Author Topic: Packing panniers  (Read 3214 times)

navrig

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Packing panniers
« on: March 16, 2023, 09:40:26 am »
I am preparing for a longish tour starting next month.

Prior to this I did a 4 day coast to coast in Scotland.  I had two lightly packed rear panniers and a bar bag.

Due to the longer tour and different environment I need to pack more stuff - more tools, sun protection creams and so on.

I will be taking stuff which I hope not to use except if I have mech problems so the toolkit goes at the bottom of one pannier.

I have packing cubes which are shaped to the panniers so they are best used soft stuff (clothes etc).

Soon on this basis I could have a soft pannier and a lumpy pannier.

My question is how much do I need to focus on balancing the weight between the two rear panniers?

PH

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2023, 10:14:34 am »
My question is how much do I need to focus on balancing the weight between the two rear panniers?
I'd say not much, I base that on thousands of miles commuting with one pannier, quite often heavier than either of my touring panniers.
OTOH - If it's no big deal and a matter of organising once and sticking to it, then balance might be a slight advantage, certainly no disadvantage.  Balancing front panniers is supposed to be more important, even then many riders don't give it much consideration.
Quote
the toolkit goes at the bottom of one pannier.
I split my tools into two, the stuff I might need (Multi-tool, puncture kit, chain oil) and the stuff I probably won't.  The first is easily accessible on the bike, the other at the bottom of the pannier.
I like to take a day bag, saddlebag in my case, but there's plenty of choice.  In it I pack everything I might need while riding, plus a bit of capacity for shopping. If I end up staying somewhere more than one night and go for a ride, I don't have to think about what to pack, it's already in one bag.  Plus, even when moving on, I don't need to open the panniers till I reach the days destination.
You'll probably find what works for you and it may not be the same as what works for me or anyone else, though I have toured with very experienced tourers who still spend an extraordinary amount of time faffing because they don't know where they've put something!

navrig

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2023, 11:24:52 am »
Thanks PH.

I have a saddle bag for tubes, mini-tool and tyre levers.  It also has a few CO2 cannisters.

in4

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2023, 01:12:15 pm »
I use travel scales weigh to often! I like things pretty even and with the weight low in each pannier.
I find having to much weight in my bar bag more problematic. I use a T bar with it and it can feel a bit ‘twitchy’ when too heavy.

mickeg

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2023, 01:23:06 pm »
Rear panniers do not need to be balanced at all as long as you have a bike frame and rack that are stiff enough, and almost all bikes are stiff enough.  I am assuming you are using a good quality rack.

I regularly go to a grocery store with one pannier and come home with as much as 5 to 8kg weight in it with no pannier on the other side.  No problem at all.  That said, when you are off of a bike and maneuvering it by hand with your feet on the ground, a bike that has a heavy load on one side really feels off balance.

I usually try to balance the weight in panniers, they are easier to carry in the campsite if they are closer to equal in weight.  But I put minimal effort into it.

You however might bring shame upon the entire bike touring community if you use an unsightly lumpy pannier <just joking here>.

Danneaux

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2023, 05:23:42 pm »
Along with Ian (In4), I may be the exception in carrying a travel scale and balancing my load. I find if I ride with a load unbalanced side-to-side, I develop a backache that is at first niggling, the a real distraction unless I address the problem. Once things are on an even keel (so to speak) all is well once again. May be one of those YMMV things.

Best, Dan.

navrig

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2023, 08:32:41 am »
The bike is a Shand Stoater so I have no concerns about stiffness.  The rear rack is a Torteq Expedition which looks pretty robust.

I guess it's all a matter of degree.  Putting a slab of lager in one pannier and a feather pillow in the other is not a good idea.  I suspect I can probably get to a 60/40 split without too much of an issue.

Moronic

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2023, 06:03:51 am »
As thought experiment, put 50kg in one pannier and nothing in the other.

The bike will ride fine but you'll be balancing the load with the steering.

That might be okay for a trip home from Main St but might get wearing on tour.
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martinf

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2023, 12:00:21 pm »
As thought experiment, put 50kg in one pannier and nothing in the other.

The bike will ride fine but you'll be balancing the load with the steering.

That might be okay for a trip home from Main St but might get wearing on tour.

50kg would probably break the pannier or the hooks that hold it to the rack. Assuming the rack will take 50kg. I think the Thorn rack would, but less sure about the Raven Tour frame to which it is attached.

10kg in one rear pannier works OK, at least for shopping trips, but if I intend carrying more than about 5 kg I prefer to even things out a bit over 2 panniers. Even so, I tend to put bottles and refrigerated stuff on one side and dry goods on the other, so there can be big differences.

For touring I try to more or less balance the weight in the front panniers in case it affects the steering.

I'm not so bothered about the rear panniers but they are usually at worst about 60/40.

mickeg

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2023, 01:14:39 pm »
As thought experiment, put 50kg in one pannier and nothing in the other.

The bike will ride fine but you'll be balancing the load with the steering.

That might be okay for a trip home from Main St but might get wearing on tour.

50kg would probably break the pannier or the hooks that hold it to the rack. Assuming the rack will take 50kg. I think the Thorn rack would, but less sure about the Raven Tour frame to which it is attached.
...

I do not have a Thorn rack, if I recall correctly it is rated at 60 kg if you use M6 bolts, but 40kg with M5 bolts.  My Tubus Logo EVO is rated at 40 kg.  And I am sure that the rating is based on a balanced load, only half of the total on each side.

Think about it, 50 kg is 50 liters of water, my Ortlieb Backrollers are each 20 liters in capacity.  You must have filled a pannier with rocks to get it up to 50 kg. 

I used to be able to lift my Triumph T100R engine/gearbox unit, that was a bit under 50 kg, but I would not be strong enough to do that now.

PH

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2023, 05:13:55 pm »
Back this afternoon from a couple of nights camping and an Audax. A wet forecast and lack of packing discipline saw the 9.4kg packed on Thu evening grow to 10.86.  Weight distributed like this
L pannier 3.47
R pannier 2.65
Saddlebag 2.77
Pole bag on rack 1
Barbag 0.97
That's everything, including the bags and the stuff I'd take on a day ride.
Should of weighed again when I go home, the heavier pannier includes the tent and after a night of rain there was probably another half kg.
So, now I know, 870g difference, it's not something I've ever noticed, though as Dan says, others might.


« Last Edit: March 26, 2023, 05:16:44 pm by PH »

navrig

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2023, 03:51:02 pm »
I have done a trial pack with about 98% of the final contents.  Just stuff that I need between now and departure which is not packed.  It's quite a neat setup and I have probably skimped on clothes but added some stuff which I may not need.  Thankfully I am not precious about wearing the same 2 or 3 t-shirts for 12 weeks.

I took the bike for a very short spin locally and it feels fine so I am no longer concerned about weight distribution.

PH

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2023, 10:36:42 am »
I took the bike for a very short spin locally and it feels fine so I am no longer concerned about weight distribution.
Looking good - Do you have some spare capacity?  I find there's always circumstances on tour where I need it.  I try and keep my saddlebag no more than half full and also have a lightweight bag rolled up, the goodie bag sort given away all over the place, which is OK for a few miles (I'll move stuff around to put the lightest in that bag)

navrig

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Re: Packing panniers
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2023, 06:52:06 pm »
I think I've got some some space if only by how much I can roll down the panniers when closing them but TBH I wouldn't like to have much more weight on the bike.