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Old 12 Jul 2007
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Jesse panniers & no strap-ons

My wife & I have a 1150 GS Adv & recently returned from 5 months around South America. We have Jesse panniers and top box (which were fantastic), equating to about 150 litres of volume. We also had a tank bag. We took camping gear. My comments are:
1. Buy good compact lightweight gear - it will generally perform better, last longer & will weigh less. In my opinion weight is a bigger issue than volume.
2. Only take the essentials. We saw heaps of people carrying un-necessary stuff or luxuries. Extra weight might be the difference between a saved incident or a big get-off
3. We avoided strapping stuff onto the panniers or top box. If you start strapping stuff on, the only limit to what you take is the length of the straps and your imagination!! The only time we did this was a bit of extra food (for 3 days camping without supplies) & a cheap fleece blanket for those cold southern patagonian nights.

The above comments apply to 1150s, 1200s or whatever.
Hope this helps.

Last edited by Cords and Aash; 12 Jul 2007 at 03:58.
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Old 12 Jul 2007
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Thumbs up 2-up camping

Mark, don't tell lies, we saw you strap on a hot water flask onto your top box in Patagonia!!!

Flyerblade, there's no right and wrong way to pack for 2-up camping, but of course its possible. We've been doing it for 14 months now on our 1100 GS. Check out our blog for pics, but basically, 2 alu panniers, large ortlieb bag and touratech tank bag / pannier combo (for us, a worthwhile buy).

Also worth taking into consideration is where and for how long you're travelling. For us camping comfortably in the likes of Patagonia meant down sleeping bags and quality thermarests. As we're away for a while, we have a 3-man tent, comfortable for us and our gear.

A good point mentioned earlier is taking your pillion into consideration, it's her / his trip too. (Took me a while to work this one out!). We use an Autocom intercom and wouldn't be without it, although I previously thought BM + intercom = pipe + slippers! However, a lot of people don't use them, whatever works for you.

However you pack, you'll end up ditching gear along the way, it's inevitable. Whatever you do, enjoy yourselves.

Cheers, Hame & Em
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Old 12 Jul 2007
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Too much gear

I can't speak for loading up a GS for 2-up travel, but I can speak for packing too much and trying to save space!

If you lay out all of your gear well in advance of you going, and have a few packing trial runs, you will find yourself eyeing stuff up as you walk past and moving it from the 'essential' pile to the 'maybe' pile. In a few more days it will probably be in the 'if it fits' pile

For your clothing, get some compression bags - the ones with the one-way valve that let you roll them/sit on them. squash them to force all the air out. They're excellent for reducing the bulk of your clothing and also keep everything clean and in one accessible place (a second one can be useful for keeping the dirty smelly biker gear away from your fresh clothes too).

Ortlieb bags are the goods! I can't rate them highly enough.
I travel with my 'bedroom' in a roll-top ortlieb on the rear rack - tent, thermarest, sleeping bag and picnic blanket fit easily (I have a bulky sleeping bag and a 2-man tent). You could definitely get 2 thermarests and sleepingbags and tent into a big one. It is also a comfy backrest for your pillion.

A tankbag can be great for the camera and paperwork that needs to be in easy reach... but I always just end up filling empty space with junk if I can. More for me to carry - aarg! I will be travelling without one next time (and probably strap the camera onto the handlebars or something.
If you don't have bugs in your teeth, you haven't been grinning enough!
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Old 13 Jul 2007
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No right answers

Hamish, you're right - we did have a thermos flask too!
With all the preceeding threads, I think the answer is that there are no right answers - just lots of good information and things to consider. Everyones situation varies from the next & as is evidenced by the number of bikes out there, all packed differently, if it works for you then keep doing it. If not, making changes along the way (like ditching excess gear) is generally easy.
Give it a go & see what works best for you.
For example we went for a top box & it worked well for us, but based on what we saw bags such as the Ortleib are a very good alternative.
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Old 13 Jul 2007
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Thanks everyone for the encouragement. Initially I was worried that 2-up camping was just going to inherently over-load the bike but it sounds promising given a controlled approach to deciding what to take

Ortlieb users, what sort of rack do you have on the back to attach the bag to ?
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Old 13 Jul 2007
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IMO, any rack will do for attaching an Ortlieb; I have used mine on a GS650 standard rack and a Renntec rack and a few others, but I can't remember what the racks were! Oh yes, Ventura luggage rack.

Have also strapped the Ortlieb across a pillion seat with bungies when riding single,


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Old 14 Jul 2007
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2-up camping on a GS should be easily do-able. My wife and I took a 3-month, 2-up trip last summer and we camped whenever we could. We did this trip on an R1150R (Roadster). There are plenty of gear options, although you have to be creative with the packing/loading.

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Old 23 Aug 2007
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Originally Posted by flyerblade View Post
Thanks schiannini !

What size metal mules do you have ? How do you rate them ?

I see you are in Cambridge also
oops! Only just saw this - apologies for the painfully long delay in replying...

I bought my Metal Mules in the early days before the balance system existed. This was one 38 and one 45 lit case plus the big top box. I've since got the balance system and so have two 45 lit cases. I also still have the 38 lit which is my 'office' (I fit custom made earplugs and the 38 lit case is big enough to carry all the earplug stuff). Keyed alike - so I don't have millions of keys.

I have to say I'm really very happy with the panniers. I don't own a car and ride all year round and the bike lives outdoors but the panniers have never let a drop of water in. If you want to swing by and have a proper look at them then just give me a shout but I can't recomend them highly enough.
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