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Bikepacking on Specialized Diverge gravel bike

Old 07-22-21, 06:34 AM
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rbrides
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Bikepacking on Specialized Diverge gravel bike

Are there any bike forum members who have ridden a Specialized Diverge on a multi-day bikepacking trip?
I welcome anyone with first-hand experience riding any gravel bike on a multi-day bikepacking trip. I am not a MTBer and some routes I intend to tour included sections of MTB single track. Of course its all a matter of degree, in my opinion, as to how much "underbiking" is wise by loading my diverge with 20+ lbs of gear. I've fitted the bike with Specialized Rhombus 42mm tires on 700c wheels but the conventional wisdom seems to be to use a hard tail Mt bike with lots more tire.
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Old 07-22-21, 07:32 AM
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Let's face it, no one else but you know what bike handling skills you have and how comfortable and competent you are as a rider on varying surfaces.
I'm not a mtbiker either, but there is single trail and there's single trail, but what I can say from experience is that those tires look very very capable of easily riding on just about anything I can think of, and using judgement for walking through perhaps an extremely rocky (frame damaging rocky I mean) short section would be always doable.

only you know what you are considering riding on, but I can't imagine it's predominantly hard core mtb descent stuff or deep sand all the time.

on that assumption, I'd gladly ride this fun bike with a moderate load with those tires, all the "regular gravel" stuff will be great.
tire pressures appropriately! For traction and easier body bouncing about.
cheers
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Old 07-22-21, 08:49 AM
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It might be instructive to look at what people ride the Tour Divide on, just as a go-by. TL;DR: just about everything. But rigid gravel bikes are a very popular option.
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Old 07-22-21, 09:56 AM
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At worse case you're walking. Try to plan for not much of that. Try to plan a route that doesn't have a lot of technical ST, flat easy ST is manageable. Its not about the bike, any gravel bike will work , just pack up, go and do it and have fun. Half the effort is the worrying of a newbie
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Old 07-22-21, 10:58 AM
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JAY PETERVARY has a great setup in the above link. Wilcox uses the Diverge. What else you want to know?

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Old 07-22-21, 03:40 PM
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I've put my setup on a Specialized Diverge. I bought it to give me more tire clearance than my old Cervelo RS and was planning to do Lands End to John O'Groat's on it last year, but had to cancel. So all I've done on it are some long fully loaded test days and a couple of overnighters. Based on that I'm very happy with it. My one worry are the hydraulic disc brakes as what happens if I spring a leak...I have no way of fixing that so I'd be without brakes.

The components are 105 and the gearing of 48/32 x 11/34 is good for touring. I have replaced the stock 24 spoke DTSwiss wheels with 32 spoke HED Eroica/G rims on White hubs and 32 mm Ultra Gatorskins. Those stock wheels are a bit light weight for me and my gear. I've ridden some gravel roads on it and it's really comfortable, but I haven't tried any rougher stuff and won't with the Gatorskins. As I strap my saddle bag to the seat post I'm using a Nitto S83 and a Brooks Swift saddle. Here's a picture


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Old 07-22-21, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
... As I strap my saddle bag to the seat post I'm using a Nitto S83 and a Brooks Swift saddle. Here's a picture

Off topic, sorry, not trying to hijack thread. I got really tired of my leg hitting my Carradice saddle bag, I put a long stem with appropriate shim between the stem and seatpost, and a short piece of cylindrical wood clamped in the stem (1 inch dowel?) to hold my saddle bag further back. Quite happy with that modification.



I also have a sheet of Coroplast in the bag to stiffen it and give it better structure so that it does not sag like a limp pillowcase.

I am also thinking LEJOG, but I would be camping with more gear on the bike than a big saddlebag.
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Old 07-23-21, 04:31 AM
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I am not a Carradice user, but as someone who packs in a minimal style and has experimented with a wide variety of unusual baggage. Various baggage styles have always interested me. I have always been intrigued by the Carradice style of seat bags. I pack in a similar minimalist style to Nun as far as gear weight/volume so one would probably work well for me. If I actually tried one I suspect that easy access to my gear would spoil me and I'd be won over.

Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Off topic, sorry, not trying to hijack thread. I got really tired of my leg hitting my Carradice saddle bag, I put a long stem with appropriate shim between the stem and seatpost, and a short piece of cylindrical wood clamped in the stem (1 inch dowel?) to hold my saddle bag further back. Quite happy with that modification.

I also have a sheet of Coroplast in the bag to stiffen it and give it better structure so that it does not sag like a limp pillowcase.

I am also thinking LEJOG, but I would be camping with more gear on the bike than a big saddlebag.
I am curious why you didn't use one of the Carradice Saddlebag Fixing Systems? Cost? Preference? Maybe they don't work with your sprung saddle?

Just another way to go, but... with any of my packing styles stiffeners like corroplast have been unneeded since I pack to capacity and wind up with a bag that is essentially rigid. If I have less gear I can compress expandable stuff less.

I don't allow for a lot of extra space. If I need extra space for a long gap between restock points I sometimes have toughed out a 24 hour period with a gallon of water in bottles stuffed into jersey pockets or in a little backpack (the sea 2 summit one is 20 liters and weigh 2.5 ounces. It packs to keychain size when not in use). Bear in mind this is infrequent use in places like the America west for a day here and there in the middle of a long tour.
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Old 07-23-21, 04:48 AM
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Djb, very accurate, existential and welcomed comment. Personal responsibility is the cornerstone of good cycling outcomes. Thank you.
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Old 07-23-21, 05:20 AM
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Regardless of the bike choice...
Minimizing the load and prudence in choosing when to get off and walk will go a long way toward making things work whatever the bike chosen.

I did some mixed surface touring that included a wide variety of surfaces, but I was on a 1990 rigid MTB (drop bar conversion) so no first hand experience experience with gravel bike touring here. That said, given the chance I would not hesitate to give it a try. A gravel bike seems ideal for mixed surface touring to me and I think if I were buying a new bike for that purpose that is what I'd be shopping for. The large majority of my touring has been long on road tours though.

FWIW, I have done a lot of single track riding with the drop bar brifter equipped mountain bike and figure that in many ways it is a lot like a gravel bike. I always enjoyed the bike even on pretty technical single track. I just haven't toured very much on it. I did plan a long tour with a lot of singletrack. I was going ultralight and think it would have suited the trip well. Sadly after driving all the way across the country I realized that a knee injury that I had just before leaving was worse than I thought and I bailed on the trip before I started.
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Old 07-23-21, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Let's face it, no one else but you know what bike handling skills you have and how comfortable and competent you are as a rider on varying surfaces.
I'm not a mtbiker either, but there is single trail and there's single trail, but what I can say from experience is that those tires look very very capable of easily riding on just about anything I can think of, and using judgement for walking through perhaps an extremely rocky (frame damaging rocky I mean) short section would be always doable.

only you know what you are considering riding on, but I can't imagine it's predominantly hard core mtb descent stuff or deep sand all the time.

on that assumption, I'd gladly ride this fun bike with a moderate load with those tires, all the "regular gravel" stuff will be great.
tire pressures appropriately! For traction and easier body bouncing about.
cheers
I agree that wheel and tire selection is crucial and should be appropriate for the ground you'll encounter. The Diverge has a bit of front suspension so that's good, but the gearing might be a bit high for really "chuncky" terrain. but you could always change that. There are also lots of reviews on Youtube so have a look at those. Then take you bike out for some tests before you commit to a full on multiple day trip.
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Old 07-23-21, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Off topic, sorry, not trying to hijack thread. I got really tired of my leg hitting my Carradice saddle bag, I put a long stem with appropriate shim between the stem and seatpost, and a short piece of cylindrical wood clamped in the stem (1 inch dowel?) to hold my saddle bag further back. Quite happy with that modification.

I also have a sheet of Coroplast in the bag to stiffen it and give it better structure so that it does not sag like a limp pillowcase.

I am also thinking LEJOG, but I would be camping with more gear on the bike than a big saddlebag.
I don't find that the saddlebag rubs my legs or at least I don't notice it any more. The biggest issue with my setup is clearance between the Camper saddlebag and the back tire. I find that I have to have the bag very tightly packed, which gives it structure, and then I end up with roughly an inch clearance. So stuffing a tent, sleeping bag and clothes inside to make a tight package prevents it from sagging. If I'm just going out for the day I use a small Barley saddlebag and then clearance is simply not an issue whatever I pack. I'm also planning some credit card touring using the Barley and the Ortlieb. I've tried the Camper with various small support racks, but in my quest for minimalism got rid of them a few years ago. The way you are using a stem as a spacer is ingenious. Here's another picture that shows the clearance...it's one of my early test rides before I got wheels with more spokes. It also shows that leg rub might be an issue for some people with the saddlebag up under the saddle, but it's good to minimize any sway and as I said I don't notice it. This set up isn't an option on smaller bikes with less tire to saddle clearance, although Carradice do make a Lowsaddle bag that is designed to work with limited clearance.

https://www.carradice.co.uk/bags/sad...flap-saddlebag


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Old 07-23-21, 07:14 AM
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You guys have saddles with loops to hang the bag on. Any thoughts on using these bags on saddles without loops? It looks like they (Carradice) offer a couple solutions and a diy one would probably be pretty easy as well. Thoughts on the best way to go if one's favorite saddle is a racing model with no loops?
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Old 07-23-21, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by rbrides View Post
Djb, very accurate, existential and welcomed comment. Personal responsibility is the cornerstone of good cycling outcomes. Thank you.
no problem, thanks.
I've ridden on all kinds of gravel roads, double track and some single track on 45mm slicks and it's doable with proper pressures for the situation, with four panniers, sometimes two, and it was doable. That's why I figured with these tires it would be at least a lot better, especially if you're not carrying too much stuff.

what load carrying stuff will you use? Do you already own the bags or panniers?
how much weight do you reckon?

What is your riding / touring experience?
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Old 07-23-21, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by rbrides View Post
Are there any bike forum members who have ridden a Specialized Diverge on a multi-day bikepacking trip?
I welcome anyone with first-hand experience riding any gravel bike on a multi-day bikepacking trip. I am not a MTBer and some routes I intend to tour included sections of MTB single track. Of course its all a matter of degree, in my opinion, as to how much "underbiking" is wise by loading my diverge with 20+ lbs of gear. I've fitted the bike with Specialized Rhombus 42mm tires on 700c wheels but the conventional wisdom seems to be to use a hard tail Mt bike with lots more tire.
I have done a few long-distance multi-day trips with my Diverge. Did a 1-month long ramble from Lisbon to Girona as well as a long-distance trip through South East Asia and other similar trips. Diverge worked out great with no issues however it is a more flexible Carbon layup so packing lightly would be recommended. If stiffness is desired with a correspondingly harsher ride especially if unloaded get a steel or titanium frame.
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Old 07-23-21, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
...
I am curious why you didn't use one of the Carradice Saddlebag Fixing Systems? Cost? Preference? Maybe they don't work with your sprung saddle?
....
The stock Carradice bag holders did not appeal to me. I bought the Pendle and the Nelson Longflap about 8 years ago. Occasionally use one or the other if I do not want to use a rack. The first time I rode a 200k brevet I used the Pendle and got really annoyed at my legs hitting the bag for 125 miles. Thus started looking for alternative ideas.

The bag in the photo above that you commented on, that is the Pendle.

Usually I had a rack on my bikes for riding around town near home, but that was pre-Covid. I often rode my bike to the gym and my gym bag was a pannier, might stop at the grocery store on the way home in which case I added a grocery pannier. But with Covid, I was grocery shopping only rarely and then going during senior hours, bought enough in each visit that I drove my truck to the store. And quit going to the gym, thus no need for gym bag pannier. So, I removed the racks from the bikes I usually rode near home. And then I added the Pendle so I could carry rain gear or extra water or lunch or whatever. It was usually only a quarter full at most, but the extra empty volume did not hurt anything.

Photo below from last spring when I was getting back on the road after most of the winter snow and ice was gone, this photo was taken on a 70 plus mile exercise ride, this is my light touring bike. The lake in the background was still covered with ice and snow, the Pendle was a perfect size to carry my extra layers as I shed them in the morning, and put them back on in late afternoon. The insulated water bottles had a mix of coffee and coco.



Three days ago on my way home from an exercise ride, stopped at the grocery store, filled up the Pendle with groceries. I simply find it is handy to have on the bike for riding around town.

I do not have a photo of it, but one day I put the Nelson Long Flap instead on the bike above, that day I was picking up a grocery order that I placed on line, I think I had about 10 pounds of pretty dense groceries, filled the bag. That saved me from having to put a rack back on the bike or take my truck.

The saddles on most of my bikes lack the saddle bag loops. Most of my bikes are fitted with a Brooks Conquest, that is a sprung version of the Brooks Pro, my road bike has a Brooks Pro, neither of those models has saddle loops but I can put the saddle bag loops on the springs. The Pro lacks springs.

Happy Feet on this forum has shown a few photos where he is using one of these:
https://www.carradice.co.uk/products...saddlebag-rack

That requires saddle bag loops on the saddle, I could see using one of those if my saddle had the loops.

I have some small brackets similar to these:
https://www.carradice.co.uk/products...l-bolt-on-pair

But I found them to slide too easily on the saddle rails. Mine are almost a half century old, that is how long ago I worked at a bike shop which is where I bought them, I used them to put one of those Cannondale Toot saddle bags on a Brooks Pro back then, they were robust enough for a small bag like that.

Nitto makes a Carradice bracket that is pretty expensive if you lack saddle bag loops.
https://www.benscycle.com/nitto-r50-...__870-179-11/p

I mentioned above my road bike lacks the saddle bag loops with the Brooks Pro. I tried an experiment that works pretty well, similar stem setup but I also added a DIY support I made out of 5/16 inch aluminum rod, plus a bit of clear plastic hose in a few spots. Pendle bag shown below. I did a test ride with a couple liters of water (2 kg) for weight and the aluminum rod supported the weight without bending, photo below.





The above would obviously not work if your saddle was a lot lower than mine. Bike frame is 58cm, I am about 6 foot for height, someone two or three inches shorter than me probably could not do this the way I did.

I know a lot of roadies like to stuff their jersey pockets full of stuff on longer rides, but I prefer to put that stuff on the bike.

I used the Nelson Longflap on my Pacific Coast tour, it was supported by the two Ortieb panniers it sat on. Photo below, stopped to make lunch.



I mostly used that bag for groceries, and it came in much handier than I anticipated. My touring partner tried to do the trip extra light, only brought two panniers. And when we stopped for groceries, he had less than one spare liter of room in his panniers, so I had to carry almost all the groceries. Sometimes it was overflowing, sometimes nearly empty.

Although the Nelson Longflap worked well on that tour, since then I have instead put a dry bag on top of the rear rack instead, quit using it for touring.

Since I often use these bags only partly full, I find that Coroplast stiffener to work quite well, but if the bag was usually 70 to 100 percent full, I can see where it would be better to leave it out.
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Old 07-23-21, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
You guys have saddles with loops to hang the bag on. Any thoughts on using these bags on saddles without loops? It looks like they (Carradice) offer a couple solutions and a diy one would probably be pretty easy as well. Thoughts on the best way to go if one's favorite saddle is a racing model with no loops?
There are plenty of bag loops that can be clamped to the rails of a saddle, but I haven't tried them. The ones that are individual loops look a bit flimsy and I wonder by being clamped to only a single rail if they'd stand up to carrying a fully loaded big saddlebag. The "double" loop ones look more robust. However, the clamp on loops tend to hold the bag a little away from the saddle and I don't think that is optimal. It's probably ok for day to day used and relatively light loads, but I'm not sure how good it would be for a fully loaded tour. If you added a small rack it would probably be fine.

There are a couple of Brooks saddles that have bag loops and are "racing saddles"; the Swift and Swallow and some in the Cambium line. I use the Swift.
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Old 07-23-21, 02:27 PM
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Thanks for the follow up answers guys. I think if I go for a Carradice it is likely to be a Camper. I'd want to easily move from bike to bike and I don't want to switch saddles from what I am using. So for an adapter either something inexpensive or something I can move from bike to bike would be in order.

One other thing... Does the Camper carry nicely with the shoulder strap when off bike? Good enough to take along when off bike shopping? When on hikes of a few miles? I notice that when I google it I find almost zero pictures of folks using the shoulder strap.
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Old 07-23-21, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post

One other thing... Does the Camper carry nicely with the shoulder strap when off bike? Good enough to take along when off bike shopping? When on hikes of a few miles? I notice that when I google it I find almost zero pictures of folks using the shoulder strap.
It's ok for shopping, but I wouldn't take it on a hike. The D-rings are at the back of the bag so it tends to tilt inwards when you carry it with a shoulder strap. I have attached some nylon straps to the top of my Camper which are useful for strapping stuff to the lid, but I mostly use them as a carrying handle. Off the bike the Ortlieb goes over one shoulder and the Camper is hand carried. The best thing is that I can fit the bike with the bags still attached easily in a lift or carry the whole thing up hotel stairs. Get the Longflap version as this massively increases the carrying capacity. I've used it to carry 2L bottles of soda and extra groceries back to camp. There's definitely a little bit of technique required to use the Carradice Camper successfully and you have to be a disciplined lightweight packer to make it work and I also travel with a small nylon back pack for emergency carrying capacity. FYI here is the Camper when I went to the UK back in 2009 and I was still using a support rack. I've opened up the longflap and I have my Tardis bike bag underneath it. I rode across London and left the Tardis at a friends house, but it shows what it can carry if necessary.

I find that my Ortlieb is a great off bike bag and easy to carry once the fiddling of getting the strap on it is done.


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Old 07-23-21, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
It's ok for shopping, but I wouldn't take it on a hike. The D-rings are at the back of the bag so it tends to tilt inwards when you carry it with a shoulder strap. I have attached some nylon straps to the top of my Camper which are useful for strapping stuff to the lid, but I mostly use them as a carrying handle. Off the bike the Ortlieb goes over one shoulder and the Camper is hand carried. The best thing is that I can fit the bike with the bags still attached easily in a lift or carry the whole thing up hotel stairs. Get the Longflap version as this massively increases the carrying capacity. I've used it to carry 2L bottles of soda and extra groceries back to camp. There's definitely a little bit of technique required to use the Carradice Camper successfully and you have to be a disciplined lightweight packer to make it work and I also travel with a small nylon back pack for emergency carrying capacity. FYI here is the Camper when I went to the UK back in 2009 and I was still using a support rack. I've opened up the longflap and I have my Tardis bike bag underneath it. I rode across London and left the Tardis at a friends house, but it shows what it can carry if necessary.

I find that my Ortlieb is a great off bike bag and easy to carry once the fiddling of getting the strap on it is done.
Thanks.
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Old 07-23-21, 06:52 PM
  #21  
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The Classic series of Carradice bags (Camper, Nelson Longflap, Pendle, several others) only recently added D rings for a shoulder strap. My 8 year old bags did not have them. I sewed some on, but have not yet carried it as a shoulder bag. I suspect that they would carry ok but not great from a strap.

If you consider a large Carridice bag, you might also consider the big Super C bag.
https://www.carradice.co.uk/bags/sad...er-c-saddlebag

Happy Feet on this forum likes his Carradry saddle bag, but it is smaller volume than you are looking for.
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...-diy-rack.html
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Old 07-23-21, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
The Classic series of Carradice bags (Camper, Nelson Longflap, Pendle, several others) only recently added D rings for a shoulder strap. My 8 year old bags did not have them. I sewed some on, but have not yet carried it as a shoulder bag. I suspect that they would carry ok but not great from a strap.
Yes, I had to sew D rings on my Camper and I think it was such a common customer hack that they added it. The Super C is slightly more modern than the other bags as it has clips rather than buckles, but its still made out of cotton duck and lacks the useful longflap

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Old 07-24-21, 05:20 AM
  #23  
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I think I'd really be sold if the carry off bike was good. I have a crazy notion that I might try to rig up a way of carrying a Mountainsmith lumbar pack in that position on the bike. I have a big one. Not sure of the size, maybe 15 liters? It carries comfortably enough on a hike with a reasonable load that I considered using it for overnight backpacking, but never actually did. It would sit nicely on one of those tiny racks that attach to canti brake bosses, but that only suits one of the bikes I'd use it on unless I wanted to attach it with P-clamps.
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Old 07-24-21, 08:24 AM
  #24  
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I ride a similar bike - Giant Revolt Advanced (carbon). I’ve used it with bike packing bags and also with an Axiom rack and Ortlieb backrollers. For singletrack type trails, the bike packing bags are better and make me pack lighter. Their weakness: Capacity and they take more time to load. For general gravel, the panniers are maybe a better choice. The load is lower and they give added capacity on longer or off-season treks. We like Ortlieb because they simply lift off the rack and carry easily for trains, camps, etc. Smaller panniers would probably be the best compromise for me.

We often encounter sections of sand on singletrack or forest service roads. It saps a lot of energy and slows us down whether we’re riding mtb or gravel bikes (have both). We still prefer our gravel bikes for most bikepacking adventures. Choose the bike and tire that suits the majority of your route and enjoy the occasional walk or hike-a bike.
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Old 07-26-21, 07:07 AM
  #25  
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I've just purchased Ortlieb seat pack and frame bag + REI handlebar bag. Will be testing all this week.
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