I picked up a used Topeak Expedition rear rack for the LHT. I like the front loading configuration, but it’s a bit wonky at slower speeds and a bit strange with the loaded grocery panniers, which tend to flop around a bit because they are not as secure as “regular panniers.” Most of all, I wanted a bit more room for carrying gear. I’ll continue to use the Blackburn front racks if I get into a multi-day trip.
I’ve had my eye on these racks for a while. They’re made out of a heartier stock aluminum tube compared to the typical Trek style, and they have that lower cross member on each side similar to a Tubus that not only adds some structural strength, but allows mounting the panniers lower. That way, they don’t interfere with the saddlebag, plus they are at a lower center of gravity.
I still need to re-route the wiring for the rear light, which mounted right up to the rack (European spacing!) without a hitch.
Last night I was playing around with panniers and compression sacks, figuring out the best way to mount stuff. It still needs a little dialing in, but I think it’s going to work out fine.
BTW: Does anyone know of a frame mount bottle holder that will accomodate a Nalgene?