Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pannier backpack combo hack

In preparation for my cycle trip to New Zealand, I've been trying to figure out the best way to carry my panniers when they're not on the bike. I have Ortlieb Backroller Classics and they are delightful. However, they aren't easy to carry when off the bike, especially if you have to manhandle two of them simultaneously. They come with over-the-shoulder straps but I'd rather carry one that way and one on my back.

Ortlieb sells a backpack converter kit which I find to be rather expensive, so I thought of ways I could make my own. 

The simple solution: a day pack and a thick plastic coat hanger. 

All you have to do is stick the hanger upside down into the backpack straps, as if the hanger was carrying the backpack. 

Then take your pannier and position it so that the clip system is facing the outside of the backpack. 

All that's left to do now is to secure the pannier clips one at a time to the hanger on either side of the straps. Pull up on the release handle on the side you want to open the clip. 

Ta-da! A somewhat goofy looking but functional backpack. (My dad said the hanger sticking out from my shoulders made the setup look tacky. I like to pretend they're little angel wings.)

The pannier sits high enough so you can strap other things to the lower part of the pack, such as shoes, your tent and ground cover, your sleeping mat, etc. 

To release, pull up on the release handle. 

When you want to carry the pannier separately, just insert it into the rack holder by itself. Be careful not to pick up your pannier by the release handle or you'll lose your hanger. For this reason, I prefer to secure the hanger on the lower hook, although I found this tends to bend the hanger over time. 

The backpack I picked up at Goodwill for $4. There was significant damage to the bottom of the pack which didn't bother me, as I only wanted the thing for the straps and back part. (Ordinarily I wouldn't seek out a J├Ągermeister-branded backpack, either).

My brother used the damage as a way to talk down the price at the register by 50%. Later, as I was traveling, I decided that I did want to use the big inside pocket for storage, and so I sewed a patch into the bottom of the pack. I found the side pockets to be useful for water bottles, toothbrush and anything else I want to keep handy. With the bottom patched, I can use the J├Ąger pack as a day pack as well. If anyone knows how I could turn the day pack into a handlebar bag as well, let me know!

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At 08:22, Blogger active naturists said...

Thanks for the tip! I had a similar idea on my trip in the Everglades, Florida. I attached Ortlieb pannier to my backpack with bungee chords, your construction seems more solid :-)


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