Since i started to reduce my cycling camping kit a few years ago, i need less and less space to put my gear onto my bicycle. On our last trip, i had a pair of 38 liters panniers in front, a small frame bag and a 20L drybag on the back. The 20L drybag was for 2 sleeping bags (and they are not down until now). I do not really go on solo tour and i usually carry our 2 bags (mine and Chantal’s).
The 38 liters bags were too big (they seem full but lots of space was left) and weighted too much. I know, no panniers (a dry bag) weight less but on several weeks tours with my loved one, on the road, some comfort is alright. Panniers are more convenient than drybag too. I will show our smaller off-road setup in another post.
When getting back home, i stopped at a military outlet (it seem they are the best one in Canada). I live 450km from there so i try to stop every time i am in the area. I would probably be in their shop once a week if it was in my town. I bought 2 small east german backpack. They are about 11L each. Rugged material and pretty light. I modified them as bike panniers.
MEC (Canada Eh!) replacement pannier hooks and bungee connect them to my front rack.
I usually put my 3 pounds Bilgy tarptent and cooking kit-stove on the left side pannier (19 liters one) with a few more small items added. Right now (on the right side for the picture), i can put everything i was carrying in the bigger bag into the smaller one and i added my DIY hammock-net-strap. The package is tighter and will handle better.
I will try them in a few weeks. I have big hope!! In fact, i hope to use a small setup like this for a year long Europe tour in 2013.