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Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Review

This suitcase is best for those who can't decide between a duffel and a roller bag
Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled
Credit: Patagonia
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Price:  $399 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Pros:  Super durable, simple storage and organization, easy transport, reliable
Cons:  Wheels skip in tight circles, lacks organizational features
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Amber King and Clark Tate  ⋅  Aug 27, 2021
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 13
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 5.0
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 7.0
  • Reliability - 25% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Style - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

Looking for a duffel bag that you can wheel through the airport? The Patagonia Black Hole provides this functionality with ease. You can carry this suitcase with the provided handle on the side or top and then wheel it along behind you if you get tired. The version we tested offers 70 liters of wide-open storage, making it a great option for those that love the simplicity of 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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $399 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$289 List
$289.00 at REI
$279 List$260 List
$239.99 at Amazon
$119 List
$100.58 at Amazon
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Pros Super durable, simple storage and organization, easy transport, reliableDurable construction, large capacity, rolls with ease across mixed terrainSmooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great styleCavernous main compartment, scratch- and water-resistant, easy-roll spinnersInexpensive, rolls easily, large capacity
Cons Wheels skip in tight circles, lacks organizational featuresLimited interior organizational features, easy to overpackZippers could be smoother, low clearanceTough to transport on mixed terrain, easy to overpack, limited organizational featuresLow-grade materials, poor craftsmanship, sticky zipper
Bottom Line This suitcase is best for those who can't decide between a duffel and a roller bagThe perfect all-terrain rolling duffel with substantial storage capacity and useful organizational extrasA durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travelAn oversized yet lightweight mega-bag with spinner-tight roll and control over smooth surfaces and surprisingly tough exterior constructionA 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%)
5.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Ease of Transport (25%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Reliability (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
8.0
Style (10%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
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
Volume 70L 109L 80L 145L 127L
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
Expansion Zippers? No No No Yes Yes
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"
High: 43"
42" 40.5" Low: 36"
High: 41"
Low: 36.75"
High: 40.5"
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.

Performance Comparison


Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - the black hole 70l suitcase is a wheeled duffel bag that offers...
The Black Hole 70L suitcase is a wheeled duffel bag that offers simple and easy packing on the go.
Credit: Amber King

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.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - a look at the high volume black hole that offers you the opportunity...
A look at the high volume Black Hole 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.
Credit: Amber King

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.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - a smaller capacity case without too many organizational features.
A smaller capacity case without too many organizational features.
Credit: Amber King

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.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - the side pocket offers some additional storage that we didn't really...
The side pocket offers some additional storage that we didn't really use.
Credit: Amber King

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.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - the handles on the top and bottom make it easy to grab. or, you can...
The handles on the top and bottom make it easy to grab. Or, you can carry it duffel style.
Credit: Amber King

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.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - wheel it easily on paved surfaces. while it's great for basic...
Wheel it easily on paved surfaces. While it's great for basic transport, it's not the most agile suitcase tested.
Credit: Amber King

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.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - testing the capabilities of this case over rough terrain.
Testing the capabilities of this case over rough terrain.
Credit: Amber King

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.

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. If they do happen to fail, the housing is easy to replace.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - while the wheels are relatively durable, they are plastic and not...
While the wheels are relatively durable, they are plastic and not very smooth over all terrain.
Credit: Amber King

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.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - 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.
Credit: Amber King

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.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - the exterior fabric is pretty durable and water-resistant, but the...
The exterior fabric is pretty durable and water-resistant, but the zippers are not water-proof.
Credit: Amber King

Weight


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.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - weighing the suitcase using a spring scale at home.
Weighing the suitcase using a spring scale at home.
Credit: Amber King

Style


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.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - an outdoorsy and techier style that some love and others don't.
An outdoorsy and techier style that some love and others don't.
Credit: Amber King

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 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.

Patagonia's Ironclad Guarantee is a big selling point.

Conclusion


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.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled suitcase - roll it easily through airports or over other surfaces in your...
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.
Credit: Amber King

Amber King and Clark Tate
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