Bikepacking has evolved over recent years from using panniers to strapping bags to various places on your bike. Panniers are still used but it’s mostly for touring as you can get away with filling them up and not worry too much about the weight. With that, there was a gap, a pannier that is small enough to still be viable and not too bulky for off road bikepacking.
There are quite a few off road specific panniers out there and I managed to get the Revelate Nano from Andy Toop at https://backcountry.scot/ over here in the UK.
What is the reason for this ‘madness’ I hear you ask? I’ve got the bikepacking bags for a traditional set up, seatpack, frame bag, bar bag & fork bags. After acquiring a Salsa Alternator Wide rack from the interwebs, I needed something to go on it. It just so happened that Andy was getting a shipment in from the US, so a deal was struck. A few days later they were strapped to the Salsa Mukluk to give it a different look.
This instantly felt good, they were so simple to fit on the rack. The bags straddle the rack (wider the better), and are attached with just one strap and buckle at the bottom of each bag to the rack.
There are also buckles that sit on top of the rack so the bag stays firmly close to your rack.
I should add as well that the Nano bags are not fixed separately as they are as one unit. This works extremely well as you can easily fit them within just a few seconds. Also as there is a center piece of strapping, this can be used as a handle when transporting off the bike.
Space wise they come in at 13 litres for the pair which is ample for using on a day ride or for bikepacking. With this in mind, they are 4 litres smaller than my seatpack but I haven’t struggled packing my gear. Also as the top of the rack is free, you can easily strap more gear to it if needed. There are a couple of strap loops on each bag which are handy for attaching kit to if need be. Revelate states that they weigh in at just 465 grams for the pair.
Inside each bag is kept pretty simple with just a wheelside thin pocket which overlaps the main compartment and is held at the top by a velcro patch. The wheelside part of the bag is made from the super tough 840d Ballistic nylon which prevents anything creeping into the wheel and thus maintaining its shape.
The rest of the external fabric of the bag is made from Revelate Lite Skin 150d, which Revelate states as not being waterproof. The zipper is waterproof and is attached to the bag along a stretchy material which helps you when completely filling the pannier.
What I’ve found from using these panniers over the last few weeks is that packing is so much simpler as you don’t have to be so picky like when you pack a seatpack. Due to their size, it would be virtually impossible to feel like you’ve got too much weight in them as compared to traditional panniers.
Revelate says that these are great for people who ride a smaller framed bike which limits the size of frame bag you can use. Also when carrying out some pushing, they do not get in the way which makes it easier on the way up.
All in all, I’ve found that these are my new best friend when out on the bike.
More information here: https://www.revelatedesigns.com/index.cfm/store.catalog/rack/NanoPanniers