Outdoor Fitness reader Martin Jackson wrote to us saying: “I’m planning to cycle unsupported from Land’s End to John O’Groats this summer, but I don’t want to carry all my kit on my back. Beyond panniers, what other solution are there? Our contributing editor, Jonathan Manning gives his advice…

You can transform your bike into a veritable beast of burden with smart storage, but do remember that when you come to the foot of a hill, you are the motor to pedal up it.

Up front, panniers are the obvious choice for either side of the wheel, as well as a handlebar bag. Ortlieb’s 15-litre Handlebar-Pack is a good option for bulky but light items such as a sleeping bag, but beware filling it with heavy kit or you could compromise the steering.

There are larger solutions for the back, such as the 64-litre Vaude Karakorum, which includes a pair of panniers plus a sizeable bag above them. Alternatively, the 16.6-litre Ortlieb Seat-Pack attaches to the saddle and seat post, and will supplement rear pannier volume.

To maximise every last litre of space, the Alpkit Stingray fills the middle triangle of your bike with a narrow pack, but remember there will be nowhere to hang water bottles and you’ll be a sizeable target for any crosswinds.


Get more advice on rigging a bike for bikepacking here