When I first started fat-biking, I used traditional rear panniers and while they did the job admirably, they did tend to get in the way when riding cross-country, the panniers often catching on branches, rocks and like. So, giving the subject some thought, I started by listing all the stuff I tended to carry, then removed anything that wasn’t really required. What was left was a small volume of items that I needed room to carry, so I set about finding how I was going to do that.
The obvious choice was a frame bag, and as fortune would have it Surly offered dedicated bags that fitted nicely inside the Pugsley’s main triangle – I have Surly frame bags on the Pugsley, the Krampug and the Ogre. The one issue here was that I’d lose my frame water bottle mounts but I really didn’t need two large water bottles and reduced this to a single smaller one, one that would fit inside the frame bag. I did fit the water bottle mounts on the forks for a while but found they tend to get in the way when riding narrow cross-country routes and removed them.
Next, having already purchased and fitted a set of Alpkit Confucius handlebars, it seemed obvious to purchase a handlebar bag bar to suit, and Alpkit’s Drop Bear bag fitted neatly inside the handlebar loop. I’m not sure of the total capacity of the two combined but it’s enough for everything I need to carry. In addition, I have racks front and rear with attached bungies for anything else, such as a removed fleece jacket or additional clothing for winter cycling in the hills.
The main frame bag holds mini pump, spare inner tube and tool kit with room for supplies, vacuum flask, camera equipment such as mini tripod or selfie stick, light jacket or waterproofs, etc. Also the water bottle – all nice and clean and no need to remove gritty sand or mud or worse before drinking. A flat side pocket is good for mobile phone and keys, stuff that needs to be safe and secure. This leave the handlebar bag free for use, though it usually keeps the camera within easy reach.
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