Next spring, Patagonia will ship a new line of its popular Black Hole series bags, including the daypack reviewed here.
An ‘urban aesthetic and alpine psyche’ is how Patagonia describes its Black Hole daypack. Climbers will see similarities to a haul bag, including its bucket-style opening on top and a shiny face.
The current model uses a TPU-film laminate with a DWR finish. This keeps it highly water-resistant and adds to the modern, streamlined look.
Black Hole Backpack: 2017
For the past few months, I have been using the upgraded Black Hole 26L pack. Compared with the current model, the day-size pack is made of a lighter weight material with different shoulder straps, back panel, and zippers.
As my everyday “grab bag” for urban and short outdoors activities, the 26-liter pack has earned keep. It has just the right features to be useful, but not so many to get lost in the design.
When comparing it to my other go-to travel packs, such as Osprey’s Flapjack or Cotopaxi’s Luzon, the Back Hole 26L stands out for its graceful design and its durability.
It has a single zippered main compartment with a small separate inside pocket, good for keys or a phone. On the exterior, it has a small pocket, gear loops, and two water-bottle holders.
The minimalist pack does not have a waist belt. Personally, I like a belt to keep a bag from flopping around. However, this pack fit well without a belt — its back panel and shoulder straps are nice and form-fitting to the body.
Black Hole Backpack: Ultra-Tough Test
When testing the pack, I witnessed how waterproof and burly the Patagonia Black Hole is in the field. On a hike in the Italian Alps, I put the bag down… and accidentally kicked it off a cliff.
It rolled for a couple hundred feet over rocks before stopping.
Luckily, I could retrieve it. Besides a few dirt streaks, it looked good as new without a single tear, and those rocks were sharp!
On the same trip, in Switzerland, we biked in a downpour with all my valuables in the pack. I was nervous. Upon arriving at our destination, my laptop and passport were bone dry.
Since our Europe trip, the pack is now my everyday commuter choice as well as my daily “purse.” It is just the right size for my snacks, water, and whatever else I need to carry with me for the day.
For a light day-pack (18 oz) at $100, the Black Hole is a great product. It comes to market spring 2017 on patagonia.com.