Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Review
Cons: Wheels skip in tight circles, lacks organizational features
Compare to Similar Products
Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled
Check Price at Backcountry
$289.00 at REI
|$279 List||$260 List|
$239.99 at Amazon
$100.58 at Amazon
|Pros||Super durable, simple storage and organization, easy transport, reliable||Durable construction, large capacity, rolls with ease across mixed terrain||Smooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great style||Cavernous main compartment, scratch- and water-resistant, easy-roll spinners||Inexpensive, rolls easily, large capacity|
|Cons||Wheels skip in tight circles, lacks organizational features||Limited interior organizational features, easy to overpack||Zippers could be smoother, low clearance||Tough to transport on mixed terrain, easy to overpack, limited organizational features||Low-grade materials, poor craftsmanship, sticky zipper|
|Bottom Line||This suitcase is best for those who can't decide between a duffel and a roller bag||The perfect all-terrain rolling duffel with substantial storage capacity and useful organizational extras||A durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travel||An oversized yet lightweight mega-bag with spinner-tight roll and control over smooth surfaces and surprisingly tough exterior construction||A low priced expandable suitcase with enormous storage capacity but dubious durability|
|Rating Categories||Patagonia Black Hol...||REI Co-op Big Haul...||Timbuk2 Copilot||Samsonite Omni PC H...||Amazon Basics 30" H...|
|Storage & Organization (25%)|
|Ease of Transport (25%)|
|Specs||Patagonia Black Hol...||REI Co-op Big Haul...||Timbuk2 Copilot||Samsonite Omni PC H...||Amazon Basics 30" H...|
|Measured Weight||8 lbs||9.6 lbs||9.4 lbs||10.3 lbs||11.6 lbs|
|Liters per pound||8.8||11.1||8.5||14.1||10.9|
|Construction||Zip open, duffel||Zip open, duffel||Clamshell plus topside u-shaped zip access, softshell||Clamshell, hard-sided||Clamshell, hard-sided|
|Measured Packed Dimensions||26" x 14" x 14"||33.75" x 16.25" x 14"||26.5" x 14.5" x 13"||30.5" x 20.5" x 13"||30.75" x 21" x 12|
|Number of Wheels||2||2||2||4||4|
|Number of Large Interior Compartments||1||1||2||2||2|
|Interior Storage Features||1 mesh organizational pockets on lid of duffel||2 mesh organizational pockets on inside of opening panel (one with key hook), 2 internal compression straps||2 mesh clam panels with 2 organizational pockets||Elastic restraint straps in one-half clam, zip enclosure over opposite half; hanging zipper accessory pocket||One-half clam with elastic restraint straps, one-half large zip enclosure with 2 zip mesh pockets, hanging zip accessory pocket|
|Number of Exterior Pockets||1 exterior pocket, gear loops||1 side exterior zip pocket. 1 small top zip pocket with piggy-bag strap attachment, plus daisy-chain gear loops||1 pocket on top, 1 large sleeve||None||None|
|Compression System||2 Internal compression straps||2 external and 2 internal compression straps (4 in total)||No||2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression||2 elastic straps for restraint but no functional compression|
|Handle Height from Ground||Low: 34"
|Built-In Lock||None||No||No||Yes, TSA Approved||No|
|Main Exterior Material||14-oz 900-denier 100% recycled polyester ripstop||Recycled 400-denier nylon/recycled 1,680-denier nylon (bluesign®-approved)||Nylon and polyester||Polycarbonate||Extra-thick ABS, hard shell|
|Unique Features||Duffel on wheels||Oversized wheels, rugged chassis, full-length bumpers, 2 internal and 2 external compression straps, stopper-stand, carry-on piggyback clip, 6 haul handle options, daisy chain lash points, water-resistant||Liquids pocket and padded front pocket to fit 13" laptop; skateboard wheels||Built-in TSA-approved lock; large packing capacity; impressive water resistance, expandable, anti-scratch exterior||150D-polyester zippered clamshell enclosure, 3 organizational pockets|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Black Hole is a durable duffel bag on wheels. It's simple, without much in the way of organizational features, but if you want something you can carry differently depending on where you are and how your body is feeling, this is the ticket. Perfect for the expedition traveler who loves the simplicity of a duffel bag for travel but hates having to carry it through the airport.
Storage & Organization
Like most duffels, storage space is simple in the Black Hole. There aren't tons of pockets or compartments to systematically organize all your things. That makes this bag perfect for those who prefer to just toss everything into one giant compartment or those that prefer packing cubes.
There are two large zippered mesh compartments on the inside of the front flap. They're perfect for storing smaller items that can either get lost easily or that you need to access 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 something else.
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 40 liter size can make a nice carry-on, and the soft-sided nature of the bag allows it to be packed down and stored flat when not in use, a feature we appreciate.
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.
While the oversized wheels of this bag do a decent job over most terrain, we found that they vibrate quite a bit and are sticky compared to others in our lineup. This isn't a great option if you need to wheel it over cobbles, which is why we appreciate the option to also carry it as a duffel.
The wheel axles on the Black Hole spin smoothly, but 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 work as well as many of the other two-wheeled options we tested. As a result, it doesn't score as high in this category.
Still, this bag does provide easy transport in the airport, meandering seamlessly through crowds and lines with its thinner profile. It moves over cracked pavement with ease, whether pushing or pulling. With smoother wheels, we'd like it a lot better. We also love the long plastic bumpers along the back of the suitcase, which make it easy to bump up flights of stairs and over curbs.
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. If they do happen to fail, the housing is easy to replace.
The handle on the Black Hole offers two heights for travel. When it's pulling, it doesn't bow or flex, but it does feel a little wobbly. This is common among telescoping handles, and we'd say the reliability of this one is about average.
We also love the bomber water-resistant 14-ounce 900-denier ripstop fabric. When oriented with wheels down, like a duffel, it's hard for water coming from the sky to get into this bag. When the bag is in roller mode, though, 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.
With minimalistic construction, this wheeled duffel stands out as super lightweight. It weighs only 8 pounds, making it one of the lightest that we've tested. This allows you to pack in 42 pounds of gear before hitting weight maximums at the airport. If lightweight and simple is what you seek, this suitcase is a great option.
Being a duffel bag on wheels, the Black Hole has a technical, outdoorsy style. It has a casual look that's best for those who aren't concerned with formal fashion. The sleek exterior is reflective and super easy to spot at the luggage claim, and there are many fun colors to choose from.
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 a 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 one to consider seriously.
The Patagonia Black Hole 70L offers amazing transport versatility with the ability to roll like a suitcase, securely strap to a vehicle, or carry as a duffel. If you love duffel bags but long for a set of wheels when you get to the airport, this is an excellent option.
— Amber King and Clark Tate
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