Beyond seat bags – how to carry gear on a bicycle tour

As your bicycle horizons expand, you may find the need to carry more gear on your bike. There is only so much room in a seat bag and jersey pockets for the clothing and other essentials for day-long rides and multi-day travel. This is especially true with spring and fall riding, where a wide range in temperatures will have you shed jackets, vests or arm & leg warmers as the day warms. Here is a brief summary of three broad categories of bicycle touring, and how you might carry the load.

Supported tour – rear rack and rack trunk.
Bontrager Rack Trunk – for day trips and supported toursWhen you ride all day on a supported, multi-day tour, most of your gear goes on the baggage truck (and out of reach) from breakfast until dinner. For these rides, a rear rack and rack trunk combination is an ideal way to carry your needs for the day, with room for cool weather or rain gear, snacks and other travel needs. Some rack trunks feature drop down pannier options that give additional flexibility and space.

Inn-to-Inn Touring – rear rack and small panniers.
Arkel Tailrider and T-28 Panniers – ideal for the light traveling touristAlso called “credit-card” touring, you travel carrying a change of riding clothes, and lightweight off-bike wear. Small or medium panniers, sometime combined with a rack trunk will accommodate the careful packer, without creating weight distribution problems on your bike.

Self-contained camp touring – front and rear rack, front and rear panniers.
Arkel T-42 & T-28 – balancing the load for the long-haul, camping bicycle touristWhen you are carrying your shelter, kitchen and clothing for on and off the bike, weight distribution becomes more important. A front rack and panniers will allow you distribute your gear evenly across your bike for better handling, and reduces stress on the rear wheel.


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