|On the bike.....|
I know when I used to go "touring", in the old school sense of the term, we would use racks and panniers. Our bikes were probably overstuffed. We likely took way more than we needed to, but ya know what? It worked. Actually- it worked pretty darn well!
Using that way to haul things, you didn't have anything on your body for a load. A backpack? Wasn't even a thought. So, while the bikes were heavy and cumbersome, we were free to work the load up, over, down, and through on our way to wherever it was we were going. And we got there, for the most part, without much trouble with everything intact. It wasn't very easy to get at stuff sometimes, but we figured it out.
Then along came hydration packs. Mountain bikers weren't going in for panniers, so another way had to be figured out. Smaller rucksacks and hiking gear was used, then purpose built backpacks, like the ubiquitous Osprey Talon 22, which has been the darling of bikepackers, was pressed into service for the big, outback type rides.
|.....or on yer back!|
Meanwhile, backpacks have gotten amazingly good these days. I have been trying out some Osprey stuff, and it is really quite nice. Sits back there without moving around, and feels pretty good, actually. I mean- I don't really feel beat down per se', but my issue is with heat when it gets hot more than anything. But then again- I am built like a pack mule more so than some!
At any rate, I like to use a combination of both a backpack and frame bags myself, and I think many "bikepackers" do things that way as well. What it all boils down to is where you put things: Heavy stuff goes on the bike, lighter gear on your back. I think that would be the general rule of thumb, but it isn't a hard and fast rule. Everyone seems to have their own agenda there.
I know I will be investing in some more stuff like frame bags, and maybe a couple of those big seat packs. I already have a few things, (as seen above on the titanium Mukluk), and my hope is to get out there yet this year to try out some kind of overnighter. And what about those old panniers? I still have them. They get used a lot too on my "townie" bike. Sometimes I look at that and think, "I could pack these up and go anywhere tomorrow if I wanted to." Yep- nothing wrong with a nice set of panniers either, as long as it works for you.
However you choose to do things, "packin' it" on-board with you and taking off on an adventure with your bicycle is a good thing to do. I highly recommend it.