Sarah Tate's Favorite Gear - The Patagonia 90 liter Black Hole Duffel
By: Sarah Tate
When I decided to take a road trip with my friends across the entire United States, I knew that I needed a reliable bag to store all of my gear in. Two of my college friends were moving from Alabama to Portland, and they were taking everything they owned in their cars. Since we were car camping, I knew that I needed a bag that was easily accessible. On past trips, I had always carried a 65 liter pack since we were backpacking. The problem with that is that it only had access from the top. Yes, that means every time I needed something from my pack, I had to unload everything on a dirt floor, retrieve my items, and then repack them. After days of reading reviews of duffel bags online (and even considering my gym bag duffel from 7th grade cheer squad), I decided to bite the bullet and make a big girl purchase.
The Patagonia 90 liter Black Hole Duffel looked like my best option (and boy was it). I will now be taking this bag everywhere. The Black Hole Duffel comes in many colors and there are four different size options to choose from. The 90 liter is perfect for a week-long trip or a well-organized extended trip. I did have to check this bag, but if you looking are looking for a duffel that is accepted as a carry-on, the 60 liter is the perfect size.
They don’t call this bag the Black Hole Duffel for no reason. You can cram a lot in the bag, but it also has a few pockets for easy access to smaller items. Inside, the bag has two zippered mesh pockets and a large pocket that has zipper access from the inside or outside of the bag. This pocket also serves as a stuff sack for the duffel when you are done with your trip and ready to store the bag. The bag has two gear loops on the outside that make it easy for loading and there is also padding along the bottom to protect your gear and give structure to the bag.
Okay, now to my favorite part…backpack straps! They are adjustable and detachable for when you don’t need them. I would suggest removing them if you check your bag. Sometimes straps and buckles can get caught and damaged in the baggage claim conveyer belts. I fly a lot and have never found a bag that was comfortable to carry through the airport until I got this bag. I loved having this bag on my trip. The rip stop fabric and water resistant finish make the bag super durable and I will definitely be putting it through the ringer!