Packing for touring.

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by sadjack, 5 Jan 2008.

  1. sadjack

    sadjack Senior Member

    Leading on from my previous post about trailers, now that I have decided to go down the pannier route, is there any wisdom on how the bike should be loaded? Distribution of weight etc. I'm thinking heavy stuff should be at the back but will that overload the rear wheel? Should I be looking to get some sort of even weight across the bike?

    People carry different gear so its not so much the content, but how its packed in to make the ride as comfortable as possible.

    Look forward to hearing from you.
  2. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Four panniers
    try to spread the load equally sideto side..with heavier items on the back.
    Think about ease of access to items you need as well when packing
    pack things the same way each morning if possible..thta way you get quick at it
    any liquids in seperate poly bags ( I have mine outside the inner pannier liner) i.e contact lens fluid
    roll up shirts etc and pack vertically (you can see which one you want easier that way)
    heavier items as low down in the bags as posible
  3. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I read you should inflate the back tyre slightly more than the front one due to the extra weight.
  4. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Meanwood, Leeds
    I kept lightweight stuff in my front panniers. One had my trangia, first aid kit, tea, powdered milk and a few snacks in it. Drumming up a brew was a simple matter of unclipping a single pannier and all of the gubbins is to hand.

    The other pannier had my Thermarest sleeping mat and sleeping bag along with a couple of spare innertubes, tyre levers and a multitool in a side pocket.

    For the rear pannniers, lightweight stuff and food that would be eaten during the day was packed last.

    The advice proffered here will set you on your way though you can't beat a few mini tours to refine your packing list/packing order.
  5. OP

    sadjack Senior Member


    I guess your right Vernon, experience is priceless, but as far as touring goes I have none....yet!
  6. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    vernon is right...i packed somewhat differently after i did my 'shakedown' pre tour overnight camp/ride last year.

    I use one of my front bags to keep all my wash stuff in and towel etc....that way all I have to do at th ecampsite is grab the pannier and head off to the bathroom/shower etc without having to unpack anything else....or if it's dark it's easier to find everything etc.

    Keep valuables in your bar bag...but I also carry a spare 'bit of plastic' in the bottom of a rear bag in case the bar bag gets nicked. Also put your camera and phone etc in the bar bag and a torch...and ipod...and maps etc...

    ..but never forget what a bar bag is really for...chocolate digestives.

    Pack your tent footprint tarpaulin in the same bag as your tent,or wrap the tent in it. Count your tent pegs back into the bag when you de camp.

    Use a stuff sack for your sleeping bag

    Don't take anything you wont need.
  7. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Meanwood, Leeds
    It's a wonderful experience. I can't wait to doing a mini two day tour or two possibly at Easter. I fancy a doing back to back pairs of 100km Audaxes so I'm looking for somewhere around 100km from Leeds. Hawes is the favourite destination at the moment for one of the tours. I'm planning on trying to get away with two panniers for the trip as my focus is on getting the Audaxes done at the 15km/hr pace inc breaks - part of my fitness/weight loss campaingn for 2008 - I'm currently 24" under-height for my weight.

    What equipment do you have already? You existing gear i.e. sleeping bag and sleeping mat might pre-determine the capacity of the panniers that you buy.
  8. OP

    sadjack Senior Member

    Well i've just bought me bike, a Dawes Super Galaxy (yes I know its been mentioned in another post but I like it!)

    My tent and sleeping bag are small lightweight Vango things that stuff down pretty well.

    What I was after more than anything is how the bike should be loaded, ie heavy stuff at the back, or an even distribution of weight somehow so that the front and back wheels carry a similar load.

    Never having cycled with a laded bike I'm trying to short cut the learning curve!
  9. vernon

    vernon Harder than Ronnie Pickering

    Meanwood, Leeds

    I don't think that anyone gets the scales out and distributes weight. One of the of the guides to use is not to exceed the recommended load rating of the racks. Otherwise it's light stuff at the front, heavy stuff at the back.
  10. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    Vernon has put it in a nutshell here.:biggrin:
    We all seem to have different priorities as to what luggage to pack for a tour, so you must, I think, just do some short tours to find out what is in your view essential equipment.
    Weighting towards the back is good, but too much weight in the rear panniers can make the bike quite difficult to handle when you are dismounted, eg maneouvring around street furniture, on to trains, up stairs etc.
  11. Abitrary

    Abitrary New Member

    I *honestly* wouldn't worry about any of it.

    If you do find yourself cycling at an angle, then redistribute some weight.

    Also, you end up taking it all out every day, and having to put it back in again in the same pattern will drive you mad.

    Unless you are already mad
  12. OP

    sadjack Senior Member

    I didn't mention that? I really must learn to give the full facts when asking for help! :biggrin:
  13. sloe

    sloe New Member

    Three panniers: strap your tent to one side of your front rack, that'll save you about 600g.
  14. P.H

    P.H Über Member

    A couple of weeks in summer, not too far from civilisation and I manage with two small panniers, small saddlebag and a bar bag. The tent gets strapped to the rack.
    You can't really separate what you're carrying from how to carry it. I find anything less than 15kg is better just on the back, over that and I'll fit the front rack. My front rack and panniers weigh more than my tent, I'm no weight weenie but neither am I going to carry anything unnecessary.
  15. A useful tip (and the way I do it) is to treat each pannier like a room in your house. So, one rear pannier is the kitchen (Trangia, cooking fuel, crockery and so on), one is the bedroom (sleeping bag, Thermarest) and garage (toolkit, spare tubes, D lock etc. in rear pannier pocket). One front pannier is the larder (food, obviously) and the other is the chest of drawers (ok, so the room analogy falls down a bit here). Valuables (camera, wallet) live in the bar bag and the tent lives on top of the rear rack. Well, it works for me.
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