When I first fell in love with bicycle touring, I used panniers, mounted on a front low-rider rack, on a mid-low trail bike. We used to ride from New York to Philly with similar kits in 2008 or so, actually using newly-released Revelate saddle packs in conjunction with traditional “touring” garb. In the following years, makers were starting to move towards more customized bicycle bags, leaning away from Berthoud, Ortlieb, and the mix of classic, timeless, and staple brands.
There are so many idiosyncratic ways to camp by bicycle and these days, I feel like the soul of bicycle touring, vis a vis Adventure Cycling’s Bikecentennial in the summer of ’76 and even the 1983 Pearl Pass tour (complete with MTBs equipped with racks and panniers), still exists and is cherished by many, myself included. Many brands have since picked up this torch to carry on similar vibes. Brands like Swift Industries, whose image feels as timeless as the Bikecentennial, began launching their first randonneuring and touring bags at the 2012 Philly Bike Expo where I had the pleasure to meet Jason and Martina.
Here in New Mexico, we’ve got a few bag makers, one of which is Buckhorn Bags that just released its own pannier design, in line with the tourers of yesteryear. Let’s wax poetic about some waxed canvas vibes below!