Reviews of the Black Hole have become something of an echo chamber but I’m going to keep the trend going: this is a great bag. I spent a lot of time researching and debating sizes and brands, and am really glad I got the BH.
First, who I think should buy this: I would say 45L is the perfect size as a gym bag (with change of clothes/towel/small accessories) or a 2 day trip bag. If you are a packing cube enthusiast and you take pride in minimal packing for maximum time, I could fit 4 eagle creek packing cubes (large, medium, small, XS) in my 45L with room for a toiletry bag, puffer jacket and accessories. If you’re really good you could probably make this work for a week long trip if you only had a single pair of shoes and enjoy packing minimally with cubes or a similar system.
If you like to overpack and be very prepared, or have many “genres” of clothes and shoes for a trip (hiking, going to the gym, etc) then I would go toward the 60L as your maximum carry on size. When I travel I usually have three pairs of shoes (work boots, two pairs of gym shoes), and gym accessories that occupy a lot of space. The 60L is perfect for this. I travel internationally at least once a year for up to two weeks and the 60L checks every box I could need for that trip.
As an aside, I considered the 71L base camp duffel for a long time but 60L is probably on the high end of carry on acceptable size, and I knew 71L would have to be checked
If you check everything anyway and like to overpack, get the 90L. I would only recommend the 120L if you’re packing for a ski trip for 2, or traveling the world for at least a month.
Now the quick hits:
- construction quality
- backpack straps ease of add/removal
- color (paintbrush red is an awesome color)
- size (honestly, 45L is JUST right)
- Patagonia reputation (warranty especially)
- my only complaint is that I wish the mesh compartment inside the bag was one large compartment rather than two separate. This is a very personal issue as the two small compartments are perfect for small accessories like cables or chargers. But if it was one solid mesh compartment it would perfectly fit an iPad - which, ultimately, can just be stacked on top of the bag.
- I wish there were more bright color options across all sizes, but again that’s a minor complaint.
If you want a duffel that looks sharp, can withstand a lot of abuse and can be your go-to, I can’t see why you’d buy anything else.