Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel Bag Gear Review

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The Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel Bag 60L ($129) is a durable, versatile duffel bag—ideal for the weekend adventurer. Book your tickets and say goodbye to checked luggage fees.

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Specifications

The Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel Bag is available in various sizes and colors  including 30L, 45L, 60L, 90L and 120L and has wheeled editions in 40L, 70L, and 120L.  

My current Black Hole® Duffel Bag has a capacity of 60L and weighs in at 2 pounds 7 ounces. The dimensions of the duffel are 25 x 13 x 10in (63.5 x 33 x 25.4cm).

TSA Carry-On Information

All bags from 30L-45L meet TSA carry-on regulations for all commercial flights.

The 60L duffel meets TSA carry-on regulations for most commercial flights.

(I have not had an issue carrying it on!)


Testing Conditions

I put the padded, removable shoulder straps and reinforced handles to the test on a five day van trip through California and a week long stay in Quisqueya (The Dominican Republic and Haiti).

First Impressions

After watching my friend and fellow Melanin Base Camp Blogger, David Robles, pack for an eight day long Costa Rica eco-tour with his 60L Black Hole® Duffel, I knew I wanted to try it. I grew up traveling with duffel bags but always ended up with shoulder pain—the result of carrying too much weight. So I was excited to see that the Black Hole® Duffel Bag has padded removable, shoulder straps which transform it from a duffel into a backpack.


Convenience

I travel often. I am privileged to have a job which allows me to work three 12 hour shifts days each week. As a result, I am often able to travel for up to seven days at a time without having to request time off. I choose to spend my days off traveling to and learning about new places.

Unfortunately, we all know the airlines have changed over the years and $30-$40 fees for one-way checked luggage are now standard. What’s a thrifty traveler to do? I get creative by packing as much as I can into my carry-on luggage. I loved the convenience of the 60L Black Hole® Duffel: I was able to fit a week’s worth of clothing into the spacious bag and still fit it into the overhead bin. This bag is helpful for those who want to save their hard earned money and avoid paying checked luggage fees.

One week’s worth of clothing, shoes, accessories, and toiletries fit comfortably inside of one duffel.  Photo courtesy of Nadia Mercado

One week’s worth of clothing, shoes, accessories, and toiletries fit comfortably inside of one duffel. Photo courtesy of Nadia Mercado

Space  

The 60L Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel Bag holds true to its name in regards to its spaciousness.  For my California trip, the duffel bag fit seven outfits—mainly workout tights paired with individual base layer tank tops, midlayer t-shirts or long sleeve shirts. Additionally I was able to fit one pair of hiking boots, casual shoes (like Converse sneakers), and sandals (like my Chacos). Along with clothing, I packed underwear, sports bras, two beanies, ear muffs, and an ultralight towel into my duffel. When I traveled to Quisqueya I managed to fit 3 swimsuits, an ultralight towel, 3 rompers, 3 sets of leggings, 2 pairs of shorts, 4 tank tops, 2 t-shirts, 2 dresses, a skirt, and 2 sandals as well as, sports bras, underwear, and accessories into my 60L Black Hole® duffel bag.

Durability

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On my way back from California I had the option to gate-check my duffel bag in order to free up space for other passengers to use the overhead bins. I decided to go for it. At the time, I was nervous that the bag would get scratched or otherwise damaged. Imagine my relief when I picked up my duffel at the baggage claim. It still looked brand new with not a scratch in sight! These duffel bags are made with polyester ripstop material which makes them resistant to tears and rough handling. That means your bag will look newer for longer, and I’m alright with that! The highly weather-resistant “TPU-film laminate and a durable water repellent finish” are must-haves for anyone recreating and traveling through rainy areas. I was relieved to see that that water resistant finish also came through! My electronics and camera stayed dry inside my Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel Bag during my travel on both trips. I also appreciate how durable the handles are on this duffel bag. It left me feeling confident that the handles wouldn't rip off by accident.

Comfort

While the padded removable shoulder straps are very helpful in distributing the duffel bag’s weight evenly on both shoulders, this bag can definitely get heavy. I find the Black Hole® Duffel to be comfortable but cannot imagine walking long distances with the pack on. I think the bag would benefit from having a hip belt to help distribute the weight from the shoulders more evenly.

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Additional Features

Stuffed into its front pocket the 60L Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel Bag is 15 x 8 x 4 inches or 38.1 x 20.3 x 10.5 cm. How did I do?

Stuffed into its front pocket the 60L Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel Bag is 15 x 8 x 4 inches or 38.1 x 20.3 x 10.5 cm. How did I do?

These are some of the features included in the bag according to Patagonia’s website that I have not mentioned yet..

  • Large opening to main compartment, zippered side pocket, mesh pockets in lid

    • All of these pockets are wonderful to store things like charger cables, accessories, and for me (underwear)

  • The bag stuffs into its own pocket

    • This makes this duffel bag super convenient for storage but it does take some serious origami skills to get the duffel bag to fold into itself.

  • Burly, reinforced daisy chains for lashing

    • I have seen my friends clip shoes, water bottles, and gear to these daisy chains with a carabiner. Definitely something I will try in the future.

  • Adjustable Clips inside the bag for Internal compression

    • This is a good feature for those who want to compress their clothes down to the bottom of the bag.

  • Padded base to protect its’ contents


Conclusion

I believe the 60L Patagonia Black Hole® Duffel Bag is excellent for traveling.  It’s a great option if you are packing for a 3-4 day trip, and, if packed carefully, this duffel bag can also be used for week long excursions. The padded straps add comfort and versatility while many thoughtful features, like the mesh pockets and side pockets, will help you stay organized. The Patagonia Black Hole® 60L Duffel Bag is durable, well made,  and designed for maximum packing space. Definitely an excellent carry-on option for the frugal traveler. Bon Voyage!

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