A Tough Duffel to Love

There are times when wheels on suitcases just don’t roll. God forbid your child take a rolly suitcase to summer camp or you drag a suitcase across a campsite to your tent. On our big trip to Africa, we invested in the sleek, hip handsomeness of Patagonia’s Black Hole Duffels – and boy did our investment pay off: A Botswanan guy was surprised we were American because we had so few bags and they looked so cool. You couldn’t have given my husband Don a greater compliment if you mistook him for Ryan Gosling.  


The Black Holes are positively great looking and fantastically durable on the outside, covered with a ripstop laminate that repels rain and rough handling with equal bravado. Get one covered with mud or (as is more likely in our case) spilled Coke? Just wipe it off when you get home. The Black Holes come with removable backpack straps for longer treks through town or airport, but what’s really nice is that the default carrying handles on the top of the bag are long enough to easily sling the bag on your shoulder as well.  We purchased the 60L models and each carried one onto the airplane, no problem. Even loaded up, I didn’t complain about the weight (which I normally do, regardless…)  The 90L is a nice larger size for family packing or longer trips.

Inside, the Black Holes live up to their name: The interior is wide open and ready to stash your packing cubes, with a single side pocket for small items that zips closed and is accessible from both the inside and outside. As if that weren’t enough, the entire bag folds down into itself to store as a small, rectangular pillow – which is great because Don loves his Black Hole so much he wants to sleep with it.




by Maryann Jones Thompson, December 2016

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