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Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Review

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $350 List | $349.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Super Easy to pack, bomber construction, burly frame, sweet dual zippered mesh pockets
Cons:  Some organizational options but not lots
Bottom line:  This model wins our Editors Choice because it's effortless to pack, lighter-than-average, and super durable.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor
Wednesday September 9, 2015

Our Verdict

The Black Hole wins our Editors Choice because it's effortless to pack, lighter-than-average, super durable and high performing "off-road" ability. It was the best at navigating crowded airports. It's built from the same water-resistant and super durable fabric as the rest of Patagonia's Black Hole line, the Black Hole Wheeled Duffel follows the same basic design as their tried-and-true duffels but with a frame and wheels added.

Don't Need Quite as Much Space?
If 120L sounds a little too daunting to wheel around behind you, Patagonia also makes a smaller Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 45L. This bag would be great for a weekend getaway where you don't really need all the extra space of a 120L bag. Either way, both are great options to carry whatever you need!


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Travel Duffel Bags of 2017

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel
Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel

Ease of Transport


The Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 120L was above average in our "Ease of Transport" category and scored near the top of our review for several reasons. It features larger than average sized wheels (3.5 inch) that give it a big advantage when rolling it across uneven surfaces like gravel, grass or just a street in desperate need of repaving.


We thought the Wheeled Black Hole's handle itself was average in comfort, it was far from poor or uncomfortable, it just simply didn't impress us and we found it adequate. Something we did really appreciate was that it extended to 36" (93cm) and utilized a very stiff frame; allowing even smaller users to handle bigger loads more easily than most.

The 3.5" wheels (even though it looks like 3" in this photo) on the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel are larger than normal and do an above average job at rolling over uneven surfaces like gravel  dirt roads and grass.
The 3.5" wheels (even though it looks like 3" in this photo) on the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel are larger than normal and do an above average job at rolling over uneven surfaces like gravel, dirt roads and grass.

While a small feature, our testers appreciated the over-sized haul loops (AKA grab loops) on each end of the bag making it easier to snag it from above-the-ground surfaces and we appreciated them when picking it off the carousel and un-burying it from under piles of luggage. Lastly, for exotic or expedition travel the four sets of daisy chains (one set on each corner) proved super useful to help attach it to the roof of a truck on two trips to remote regions of South America.

Despite not having the widest wheel base the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel is deep and sports a very sturdy grab loop that doubles as a "kick-stand" and helped this bag standup on its own even when fully loaded or with a carry-on hanging off of it.
Despite not having the widest wheel base the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel is deep and sports a very sturdy grab loop that doubles as a "kick-stand" and helped this bag standup on its own even when fully loaded or with a carry-on hanging off of it.

The Black Hole Wheeled Duffel stably stands up on its own, even when only partially packed and our testers found its wide wheel base was easy to handle even when super loaded and navigating the most crowded airports.

The Hole Wheeled Duffel has a large "D" shaped opening that is as easy as it gets to pack and search for items in. It is also one of the easier models to zip shut when we've completely maxed its volume. We found the Black Hole far easier to pack full and close when full than either the Osprey Ozone Convertible or the Eagle Creek Gear Warrior Wheeled.
The Hole Wheeled Duffel has a large "D" shaped opening that is as easy as it gets to pack and search for items in. It is also one of the easier models to zip shut when we've completely maxed its volume. We found the Black Hole far easier to pack full and close when full than either the Osprey Ozone Convertible or the Eagle Creek Gear Warrior Wheeled.

Ease of Packing


The Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 120L (and the 45L) feature one very large primary compartment accessed with a "D" shaped zippered flap that allowes for easy access and packing. Our testers loved the two mesh zippered pockets underneath the lid of the main opening and used them for any small items that we wanted to keep track of.


Our testers hardly, if ever, used the small external zippered pocket. It was hard to access when the bag was fully packed and its large size meant that we regularly lost or forgot small items inside.

Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel
Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel

Durability


The Black Hole Wheeled Duffel 120L will hold up longer and is more durable than most wheeled luggage on the market. It is made of a 900c poly-coated ripstop nylon that is built to last. The bottom (frame-side) is mega durable, featuring ballistics nylon and two plastic rails to help protect the frame and the contents of your bag no matter how rough your baggage handlers are. Our test model shows little wear even after a dozen trips and the bottom still looks boarderline brand new.


Weight


While heavier than any non-wheeled duffle bag at 8lbs 10oz (138 oz/3.91kg) the Black Hole Wheeled Duffel is on the lighter side of wheeled duffels on the market. This further impressed us when we took into account that the Black Hole Wheeled Duffel is far more durable than most other wheeled travel bags out there that are often 1-2 (or more) pounds heavier like The North Face Rolling Thunder (10lbs 4 oz for for the large size) or The North Face Longhaul 30" (Also 10lbs 4oz).


Weather Resistance


The Black Hole is pretty darn water resistant and during or side-by-side testing where we sprayed all the bags in our review with a hose for 1 minute it performed near the top of the review. It had around the same water resistance as the Patagonia Black Hole Duffle (big surprise) and the The North Face Base Camp Duffel and was more water resistant than the Longhaul 30".


Value and the Bottom Line


At $350 the Black Hole Wheeled Duffel is not cheap and is on the more expensive side of wheeled travel bags on the market. That said: we think that it's noticeably more durable and more weather resistant than most options out there. We also think that for more remote use it's as good as any for pulling across rough surfaces like gravel, unpaved roads or anywhere else you would consider taking a rolling bag. It's an excellent all-purpose travel rolling bag and will last you many journeys to the the airport but with its toughness, easy-to-pack design, and lash points we think this is the best "expedition rolling duffel" or the first rolling duffel we'd reach for over a more standard duffel bag for a more exotic or remote location. For the 120L in size, depending a little on what in particular your packing, it's super easy to get over the 50lb flight weight limit, without some diligence. That is also one more reason we appreciated that that the Black Hole is two pounds lighter than most other rolling duffels out there giving us room for two pounds more of stuff to pack inside the bag.

Rebecca and the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel. Because of the tall handle  nice-sized wheels  and wheel base we found that even smaller users could handle a a fully loaded bag.
Rebecca and the Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel. Because of the tall handle, nice-sized wheels, and wheel base we found that even smaller users could handle a a fully loaded bag.

Ian Nicholson
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