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  1. #1
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    Maybe a stupid question about frame/seat/handlebar bags...

    Disclaimer: I'm total noob at bikepacking, heck I've never even backpacked a night of my life, but I'm an interested observer/bystander of this bikepacking/touring thing.

    However, it seems that lots of the bikepacking setups seem overly complicated (and expensive). For a cheap and simple setup, can't you just get 2-3 compression sacks like these and strap them to the handlebar, frame, seat (say 10/15/30L) using cam/tie-down straps, like this setup? If more volume/stability is required, just add a durable rear rack and strap the sacks to the top/side of the rack.

    The custom frame bags from Revelate/etc. seem nice, but $100 for a 18L Large size dry bag?

    It may not be the prettiest or lightest setup, but couldn't it work just as well? Like I said, maybe a stupid question..
    Last edited by bosun120; 2 Days Ago at 12:00 PM.

  2. #2
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    I have been living on my bike since 2004 just traveling around Europe. I have seen many set ups, some very costly and others very low budget. We have 39 riders in our group that live this way, but since we live on our bikes & trailers we tend to have more stuff than most who are just going out for a week or two.

    However none of that matters, what gear you have, how much you have; the important thing is that you have what you need to enjoy the bush. If I had to replace everything I have with me I would spend close to 30K, but if I saw another person with my same setup that only did this once or twice a year and then went back to their job, house, car, family... I find that rather odd, I would wonder how someone like that could enjoy them self out in the bush for a couple weeks with all that Gucci.

    To me that Sweetroll is overkill already, a tightly rolled tarp and some Surly cargo straps work great. But the compression sack I find as a must, I have used the same one from Cabellas since 2004.

    Everyone has their own reason why they head off to the bush, and with that reason comes their purpose and their activities. Pack around that and you will do just fine, does not matter what someone else has, what they are riding and if they are tugging. If you cross their path you at least know that you have the one thing in common and that is, you made it this far.
    De oppresso liber

  3. #3
    A guy on a bike Moderator
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    Yes, you can just strap on some cheap dry bags. It will work, and you can have a great adventure.

    Dedicated gear has some distinct advantages though. One is durability. Dry bags tend to chaff and wear pretty easily. Dedicated bags have reinforcing, properly positioned attachment points, etc. Another is convenience. Accessing gear is simply easier when the clips, zippers, etc. are positioned well. Yet another is ride-ability. The good stuff straps down tightly, resulting in a well-balanced bike.

    Whether the pricey stuff is worth it depends on your budget and expectations. Starting cheap, and upgrading as needs dictate, isn't a bad way to go.

  4. #4
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    As long as you are packing light you can pretty much get away with anything. 2 years ago I did a 7 day 1000km road ride from the Malaysian border to Bangkok, we were staying in cheap hotels - all I used was a large $20 seatpouch for a few tools and a spare tube etc and a 12L backpack / hydropack. with a couple of spare sets of clothes and my lunch. That minimalist home made bar / seat bag set up you show would work just fine for that kind of thing
    Once you start having to cart camping kit. foul weather gear and more food water than just a daily lunch and emergency food it becomes a hassle to attach stuff like dry bags to the frame, bars and seatpost without properly designed mounting / harness etc. If you do have bulk and or weight not properly attached it does destablize the bike especially if it moves about. Your options are really as follows or a mix and match:

    - Racks to mount your dry bags etc to the frame or fork and keep them stable - this adds weight but keeps the loads reasonably low and stable and can probably be done for under $100. If you add decent panniers this will allow you to carry pretty large loads.

    - Large backpack, this is the cheapest option but most people do not like large loads on their back while cycling, it's uncomfortable, restricts movement and as the load way above the COG it makes for a pretty unstable ride

    - Frame / Bar / Seat bag set up costs roughly the same as a decent set of rack and panniers, you won't be able to cart anywhere near the volume or weight as touring panniers but it is light weight, you don't run into issues such as heal clipping the rear bags on short stay MTB's or handling issues that racks and panniers can cause such as frame flex on bikes not designed for carting loads. For lightweight multi day single track / dirt road touring it is arguably the most efficient set up. I have found that stashing the heaviest items in a frame bag has very little effect on handling compared with panniers or a backpack.

    Then there are trailers, .

    My opinion is that frame bags are just out and out useful and worth spending money on (or making yourself) they allow you to keep the heaviest items such as water bladders, stove etc as close to the BB as you can get which is the best place to carry it.
    After that it's up to you as to whether you want to go with a seatbag or rack / pannier / dry bag. Bar rolls are a nice to have but you can't carry any real weight or bulk in them without effecting handling, even with expensive ones, a compression sack with homemade mounting straps will work OK
    Last edited by SimpleJon; 3 Days Ago at 08:37 PM.

  5. #5
    seedub
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    Hear him, hear him! Just go! You'll find what works soon enough. Your choices on how you attach your **** will probably not kill you.
    you may have come before us on no bicycle, but that does not say you know everything.

  6. #6
    Two Headed Boy
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    That would work fine;-) The frame bags as stated are nice, but not required. I made one for pretty cheap getting supplies from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics - Supplying all your outdoor fabric needs, not as pretty as some, but works well! I've gone out quite a few times with just a 20L pack and a couple drybags strapped on my bike, didn't affect my fun;-)
    tSETFREEBYLOVEt

  7. #7
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    I rode a lot of Trans North Georgia with a guy who basically strapped drybags to his bars, under his top tube and behind his saddle and then used a large Osprey backpack. He was one of the 18 or so that finished out of 48 starters. I also remember him doing a lot of repositioning his load and eventually stuffing the top tube dry back in his back pack.
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bosun120 View Post

    It may not be the prettiest or lightest setup, but couldn't it work just as well? Like I said, maybe a stupid question..
    You can't answer that question without also defining what bikepacking means to you.

    Some people tour on MTBs on pavement or smooth dirt roads. You can just using straight up racks and panniers for that.

    Some people tour on buff XC singletrack.

    Some people tour on very rough techy terrain.

    Each kind of tour has different demands and can benefit from different solutions.

    Since you are new the best advice I can give you is grab whatever gear you have strap it to your MTB in whatever way makes sense to you and start going out on some short easy tours. You'll figure out what works and what doesn't as well as define what kind of MTB touring interests you.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  9. #9
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    Thanks for your inputs!

    It looks like bikepacking is much more personalized, and not as standard-ized/one-size-fits-all, compared to traditional bicycle touring, where (although any bike can be made to tour) you see most touring setups as:

    Steel frames
    Long chainstays
    36+ spokes
    Schwalbe Marathon tires
    Brooks saddle
    Ortlieb panniers
    Etc.

    And maybe that's a good thing.

  10. #10
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    So just start out by strapping sacks onto your bike and go bikepacking. If after you get some experience you decide you need an actual seat bag because you are tired of strapping a sack onto your seat, then you will be able to enjoy getting things out of the seat bag without taking it off and having an attachment system that is not so fiddly. Strapping a dry bag roll to your handlebars is hard to improve upon. At some point you might want a frame bag as that space is hard to utilize fully without one.

    I think that bikepacking rigs are more diverse as trails are way more diverse than paved roads. Steel frames and a good saddle are good anywhere though.

  11. #11
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    FWIW - my buddy made a DIY frame box out of coroplast for $5 in materials. It survived 2 trips this summer including a 6 day Chilcotins tour. It will last years.

    So if you have time and the desire you can make some gear that's rugged and functional.

    I lent him the Porcelain Rocket seatbag and bar bag.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  12. #12
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    My wife made my first frame bag out of a 25 year old 75L Karrimor rucksack, that died last year but did 3 years no problem. I just bought a custom made JPaks one which will hopefully arrive on Monday.

    The more space you have, the more likely to fill it with crap that you don't really need. If you are anything like me that is.

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