How To Pack Bicycle Touring Panniers

In this video, Darren Alff of shows you how to pack your panniers for a long-distance bicycle tour. Learn more about bicycle tourin…
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25 thoughts on “How To Pack Bicycle Touring Panniers

  1. Some additional ideas. I use “space bags”, which are zip-lock style bags
    but thicker plastic and with a better seal, to provide waterproofing and
    space saving. These bags are designed for storing bulky clothing,
    blankets, etc., in a compressed condition to save space. They would be
    good for storing your clothing more compactly. To compress, I lay a stack
    of items flat into the bag, sit on it, and zip the seal closed. The bags
    seal out air so the contents stay flat, compressed, and dry for a very long

    An alternative for space saving is to use compression bags to squish
    compressible items, the same as you compressed your sleeping bag. They
    come in various sizes.

    If you arrive at your campsite during rain, the first thing you’ll want to
    do is set up your tent for waterproof shelter before you unpack your
    panniers. Therefore, I keep my tent easily accessible, not buried deep
    inside the pannier under other things. Moreover, you don’t want to set up
    your tent in the rain if you can help it, since you’ll have a wet tent.
    You first want to set up the rain fly over the tent pole skeleton, on a
    ground tarp (or “footprint”). I haven’t yet done this, but I’m going to
    arrange that I can do it in that order by making some straps or paracords
    that are the right length to hold the tent poles where the 4 corners of the
    tent will go. Then I can do it in this order: lay down the ground tarp,
    then the straps on the 2 diagonals, then poles’ end fittings into loops on
    the ends of the straps, then tie the poles at the apex so they support
    themselves, then toss the fly over and secure its corners, then put the
    pannier with the tent inside the fly vestibule, go in, lay out the tent
    floor and pull the tent up to the poles, secure the tent clips to the poles
    as you go. Once you’ve done this, you can bring the rest of the panniers
    into the vestibule and unpack what you need inside the tent, all kept dry
    by the rainfly. A few tents actually are made so that they are normally
    erected under the fly.

  2. Is there a reason you opt to carry a backpack in the pannier instead of
    using Ortlieb’s accessory to turn the pannier itself into a backpack? Or is
    it just something like you already had the backpack?.

  3. Great video. Thanks fro sharing. Ive been wondering about this for awhile.
    Question: have you been able to find free places to sleep along your route
    to keep your trip inexpensive? Are there any camping/cyclist free couch
    surfing kinds of networks in Europe I can look into? I found a free cycling
    stay-for-free network in the USA called “Warm Showers”(iPhone App/website)
    which is a free cycling camping network. Can you recommend anything like
    this please for Europe. Thanks in advance.

    -Seattle, USA

  4. I agree.. a professional approach no doubt. One hell of a bike too. I
    haven’t a front rack or panniers but a rear rack with two panniers. I’m yet
    to tour and have been carrying shopping. With the addition of a lock today
    the weight is high on the rear and so light on the front. Could this be a
    problem to have so little on the front? Just a thought.

  5. Another great video! Btw, how much extra weight are you carrying? Please
    discuss weight some……up to how much is comfortable, what is the max you
    can handle, etc. Thanks. Big Ron

  6. I don’t know what model it is exactly. It is a Columbia backpack. I got it
    at an outlet store near my home in Utah (USA) for $25 USD.

  7. Mr Pro I love that solar panel you’re carrying, I’m going to have go out &
    buy one now. Great video, like how everything has its place in your bags so
    you always know where things are 🙂

  8. Bravo, well done! Besides the great information, some of which, I will
    surely incorporate on tour. I especially appreciate the professionalism of
    the video, the instruction and presentation are both succinct, to the point
    and well thought out. Again thank you.

  9. I noticed you keep your sleeping bag in the same pannier as your tent. My
    experience has been that is a good way to have a very wet night. If you
    ride in an area that has a lot of rain your tent probably will not be dry.
    Putting it anywhere near our sleeping bag almost guaranties Murphys Law
    will have it’s way with you.

  10. Ah.. I bought this heavy lock U- locky Kryptonite today. Would it have been
    better to get a lighter lock.. and just risk it? Do most people on tour
    just use basic locks? I guess in cities you need something better.

  11. I normally pack my unworn clothes in garbage bag, separate from soiled
    clothes( also in own garbage bag). They will be together, and tidily fresh.

  12. How were you able to travel longer than 3 months in Europe? I know the
    standard Schenegen “visa” is for 90 days. Any tips to stay longer? Thanks,

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