This is a (belated) first serious attempt at packing with the not-quite new rear panniers (or paneers, as I heard a blogger pronounce it the other day 🙂 ). With the old panniers, I would have strapped the sleeping mat to the top of one, and the tent to the top of the other. Since I can’t strap anything to the top of them, I have to work it all out some other way. What I’ve done is placed the bike bag on top of the rack, scrunched down as it can’t quite fit as-is between the extra-height panniers. Over-top of that I’ve strapped the sleeping bag, and the mattress and tent get strapped to the top of a front pannier each.
Boy, am I glad I didn’t move to Summits on the front as well! I was originally going to title this entry as “Summit Panniers Suck” – not entirely true, and maybe they’re streets ahead of most panniersÂ in terms of stability and what have you, but I really liked the way the Wilderness Equipment people thought about using panniers in terms of how people will pack gear with them, not just in terms of how they attach to the bike.
I’ve read stories on-line about people who don’t buy gigantic panniers since that encourages overpacking – a laudable goal – but I also see some of the same people talk about putting the sleeping bag into a pannier; if I did that I’d have no room for anything else (unless I bought gigantic panniersÂ – maybe these people don’t carry any clothes apart from what they wear 😉 )
In terms of strapping things to the rear rack, I can’t put the tent and/or mat in line with the bike without half or more of the item(s) flopping over the rear of the bike; that won’t work. Putting items cross-wise, means I could put both tent and mattress above the bike bag, and the sleeping bag would have to go on one of the front panniers. However, that means an unbalanced load up front (unless I pack extra – last trip up north I balanaced the load with some sandshoesÂ and I guess some walking shoes is a good idea). I’ll also have to rearrange the tools away from the underseat tool bag for this to work
Some more tests show that the sleeping bag could fit in the top of a rear pannier. It can’t fit sideways, but could work upwards, providing I move half the rest of the contents somewhere else, if possible. That would mean putting the the tent and mattress forward as pictured, but leave extra space on top to strap other stuff.
With the pictured arrangement, I find that my turning circle has been cut but about 10-15 degrees, I think, as the tent and mattress protrude front and back that much extra beyond the front panniers. Not that I think I need much turning room, but it’s a negative change, IMO.
Similarly, I used to be able to present to the luggage department with three nice bundles – a bagged bike, a joined pair of rear panniers with items strapped to their tops, and a joined pair of front panniers with strapped items. Now, I will have to carry at least four bundles, which is a pain.
Overall, in the course of testing before writing this, and in checking ideas that came to me in the course of writing, I think that the picture shows the best general packing method, but it really feels like a compromise 🙁
Update: I’ve also found that I’ll likely need new ockie straps before I head off anywhere too – they’re looking at bit worn.