Author Topic: Ultralight Panniers?  (Read 2148 times)

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Offline WarnerSpringsMonty

Ultralight Panniers?
« on: January 29, 2014, 02:23:17 pm »
I am brand new to all this, but I am an ultralight long distance backpacker. I live on the Sierra Cascade Route and the Pacific Crest Trail at Warner Springs, CA.
QUESTION: Right now total gear(similar to backpacking) minus food and water is under 10 pounds including gear to camp in freezing conditions. The Frontroller and Backroller Ortleib panniers I purchased weigh 7 pounds total! In normal weather conditions the bags will weigh as much as my gear! 
There must be someone making lighter bags? I calculate I could make a set of 4 waterproof, durable panniers of a similar size weighing a total of 2 pounds, BUT that would take me mega hours and the material costs of a bit of trial and error on expensive materials.
Any suggestions on lightening up a bit?
Is there another forum or source for "ultralight" touring or is this forum my best bet?

Thank you
Warner Springs Monty
The Fun goes Up when the Weight Goes Down ©warnerspringsmontytam
Warner Springs Monty Tam
Ultralight Backpacking
The Fun Goes Up when the Weight Goes Down ©wsmonty

Offline John Nelson

Re: Ultralight Panniers?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2014, 02:56:10 pm »
Panniers take a lot of abuse, so they usually have to be rugged, especially if you expect them to last a long time.

But you can buy a 44 liter Cuben Fiber backpack that weighs just over four ounces. I'll bet you could adapt this to bicycle touring, and it would easily hold all your gear. But these things are not designed to be long lasting.

Also, this article might give you some good ideas:

Offline staehpj1

Re: Ultralight Panniers?
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2014, 05:16:29 pm »
I stopped using panniers when I started going ultralight.  I have been using stuff sacks or dry bags and skipping the panniers.  You can see an article about my adventures in weight reduction at:

Two other approaches folks use are a big Carradice saddle bag with all their gear and the rackless systems that bike packers favor.  Check out for more on that.

If you are carrying much more than 20 pounds of stuff I'd just stick with panniers.

Offline WarnerSpringsMonty

Re: Ultralight Panniers?
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2014, 09:30:57 pm »
Pete and John
Wow. You both sent me Pete's article. I read it and got an introductory education. You both sound like experienced ultralight backpackers.

Z Packs!? Speaking of ultralight articles, the owner of Z Packs, "Samuri Joe" Valesco, took the photo in this article of mine when we finished the Pacific Crest Trail together. .

My bike came with a rear rack.  The 7 pounds of Ortleibs are going back.  I have Z Packs as a direction to go. If I go without panniers, like Pete does, they have great stuff sacks.  They also sell the materials to make a set of panniers. I have Pete's article to refer back to while I make gear changes. This is amazing. Someone suggested this site this morning and I have all of this now from just one post!

Thank You

Warner Springs Monty Tam
Ultralight Backpacking
The Fun Goes Up when the Weight Goes Down ©wsmonty

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Ultralight Panniers?
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2014, 09:33:11 pm »
I think staehpj1 already mentioned it, but you can sort of go without racks and panniers.  Adventure Cycling sells various bags that hold lots of gear.  Large saddlebags, bags that go in the main triangle, and handlebar bags.  Revelate Designs is the company that makes these.  And Carradice makes large saddlebags.  Jandd makes a large saddlebag too.  Pretty sure these bags are lighter than normal panniers.  And you are eliminating the rack weight.

Offline SlowAndSlower

Re: Ultralight Panniers?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2014, 11:02:44 am »
These Arkel DryLites look interesting to me. A plus for me is that they work with rack packs.

Offline Nicolai Michel

Re: Ultralight Panniers?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2014, 07:50:55 pm »
I ordered the Arkel Dry-Lites. Here's some info I got from the company:

The Dry-Lites seams are all sealed and the bags are completely waterproof. The Dry-Lites where design as rear saddle-bags but could be use up front if you use a front rack equipped with a plateform, such as the Old Man Mountain Sherpa front. The deck has to be at least 7 ½ inches long. These bags are designed to be extremely light, and as any piece of ultralight gear, they are definitely more fragile and they are mainly designed to carry “soft” gear like extra clothing, flip flops, jackets etc.. It is not recommended to carry heavy water bottles, mini stove, canned food etc.. These hard objects can cause wear and ultimately damage the bags.