Author Topic: Saddle bags  (Read 1037 times)

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Offline darren.pinkham

Saddle bags
« on: September 30, 2013, 09:22:12 pm »
Hey guys so I plan on biking across Canada next summer and I was just wondering what a good size is for saddle bags. I'm going to be camping most of the way so they have to be big enough to hold all my gear any suggestions?

Darren

Offline DaveB

Re: Saddle bags
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 07:46:56 am »
Bicycle "saddle bags" are known to the trade as "Panniers" and a search for them will produce many different makes in a huge range of sizes, prices and features.

First you need an accurate definition of what "all my gear" means.  Are you an ultra-light camper or a luxury camper?  Do you want to take all of your electronic toys like a laptop, smart phone, camera, etc. or will you only take the absolute necessities?  Do you plan to travel with a 20 pound load or a 60 pound load?  Those choices will determine how many and what size panniers you require.  As to cost, features and quality, those are a function of your budget and how much use you plan to make of them in the future.

If you are going to take a fairly large or bulky load, you will need both front and rear racks for your bike and a set of front and rear panniers.  If you are a very light traveler, a rear rack and a set of rear panniers should be sufficient.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Saddle bags
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 10:13:36 am »
Collect all your gear. Put it in one or more cardboard boxes to measure its volume. Add a bit more for carrying extra food and water where required. I prefer to have more room than I need, but you must have the discipline not to fill it up just because it is there. More room than you need allows you the flexibility to add extras when required, and it also simplifies packing and looking for things.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Saddle bags
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 08:46:49 am »
Once you've gathered your gear and purchased your panniers and racks, practice. Take some short overnight trips in different weather conditions. You must learn how to ride and set up camp in rain and wind. Sign up for a week-long supported tour. Refine your techniques and reduce your gear inventory to only what's necessary to remain warm, dry and comfortable. Everything else is known, collectively, as an anchor.

There are so many things newbies think are important to haul. There are many other things they don't know are necessary or can be acquired in lightweight or multi-functional versions.

Also, remember that bicyclists have been riding across the continents and around the world for more than a hundred years, without synthetics or electronics, and have enjoyed themselves tremendously.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline darren.pinkham

Re: Saddle bags
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 07:30:18 pm »
Thanks for the replies guys I guess I should have mentioned that I plan to have both front an back panniers and travel relatively light. no electronics will be coming on this adventure except a cell phone in case of emergencies. I've been looking at many different models and sizes but just don't really know how many litres I need. the problem is that I don't yet have the bulk of my gear so I don't know how much space it will take. but I need panniers first for weekend bike trips for training.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Saddle bags
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 09:57:38 am »
Ortlieb Frontrollers are 25L a pair. Ortlieb Backrollers are 40L a pair. The Ortlieb medium handlebar bag is 7L. That adds up to 72L (4394 cubic inches). That's plenty. Since you said you travel light, you can probably get by with less, but if you want to be conservative and have some extra room for contingencies, then I'd shoot for something in this neighborhood. This should allow you to get everything except your tent (and maybe even your tent if it is small) inside a pannier. And you'll have room for a couple days worth of food and water too.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Saddle bags
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 10:24:34 am »
Here is another frame of reference that might be useful....

I have Ortlieb Sport Packers (front, 30L/pair) and Back Packers (rear, 50L/pair if you believe Wayne at The Touring Store, 42L/pair if you believe Ortlieb). My first tour with them was in an area and at a time that made carryi both warm weather and cold weather clothing prudent. From what I gather, I carry more clothing (both on and off bike) than the average person. I don't carry any electronics other than a cell phone. I am tall and broad shouldered so my clothes are larger than average, and I need a long sleeping bag and mattress. I had a companion but I carried virtually all of the cooking gear, which included a relatively bulky stove (MSR Dragonfly) and 22 oz. fuel bottle. Tent and sleeping bag went on the racks. Even with all that stuff I had plenty of room left over in by bags. Even when we had to carry food to camp I still had some room left.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Saddle bags
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 04:53:48 pm »
The Ortliebs are designed so you can snug the pannier up if you're not carrying a full load.  With the Packer series, you cinch the straps down; the Rollers can be rolled a bit more.  Either way you don't ride down the road with the bags flapping.

FWIW, the Bike Packers are enormous!  If you're packing lightly and compactly, you might want to try two pairs of Sports Packers; if you're not sure everything will fit, get one pair of the monsters.

Offline darren.pinkham

Re: Saddle bags
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2013, 06:35:10 pm »
Thanks a lot guys I really appreciate the help
Darren