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Bikepacking when you're short

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Bikepacking when you're short

Old 02-03-19, 09:55 AM
  #1  
rivers
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Bikepacking when you're short

As the title says, I'm short (5'2"), which means my bikes are fairly small framed (45 and 47cm respectively). And I want to go on some bikepacking adventures. Just short trips, here and there, a max of 2-3 nights as my wife won't come with me and it's hardly likely she'll approve a longer trip away. However, small bikes mean there isn't a lot of room in the frame. I have a small topeak midloader frame bag, and access to my water bottles is now limited. It's a bit better on my cx bike as it slightly bigger, and this is the bike I would be using. My other concerns are saddle bags touching the rear wheel, and bar bags being too big. I won't be wild camping, but likely staying in country pubs/b&b/airbnb/hostel type settings as I'm not great in the actual wilderness, but I will spend a good amount of time off-road (singletrack, bridleways, towpaths, woodland). I'm not keen on panniers as I don't like how my bikes handle with them on. Any tips/tricks/etc from any short people who have gone bikepacking?
Attached is my CX bike. Clearance is even tighter on my road bike.
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Old 02-03-19, 10:00 AM
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I see you have lugs- just get a rear rack. You'll be able to strap a lot of gear on it without resting on the rear wheel. Use blue Loctite on the fasteners and it will stay put. Augment that with a small backpack and leave the water bottles where they are. Good luck!
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Old 02-03-19, 11:44 AM
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A few idea in the photos below,

1st photo, I took this photo of a bike I saw in 2016 where the owner had a bracket to keep his bag off of the rear tire. It was clearly a DIY bracket. A friend of mine had the same issue, so I took that photo for him.




2nd and 3rd photos, a couple people I met in Iceland and their bikes, they were camping so on the bikes you see their tent and sleeping bags. In other words they packed really light, yet they had the camping gear on the bikes for a two week trip in cold weather. (I did not ask permission to post their photos on line, thus I cropped out their faces.) On the first of these two photos, I think the bottle in the downtube cage was not water but was used for more camping gear or clothing.





4th photo, could you fit a frame bag in the front part of the triangle and use one water bottle on your seat tube instead of two water bottles? Although I was only day tripping when I took this photo, it does show what I mean on the frame bag shape.

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Old 02-03-19, 11:53 AM
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Optimized set-up is:

650b wheels to account for bag height below saddle/above wheel
Full size frame bag with water bladder to get ride of bottles or no frame bag but with two stem bags that give about the same storage
Offset handlebar bag harness should clear handlebars - can use a specific harness and then find a generic dry bag to fit if bars are narrower than 40cm

I did a smallest size surly straggler set up this way for a rider last year. Feedback was very good, let me know if you want specifics.
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Old 02-03-19, 11:58 AM
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In a similar vein.

Here's a shot of one of my bikes, like Tourist, the frame bag allows one water bottle. I have an oversized cage so I use a Naglene 1.5L. Also, a back rack allows you to bungee a simple drybag to the top but keeps things off the tire. Up front, use a gas tank bag and either a HB bag or double ended drybag and roll it to the size that fits between your bars. That should be enough room for gear to stay indoors.

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Old 02-03-19, 12:05 PM
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Your frame has the mounting holes for a traditional rack that will carry panniers. I know it's not trendy.
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Old 02-03-19, 12:09 PM
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Panniers on the fork look cool and are more stable. But it looks like you would need a different fork, one with a low-rider mount.

eg: https://www.rodeo-labs.com/rodeospork/

I may do the same, but I'm only at the browsing stage of shopping. (I have a 54 cm frame, which still limits the frame bag options).

It looks like you have plenty of room for an extended saddle bag like those in pictures posted above.
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Old 02-03-19, 12:56 PM
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Put water bottles in stem bags and get a frame bag that fills the triangle. You can get a custom frame bag from Rogue Panda to fill the triangle completely.

I know you said you don't like panniers, but small panniers (like Front Rollers or Ortlieb Gravel-packs would give you more capacity than a seat bag. There's even the new category of "micro panniers".

Plus a strap on water bottle holder under the down tube.

You could load up like this bike, but with a smaller handlebar roll:

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Old 02-03-19, 02:23 PM
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I shamelessly combine trendy bike-packing bags with panniers.

But in my defense, they match.
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Old 02-03-19, 09:59 PM
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Dont fret about a rear rack made for road bikes etc, such as an Axiom streamliner, and using some smaller panniers, as the rear weight wont be much, and will be fine on singletrack etc--again, not much weight in small panniers means they arent bouncing around and will be stable and have more volume than a seat bag.

handlebar bags can work fine also, and added bonus of some being waterproof, especially as some of your wording indicates that you may be in the UK, nice to have waterproof stuff.
Given no camping stuff, its not hard to have a simple set of clothes, off bike clothes can be as simple as a light pair of long quick dry type pants that look fine, arent heavy, a simple rolled up t shirt or button shirt for that matter, again light, 1 or two pairs of undies, a light fleece, a windshell or better yet, a rain jacket, rain pants, and you're set. Toiletries, repair stuff, pump, spare tube, and you pretty much have things covered.
Handlebar bag can hold phone, wallet stuff, some snacks, even some clothes or whatever.

very doable, and even on trails and such, panniers can work fine and be solid, especially with a lighter load.

start looking at options and adding up prices of things.

there is a UK bikepacking bag company, names escapes me, with reasonable prices for a whole kit of bags, you may know the name as I cant remember.

waterproof panniers by ortlieb are cheaper in europe than in here, so searching around can give you an idea of costs---as Im sure as with everyone, you have to balance costs, but getting well made stuff is generally worth it if you are a long time biker and intend to remain that way, as it will get used and last, and of course, work better than cheap stuff.


Alpkit is the company.

again though, dont forego rear panniers, they work fine for what you want to do--and not heavy panniers with a good attachment system will be even less "floppy" than a higher up, quite full seat bag thingee. I have ridden a lot on rough terrain and small, light rear panniers are fine , stay put and dont wag around, and are easy to take off. Bonus, you can strap light stuff to the top of the rack if need be, and handling is not bad at all, certainly in my experience not as dire as you worry about.

Last edited by djb; 02-03-19 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 02-04-19, 05:52 AM
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You can switch to side load water bottle cages to deal with the framepack issue.
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Old 02-04-19, 04:35 PM
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Given the lack of camping gear needed, you might be able to fit a couple nights worth of stuff into just a frame bag if it were a full frame bag. For water bottles, you can either get the handlebar mounted holders as pictured above or even use one of the double bottle holders that mounts onto the back of the seat. I believe it's a triathlon thing, but it might be perfect for your needs if you aren't going to run a seat bag anyway. I bet you could still run a seat bag without it hitting the tire, though. That DIY mount posted above for keeping a bag off of the tire looks awesome. And remember you can always use p-clamps for attaching things on a road bike where there are no mounts for racks.
https://www.amazon.com/Minoura-Saddl.../dp/B076LS2TYH
Or the top cap cage mount on this page. http://kingcage.com/index.php?products=yes

Last edited by 3speed; 02-04-19 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 02-04-19, 04:55 PM
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in the end, if you go with a large bikepacking seatbag and a handlebar bag, you'll just have to live with the volume restrictions.

I'd suggest setting out what clothes you think you would take, to get a real world size and volume idea of what you are dealing with--good for when looking at products online or in shops.
Have fun doing whatever you do, and if you do do it , and find things you would have changed, well, thats normal and part of the experience, and you can change them if you wish to continue this sort of thing.

ps, given what you say is probably the likely surfaces you'll be on, put on as wide tires as you can safely on your frame. Those look like 32 or 35s?
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Old 02-04-19, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jpescatore View Post
You can switch to side load water bottle cages to deal with the framepack issue.
or get this:




Linkie
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Old 02-04-19, 06:32 PM
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and bang your knees all black and blue every time you come to a stop....

ps, I know its from a legit company, but I cant see how it wouldnt be in the way, but maybe Im wrong....who knows.

Last edited by djb; 02-04-19 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 02-04-19, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
and bang your knees all black and blue every time you come to a stop....

ps, I know its from a legit company, but I cant see how it wouldnt be in the way, but maybe Im wrong....who knows.
I am not short so I cannot comment via that aspect but I have the B-Rad system on my road bike and my knees don't touch them at all sometimes very rarely I brush the sides but not often. They don't put the bottles out so far but a little farther. The only times I had knee hitting issues was with my bar end shifters and that again was pretty rare.



A rear bag should fit fine. It looks like you have plenty of space there as your saddle is not slammed so you should be able to fit something. You can also go with a traditional rack and pannier set up which usually works quite well.
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Old 02-05-19, 03:43 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I won't be going the pannier and rack route. I had a rack and panniers on my old bike, and I just didn't like the way the handling was affected. In the end, I only used it if I needed to carry more to work than I could fit in my backpack. i'll head to my local shop and see what they have in stock for saddlebags and perhaps full frame packs and see what happens when I test it on my bike.
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Old 02-05-19, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Those look like 32 or 35s?
35s. I can definitely fit 38s, might be able to squeeze on some 40s
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Old 02-05-19, 03:53 AM
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What size of tires are you using?

I'd probably go with 26", or possibly even 24".

It won't help the space in your center triangle much (although you could get a vintage horizontal top tube). But, it will give you a little more space for your rear rack/seat bag, and handlebar bag, and less toe overlap with the front wheel.
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Old 02-05-19, 04:05 AM
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All the best then. I've ridden a lot on rough surfaces, so after you get set up with a bag system, you'll see how your bike is with the 35s, and adjust if necessary then.
you didn't say if you're a Brit, but if so, look into this that small company alpkit.
Other companies that make great seat bags like revelate design are not cheap, 200 dollars Canadian for a seat bag easily.
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Old 02-05-19, 04:11 AM
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Vegan-interesting that the bottle system works. I imagine the big factor is it being so far up the frame, closer to the headset area.
but if he puts in a full frame bag, it will be a moot point.
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Old 02-05-19, 12:10 PM
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One more thought. If you are not camping, only need enough volume to carry a change of clothes or two, rain gear and maybe lunch, perhaps a Carradice saddle bag.

They are not inexpensive if bought in the USA, but in Europe their price might be more comparable to the other options. They are made in the UK. In the photo below on my folding bike I have a Carradice Pendle saddle bag.
https://www.carradice.co.uk/bags/sad...ndle-saddlebag

The bag is designed for saddle loops which only some saddles now come with. The saddle in the photo lacks the saddle bag loops, instead I put the straps through the springs on my sprung saddle. There also are other brackets or mounts to attach such a bag to other saddles that lack the loops. On your bike you would likely still need some form of support to hold it above the tire however.

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Old 02-05-19, 02:01 PM
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and if you dont want your bike to look like its your great uncle Jeremy's bike from 1965, or that 1970s camera bag look (just kidding , not being mean) there are modern material ones like

https://www.arkel-od.com/en/rollpack...-seat-bag.html

but again, if you have an issue with how your bike handles with panniers on, think about how any of these seatbags that hold usually 15litres will be wagging away way high up, compared to either a closer in bag like these ones, or even better yet, 25l panniers like the Dry Lites by Arkel about a foot and a half lower down.....

I was wrong, 15l modern bikepacking bags are more like 200-250 cad. plus taxes, so getting up to 300 bucks.

that alpkit company seems to have a roughly 200 dollar kit of a 3 or 4 bag ensemble. Dont know availability or quality.
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Old 02-05-19, 05:06 PM
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I bought one of these https://www.rei.com/product/120337/p...-seatpost-rack then I decided I wanted something else. This rack worked quite well, but I wanted more options so I went with the OMM rear rack.
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Old 02-06-19, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Put water bottles in stem bags and get a frame bag that fills the triangle. You can get a custom frame bag from Rogue Panda to fill the triangle completely.

I know you said you don't like panniers, but small panniers (like Front Rollers or Ortlieb Gravel-packs would give you more capacity than a seat bag. There's even the new category of "micro panniers".

Plus a strap on water bottle holder under the down tube.

You could load up like this bike, but with a smaller handlebar roll:

The lengths that people go to so as to avoid Camelbaks just astounds me I carry one bottle on the frame of my bikepacking bike but it usually has a sport drink in it.
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