Patagonia Black Hole 25L Review: The Backpack I’ll Never Replace

If I had been writing equipment reviews at the time, I could have written this Patagonia Black Hole 25L review four years ago. That’s how long I had my Black Hole pack, and that’s how long I knew it was going to be an icy cold day in hell before I left another outdoor backpack in my life. Except for the thick chalk paint on the bottom of the main cabin (much of the precious unicorn dust was in vain), it looks as if it was in the first few months of ownership. It’s a timeless piece of gear that truly lives up to its name – and if you’re looking for an upgrade to the pack for everyday carry or outdoor adventures, you’ve come to the right place.


Patagonia’s Black Hole line (which, in addition to day bags, also includes duffel bags, tote straps, hip straps, and packing cubes) is known for its roomy mains, abrasion-resistant polyester fabric, and durable water-resistant (DWR) finish. The Black Hole 25L Travel Bag I use every day has these two main features, plus a few extras that come in handy on my day hikes, rock climbing trips, and my regular commute to the gym.


First, the storage: It has a top pocket above the main top-loading compartment for easy access to small items. To give you an idea of ​​its capacity, my wallet, phone, earphones, keys, mask, hand sanitizer, and a set of Lactaid pills can fit comfortably inside this pocket — with some extra space. There’s also a front pocket that extends over the “face” of the pack, so to speak, which is a great place for chargers, gloves, and anything else you want on hand at any moment (I can unzip this pocket while wearing the pack).


Speaking of quick access, the outer pockets of the water bottles in this bag are a breath of fresh air. Oftentimes, the side pockets of backpacks are too small for an enormous water bottle jug, but the rubber mesh pockets on the black hole accommodate them easily. (I should point out that this is where I saw the most obvious and obvious signs of wear, given the fact that these pockets aren’t made of the same sturdy material as the rest of the bag.)


Next, the fit: Between the sternum strap, adjustable shoulder straps, and padded back panel, the Patagonia Black Hole 25L Backpack can really fit on my back, helping reduce bounce and evenly distribute its weight. I’m on the smaller side and tend to be overpacked, so having a bag that I don’t feel is going to pull me back every time I wear it is a huge plus.


I’ve been putting this bag in the juicer for the past few years. I wore them through the rain, charmed them inside crash pads, pulled them over rocks, and threw them into cliffs. Absorbs crumbs, chalk, dirt and sand. I tightened it up with its top handle, front daisy chain, and shoulder straps, all of which feel secure and sturdy. Should I take better care of my purchases? yes. Does this bag hold up even under my harsh treatment? second, yes.

The Black Hole reliably carries everything I need for a day out or just a day out (there’s a laptop sleeve in the main compartment if your plans don’t allow you to get completely off the grid). It’s definitely water-resistant, which makes it, in my own experience, stain-resistant as well. I have yet to notice a tear in the main body of the bag, and the zippers have never broken or faltered. I think the best thing I can say about the Black Hole is that I never thought seriously or for long about whether I should bring it with me – wherever I go, and whatever I need to bring, this backpack will meet my challenge.

Should you buy it?

If you’re looking for versatility, functionality, and, frankly, a backpack you don’t have to worry about replacing next season, try Black Hole. It also comes with a capacity of 32 liters if you want more space or want something more handy. It doesn’t have the space or structure you need in a long-term backpacking package, but for casual trips, it makes a great trail companion. Now, if you need me, I’ll unload all that pesky chalk.


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