I don’t know about you, but when I travel I like to travel lean and functional. We also typically try to travel without checking luggage if possible. It gives me a headache when I see people rolling their “carry-on” bag through the airport or down a cobblestone street in Europe. Don’t even get me started watching people store these extendable “carry-ons” into the overhead storage bins on the plane. I went on the hunt for a quality bag, that would fit perfectly into an overhead bin, and be easy to carry around, but would also hold up to two weeks of clothes for an overseas trip. Enter the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel bag. Here is my further review of a bag I LOVE:
This bag is bullet-proof and functional. I have gone on several trips within the States and in Europe with mine and have had no issues. The material is sturdy, it comes with backpack straps that you can take on and off, and has comfortable snapping handles on top of the bag for easy carrying. It has held up to the rigors of checked luggage as well as being stuffed into the trunk of a car with tons of other gear. I think you would be hard-pressed to find a better-made bag. Also- if you are not familiar with Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee, they stand by everything they make. So if the zipper busts or a hole develops, you can send it into Patagonia and they will fix it for free. When you buy a Patagonia product, you are buying it for life!
When we purchased ours, Patagonia sold them in a 60L size and claimed they weren’t carry-on compatible, however, we have never had issues using them as carry-ons. Now, Patagonia makes the bags in a 55L & 70L (as well as a 40L & 100L) option. So you should definitely not have any issue using the 55L as a carry-on. I have packed two-weeks of clothes/shoes alongside a personal bag (here’s my pick) on multiple trips with no problem. However, if you are a heavy packer, you probably won’t be able to pack everything you need in this bag for two weeks. If you pair this bag with Shacke Pak’s cubes, you will have no problem staying organized on your next journey.
COMFORT OF CARRYING: 7/10
Because I want to travel fast, lean, and functional I love this bag. However, I’ll be the first to say it is not always the most comfortable bag for long-hauls if carrying it on your back. Example: Throwing it on your back after hopping off your flight, grabbing a bus to city-center, taking a subway to your Airbnb will take a toll on your shoulders. It’s never unbearable, but you will be ready to put your bag down when you get to your final destination.
The Patagonia Black Hole Duffel is my favorite bag for carry-on traveling. It looks, packs, and travels perfectly. I would argue it is the best carry-on bag on the market. For $139, you will get your money’s worth out of it for years to come.