Sounds like you are doing things the smart way. Rather than take up space here on a saddlebags thread, I'll keep contact with you on your blog or facebook page. I'm getting the groundwork done to start a blog for my trip as well.
By the way, for the OP...was it Raigenp? There is a set of saddle paniers and saddlebag set being offered on ebay right now with a "buy it now" price of $189 for the whole set. Not a bad price if they are in the condition the seller indicates, although I don't think he'll get that much for them. They are florescent orange for safety in the woods during hunting season.
A saddle panier set is kind of nice for someone who would like to go horse camping, but doesn't want to go the expense of getting a pack saddle and panier set. With saddle paniers you can put a regular western saddle on the pack horse and throw the panier set over the saddle, then load the paniers with your camp gear. If you only have one horse, you can hike in to your camp leading the packed horse, set up camp, then ride the horse out on day rides, coming back to camp in the evenings, then pack back out when you're done. If you happen to have an extra horse, then you're set to ride in and out and have an extra saddle horse if needed.
They're nice for a hunter as well, because you can ride in on the saddle, then, if you are successful, you can pack your game out in the paniers and walk out leading the packed horse.
Food for thought.