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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
Photo: Patagonia
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Price:  $329 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
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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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 11
  • Storage & Organization - 25% 4
  • Ease of Transport - 25% 7
  • Reliability - 25% 8
  • Weight - 15% 6
  • Style - 10% 7

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.

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Pros Super durable, simple storage and organization, easy transport, reliableSmooth ride, sensible features, excellent organization, great styleAmple storage, water-resistant, durable, heavily featuredLarge wheels roll well, stable, convenient external organizationInexpensive, smooth travel, great storage
Cons Wheels skip in tight circles, lacks organizational featuresZippers could be smootherMany features that aren't that useful, bulky designNot much in the way of interior organizationTips over, lacks durable materials
Bottom Line This suitcase is best for those who can't decide between a duffel and a roller bagA durable, stylish, and high-value suitcase suited for all types of travelA tactical and durable adventure suitcase that excels at packing bulky gearA rough and tumble option that could work for anything from gear hauls to business tripsA very low priced suitcase with great storage capacity but a propensity to be tippy
Rating Categories Patagonia Black Hol... Timbuk2 Copilot Eagle Creek ORV Tru... The North Face Roll... AmazonBasics Expand...
Storage & Organization (25%)
4.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Ease Of Transport (25%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Reliability (25%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
4.0
Weight (15%)
6.0
6.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
Style (10%)
7.0
7.0
3.0
7.0
4.0
Specs Patagonia Black Hol... Timbuk2 Copilot Eagle Creek ORV Tru... The North Face Roll... AmazonBasics Expand...
Measured Weight 8 lbs 9.4 lbs 9.1 lbs 10.2 lbs 9.9 lbs
Volume 70L 80L 98L 80L 105L
Liters per pound 8.8 8.5 10.8 7.8 10.6
Construction Zip open, softshell Clamshell & peek-a-boo access, softshell Zip open, softshell Roller-duffel Clamshell, softshell
Measured Packed Dimensions 26" x 14" x 14" 25" x 14" x 10" 30" x 17" x 15" 28.5" x 15" x 16" 20" x 11" x 29"
Expansion Zippers? No No No No Yes
Number of Wheels 2 2 2 2 4
Number of Large Interior Compartments 1 2 1 1 1
Interior Storage Features 1 mesh organizational pockets on lid of duffel 2 Mesh dividers with organizational pockets. Three smaller organizational pockets 1 mesh organizational pockets on lid of duffel Smaller organizational compartment with mesh organizer
Number of Exterior Pockets 1 exterior pocket, gear loops 1 pocket on top, 1 large sleeve 2 large pockets, top and bottom. Several gear loops on the exterior. 3 pockets, top and middle. Several gear loops on the exterior. 1 large pocket
Compression System Internal compression straps Internal compression straps Removable gear holder keeps items in place, but not compression. Compression buckles on the outside. Expandable boot pocket on the interior of the backpack. Internal and exterior compression straps Internal compression straps
Handle Height from Ground Low: 34"
High: 43"
40.75" 42" 42.5" Low: 38"
High: 42"
Built-In Lock None None None No Yes
Main Exterior Material 14-oz 900-denier 100% recycled polyester ripstop Nylon and polyester Bi-Tech Heather, 1000D Helix Polyester Twill 1,000-denier polyester with TPE laminate/1,680-denier nylon 150D-polyester
Unique Features Duffel on wheels Peek-a-boo front pocket, padded front pocket for a 13" laptop. Gear specific storage Duffel on wheels None

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


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.
Photo: 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.

A look at the high volume duffel that offers you the opportunity to...
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.
Photo: 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.

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

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.
Photo: 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.

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.
Photo: 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.

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.
Photo: 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.

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

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.
Photo: 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.

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.
Photo: 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.

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.
Photo: 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.

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

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

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.
Photo: Amber King

Amber King and Clark Tate

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