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Trailer or Panniers

tarpaullynntarpaullynn Posts: 146
edited November 2007 in Tour & expedition
My wife and I are planning our first cycle tour next year and having read the post regarding the Extrawheel trailer we were wondering...................what would you recommend, trailer or pannier? Or both?

Maybe a trailer for the heavy, bulky stuff, panniers for clothes and other light gear or is that overkill?

To be honest we would've just bought panniers but the trailer option is an attractive one as it means I can carry more of the load whilst my wife, who to be fair is weaker, could travel lighter.

Any thoughts or observations would be appreciated.
Tarpaullynn

Posts

  • It all depends on the bike you have and the type of riding you intend doing.

    If you have proper touring bikes, designed for panniers, then I think the concensus is that panniers are better. If you intend to tour with mountain bikes or lighter road bikes, then the issue is more finely balanced. Some love panniers, others loathe them, for a lot of different reasons.

    Personally, i think trailers only have an advantage over panniers where:

    1. You are carrying significantly heavier loads than your bike is designed for - for example, you are carrying kit for a weaker rider, as you seem to suggest you will be.

    2. You intend to do a lot of rough road touring with an mtb.

    If you are at early stage of putting together your kit, I would suggest going for the pannier option only and concentrate on buying the lightest, most compact kit you can afford (and of course, cutting down what you need to the minimum). If you already have your bikes and most of your kit, and you think it'll be too much for one or both bikes to carry, then look at a trailer.

    But definitely don't go for panniers and trailer, if you need that, then you are definitely carrying far too much stuff.

    I hate to advocate drugs, violence or insanity to anyone, but they\'ve always worked for me.\' Hunter S. Thompson
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    My wife uses a trailer as a brake - on my bike!

    I am a fit(ish) commuting cyclist and tour 60 miles aday. My wife is an occasional cyclist who tours 30 - 40 miles a day.

    A Trailer allows me to carry the bulk of luggage for both of us, effectively I use my betteer fitness to pullthe loads, and the lack of weight makes her touring more enjoyable.
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • I have a Dawes Kara Kum which is fitted with front and rear panniers, my wife has a Claud Butler but its not a 'proper' tourer like mine but through cycle to work scheme its something we were going to put right.

    As I said panniers are the option we'd probably favour but we hadn't considered a trailer until reading other posts on this forum. I think what attracts us to the trailer is, as mentioned earlier, my wife can carry less off the load and I suppose with a trailer you don't need to be as precise in your packing which for 1st timers may be a boon. Also we have a variety of camping gear acquired over the years but I wouldn't say that any of it is particularly lightweight.

    Finally I'm an XXL cyclist, and I'm not talking height :oops:, and I'm conscious of the stress I may put on my bike and rims with my weight and load combined, so wondered if a trailer may be easier on my bike.

    Its something we'll have to ponder in the coming months, might encourage me to get out over the winter and shed some weight.
    Tarpaullynn
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    the bike is probably going to be strong enough to take the weight of you and then luggage, but the quality of the pannier racks is important. On rough roads the added impact of flexing and sudden weight loads may threaten the rack structure. The Thorn racks are some of the strongest and I plumped for these, but there are other choices too.
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • xiliosxilios Posts: 170
    My wife and I have been using the same type and size panniers for several tours now. I'm also a bit more heavyer and stronger than her but we do manage to divide the weight out good.
    I carry the tent while she carries the mattresses.
    I have the tool and repair kit while she has the first aid kit.
    I carry the kitchen (gas canister, eating ustensils, etc...)while she carries the washing kit (clothes line, pins, etc...)
    And we always adjust everything as we go along.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    I don't use a trailer myself but they do have their enthusiasts. they won't make going up hills easier but I expect they do have an impact on cornering and handling.

    I'd say that even with panniers you should be able to divide the load in a sensible way. You should be able to carry all of your kit, plus tent and sleeping bag as well as tools, spares and maps etc in a pair of medium-sized panniers (with the tent and sleeping bag bungeed to the rack), leaving your wife to carry her clothes and sleeping bag. (this assumes you won't be carrying food or cooking equipment).
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    Of course there is cmping by trailer and Camping by trailer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWnsu4dfNGs
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • Cunobelin wrote:
    Of course there is cmping by trailer and Camping by trailer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWnsu4dfNGs

    Hmm, wonder if they do 2 person ones?

    Seriously though I've been giving my original question some thought, my wife and I are also keen hill walkers and an ideal scenario for us would be to cycle over to the lake district, pitch our tent and hit the hills as well as explore by bike. As we would have to carry rucksacks for our walking the trailer option would suit us as we could pack our backpacks and fasten them to a trailer, when we get to the site, unpack, get set up then we can have the best of both worlds, maybe have a couple of panniers each for cycle specific stuff.

    Maybe we should keep the cycling and walking seperate but they do overlap quite a bit, mainly the camping side of it.

    As I've said earlier in the thread, lots to ponder and we have the winter to think about it.
    Tarpaullynn
  • xiliosxilios Posts: 170
    Have you looked at this product from Ortlieb? >>> http://www.ortleib.com/_prod.php?lang=e ... gesyst-rad <<<. I came across it while checking out some panniers for me and my wife.
    Maybe it's something for you?
    cheers
  • xilios wrote:
    Have you looked at this product from Ortlieb? >>> http://www.ortleib.com/_prod.php?lang=e ... gesyst-rad <<<. I came across it while checking out some panniers for me and my wife.
    Maybe it's something for you?
    cheers

    I was aware of these carrying systems but I seem to remember the comments weren't very favourable, thanks for the link though.

    By the way that's a nice looking web page you've created, I'll have a good delve into it when I get more time, hopefully after our first trip next year we'll be able to create our own.
    Tarpaullynn
  • jibijibi Posts: 2,463
    I see this question so many times on so many forums.
    After several ( 30 +) years of panniers I have had a trailer for the last few years and I would never go back. I have the BOB Ibex , with suspension now.

    Brilliant piece of kit.

    george
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