Hands-on Gear Review

Compare duffel bag ratings side-by-side >

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Review

   
Top Pick Award

Duffel Bags

  • Currently 5.0/5
Overall avg rating 5.0 of 5 based on 2 reviews. Most recent review: August 15, 2013
Street Price:   $159 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, durable, a few extra nice pockets, comfortable, easy to load.
Cons:  Doesn't fit super long items as well as others we tested.
Best Uses:  Expedition climbing, traveling anywhere you need a big, burly duffel.
User Rating:     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0 of 5) based on 1 reviews
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
Review by: Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ March 25, 2013  
Overview
This wins our Top Pick award because it is lighter than most duffels we tested and scored near the top in every category. It was our favorite in both the Ease of Transport and Comfortable to Carry categories because of its awesome and easily removable shoulder straps. It is also the lightest duffel we tested to feature padded shoulder straps. And it was also the only duffel weighing three pounds or less to feature as many pockets.

The only thing that kept the Black Hole from being our Editors' Choice is durability. The Black Hole Duffel is tough for sure, tougher than most duffels and plenty durable for most users for many, many years. But after using it on several expeditions we didn't think it was quite as tough as a few of the other models we tested. We wished they made it in one size volume bigger. Size 120L is great for most folks but a slightly bigger size would be great, too.

Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >

  • Photos
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Ease of Transport
This was the best duffel in the "Ease of Transport" category and is also one of the most comfortable to carry. We really like the two well-designed, articulated, padded shoulder straps. The only duffels that were as close to as comfortable to carry were the Gregory Alpaca and The North Face Base Camp. The Black Hole's two backpack straps also featured fast-tect buckles and unthreaded the easiest of any duffel we tested. The end grab loops are stiff, round and easy to grab. More importantly, the end grab loops are comfortable for dragging even the heaviest of loads. It had a few extra places to help facilitate lashing the duffel to truck roof tops, yaks or whatever else you might need, but if you do a lot of that sort of thing the North Face Base Camp offered more options to tie it to animals and things.

Ease of Packing
It features well designed and well laid out pockets. We love the two pockets under the lid. Originally this seemed like only a small increase in organization, but it turned out to be huge and now we miss it whenever we use other duffels. It helped keep all the little stuff like extra batteries, chap stick, etc. a little more organized. As for the small zippered outside side pocket, some might like it but we never found ourselves using it. The Black Hole had a nice big D-shaped zipper that was easy to pack and after our extensive side-by-side testing we thought it was the easiest duffel to zip closed even when full.

Durability
The duffel is plenty durable, more durable than most duffels on the market and tough enough for most users for many years. But during our side-by-side testing and after using the Black Hole duffel on five expeditions, we didn't think it was quite as durable as the North Face Base Camp duffel, the Wild Things Mule or the Cilo Gear Duffel. We did think the durability was similar to Gregory Alpaca and more durable than the Helly Hanson Duffel.

Weight
At three pounds the Patagonia Black Hole duffel is one of the lightest duffels we tested. It is the lightest duffel we tested to feature padded shoulder straps and is one to three pounds lighter many other duffels we tested that also feature shoulder straps. It also had more pockets then any other sub-three-pound duffels we tested. So if you are someone who is always pushing the 50-pound limit on airlines, the Patagonia Black Hole is a great way to get you a couple more pounds.

Weather Resistance
The Black Hole, along with the Cilo Gear duffel, BD Huey duffel and the Mountain Hardware Expedition duffel, was the most weather resistant duffel in our review. We did a ton of side-by-side testing by filling all the duffels with towels and spraying them down with a hose. The Black Hole, along with the above mentioned duffels, out-performed our Editors' Choice, The North Face Base Camp, and the Helly Hansen Duffel.

Value
Its 120L volume fits in between on price and volume the North Face Base Camp Duffel. Its slightly less expensive than the 155L XL North Face Duffel ($170) but slightly less expensive than the 90L size large ($145).

Other Versions
This duffel is available in a few different sizes, ranging from the 45-liter version, the Black Hole Duffel 45L, $100, to the 90-liter version, the Black Hole Duffel 90L, $140.

You can also purchase this duffel in a wheeled version in both the 45 and 100 liter versions. Both come in handy when going on a longer trip or while traveling internationally:

Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 45L, $300.
Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 100L, $350.

Ian Nicholson

Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >

Where to Buy?


Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: August 15, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (2)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 1 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
Write a Review on this Gear

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Aug 15, 2013 - 03:07pm
JHJ · Backpacker · CANELA - RS - BRASIL
Great duffel, durable, hard build and full of space!
Click to enlarge
Ready for all
Credit: JHJ


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
Help other readers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? 
Yes
 
No


Have you used the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Click to enlarge
Patagonia 120L Black Hole Duffel
Credit: Patagonia
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Backcountry $159.00
REI $159.00
Patagonia $159.00
Compare prices at 5 sellers >

*Help support OutdoorGearLab. If you click on one of the seller links and make a purchase, a portion of the sale helps support this site
Related Best-in-Class Review
The Best Travel Duffel Bags

The Best Travel Duffel Bags

We took our favorite burly travel duffels and compared them head-to-head to help you figure out which one to take on your next adventure.
Video video review
Helpful Buying Tips
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Related Gear Reviews