Free DIY bucket panniers!
I just finished a tour down Baja California, and am going to continue traveling in Latin America sans bike. If you would like to put my "Tidy Cats," or recycled kitty litter buckets made into panniers, into good use, I would be so happy! I know it sounds weird that they are kitty littler buckets, but they only held CLEAN unused kitty litter fresh from the store, they are waterproof, double as benches, critter-proof food containers for when you're camping, are SUPER bright and visible when you're on the road, and I am convinced they have a litany of other uses... They also have reflective tape on the back.
I don't have a photo of them but I found a photo of the buckets I used, and here is the link of where I got some ideas for building them so you can get an idea: http://www.instructables.com/id/Building-Better-Bucket-Panniers/
I am currently in Oaxaca (city) but will be in Mexico City D.F. maybe later this week, and would be happy to bring them there if it means that they will go somewhere other than the landfill.
If anyone tries to build a set of these; use 5 gallon buckets for more space. You have to design a straight bar for the top attatchment to the rack though. The ones from Home Depot are already bright orange for great visibility. Good luck
yes- these were just over 5 gallons and had ample space! christopher, i don't know exactly what you mean by "design a straight bar," but what i did was screw the hook hardware into the outside of the bucket, with a strip of 1/4" ply (more or less a "straight bar") running across the top on the inside, so both hooks bolted into that. it worked great! i would recommend that to anyone. get lock nuts or just keep an eye on the bolts to make sure they aren't working their way loose as you ride.
i also modified the bungee/ webbing so i basically had the bungee in a "V" shape, S-hook at the bottom, and the webbing screwed in as an upside down "V" holding the bungee in place. wish i had a digital camera to show y'all, but hope you get the idea! this is a common system on store-bought panniers so you could go peep some in the store/online...
i also ended up using pre-fab hardware from jandd (http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FWSA-HJH) on one side, and used some scrap metal and bent it into the same shape for the other side, and just wrapped it with duct tape for shock absorbancy/so it wouldn't scrath my rack. the store-bought ones were pretty deluxe, but hey, they other one worked just fine!
Only reason I've resisted buckets is wind resistance potential. I'm slow enough as it is. Conventional panniers are a bit more aerodynamic.
Plus, if stealth camping, those colorful buckets are much harder to hide. OTOH, they make a good table/stool for cooking.
Plus/minus like most things.