take unnecessary stuff along 'just in case', I have two remaining areas where I can still reduce weight significantly: panniers and my tent. Panniers I could not replace before I had reduced the volume of my kit, and not until really much lighter panniers such as these Dry-LItes appeared on the market. I look forward to using them for 2-3 week trips in places like Holland, Germany, Britain or France, and I hope they will be sturdy enough. I think they will be large enough, since even with a colder weather sleeping bag and clothes 40 liter Ortlieb Backrollers were big enough in Norway. So 32 liters should be fine in better weather (but the 40 liter Ortliebs will come out again for bad weather camping). And 1.5 kg weight reduction for only 80 euro is cheap. My tent (Helsport Rondane 3) is unnecessarily heavy (2.6 kg plus footprint) and large, but a new tent like a Hilleberg Anjan 2 is expensive. A TN Laser would be cheaper and even lighter than the Anjan, but I am apprehensive about the coffin size. So I have postponed a decision. Anyway, a tent does not need to go inside a pannier, but can happily sit on top of the rack.
However, when I ride with my wife, she likes her luxuries, so we take more: I then have front panniers (she does not - :D ) and we take our Hilleberg Nammatj 3 gt which she finds a bit cramped :oops:
Less is more.
Willem
mark a.
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by mark a. »

If only there was some way of concentrating water to make it smaller and lighter!

I'm going the same route as you; PHD sleeping bag, Hilleberg tent, light stove... it makes a huge difference to weight and pack size, but there's always more that can be done. And always compromises.
willem jongman
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by willem jongman »

As for concentrating liquids, the only fancy version I know is to take along spirits rather than wine. :D And on a more sober note: dried food like pasta is very light and compact.
Willem
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foxyrider
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by foxyrider »

look very much like the ones i made last year - coincidence? :cry:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/92281886@N ... 075870799/ (search for lightweight panniers on here)

Interesting that he still uses a heavy rack - could save another 4-500 grams there - oops thats what i've done and i can still get the bags off easily without fighting with lumps of velcro! :lol:
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!
mark a.
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by mark a. »

foxyrider wrote:look very much like the ones i made last year - coincidence? :cry:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/92281886@N ... 075870799/ (search for lightweight panniers on here)

Interesting that he still uses a heavy rack - could save another 4-500 grams there - oops thats what i've done and i can still get the bags off easily without fighting with lumps of velcro! :lol:


Superb!
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andrew_s
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by andrew_s »

foxyrider wrote:look very much like the ones i made last year - coincidence? :cry:
(search for lightweight panniers on here)

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=73924&p=644064

How have they performed? Any wear and tear problems?
willem jongman
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by willem jongman »

And how much do they weigh? After all, much of the weight of bags like those from Ortlieb is in the brackets etc.
Willem
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andrew_s
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by andrew_s »

willem jongman wrote:And how much do they weigh? After all, much of the weight of bags like those from Ortlieb is in the brackets etc.
Willem

having read it for you, 265g each - 530g the pair
willem jongman
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by willem jongman »

The Arkel Dry-lite panniers have arrived. First impressions are that they look and feel a lot sturdier than I had feared. The material feels like a groundsheet of e.g. one of the sturdier Hilleberg models. The attachment also feels pretty secure. The other thing I like about them is the angled front: it gives you more heel clearance, and thus allows you to fit the panniers more forward on the rack, for a better weight distribution and better bike handling.
The size is smaller than I had expected. The nominally 32 liter capacity is indeed larger than a set of 25 liter Ortlieb front rollers, but not by that much. It is a lot smaller than a set of 40 liter backrollers. Therefore, these really are for hard core ultralight campers, or hostel tourists.
Willem
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pedalsheep
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by pedalsheep »

What is the attachment system like on these please Willem? Its hard to see much detail on the pics.
I agree lightweight panniers are the way to go for short trips, my Ortliebs weigh more than my tent, sleeping bag, mat and stove combined which is daft! I'd like to try foxyriders homemade panniers but I'm afraid DIY is not my strongpoint!
'Why cycling for joy is not the most popular pastime on earth is still a mystery to me.'
Frank J Urry, Salute to Cycling, 1956.
willem jongman
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by willem jongman »

The bags are connected to each other by large velcro straps over the top of the rack, and there is also a smaller velcro strap to prevent forward or backward movement. There is an elasticated strap plus hook to fix them to the bottom of your rack. It looks and feels pretty sturdy. I tried a set with real luggage today, and it all stayed put pretty nicely. This was with a tent strapped transversely to the top of the rack, which will have fixated the panniers a lot better than if I had fitted the tent lengthwise. I will try that next time.
Willem
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pedalsheep
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by pedalsheep »

Thanks for that Willem.
'Why cycling for joy is not the most popular pastime on earth is still a mystery to me.'
Frank J Urry, Salute to Cycling, 1956.
andrewk
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Re: ultra light panniers

Post by andrewk »

About time! People have long concentrated on light weight tents and bikes but ignored all the rest.
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