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Our Panniers

by Tara

With a wonderfully empty day ahead of me, I decided to do something productive before settling in for a relaxing afternoon of reading. Our panniers have started to get slightly funky and today was the day to clean them. Getting right down to work I carried them all to a hose hooked up behind the shower block where we had cleaned our bikes earlier. It was very hot and I didn't mind getting soaked as I scrubbed them with soap and water followed by a good blasting with a water hose.

Tara Cleaning Panniers Tara Cleaning Panniers

When I was through I hung them up to dry on the fenceposts around our campsite. With the panniers wet and indisposed, I set about organizing all of our belongings—now strewn about on the ground around our tent. There is something really satisfying about taking stock of everything, collecting various items into a group according to theme, presenting each thing in all its glory, and then putting it all back in its place. I am really enjoying documenting our trip so of course I had to take pictures before I re-packed everything.

Here they are! (except for Tyler's clothing pannier)

The Book Pannier

Book Pannier Books

This is a goodbye banner from the kids, books we brought or picked up along the way, folder of Important Papers, watercolor pencils, knitting stuff, etc.

The Toiletries Pannier

Toiletries Pannier

My Clothing Pannier

Tara's Clothing Pannier

Not pictured is the sleeping mat that is rolled up and goes on top of all of this stuff.

The Tool & Parts Pannier

Tool Pannier

The Pantry Pannier

Pantry Pannier

This is for anything that needs to be prepared in some way before eating.

The Snack Pannier

Snack Pannier

This is for anything anything you could easily eat for snacks or lunches.

The snack and pantry pannier are constantly evolving, and sometimes there is little difference between the two. I never tire of organizing and taking stock of our food.

The Cooking Pannier

Cooking Pannier

Spices go in here, along with our three kinds of salt, and our dish-washing supplies. The fuel bottle actually goes in the tool pannier though.

The Butter Tupperware


Not a pannier I know, but worthy of it's own photo. This massive hunk of butter will last us about a week.

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Wow...Now I think this is one of my favorite posts so far. I always wondered what exactly you were keeping in the panniers. Thanks Tara.
Posted by Tony on June 25th, 2009 at 6:32 PM
Ooh, I love sneak peaks like this! How compact it all must be. Where does the laptop, camera etc fit in? Do you carry day packs as well or keep it all on the bikes?
Posted by YvetteDownunder on June 25th, 2009 at 7:57 PM
Wow very cool! i love to hear about the details of it all..

ps michael jackson died today.
Posted by lian on June 26th, 2009 at 12:44 AM
The camera is strapped to the back of my bicycle (outside). The laptop and all of our other electronics are in the not shown pannier (my clothing pannier) along with my clothing bag to give them a bit of padding in the case of a fall.

We can update the post with a picture of the last pannier when we have a chance :)
Posted by Tyler on June 26th, 2009 at 1:09 AM
Tony-- Glad you enjoyed it!

Yvette-- we both have backpacks (you could see mine in my pannier picture) but we rarely use them. We're very glad we have them, though, because they are exactly what we need to wander around and go exploring, or go grocery shopping on unloaded bikes. That being said, we mostly use them to divide up space in our panniers.

Lian-- looks like you'll have to carry on the dance legacy!

Also, I forgot to show you all my handlebar bag, so sometime I'll take pictures of it along with Tyler's Clothing Pannier.

Posted by Tara on June 26th, 2009 at 1:27 AM
Have you tried adding garlic to your butter? Doesn't work so well if you want it for your jam and bread breakfasts but we love it for lunches and cooking. You just chop up a lot of garlic (we do 1 whole head to a package of butter) and mix it all together with a spoon when the butter is soft. Then, if you make a campfire, you can buy a baguette, spread it with your garlic butter, wrap in tinfoil and make garlic bread over the coals! Friedel
Posted by avatarworf on June 26th, 2009 at 6:09 AM
(This is Andrea; I've met Tara a few times through our friend Jesse. I love reading your updates!)

This may be a dumb question: how does the butter/cheese not melt in the heat?
Posted by Andrea on June 26th, 2009 at 12:06 PM
Friedel-- ooh yum! We'll definitely have to try garlic butter. Thanks for the great idea!

Andrea-- Hi! It is so fun seeing who all reads our journal, and it makes me really happy to hear from you!

RE: Cheese & Butter
Not a dumb question, but here is the answer-- the cheese is usually fine. It does get a little soft, but generally stays in good shape.
Butter we have to be careful with, though, making sure we always keep it packed away, or in the shade if it is out. It definitely turns soft right after we buy it, and if it gets a little melty, we just stir it up until it resembles butter again. (We did leave it out in the sun once accidentally and it was completely melted when we came back to it. Won't do that again!)
Posted by Tara on June 26th, 2009 at 4:38 PM
Hello! It's been fun following your guys adventure- we are starting our own three month tour of Japan soon, so all your info has been really helpful!! Just curious - where do you keep your tent and sleeping bags?
Safe travels and keep up the great posts!
Posted by megumi on June 30th, 2009 at 8:38 AM
They are packed in waterproof sacks and strapped to our rear racks. At some point in the future we'll finish up the photo series with the rest of our bags (those, handlebar bag, my pannier etc).

Best of luck with your tour!
Posted by Tyler on July 2nd, 2009 at 1:43 AM