How to Pack Panniers for Touring

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How to Pack Panniers for Touring

Touring on a motorcycle is a highly favoured pastime that provides many riders with a sense of adventure. Getting ready for the tour, however, often proves to be a difficult task. Before riders head out on their bikes, they must pack their belongings and any necessities to ensure they bring everything they need with them. Consider different types of panniers and how to pack them for touring to ensure a safe and smooth trip.


Consider Pannier Styles

Each type of pannier possesses its own unique style. This means riders pack different panniers in different ways. While one takes little time and effort to pack, another may prove much more difficult, with riders condensing their items to minimal size to squeezing them inside the bag. Consider the various pannier style options before purchasing any kind of bag for a bike.


Pannier Style Type

Identifying Features


Resembles a saddlebag

Has compartments on each side, with canvas in the middle to fit across bike

Pouch bag

Resembles a small duffel bag

Has large middle compartment

Double-sided pouch bag

Combination of a saddlebag and duffel bag

Contains large middle compartment as well as hanging compartments on each side


Resembles a hard case or tool box

Uses a lock

Large enough to hold one or two motorcycle helmets


The style a rider decides to use affects the number and size of items he or she can store. While a box-style pannier holds up to two helmets, a simple pouch bag pannier only holds a few essential objects. Some pannier styles work well for short trips, and others work better for longer journeys. It all depends on which type the rider needs at the given time.


Packing Panniers for Touring

Each pannier type requires a different packing technique. Box panniers and double sided panniers, or saddlebags, are two of the most common that people use.

Packing a Box Pannier

Most riders use box panniers for helmet storage. While touring, however, they wear the helmets. This means the box has free space for other items. To pack a box pannier, place the most essential items near the front. This is for easy grabbing in case of an emergency. The heaviest items go on the bottom, while lighter items fill the sides and top, ensuring an even weight within the box so no tipping occurs.

Packing Saddlebags

Saddlebag panniers have two side compartments. Just like a box pannier, the rider wants to pack one so the weight distributes evenly. This means equal amounts of heavy and light items go in each side. Riders should not put heavy items in one side and light items in the other. The uneven weight causes too much movement, which often results in the bags tipping or items falling over and out of place.


Packing Checklist

No matter which type of pannier a motorcyclist has, one must have the proper gear when going on tour. The following items prove necessary for motorcycle travel and require specific packing instructions.


Riders do not need many clothes while travelling. The clothes on them work well for most of the trip, along with an extra outfit or two. To pack clothes, riders fold them and then roll them tightly. Rolled or balled up clothing fits better inside a small bag, allowing more space for other essential items. Clothes also pack well folded and packed tightly inside a zippered bag. Some bikers choose to bring a spare pair of boots, a rain jacket and a safety vest as well as their regular motorcycle clothing.

Travel Essentials

Anyone going on a trip, whether by car, plane, motorcycle or otherwise, needs to pack some travel essentials. This includes items such as a first aid kit; basic toiletries such as a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap; and identification. Extra cash, water and snacks come in handy as well.


When out on the road, riders do not want to experience a breakdown. For this reason, bikers should bring small repair tools to fix minor motorcycle issues. A flashlight is one of the most important tools to bring. Other tools include a tyre puncture plug, a riveting tool for chain breaks and a clutch and throttle repair kit.


How to Buy Panniers for Touring on eBay

Many styles of panniers occupy the stores of sellers on eBay. By searching for panniers or saddlebags, you gain access to a variety of related items to meet your needs. Simply type your query into the search bar located atop any page to get started. Panniers need proper packing in order to work the way you want them to. As long as you pack them appropriately with all the necessary items, they hold your belongings easily and keep them safe and accessible while you tour.

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