Bicycle Tours: Packing Guide

Bicycle Tours Packing Guide ...

Choosing Panniers/Saddlebags



The number and size of the saddlebags that you choose to take on your bicycle tour will depend upon the type of trip you are undertaking.

You will obviously be carrying a great deal more gear on a self-catered / camping trip than you need to on a commercial bike tour - where a lot of equipme and accomodation is organized for you.

Remember to add into your calculations free space for any from souvenirs you pick up along the way.

Shop around and compare pannier capacities before you decide to purchase.

Don't go overboard with the quantity of saddlebags you take on your bicycle tour - because remember you will need to carry and load them all, at certain points in the journey.

It is a good idea to buy good quality panniers that are as waterproof as possible. You will also need to research the degree of 'waterproofness' of each saddlebag. Very few are 100% waterproof.

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Having said this there are steps you can take to 'sure up' your pannier and gear internally, against wetness and damp - with the use of plastic 'slider bags' (see below ).

Whichever style you choose, you will need to get the right saddlebag weight distribution on your bicycle - not only for your balance - but also optimal cycling aerodynamics.


Which Size Pannier & How Many?

Saddlebag Sizes: For Commercial / Non-Camping Bike Tours

Short Trip With Bare Necessities:

2 x Waterproof Saddlebags (15 x 10 x 5 inches or 38 x 25 x13 cm)
1 x Handlebar Bag
1 x Day Pack

Long Trip With Bare Necessities

2 x Waterproof Saddlebags (16 x 13 x 6 inches or 41 x 33 x15 cm)
1 x Handlebar Bag
1 x Day Pack

Saddlebag Sizes: For Self Catered / Camping Bicycle Tours

Trip With Bare Necessities

2 x Waterproof Saddlebags - for your front tires
(15 x 10 x 5 inches or 38 x 25 x13 cm),
2 x Waterproof Saddlebags - for your rear tires
(15 x 10 x 5 inches or 38 x 25 x13 cm),
1 x Handlebar Bag
1 x Day Pack


Attaching Panniers To Your Touring Bicycle

To Attach Saddlebags To Your Bicycle You Need A Few Key Ingredients:


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Your rear rack needs to be long enough so that you can transport your panniers comfortably without clipping your feet on the bags as you pedal.

The rear rack also needs to be strong enough bear the full weight of two loaded panniers.

To keep the saddlebags firmly attached you will need to invest in a quality system.
One of the best systems - that won't come away from the rack/ panniers - is constructed of metal clips that hold the bags in place at the top. There are then hooks at the bottom that are secured by a combination of straps attached to clips, hooks and loop fastners.

If you are taking your own bicycle touring then make sure you have these logistical issues in place BEFORE you depart.


Waterproofing Your Gear

The chances are pretty high that you will encounter some form of bad weather during your cycling tour, so make sure you pack some form of wet weather gear ... just ensure it as lightweight as possible.

Also invest in good quality saddlebags with a high level of water resistance / waterproofing.

Rain covers are another good idea for protecting your luggage if you are going cycling in the wet season or in an area known for big downpours.

Inside your saddlebags pack and label all your gear in individual slider plastic bags. To reduce the space used, squeeze the air out of the bag before slide-locking and then wrap the plastic bag with rubber bands.

There Are Multiple Benefits To Using ' Slider Plastic Bags'

(As opposed to other types of plastic bags)

    Slider Plastic Bags
  • Your gear will stay dry and the contents are easily identifiable
  • The slider bag won't pop open - unlike other forms of plastic bags.
  • If your toiletries spill then they will be contained in their own little packet and won't go through your entire pannier.
  • There is a great range of slider bag sizes available - so you can cater for all your different items.

Remember to pack your heavier items on the bottom of your panniers and place your wet weather gear on top where you can access it easily.

Bicycle Tours: Packing Guide

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