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BOB trailer vs. Panniers?

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BOB trailer vs. Panniers?

Old 03-18-14, 06:06 AM
  #101  
indyfabz
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Originally Posted by Davet View Post
One is using BOB trailer and Ortlieb Back Roller Plus on front and rear with Ultimate 5 front bag.
One is using BOB trailer with Ortlieb Front Roller Plus on rear only with Ultimate 5 front bag.
Wow. Plenty of capacity for a spare kitchen sink.
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Old 03-18-14, 07:22 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by Davet View Post
One is using panniers only; Ortlieb Front Roller Plus and Back Roller Plus and Ultimate 5 front bag.
One is using BOB trailer and Ortlieb Back Roller Plus on front and rear with Ultimate 5 front bag.
One is using BOB trailer with Ortlieb Front Roller Plus on rear only with Ultimate 5 front bag.
Ultralight touring isn't for everyone, but going with enough gear to require panniers and a trailer is a very bad idea, in my opinion at least. I could maybe see it in very special cases like someone touring between rock climbing destinations or between gigs with his or her cello. If all you have is camping and cooking gear and your other necessary items either a trailer or panniers will not only allow you to pack your gear but to pack way too much gear.

Even those tourists I have met who were on very long tours and who packed really heavy were able to get by with one or the other. I did have a warmshowers guest who had both panniers and a trailer fully loaded to the max and he was struggling badly and ready to ship a ton of stuff home after a single day. I don't know how he made out but he was clearly miserable and had caught a ride after the first 15 miles of his tour. The hills had caught him totally overloaded and unprepared.

There certainly are folks who are strong enough to manage with that amount of gear, but I am at a loss to understand why they would want to.

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Old 03-18-14, 08:09 AM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Ultralight touring isn't for everyone, but going with enough gear to require panniers and a trailer is a very bad idea, in my opinion at least. I could maybe see it in very special cases like someone touring between rock climbing destinations or between gigs with his or her cello. If all you have is camping and cooking gear and your other necessary items either a trailer or panniers will not only allow you to pack your gear but to pack way too much gear.
+1. I don't go ultralight and even I can get everything I need to cross the country camping and cooking and preapared for a wide range of weather conditions on my racks and in my Ortlieb Sport and Back packers (no handle bar bag) with room to spare for things like food for long, isolated stretches and groceries if I need to pick them up on the way to camp. At 6'2" with broad shoulders, my clothes, footwear, mattress and sleeping bag are larger than average. Also, I carry a good amount of cooking gear, including a Dragon Fly Stove (somewhat bulky) and fuel bottle. Yet it all fits with room to spare.

In this case, if the three will be sharing gear like cookware, a stove and even possibly tents there is a reduced need for capacity/person.

According to The Touring Store's web site, that second set up is 8.3 lbs. of bags. Assuming a Tubus Cargo (with hardware) and Tara low rider, you are up to about 11.3 lbs. The B.O.B. adds at least another 13 lbs. (Not sure if that weight incudes the dry bag or not.) That's nearly 25 lbs. before you pack a thing.
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Old 03-18-14, 08:14 AM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Ultralight touring isn't for everyone, but going with enough gear to require panniers and a trailer is a very bad idea, in my opinion at least.
<snipped>

I don't think so, at least in this case. They're women, women carry stuff. They are not loading their bikes with a lot of weight, but there's lots of volume. This trip has been planned for near a year.

They have done several week-long 'practice' tours in the hills and mountains of Eastern Washington and Oregon and seem satisfied that they can get the job done with what they have.

Last edited by Davet; 03-18-14 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 03-18-14, 10:38 AM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by Davet View Post
They're women, women carry stuff.
I have toured with women and met quite a few more while touring and none of them were carrying an especially large amount of gear. In general they carried less than the guys I met.

Originally Posted by Davet View Post
They have done several week-long 'practice' tours in the hills and mountains of Eastern Washington and Oregon and seem satisfied that they can get the job done with what they have.
Hopefully their trip will go well. I have met riders who carried a lot of stuff and were happy.
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Old 03-18-14, 10:47 AM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by Davet View Post
They are not loading their bikes with a lot of weight, but there's lots of volume.
I forgot to mention this in my other response. By most standards they are almost certainly carrying a lot of weight. As indyfabz said one of them has 25 pounds of empty panniers and trailer. That is already as much as a fair number of folks carry before they even put a bit of gear in it.

They may be happy carrying that much and I hope they are, but I can't imagine why they would want to
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Old 03-18-14, 11:46 AM
  #107  
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Lots of opinions, I had a little looky on the internet and found this site. thought you might like to have look and take it into consideration. Why We Prefer Panniers Over Trailers | TravellingTwo: Bicycle Touring Around The World
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Old 03-19-14, 07:30 AM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I have toured with women and met quite a few more while touring and none of them were carrying an especially large amount of gear. In general they carried less than the guys I met.
+1. My GF doesn't carry a lot of stuff. I crossed the country with a small group that included four women. One of those women was the minimalist of the group of 13. Her front panniers were not that much larger than handlebar bags, and her rear panniers were relatively small. Another started out with a lot of extra junk, including a blow dryer, and mailed it home at the start of day 3. Only one carried what I would call "fluff," which included a mallet for driving tent stakes.
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Old 03-19-14, 10:02 AM
  #109  
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Wow, I can't believe this thread is still around. I didn't end up going on that tour, I ended up having to work that summer and my buddy that was supposed to go with me bailed. Totally shoulda' gotten the trailer though!
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Old 03-19-14, 10:30 AM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by Phatman View Post
Wow, I can't believe this thread is still around.
It's like a bad penny
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Old 03-19-14, 11:46 AM
  #111  
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I like how way back at the beginning of this thread you see a couple of the standard forum response: That comes up all the time, do a search. Then when someone does a search and consequently resurrects a dead thread, they get called out for that. You really can't please everyone.

But I like this thread because it's got a lot of info and a lot of people chiming in with a lot of experiences, and it's all in one, handy package. Some thoughts on the subject at hand:

Ease of travel: I would agree that trailers are trickier than panniers on the plane/train/bus. Probably. I am planning a trip where I'll be, hopefully, doing a Bike-Friday-style move where my luggage becomes my trailer. The whole point of this set up was to make travel easier and cheaper. I hope it works. If so, one point in favor of the trailer.

Weight differences: I can see where there'd be a temptation to overload a trailer. Or rather to take more gear than you need, just because you can. I'm guilty of that pretty much every day, touring or not. But if you control yourself, it seems like trailer still has potential to weigh significantly more. I've been trying to get my gear down to two (admittedly large) panniers. If I can pare my gear down enough, I could potentially lose the weight of one rack and two bags. So not only would my actual gear weight go down, but the weight associated with the base carrying system would go down, too. A similar reduction in a trailer gear results in no less weight of the actual trailer. If I can get my gear down to two panniers, that's one point in favor of the pannier system.

Also, for my upcoming trip, I want to take a folding bike because it's easier/cheaper to transport. A downside is that it's hard to arrange my rear panniers so that I'm not kicking them. If my heal strikes my trailer, I know I've done something very wrong.
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Old 03-30-14, 09:25 AM
  #112  
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MY experiences with BOTH
pretty similar to the other responses but her it is:
the boyfriend and I toured with both trailers and sharing one set of panniers (trading day to day)
panniers
pros
- quick access, was eaier to grab snacks and tools from panniers and our handlebar bag was loaded with to much already.
- was easy to counter weight each other and hang into a tree at night (protect from raccoons and bears and such)
cons
- wind resistance, switching off gave us the advantage of comparing the days with panniers and without. it was easy to tell the difference, they act like sails in the first gust of wind
- unstable, as still fairly noobish in our experience we aren.t the most stable, even simply leaning to one side (waiting at stop light for example) would regularly cause our bike to tip over ( have a front set may remedy this- at least in combo with a trailer)
- parking- the above also makes it impossible to park. the combo bike has to be leaned our lain down, rather the the angle park with the non pannier bike.
- finding equal weight balance- we kept mostly food and quick needed (rain gear, tools, tires,ect) items in the panniers, so the weight was in constant flux. finding a balance day to day was a challenge.

trailer (bob ibex)
pros
- parking- easy parking just needs a little space!
- storage- can hold a ton in the bag and even more on top with just a few bungee cords (great place for the dirty cloths bag!), the weight isn't a concern to me. Its marginal if any while riding, once you are up to speed it rolls along no problem behind you- you have to look back to make sure it there!
- liquid storage- the platform has enough room to carry extra water bottles and fuel outside to prevent any risk of spillage inside the water proof bag
- less wear on bike- the weight is distributed and puts less wear on the frame and on the tires (allowing for few flats!)
cons
- attaching and detaching- for us at least it was a two person endeavor, although we've now gotten it to a science. one person had to hold the bike up at a angle while the other lifted the trailer up at a similar opposite angle in order to attach to the wheel (this may have to do with the bulkiness of our brakes)
- attaching and detaching pt2- the pins that keep it in place were not the most sturdy and often the holes would not line up in the morning (we often detached every night) and would take a beating from the channel locks to line up correctly. MY ADVICE do not detach from the bike unless absolutely nessicary.

cons debunked
-extra tire= extra flats- yes the only flat we had on 600 mile tour (x2 with two bike and two trailers) was on the trailer. It was easily patched and we were on our way no problem. the weight of and extra tube is negligible.
- any serious tourer uses panniers- Trailers are still new to the scene and those who have toured for a long time tend to stick to what they know. for ultra light tour pannier are probably the best course of action, but as soon as you add tents and stoves into the mix you need something more substantial. an exmple with skiing and snowboarding- snowboarding is finally gaining some ground and I suspect in a few years snowboarders will equal if not surpass the number of skiiers. but 20 years ago, you were punk screwing up the slopes getting in the way of there serious skiiers. Change takes time, and still new developments and improvements will come in both trailer and panniers.

I will always prefer the trailer for unsupported tours, for a day trip I may take the panniers with me in substitute. we are leisurely tourers we have fishing gear with us and sleeping pads and pillows. I love cooking at home so I make sure I've got what I need to give us a great meal. We arent on the road to see if we can go as fast as a car we want to SEE the world not race by it, I can do that in a car. On our rest days we want to enjoy ourselves if that means a little extra weight, I'm okay with that. whew! did not expect to write that much!!!
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Old 03-30-14, 09:37 AM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by Takara View Post
Do you go backpacking with a trailer?

these guys are walking cross county
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Old 03-30-14, 10:53 AM
  #114  
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Once again, Weight weenies ..

The yak says it weighs 13 lbs! Thats half the weight of my bike!
the lightest weight bike handle a bit weird when heavy loaded with racks and panniers..


hundreds of riders every summer pass thru here , some on Road style bikes towing a BoB trailer .



Bene Sugg: carry less, bring more Money, and stay in Hotels.

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Old 05-08-16, 03:22 PM
  #115  
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Ha, ha, i am reviving this thread I guess. I for one took the Trans America Bicycle route from Kansas to Florence, OR. I rode a 'Bent and pulled a trailer. Got up to 60 mph several times going down hills. The entire trip . . . never had a problem. I think this is a personal preference. I have both and use one on one trip and another on the other. Ho hum. . . . . Let's go riding!
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Old 06-08-16, 08:07 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by gregw View Post
Saying that it's the BOB trailers fault for allowing you to take too much stuff is like the lame excuse that the bartender over served you and that's why you smashed the car. Really weak excuse.
This. To be honest I am surprised intelligent people would actually use this excuse. It stinks of bias.
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Old 06-08-16, 08:22 AM
  #117  
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So, in summary, the answer is as simple as which kind of bike is best ,and it is completely dependent on several factors including terrain, duration, your style of touring/camping (ultra light or well equipped) and what you intend to do on your trip(is the touring the actual trip or is it camping with mtbing along the way?). So there is no "best."
I've gone with a Yak but only because I am not intending on long paved touring ,rather a rail grade trail with stealth camping and some off roading all via a 29er hardtail.
I think if I were serious about touring on roads for long distances involving a road or touring bike(which I don't have) I would choose panniers.
Actually, I am liking the latest trend in off road touring with frame baggage. These systems do encourage minimalism but make for a much better handling bike. In a way this system is appealing as it takes more advantage of the ultimate in weight savings, bushcraft skill. One could get away with just a sylnylon tarp and a knife and make good shelters. Perhaps even manage to catch your own food although this would likely take too much time and energy away from a trip but still,,,
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Old 06-08-16, 07:32 PM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by rifraf View Post
I use both setups depending on the journey, location and duration.
Mainly reach for just the panniers.
Me too.

Originally Posted by rifraf View Post
Dont kid yourself that there is an advantage to trailers with regards wind resistance (when windy).
My BOB is immensely better into the wind. Panniers really are like sails, though I haven't ever noticed an advantage downwind.

I still like my panniers (ortlieb) better.
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Old 06-09-16, 09:42 AM
  #119  
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I'll contribute here since I have also been curious about the relative merits and recently used both four panniers and then a B.O.B. for consecutive legs of the same tour and was surprised at how much of a tossup it really is between them. I had previously toured extensively with rear panniers and handlebar bag, and expected adding front lowriding bags to be an improvement. I did like my plan to use the larger rear bags simply as stuff sacks; right for the sleeping bag and left for tent, footprint and fly, and the collapsible REI camp chair that was delightful to have in camp. My clothes and food went in the front bags. I tried to trim out the excess and still wound up with 50 pounds hanging on the bike. I used this setup for about 9 days on the road and my buddy's bike was set up the same way.

My buddy had trouble with his front bags so we relaunched with him using a pair of my panniers because I took another friend up on his offer to use his trailer. I put the same contents into the B.O.B. bag that had been in my panniers. Same content weight (plus one spare 16" tube), minus pannier weight, minus front-rack-and-lowrider weight, plus trailer weight, so maybe I netted a little more weight on the second leg but I was carrying the same stuff differently.The handling of the bike with the four panniers (and handlebar bag and rack top pack) seemed ponderous. It felt like it was a lot of weight but the handling was not bad, just...loaded, the way touring bikes feel. I did get the unsettling shimmy on descents that I have experienced on other bikes and which I really do not like. Climbs were tough and I walked a lot of them despite adequately low gearing. Access to the packed items was good with the panniers once I memorized where everything was.

The trailer generally felt more stable and I never got the feeling on descents that anything might go wrong but I tried to keep my speeds down. Trailer stability felt like it responded to weight distribution. Having heavy items on the bottom rode better, but my heavy items were the food bag that I wanted easy access to, and the tent that would be the first thing out when stopping for the night, so keeping these on top was handy for me at the risk of marginally less stable riding, an annoying tradeoff. Climbing seemed equally difficult with either setup and walking either one was a lot of work. Standing while climbing was slightly easier with the trailer.

The one large bag on the trailer was more trouble because it was not compartmentalized as separate panniers are. I already had all contents in plastic bags and this was useful when opening the large bag in the rain, all that stuff was protected. Trailer probably had capacity for even more stuff if I needed to carry it, but more weight would have simply killed me. I was surprised that the contents I carried filled the trailer bag; there was not much extra space in it for anything else, just as I could fit nothing more in my panniers without cramming. I had enough stuff.

I also found the ESGE Twin kickstand very useful on the bike in both its configurations. I'd used conventional stands previously and that worked for rear bags and HB bag but the bike needed the Twin with the front panniers added, and it was a help during the trailer phase also. I had also used a rear stand from a commuting bike and that was as useless as the center-mount on the fully loaded Bridgestone RB-T.

The bike/trailer setup had two stages with some discoveries included. At first I rode with no bags on the bike and everything stuffed in the B.O.B. bag as my friend does on his tours, but I discovered that with no additional weight on the front when you stop on a hill and use the front brake as your parking brake the wheel will be dragged downhill by the weight you're trying to hold immobile. Having the handlebar bag on the front mitigates this but subsequent riding with the handlebar bag and the rack top bag diminished the liveliness of the bare bike and made towing the trailer more of a chore. This setup does have benefits; the additional weight on the bike makes it less likely to tip if you happen to lean the bike and trailer combo too far to one side. The leaning trailer wants to flip the whole rig or jackknife at a standstill but the weight of the two bags high up on the bike make it less resistant to the tipping force. Just one of those weird things you would not anticipate.

If I were taking off tomorrow it would be a tough decision. I prefer the idea of touring with panniers because that is what I'm used to and it fits my philosophy but the trailer definitely works, maybe just not better. And I would have to leave a lot a home to make the load noticeably lighter in either case, but that might be the best plan.
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Old 08-07-16, 03:48 PM
  #120  
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Reviving the thread again and arguing against my own argument. Found this at the local bike co-op and brought it home today for a very reasonable price. Did not need it since I still have those panniers I mentioned, but who among us can refuse a deal on more terrific bike junk? Best of all, now I'll be able to address the elephant in the room by evaluating the panniers plus B.O.B. setup. Should that be a new thread or can I come back here?
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Old 08-07-16, 04:18 PM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Best of all, now I'll be able to address the elephant in the room by evaluating the panniers plus B.O.B. setup.
With newer, lighter, and more compact camping gear it's hard to believe that in 2016 anyone needs panniers & a bob. But if you gotta carry the kitchen-sink it might be the way to go.



BTW: Out on the road, it seems to me, that there's a lot less trailer-tourists (especially BOBs).

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Old 08-07-16, 04:30 PM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
...it's hard to believe that in 2016 anyone needs panniers & a bob.
In the immortal words of Foghorn Leghorn, "That was a joke, son."

Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
BTW: Out on the road, it seems to me, that there's a lot less trailer-tourists.
That may be, but looking ahead to doing the GAP/C&O it might be very handy to have the trailer. We shall see. I'm not determined to beat myself up using either setup but am glad now to have both to choose from, and there's always grocery runs and the like when considering domestic use.
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Old 08-07-16, 04:47 PM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
In the immortal words of Foghorn Leghorn, "That was a joke, son."
gotcha then


Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
That may be, but looking ahead to doing the GAP/C&O it might be very handy to have the trailer.
Having just returned from riding parts of the C&O I'm not sure of the trailer's advantages, but it should be an easy pull.

BUT: I did see a couple, on the trail, and both had panniers&Burleys. They seemed hot & fatigued but I have no idea if it was specifically related to their haul.


Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
grocery runs and the like when considering domestic use.
Yes --> now that makes sense.

Last edited by BigAura; 08-07-16 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 08-07-16, 10:11 PM
  #124  
rifraf
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Reviving the thread again and arguing against my own argument. Found this at the local bike co-op and brought it home today for a very reasonable price. Did not need it since I still have those panniers I mentioned, but who among us can refuse a deal on more terrific bike junk? Best of all, now I'll be able to address the elephant in the room by evaluating the panniers plus B.O.B. setup. Should that be a new thread or can I come back here?
Perfect to add a dynohub to, with its amp pumping 16' wheel spinning speedily to charge up recalcitrant phones, cache batteries and/or tablets.

Don't forget the Bobs two bottle mounts at the rear, screaming out for a couple of BBB XL Fueltanks to haul a couple of 1.5 litre Nalgene or Pet bottles.

Happy spinning
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Old 08-08-16, 08:51 AM
  #125  
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2 wheel trailers are Better for The Utility trips , I brought home a $10 CRT TV from the charity shop in Mine ..
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