When we started bike touring, we experienced a daily pannier explosion.
As soon as we stopped in a campsite or hotel room, everything would fly out of our bags. We flung socks to the left and shirts to the right as we tried to find things that we’d put in the bags just a few hours earlier.
Before long, everything was in a big heap and both of us were frustrated and short-tempered. Hardly ideal inside a small tent! Thankfully, a few days later we were able to buy several small, multi-coloured bags.
Socks went in the red one, underwear in the blue bag and so on. Our marriage suddenly had a much better chance of surviving the bike tour intact.
The idea of using bags to separate your stuff and keep it organized is one that fellow bike tourist Ann Wilson reminded us of this week.
She uses the same technique, and finds her bags in bargain shops (see the photos). They’re small washing bags, normally used to separate delicates from other clothes in the washing machine.
“They are featherlight and you can see through them so you don’t have to hunt for things. I use four of different sizes and think of them as my ‘drawers’. They stop you ending up with piles of clothes everywhere when you empty your panniers at night,” says Ann.
“My originals were bought in England from one of those bargain bazaars that you find in most towns these days; the ones that sell everything very cheap. I bought a replacement in a ‘100 yen store’ in Japan and in Spain you can find them in the Chinese bazaars.”
If you’re looking for something a bit more formal, the Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes are also popular among many of our bike touring friends for organizing and compressing things inside panniers.