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Backpack on rack + fork packs instead of panniers

Old 11-26-22, 12:13 PM
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gauvins
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Backpack on rack + fork packs instead of panniers

My current setup is 2 x 12.5L front panniers + bear bag & tent on the rear rack. I am considering Ortlieb fork packs (2 x 5.8L) and a 30L DCF backpack instead. It would be lighter (and could provide an incentive to further reduce the amount of stuff that I carry) and the backpack would be very useful for day/overnight hikes. OTOH, front panniers work well (ex: easy to stow 2L water pouches on top, when needed). Not entirely clear how things will play out with this new-to-me configuration. I am also a bit concerned wrt the durability of a DCF backpack (although from what I read, they are quite resistant to abrasion)

Something I'll mull over this winter. Will read comments with interest.
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Old 11-26-22, 12:28 PM
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I mean I guess handy for hiking as well but I would rather either have a bike packing style set up for ultralight or just a normal set of panniers. I like to be able to access stuff and really only want bungeed stuff for camping like a tent or flip flops or something like that. I would be angry having to unhook a backpack each time I needed something and while I guess I could keep stuff I knew I wanted at the front I may not want to do that for distribution. The Arkel Dry-Lites for instance are only an extra 10 ounces compared to the backpack. I guess with the foam pad hack it makes it a little more comfortable but I would want something different and for short day hikes I could carry this in a pannier of find something smaller or lighter if I am not going on a camping excursion with the backpack.
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Old 11-26-22, 05:40 PM
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I have done something a little like that on one trip, but just a bar roll on the front instead of the fork packs. It worked out okay. I think I'd only do it again if I actually planned some short backpacking forays along the way. though.
I have also worn a smaller backpack with a few pounds in it. 12-15 pounds split more or less equally between the front and back and the backpack works out nicely. The front can be a bar roll, handlebar bag, or maybe something fork mounted. The back could be a seat bag or something on a rack. For me a light dry bag or stuff sack works well.

If I need to carry more (like food for a multiday backpacking side trip) or need something special like a bear canister I might slightly modify the setups.
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Old 11-27-22, 12:19 AM
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assume you'll be doing some off-road, but not deep in the wilderness wildlife trails. front panniers mounted to rear rack should give plenty of ground clearance, but most important is they lock securely to the rack.

backpack bungeed to the rack won't be as secure or stable, and you run the risk of backpack straps or broken bungees getting tangled in your spokes. note you'll have to de-bungee the backpack anytime you need to access anything, unlike panniers with easy-access flaps. you'll also lose racktop storage space for important things like extra gallon of water, firewood or charcoal, 6-pack of milwaukee's best, etc.

consider stowing your tent in one of the panniers to fill up space and prevent adding more stuff just cause you can.
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Old 11-27-22, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
backpack bungeed to the rack won't be as secure or stable, and you run the risk of backpack straps or broken bungees getting tangled in your spokes. note you'll have to de-bungee the backpack anytime you need to access anything, unlike panniers with easy-access flaps. you'll also lose racktop storage space for important things like extra gallon of water, firewood or charcoal, 6-pack of milwaukee's best, etc.
Personally I avoid bungees and much prefer straps. They are safer and more secure IMO. Slipped or broken bungees are less secure and are also an eye hazard, so use great care if you do use them. I advise against them altogether though. I use inexpensive straps like the coughlins or similar. They do have buckles that fail now and then, so I carry a spare. The failure always seems to be when cinching them down and only if really cranking down on them, not while riding, so I don't worry much about it.

Backpack straps in the spokes is a potential issue that just requires a bit of care to avoid. It should be something avoidable if you pay attention to how you place them and attach the backpack. But yes take care to avoid problems if you go that route.

I tend to access stuff during the day very little other than what I leave out in places that are easy access. Also the less stuff you carry the less of a big deal it is to dig through it if you do need to. So weigh what your habits and situation are. This can be a big deal for some and a non issue for others. Also with practice and thought you can minimize need to access stuff by how you pack and what you leave out. A few items in jersey pockets or a top tube bag can go a long way here if you choose well.The answers (and even the questions) will not be the same for everyone.
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Old 11-27-22, 10:34 AM
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Just carry a single pannier in the rear on one side of the rack, and use a convertible pannier. List below:

https://www.cyclingabout.com/list-of...-back-or-bike/
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Old 11-27-22, 11:02 AM
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If you want something strapped on the back of a rack that is a backpack, I would be more inclined to use one of the drybag type backpacks. There are several of different sizes and brands. I have had a Seattle Sports one for over a decade, very simple, roll closure at top with two shoulder straps. It was more simple than I wanted, the two top buckles were intended to buckle together for closure, but I sewed on side straps with some more buckle parts for that which gives it a bit more volume. It is the blue pack in my photo, I estimate at about 27 liters, tips the scale at 670 grams.



Disregard the yellow pack in the photo, that is too big to strap on a bike with a rating of 70 liters. The photo of these two packs is from one of my canoe trips, the yellow one goes behind my seat in my solo canoe, the blue one up in the bow, I can shift the blue one fore or aft to balance the boat. I had nine days of food and much of my camp kitchen in the blue pack at the time of the photo.

That said, I would use small panniers, but I will not try to convince you to change your thinking. It sounds like you really want a back pack on the rack.

Not much of an opinion on the front packs. They look interesting but you are locked into a system where if you had one of the various Anything cages, you have more flexibility on what is strapped to it.
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Old 11-27-22, 11:35 AM
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You mention a rear rack. Why not use a set a set of actual panniers. Ortleib Back Rollers, or something similar, 20L each. It seems that you need carrying capacity and your options are either lighten up with less bulk and fewer items or more carrying capacity. You also am not specific as to what surface you are riding on, dirt trails and roads where a bikepacking load on a mt. bike ?, or paved roads where a traditional F & R pannier and rack touring setup is appropriate.
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Old 11-27-22, 11:57 AM
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I carried a fairly large backpack around New Zealand for a month strapped to the top of my rack (in addition to four panniers!). It was mostly empty, I think I had my sleeping bag and pad in it and maybe the tent.

I had just returned from a job deployment in the Antarctic with the backpack. The bike was in storage at the NSF facility in Christchurch. I had nowhere to store the pack so I carried it along for the duration. Thought it might be nice to have for hikes. No problem keeping the straps out of mischief. You can see it on top in this photo ...

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Old 11-27-22, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
[...Front packs] look interesting but you are locked into a system where if you had one of the various Anything cages, you have more flexibility on what is strapped to it.
Good point. OTOH, these fork packs should always be there when on tour. I mean, they'll replace front rollers, that were always there and where there was no alternative. I am also considering the Tumbleweed T-Rack with 3-boss mounts where I could eventually mount Anything Cages.

Your Seattle Sports dry bag is an interesting option. Removable shoulder straps would streamline the setup when cycling. Perhaps not the best backpack, but certainly better than lugging a pannier for an overnight hike.
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Old 11-27-22, 01:14 PM
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Sealline is another brand. The yellow one in my photo in my previous post is a Sealline.
https://www.seallinegear.com/packs-duffels

I met a couple in Iceland that decided that backpacking was not what they wanted to do, so they bought some really cheap folding bikes and decided to try that. I had an extra strap and gave it to them, but they needed more than a few straps. This was not the most stable option.

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