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Patagonia Black Hole 70L Wheeled Review

Our favorite wheeled duffel bag.
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Price:  $329 List | $329.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Super durable, simple storage and organization, easy transport, reliable
Cons:  Wheels skip in tight circles, lacks features
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 21, 2020
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 11
  • Reliability - 25% 8
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 5
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 7
  • Weight - 15% 9
  • Style - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Looking for a duffel bag that you can wheel through the airport? The Patagonia Black Hole 70L provides this functionality and more. Versatile in its carry options, you can turn this suitcase into a backpack, carry it with the provided handle, or wheel it along when you're not feeling super strong. It offers 70 liters of unorganized storage, making it a great option for those that love just throwing things into a soft-sided case. The exterior material is exceptionally durable, ideal for traveling to even the most remote places in the world. If you're somebody who can't choose between a duffel or wheeled suitcase, this unique option offers the best of both worlds.

This won the Editor's Choice award in our Duffel Bag review. If you want to learn more about it through the lens of our experts there, please check it out.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  
Price $329.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$269.00 at Amazon$295 List$233.48 at Amazon$179.98 at Backcountry
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Pros Super durable, simple storage and organization, easy transport, reliableSmooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great styleStylish, simple, reliable constructionWell-built, great organizational features, suit & dress holder, great travel abilityDurable, simple storage design, great transportability, excellent water-resistance
Cons Wheels skip in tight circles, lacks featuresZippers could be smoother, some reported handle issuesExpensive, drags up stairsPotential zipper and handle issues, high priceSticky zippers and handle button, less padded handles
Bottom Line A suitcase that's best for those who can't decide between a duffel and a roller bag.A durable and high value suitcase suited for all types of travel.A smooth, simple, and luxurious spinner suitcase for all types of travel.A business-savvy suitcase that has a variety of applications.A simple and durable suitcase built to keep you adventuring wherever you go.
Rating Categories Black Hole 70L Wheeled Timbuk2 Copilot Away Travel Large Platinum Magna 2 26" The North Face Stratoliner 75
Reliability (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Storage & Organization (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
Ease Of Transport (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Weight (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
Style (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
Specs Black Hole 70L... Timbuk2 Copilot Away Travel Large Platinum Magna 2 26" The North Face...
Measured Weight (lbs) 8 10 12 10 10
Measured Volume (liters) 70 80 110 87.5 75
Construction Zip open, softshell Clamshell & peek-a-boo access, softshell Clamshell, hardshell Clamshell, softshell Clamshell, softshell
Measured Packed Dimensions 26" x 14" x 14" 25" x 14" x 10" 27" x 19.5" x 11.5" 25" x 18.5" x 12" 28" X 16" X 12"
Expansion Zippers? No No No Yes No
Number of Wheels 2 2 4 2 2
Number of Large Interior Compartments 1 2 2 1 2
Interior Storage Features 1 mesh organizational pockets on lid of duffel 2 Mesh dividers with organizational pockets. Seperate toiletries bag, one mesh divider, organizational pocket that can be detached. Removable dress/suit holder, mesh organizational pocket, waterproof organizational pocket. Seperate toiletries bag
Number of Exterior Pockets 1 exterior pocket, gear loops 1 pocket on top, 1 large sleeve None 1 small, 1 large 2
Compression System Internal compression straps Internal compression straps Interior compression straps, no exterior compression Internal compression straps Interior compression straps, no exterior compression
Handle Height from Ground Low: 34"
High: 43"
40.75" Low: 37.5"
High: 41"
Low: 38"
Med: 40"
High: 42.5"
43"
Built-In Lock None None Yes None None
Main Exterior Material 14-oz 900-denier 100% recycled polyester ripstop Nylon & polyester Polycarbonate shell Ballistic nylon fabric with water resistant coating 900D Polyester With TPE Laminate, 1680D Polyester
Unique features Duffel on wheels Peek-a-boo front pocket, padded front pocket for a 13" laptop. Unique compression system Removable attachment for a suit or dress Hide-away zippers on the front for ample water resistance.
Warranty Iron-clad guarentee Lifetime limited warranty Lifetime limited warranty Worry free warranty Limited warranty
Other Volume & Size Options 40L, 100L Small (42L), Medium (52L), XL (108L) The Carry-On, The Bigger Carry-On, The Medium Small (21"),
Large (29")
45L

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Black Hole 70L Wheeled is a durable duffel-bag on wheels. It's simple and doesn't offer much in terms of organizational features, but if you want something you can carry in many different ways depending on where you are and how your body is feeling, this is the ticket. Perfect for the expedition traveler that loves a duffel bag for travel but hates having to carry it through the airport.

Performance Comparison


The Black Hole 70L suitcase is a wheeled duffel bag that offers simple and easy packing on the go.
The Black Hole 70L suitcase is a wheeled duffel bag that offers simple and easy packing on the go.

Reliability


Similar to all the Black Hole products by Patagonia, this wheeled duffel can be trusted wholeheartedly. The material is burly, and the large oversized wheels have a sturdy housing. We don't see it happening very often (if ever), but that housing can also be switched out if it happens to break.

While the wheels are relatively durable  they are plastic and not very smooth over all terrain.
While the wheels are relatively durable, they are plastic and not very smooth over all terrain.

The handle on the Black Hole offers two heights for travel and about an average level of reliability in its construction. When under weight, it doesn't bow or flex, but it does feel a little wobbly.

An easy-to-use handle that moves up and down smoothly and easily.
An easy-to-use handle that moves up and down smoothly and easily.

We also love the bomber water-resistant 14-oz 900-denier ripstop fabric. When oriented with wheels down, like a duffel, its hard for water (coming from the sky) to get into the bag. However, when in roller mode, the zippers are more exposed to falling rain. So, if you have items that need to stay super dry in a rainstorm, be sure to either carry your bag duffel style or find a little shelter. Overall, however, we were confident when traveling with this exceptional piece of luggage.

The exterior fabric is pretty durable and water-resistant  but the zippers are not water-proof.
The exterior fabric is pretty durable and water-resistant, but the zippers are not water-proof.

Storage & Organization


Like most duffels, storage is simple. There aren't a huge amount of pockets or compartments to systematically organize all your things. That makes this bag perfect for those that prefer to just toss everything into one giant compartment and figure it out later.

A smaller capacity case without too many organizational features.
A smaller capacity case without too many organizational features.

If you want something smaller, look at the 40-L duffel option, which acts nicely as a carry-on.

We like the two large zippered mesh compartments on the inside of the front flap, perfect for storing smaller items that can either get lost easily or that you need access to quickly. There are also two compression straps in the main compartment, an external zippered side pocket, and exterior webbing loops for lashing extra gear or helping to attach the bag to a vehicle or pack animal.

A look at the high volume duffel that offers you the opportunity to simply throw your things in and go. We appreciate the mesh zippered compartment that keeps items you need quickly accessible.
A look at the high volume duffel that offers you the opportunity to simply throw your things in and go. We appreciate the mesh zippered compartment that keeps items you need quickly accessible.

The Black Hole we tested offers roughly 70 liters of storage, though it's also available in a smaller 40 and larger 100-liter size. The soft-sided nature of the bag allows it to be packed down and stored flat when not in use, a feature we appreciate.

The side pocket offers some additional storage that we didn't really use.
The side pocket offers some additional storage that we didn't really use.

Ease of Transport


The Black Hole can be carried either like a duffel bag or a wheeled suitcase. The duffel carry handle is bare-bones and straightforward without any additional padding, but it's comfortable enough to make it through a set of stairs or over a rocky streambed.

The handles on the top and bottom make it easy to grab. Or  you can carry it duffel style.
The handles on the top and bottom make it easy to grab. Or, you can carry it duffel style.

What's cool is the straps, even though they aren't designed this way, can be converted into a backpack if you want to be hands-free. As we said, Patagonia didn't intend for this function, but we found it useful when going from pavement to dirt roads when pulling the bag on its wheels wasn't ideal.

Not the most comfortable when carried this way  but a good option if push comes to shove.
Not the most comfortable when carried this way, but a good option if push comes to shove.

While the oversized wheels of this bag do a decent job over most terrain, we found these wheels to be a little vibrational and sticky in comparison to other wheeled luggage. It's not a great option if you need to wheel it over cobbles, which is why we appreciate the backpack carry.

Wheel it easily on paved surfaces. While it's great for basic transport  it's not the most agile suitcase tested.
Wheel it easily on paved surfaces. While it's great for basic transport, it's not the most agile suitcase tested.

The wheel axles on the Black Hole are pretty clean, spinning smoothly without getting gummed up. However, this bag waivers and skips when turning in super tight circles. It even flipped on us once when fully loaded and spinning quickly. The wheels don't have the same capabilities as we observed with many other two-wheeled options. As a result, it doesn't score as high in this category.

Testing the capabilities of this case over rough terrain.
Testing the capabilities of this case over rough terrain.

However, this bag does provide easy transport in the airport, meandering easily through crowds and lines with its thinner profile. It moves over cracked pavement with ease, whether pushing or pulling. If Patagonia could figure out how to make the wheels a little smoother (maybe skateboard wheels?), it'd be far easier to transport. We also need to mention that we love the long plastic bumpers along the back of the suitcase which make it easy to bump up flights of stairs and over curbs.

Weight


With minimalistic construction, this wheeled duffel stands out as super lightweight. It weighs only 8 lbs, making it one of the lightest that we've tested thus far. This allows you to pack in 42 lbs of gear before hitting weight maximums at the airport. If lightweight and simple is what you seek, this suitcase is a perfect option.

Weighing the suitcase using a spring scale at home.
Weighing the suitcase using a spring scale at home.

Style


Being a duffel bag on wheels, the Black Hole offers a more techy and outdoorsy look. Not designed for formal businesswomen or men, it has a casual look that's best for those who aren't concerned with formal fashion. However, the sleek exterior is reflective and super easy to spot at the luggage claim, and there are many fun colors to choose from.

An outdoorsy and techier style that some love and others don't.
An outdoorsy and techier style that some love and others don't.

Value


You get what you pay for. This simple roller duffel may seem like a high price tag, but the reliability factor is top-notch. This bag will last you for many years with its super-durable construction and quality craftsmanship. If you don't already know, Patagonia is known for its quality products and they offer an amazing lifetime guarantee that includes parts that break easily like zippers. If you're seeking a simple roller duffel with decent performance all around, this is a one to consider seriously.

Patagonia's Ironclad Guarantee is a big selling point.

Conclusion


The Patagonia Black Hole 70L suitcase is actually a rolling duffel bag! It offers amazing transport versatility with the ability to roll like a suitcase, securely strap to a vehicle, carry as a duffel, or turn into a backpack (that isn't very comfortable). If you love duffel bags, but long for a set of wheels when you get to the airport, this is an excellent option. Now… if we could just figure out how to make the wheels removable, this would be the best piece of luggage ever!

Roll it easily through airports or over other surfaces in your travels. Packing is simple with the option to hoist it onto your back in worst-case scenarios.
Roll it easily through airports or over other surfaces in your travels. Packing is simple with the option to hoist it onto your back in worst-case scenarios.


Amber King