Martha chose the color (from choices of red, yellow, black, graphite or hazel). She's all about color and matching up 'just right'. Here though, she wisely went with yellow to enhance our visibility and safety. Thank you Martha for another great color decision (she also helps dress color-challenged me most mornings for work).
Of course, we already have two other sets of panniers that I've used for years. They are Performance house brands in larger and smaller sizes. The larger pair have been on several multi-day tours and have held up just fine. The Ortliebs have a larger capacity, which is important for the extra stuff THE BIG RIDE will require. And the other thing is the old panniers are not really waterproof, which requires ziploc bagging your clothing within the bags and still using the now tattered rain covers. We'll still be taking one set of the old bags with us as we'll need to use both front and rear bags for this trip. The Ortliebs will be in back and I'm hoping that the smaller bags for up front will be sufficient, but really won't know until we get all our stuff into a pile and see which bags can hold it all.
I also bought an ever so slightly used Arkel handlebar bag from EnduroDoug through the classifieds on the Adventure Cycling Association website. Again, we're looking for increased capacity since, unlike past tours, we're taking camping items (a tent and sleeping bags) as insurance in case we can't score inside lodging.
We've attached a picture of Baxter with the panniers and handlebar bag. Baxter doesn't look happy. He's not. He hates bags.
Baxter has the Bags Blues