Patagonia Black Hole Backpack Review
(An In-Depth Comparison of the 25L vs 32L vs 45L Models)

Patagonia Black Hole backpack review: the 32L bag being worn by a male model
Credit: Patagonia

Patagonia Black Hole backpack Review 2021

Welcome to my Patagonia Black Hole Backpack review!

You probably landed on this review because you are thinking of grabbing a Patagonia Black Hole backpack.

But you’re not sure which size to choose?

Well, that’s exactly why I have written this Patagonia Black Hole review comparison!

Patagonia Black Hole backpack review: the 25L, 32l and 45l backpacks
Credit: Patagonia

In this guide, I’ll base my comparison on a number of select features so you can easily pick which one is best for you.  

So, without further ado, let’s get to it. 

Patagonia Black Hole Review – Comparison Table

In a hurry? Check out this comparison table of select features and technical specs of the bags.

Patagonia Black Hole backpack review: comparison table 25L v 32L vs 45L

Table of Contents

Patagonia in a Snapshot

Patagonia Black Hole backpack review: Patagonia 1% for the planet image
Credit: Patagonia

Patagonia is extremely well known, and for good reason.

They produce high-quality clothing and outdoor gear backed with their Ironclad lifetime guarantee.

Even better, these products are made with social and environmental concerns in mind. You can see this through how their products are made and in their core values “to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”  

This is why they are honest about their materials, sourcing, supply chain, and working conditions in their overseas factories.

The Black Hole collection is wider than this list of 25L, 32L, and 45L bags, but includes a lineup ranging from totes and cubes to backpacks and duffels, in different sizes and colors.

Differences & Similarities of the Patagonia Black Hole Models (25L vs 32L vs 45L)

Other than size, I imagine that you’re most interested in the differences between the backpacks. And that’s what this Patagonia Black Hole review is all about.

But for the sake of completion, I’ll discuss their similarities too. In fact, I’ll start with the similarities followed by the differences.

I’ll be doing the comparison in terms of: 

  • Design and quality;
  • Material and construction;
  • Weight and dimension;
  • Fit and comfort;
  • Storage and organization;
  • Price; and
  • Warranty.

Design & Quality

Patagonia Black Hole backpack review: the 25L, 32l and 45l backpacks
Credit: Patagonia

The Patagonia Black Hole backpacks all have similar designs and build quality, with slight differences, of course.

So, we’ll start off with the similarities.

First off, they are high-quality packs designed to a high standard.

This is borne out of people’s testimonies and reviews of how well it serves them for years. Through years of being used for day-to-day activities, travels, and even for outdoor activities.  

Each pack spots a clean and sheen aesthetic profile that just fits in well in both urban and outdoor settings.

On the exterior is a fairly large Patagonia brand mark displayed in a bold or discreet color depending on the colorway you go for.

Not to mention, they all come in different color options with a glossy finish. 

However, not everyone is a fan of its shiny look.

Are you?

The differences?

The most obvious is their carrying capacity.

The 25L bag is the smallest of the three. It’s compact and more versatile for a range of activities from day-to-day use, short hikes, or quick trips.  

The 32L bag is the mid-sized version. It’s much more spacious and travel-friendly with a TSA-approved laptop compartment that lays flat for easy airport security.

The 45L bag on the other hand is specifically designed for travel.  It features a luggage passthrough sleeve, a separated laptop compartment, and a spacious capacity to fit a 4-7 days trip worth of items.

Most uniquely, it can be carried in three ways- as a shoulder bag, a backpack, and a briefcase.

In conclusion, the 25L bag comes in six different colorways, the 32L has four, and the 45L has three colors, as of the time of this review.

Materials & Construction

Patagonia Black Hole backpack review: the 25L, 32l and 45l backpacks back view
Credit: Patagonia

Summary: When it comes to the materials used, there are no differences for me to share with you, only similarities. The Black Hole backpacks are durable and are built to last.

All three Patagonia Black Hole backpacks are made from the same materials.

Even better, the fabric used are bluesign approved, meaning…. 

They are made of 100% post-consumer recycled polyester materials with a DWR coating to make sure your stuff is protected if you do get caught in the rain. The reason there’s a sheen on the bag is that it’s combined with a TPU film laminate for added abrasion and weather resistance.

The lining of the bags is made of polyester which is also 100% recycled and features PU coating for added durability.

All the zippers in the bag are YKK which also seems to offer a good amount of weather resistance while the hardware is from Duraflex.

These are all durable materials that are going to hold up to any sort of demand you can throw at them. 

So in general, the Black Hole Packs are well built.

Weight & Dimensions

Summary: The 25L bag is obviously the lightest of the three, while the 45L bag is heavier.  

A major difference in the Patagonia Black Hole backpack review is the dimensions and weight of each bag.

The 25L bag weighs just 1.43 lbs. with a dimension of 22 x 10.5 x 5.5 inches while the 32L bag comes in at 1.78 lbs. with 22 x 10.5 x 6.75 for dimension.

And for the 45L bag, it’s a large-sized bag that still counts as a carry-on with a 3.64 lbs. and a dimension of 22.8 x 8.6 x 14.5.

As you can see, the Black Hole MLC(Maximum Legal Carry)  (45L) is larger, has more capacity to take more stuff, and is the heaviest.

But if you want a bag that’s compact and sweet, then you’d definitely want to go for the 25L. However, if you tend to carry more gear about or you are on the bigger side, the 32L bag it is. 

Fit & Comfort

Patagonia Black Hole backpack review: the 25l backpacks with features
Credit: Patagonia

Summary: In my view, the 32L and 45L bags are the most comfortable of the three because they have more padding.

The Patagonia Black Hole backpacks do not necessarily have the most robust harness system possible, but they work.

All the bags have fairly padded shoulder straps and padded back panels for carrying comfort.

In addition, they come with an adjustable and removable sternum strap to help distribute the weight when you have a heavier load.

And on the top, you’ll find solid handles for easy hauling.

However, none of the bags have a hip belt and there isn’t much air channel to help prevent sweating or moisture build-up.

Patagonia Black Hole backpack review: the 45l backpacks being carried in three different ways

The differences
Only the 45L bag is designed for you to carry in three different ways. You can carry it on your shoulders, on your back, or carry it like a briefcase. And as a result, it comes with thickly padded shoulder straps and beefy carry handles.

And when it comes to carrying comfort, the 32L and 45L bags are the most comfortable of the three. This is because they have more padding in the shoulder straps than the 25L bag.

You should note however that the large bag can get uncomfortable when loaded out. 

If you have a back problem, you can also check out my review of the 20 best backpacks for back pain for very comfortable backpacks.

So in this Patagonia Black Hole review comfort and fit contest, they are all comfortable as long as you are not overpacking them. 

Storage & Organization

Patagonia Black Hole backpack review: the 25L, 32l and 45l backpacks internal storage pictures
Credit: Patagonia

Summary: The 45L bag takes the lead in storage and organization. It’s bigger, and carryon sized with pockets for easy access.

The organization in the Patagonia Black Hole packs is well thought out with tons of storage space, pockets, and attachment points. 

Lashing options 

On the shoulder straps and in the middle of the bag are daisy chains for attaching gear like a carabiner or lacing a pair of jackets, yoga mat, etc.

Quick access compartment

The 25L and 32L bags both have a quick access compartment in front of the bag that offers a nice amount of space for items you want to have quick access to.

While the 45L has a large compartment with internal organization options to arrange smaller items.

Top access compartment

The first two bags both have another quick access compartment at the top for smaller essentials. However, the bigger-sized bag features a smaller quick-access pocket in front of the bag, not at the top.

Water bottle pockets

The 25L and 32L have stretchy mesh water bottle pockets, while the 45L bag doesn’t. It has a luggage tag pocket instead.

Main compartments     

Only the 45L bag has a clamshell opening to access the main compartment, while the other two are top-loading. They are all spacious.  You can use pouches, cubes, or just arrange your stuff however you like. 

Laptop compartment

Laptop storage is another difference between these bags.

The other two have a separated and padded laptop compartments while only the 25L bag has a sleeve inside the main compartment.

Also, the 25L and 32L bags can fit up to a 15” laptop or hydration reservoir while the 45L bag can fit a 17” laptop.  However, the 25L bag lacks adequate protection as expected- it’s not as padded as the other two bags.   

However, only the 32L bag has a TSA-approved laptop compartment with a lay-flat system to help you speed through security!

Unlike the 25L bag, the other two bags offer a nice amount of padding and protection for your tech.  

At the back of the 45L bag is a pocket with zipping on one side that allows it to be used as a pocket or a hole for a luggage sleeve when the zip is opened.

Also, it has a pocket where you can tuck away your shoulder straps nice and neat. 

Basically, if you’re an organizer nerd and a sucker for space efficiency – you’re going to fall in love with the Black Hole packs.  

Price

Summary: The 25L bag is the cheapest of the bunch, while the 45L bag is the most expensive. 

The three Black Hole backpacks are not cheap.

In terms of price, it’s a case of the bigger the carrying capacity (and of course, more features), the higher the price.

On the Patagonia website, the 25L model goes for $129, the 32L for $149 and the 45L bag is $199.

This can vary over time with discounts and depending on where you get your pack, of course.  

Warranty

Patagonia offer an impressive 100% customer satisfaction Ironclad Guarantee on all the Black Hole series!

What does this mean?

It means they will fix any defects of their responsibility free of charge! Or in the case whereby you’re simply not satisfied with the product, you can send it back and get a replacement or refund!

And damages due to wear and tear will be repaired at a reasonable charge.

This is great because whichever backpack suits you best, you can be assured that it’s likely to serve you for many years to come.

Not bad, eh?

Alternative to Consider: The Nomatic Travel Pack

Patagonia Black Hole backpack review: the Nomatic Travel Pack front view
Credit: Nomatic

The Nomatic Travel pack is a super versatile bag that can be used for everyday carry and travel. 

Its simple design and streamlined look make this a daypack that you can travel with if you ever needed the space.  

This is because it expands from a 20 – 30-liter carrying capacity to suit your needs!

Even better, it’s stuffed with modern features: a protected laptop compartment, contoured back panel, sternum strap & waist belt, etc.

Here’s a more detailed review of the Nomatic Travel Pack review, if you’re interested.

Patagonia Black Hole 25L vs 32L vs 45L – Which Should You Choose?

Patagonia Black Hole backpack review: the 25L vs 32l vs 45l backpacks
Credit: Patagonia

As you can see from this Patagonia Black Hole backpack review, these are high-quality and durable packs. 

Not to mention that they are convenient and comfortable backpacks, designed with versatility in mind.

However, the question remains: which should you go for?

  • Patagonia Black Hole 32L – I’d recommend this for everyday use (particularly if you need to carry a ton of stuff) and for short-term travel.

Beyond the sizes, there are other factors to consider before making your selection. 

  • Laptop protection – if the safety of your laptop is important for you, then you must know that the laptop compartment for the 32L and 45L bag have more padding than that of the 25L bag.
  • Price – the 45L is understandably the most expensive, while the 25L is a budget option.
  • Carrying comfort – And when it comes to carrying comfort, the 32L and 45L bags are the most comfortable of the three. This is because they have more padding in the shoulder straps and back panel than the 25L bag.

Final Thoughts

There you have it!

The Patagonia Black Hole backpack review.

I hope you’ll be able to easily pick the Patagonia Black Hole backpack that’s perfect for you and your needs with the information in this aricle!

So which one is your fav? 

Let me know in the comments below.

This article is not sponsored in any way by any company. These backpacks have been independently selected by myself and my team. And the only thing I receive is a small commission from our affiliate program if you buy any of them through the links and buttons on this page. It doesn’t cost you a penny. But it really helps me out as this money goes to paying for maintaining the website, editing software, my time, team and everything else that goes into preparing this post.  

10 thoughts on “Patagonia Black Hole Backpack Review | An In-depth Comparison of the 25L vs 32L vs 45L Models”

  1. Femi,

    I like these black hole bags! I love the 25L red one. Of course, red is my favorite color, so of course I’d be drawn to that one over the others. I like the other two, but it seems like the 45L would be too heavy for me to carry once it’s loaded down with stuff. I tend to really stuff my bags when I’m traveling, so I don’t know about that one. I do like that it has options for carrying it several different ways, such as the briefcase style, but again, once it’s full, it would be pretty heavy I think.

    As far as Patagonia, I had no idea that they were so Earth friendly. I’m definitely thinking that I’ll need to get one of their bags over others now. I’ve been really trying to be pro-Earth more recently, especially with all the environmental factors lately affecting our planet. It is the only one we have, and we’re not really taking care of it. Don’t exactly have another planet to just hop to once this one fails.

    Thanks for sharing this review! I loved this one!!

    Katrina

    Reply
    • Haha – I love that comment – “…don’t exactly have another planet to hop to once this one fails”

      Anything each of us can do to save the planet matters. It’s like a little drop in the ocean but each drop adds up if lots of people take a similar action such as buying from earth-friendly brands like Patagonia.

      Thanks for your comment.
      Cheers
      Femi

      Reply
  2. The Patagonia black hole backpack is certainly very versatile and love the fact there are 3 sizes to choose from. I feel the 32L is the preferable one out of the 3 though as the laptop compartment seems safer. I also like the fact it has a place to store water bottles which is essential on a long trip. Another feature I like is the shoulder straps have more padding than the smaller 25L size. I’ve often experienced back pain from carrying heavy loads, so this looks comfortable.

    Reply
  3. Hi Femi – These look like some amazing options for backpacks. I’m a little familiar with the Patagonia brand and I know they put out some quality products. If I had my choice, I would choose the 25L backpack because it would fit my everyday use and needs. I also appreciate that you’ve provided a great, similar alternative to the Patagonia bag for people to review also. That really helps for this kind of comparison. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise, this review was very helpful to understand all the features of this backpack!

    Reply
  4. Hi Femi,

    These back hole back packs are really good and resourceful. There are a lot of compartments that will fit notebooks, laptops, i-pads and also some clothes for when I am travelling further distances. The bag I use now for work is basically just a laptop bag that came with the laptop, so nothing special.

    But, these black hole bags could definitely help me both for work and in travelling. I will let you know what one I choose (if I do) and how I am getting on with it.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,

    Tom

    Reply
  5. Hello Wole,

    I think I saw the Patagonia brand in Decathlon here in the Philippines and my brother actually has one but not the Black Hole models. I really like their design and the fact that they’re environmentally friendly when it comes to manufacturing these bags, are a big plus. And I think I would go with one 32 L and one 45 L so I will be covered always.

    Thank you for sharing this review. And my favorite is black in everything that I owned so I know what color of this bag to get.

    Reply
  6. This is one of the best backpacks I have come across. Perfect fit on the back, and so easy to lift. The Patagonia Black Hole Backpack is a 100% essential buy for those who like to travel.

    Reply
  7. Nice review Femi. I’m a big fan of Patagonia gear. My sons off to University shortly so some nice options to choose from here.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  8. This is again a great review! I have to say that the 45 l backpack seems quite heavy; I would prefer the other two. The color red is beautiful! I would go for this color! And I love that they work with recycled materials. Very classy and high-quality bags. Thank you very much for the detailed review! By the way, the price is not bad for such a great quality! 🙂

    Reply

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