Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.
I like my bags like my architecture: with an open floor plan.
That’s why I love Patagonia's 120L Black Hole Duffel. It's roomy enough to encompass anything, and tough enough that I never worry about it. I've strapped the bag onto a wooden dory, a snowmobile, and a motorcycle and crammed it into the ski basket of a helicopter. I've filled it with ice for a makeshift beer cooler after an August bike ride. Last year, a bottle of Japanese whiskey cracked open inside it returning from Hokkaido, Japan. The Black Hole is the kind of bag you can cram a snow shovel into; if I don't want my toothbrush scrubbing my sneakers, I'll put it in a Ziploc.
Since I first bought mine in 2010, a partial list of things I've carried in my Black Hole has included ski boots, a sand-encrusted wetsuit, a three-piece kayak paddle, and a bespoke suit I had made in Vietnam and which I have only ever worn once. I've taken my Black Hole on a family reunion in Louisiana, and on a half-baked rafting trip down Idaho's Middle Fork of the Salmon, where I plucked never-before-skied slopes above the river many years ago.
As it happens, the Black Hole's simplicity has been a point of company pride among Patagonia designers since it was first released in 2004. Besides the seams—changed from welded to sewn to reduce cost—very little has been altered. Tough-sided and water-resistant, the bag's large, U-shaped zippered flap allows easy access to the contents. There are removable backpack straps, three pockets barely big enough to fit a dirty pair of socks, and light fabric walls that can be wedged into limited spaces. It's not meant to armor your camera gear, but the bag's durability supports the company’s mission to reduce consumption and it's useful for nearly any adventure. This even goes for the smaller 60L Black Hole, which transforms into a backpack—albeit one that tends to adhere to your butt as you walk. Nevertheless, apart from wool boxer briefs and a gnawed-up nighttime mouth guard, the Black Hole is the only non-negotiable item on any trip I take.
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.