When you are on a cycle tour you will be constantly packing your panniers. Packing your panniers simply involves stuffing your things into the panniers and off you go. However unless you want the bike too heavy on one side or your most important kit at the bottom of the bag there is a bit of an art form to pack your panniers properly.
Once you get a routine you will quickly learn the best system but in the meantime here are our top tips to packing your panniers:
Make sure the weight is even
This is really important and will save you time having to repack your panniers if you get it wrong.
First things first make sure that the weight of the panniers is roughly even for each side of the bike. Otherwise you might find your bike falling to one side in a gust of wind which could be quite dangerous if you are out on a busy road.
Then you need to consider how to distribute the weight between the front and back of the bike. Test and see which way you prefer but most people opt for a 40%/60% split of the weight. If you have more weight at the front this takes pressure off the back wheel and reduces the likelihood of broken spokes.
Within arms reach
Make sure you pack things that you will be using lots at the top of your bags or within easy to reach pockets. This includes camera’s phones, wallets and even essential bike tools such as puncture repair kits.
Waterproof your valuables
No doubt on one of the days touring you will find yourself cycling in heavy rain. Make sure you either have bought waterproof panniers or have wrapped your electronics and valuables, such as your phone and camera, in a plastic bag or cling film.
Everything has its place
Make sure that once you have a system that works you unpack and then repack in the same way. If every item has a place where is lives then you are less likely to lose things or get really annoyed unpacking all your stuff at the side of the road to find the bike pump.
We suggest that you have one bag for each category of stuff such as one bag for clothes, one bag for bike told and spares etc.