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Patagonia Black Hole® Mini MLC® Briefcase Backpack 26L

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4.7 /5

True To Size

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Patagonia Black Hole® Mini MLC® Briefcase Backpack 26L

4.7
True To Size
March 14, 2020

Excellent UnderSeat bag for Airline travel

It can be a challenge when the airlines in South America and Europe decide to enforce their weight and size limitations for carry-on luggage. My solution for travel in these markets has been the discontinued Patagonia Headway 45-liter MLC for the overhead bin (similar to todays Tres MLC 45L), and an old Patagonia 27-liter backpack for under the sea... Read Moret. I recently purchased a 26L Black Hole Mini MLC to replace the backpack, mainly became of the versatility I have experienced with the 45L MLC. It is proving to be much better than the backpack, especially when used as a standalone bag on short trips. The TSA-approved computer sleeve unzips and folds flat, which actually makes it perfect for packing up to six folded shirts as well as my 13" laptop. The main zippered compartment is much easier to pack and access when compared to my backpack. On the front there is a compartment big enough to hold all of your electronics and a good number of folders. This is where I like to carry my laptop which I carry in a separate padded sleeve. Finally the outer zippered pocket holds airline tickets, passports or anything that you need to reach quickly. My only complaint is with the shoulder strap - it has no grip and slides right off unless you carry it like a messenger bag. Rather than deal with the slick shoulder strap, I just pull out the backpack straps and easily hang the bag from one shoulder. There is an advantage to this since you gain some space by not stowing the two backpack straps. Overall this a handy underseat bag - more functional than a briefcase or small backpack.

March 2, 2020

Perfect Carry On For Travel

I was amazed at the amount of clothes and electronics this bag holds. Its perfect for 3-5 days. Fits great under any airline seat. No overhead battle needed. Home run Patagonia

February 26, 2020

Great carry on

Im a pilot and purchased this bag as my flight bag. Its a great size and I am happy with the overall design but the sleeve that the luggage handle is supposed to fit in is not wide enough for the Luggage Works roller bag.

February 20, 2020

Generally good design but put off by some quirks

Up front, I want to say that I decided not to purchase this bag after examining it at the Patagonia store, and here's why. I'm looking for luggage that would qualify for a "personal item" on a flight and the Mini MLC seems to fit the bill. I like the overall design and capaciousness. I like the backpack, shoulder bag, briefcas... Read Moree versatility. I don't need anything bigger because I have a carry-on bag on wheels. As a travel bag, I want to access stuff from the top end of the bag when it's in the overhead compartment on a plane or on the floor between my legs. Oddly, all the compartments inside this bag have zippers on the bottom of the pouches when the bag is in an upright (backpack position). They would be hard to reach and open, and everything would fall out when they're open. Beyond that, I have a couple of suggestions: 1) Does the bag need a separate laptop compartment? Unless on business, don't most people carry tablets and not laptops? A separate compartment adds weight and useless (to some of us) space. 2) Consider making the bag no more than 18 inches on its longest length. That would sit better on most people's backs.

Response from Patagonia
March 26, 2020

Thank you for this thoughtful review or for those suggestions for our designers. We are always taking our customer's feedback and honing our designs to make things just right. We are sorry that this bag didn't work out for you and if you'd like to [return](https://www.patagonia.com/returns.html) it back to us, please feel free to do so.

February 4, 2020

A well-designed hybrid bag

Point blank, this is a great bag, and if you’re looking for a small, quality travel/weekend/everyday bag, you should probably buy one. I really like the ability to choose how you carry the thing. The straps and clips easily hide away, and the bag looks super clean regardless of what “mode” it’s in. The material of the bag looks/feels great, and th... Read Moree zippers are really satisfying to use. I've been caught in a rain with this bag many times, and my stuff always stays dry. The main compartment has plenty of space for at least a weekend’s worth of clothing and toiletries. The zipped laptop compartment works well, but I've also used it to hold larger items of clothing (folded jeans/hoodie/light jacket) when I didn’t need my computer . There are two minor issues that I have with the bag. While I think an external water bottle pocket wouldn’t really work on a bag like this, I would appreciate a way to get into the main compartment without unzipping the whole bag and the mesh divider. Having the option to quickly stow something like a water bottle inside would be helpful. Finally, I do agree with some other reviewers that the branding all over the bag is slightly excessive. Overall, this is a well-designed bag that should last for a very long time.

January 31, 2020

Black Hole Mini MLC 26L

This is my new go to bag for work as well as travelling! It fits everything I need from, laptop to extra clothing. It also fits beautifully under the seat of a Commercial Airliner. I love it and I highly recommend it!

January 15, 2020

I have both sizes, and my wife always steals them!

This is the prefect work travel bag for a laptop, some files, charging cords, water bottle, snacks, book, headphones. fits under the seat back, is easy to organize, easy to carry. I'd take it on every work trip except my wife usually steals it first.

January 13, 2020

Superb Travel Pack

This bag is a great travel bag. Both the storage options and size are perfect for anything from a day trip to a light multi-day excursion. The bag is well thought out and seems to have a compartment or pocket for everything! I look forward to using it in the many different ways it allows for.

January 5, 2020

Smart design, easy to use

And much more. I have both the 26L and the 46LL. They will most likely get a lot of use on a lot of adventure travel trips.

January 3, 2020

Excellent!

Small easy to carry bag, well thought out with plenty of storage for organization.

December 30, 2019

Nice piece for many adventures.

Extremely versatile. Easily accommodates hat, gloves, camera, jacket, extra socks and drawings supplies.

December 29, 2019

Everything Bag

It’s a work bag, a carry-on, a backpack, it’s a hiking bag, it’s a commuter bag, it’s a lightweight camping bag, it’s waterproof, it’s ethically made, it’s made with so much thought and care in the design... it’s so many things at the same time - and I can’t wait to pass it on to the next generation one day since Patagonia makes things that last. T... Read Morehanks Patagonia. Loved it so much I bought another for my dad.

December 27, 2019

Great multi purpose briefcase / backpack

I use this bag for both work and pleasure. It is plenty roomy and has lots of compartments. I love that the backpack straps fold away. It has tons of protection for both my laptop and my iPad. The only thing that I’m not crazy about is the enormous logo on it. I feel like a walking billboard.

December 15, 2019

Air Travel Convenience

I visualized this a bit smaller and was shocked when it arrived. I thought if I filled it, it would be uncomfortable to carry. I was completely wrong, the size is PERFECT and the bag is surprisingly comfortable to carry. I’ve only been on 2 flights where it didn’t fit under the seat. I usually take it as carry-on, but was pleasantly surprised I cou... Read Moreld fit it and my mini messenger bag under the seat in from of me for most flights. I’m grateful for all of the pockets and the mesh divider that keeps everything secure. I’ve been able to use this as a travel bag and switch over to take it to meetings, such a game changer. Another great tool is that the back pack straps are attached and store within the lining, I have a duffel that I quickly misplaced a strap to, so I was thrilled that these are secure. This is honestly the best bag purchase I’ve ever made from Patagonia or any other brand. Now the debate if I need the larger version as well.

December 9, 2019

does the job

I fly a lot professionally so was looking for a decent looking but rugged small carry-on, and this fit the bill. Just took it to SE Asia, and seems robust enough thus far. I otherwise favor metal carry-ons as bulletproof, but they simply weigh too much if the airlines decide on a given day to enforce the 7 kg max for cabin baggage. My only suggesti... Read Moreon would have been to build in some expansion bellow or whatever, but this is basically just a rectangular box with a little padding.

December 6, 2019

Awesome small bag

This bag is great! Full of neat features and useful organization. Its a little hard to fit larger items in but you can still manage if you are creative. Perfect for a day pack that doubles as a work bag.

December 3, 2019

Wonderful Bag

Exactly what I needed for overnight and weekend travel. Just did a trip to NYC for the weekend and it carried everything I needed and then some for the trip back home. Comfortable, durable and great size to carry on or walk through the city with it on your back.

November 23, 2019

Perfect size for a weekend

Perfect size for a weekend getaway. I was able to pack everything I needed in the organized compartments and fit it on as a personal item on spirit.

November 18, 2019

Mini is better than the regular

The original Black Hole MLC, was in my opinion too big. When you wear the mini on your back the size is better suited when fully packed. Plus when you use it with the sling it looks more like a briefcase too. Its the perfect overnight bag with the mesh pockets inside for clothes and toiletries, with a laptop pocket, and other easy accessible pocke... Read Morets for books, wallet, passport, snacks or whatever else.

November 11, 2019

Fantastic!

The MLC 26L was just what I was looking for to fill the gap between a rolling suitcase and a smaller carryon bag. Very happy with the purchase!

November 10, 2019

I wanted a small bag

I wanted a small bag for either work/laptop or a weekend getaway. The pics online made this bag appear larger than it actually is. I was pleasantly surprised that it is small enough for my needs yet can fit quite a bit of stuff! The color is super cool too.

November 8, 2019

Pockets galore

Great bag. Used it as a work bag recently, which I think it's a tad too big for. Otherwise, will be perfect for weekend trips away.

October 29, 2019

Love it! Only one tiny request...

Love the bag but really wish (Like others have noted) that it had a water/ side pocket. As someone who has used old versions of Pata messenger bags, I defaulted to using this for work after trading in an old backpack...hence the desire for that easy pocket to toss my office keys, granola bar, etc. without unzipping something.

Response from Patagonia
November 14, 2019

Hi Stacy! Thanks for taking the time to write this review and provide us with the suggestion. Feedback like this is crucial to improving products for future seasons so we'll pass this along to the appropriate members of our crew!

October 28, 2019

Great bag for work/travel

I bought the Mini MLC just ahead of a trip for work recently and have been very happy wit my the purchase. In addition to fitting my computer, a suit, and other assorted items, the MLC fit beneath the seat or in the tiny overhead compartment on the small plane I was on.

October 26, 2019

Finally found the PERFECT bag for travel!!

I paired this with the carry-on wheeled duffle and it’s absolutely perfect as the go to bag while flying. It really is perfect!

October 25, 2019

Perfect work/travel bag

This bag is exactly what I’m looking for in a work bag. It’s sleek and professional while still being rugged enough to handle whatever is thrown at it. I love that I can wear it as a crossbody or a backpack to free up my hands. The additional space is helpful to pack a change of clothes or things that won’t fit in my carry-on. I like the strap that... Read More slides over the handle on my roller bag, too! Very happy with this design and the quality.

October 24, 2019

Black Hole 26L

This bag is excellent, it fits the duel role of a carry on brief case and a back pack.

October 16, 2019

Mr

Absolutely love the MLC Black Hole bags and was stoked to check out the new mini. Travel all the time, only gripe about the mini bag is the luggage sleeve. It’s a great feature but it does not perform well. The MLC bag does not stay secured to your luggage, the issue is the sleeve strap is too loose. I added another strap to eliminate this issue. A... Read Mores always..... I’m confident you guys will test, confirm and make the necessary improvements. Mahalo

October 14, 2019

best travel bag

I use this bag with my blackhole roller bag and I couldn't be any happier. I can carry everything I need, even if I'm on the road for over a week and I don't need to check a bag. I also use the Mini MLC everyday and I have plenty of room but when the bag isn't full it's very small, perfect for an every day bag. The pockets ... Read Moreare well designed, lot's of internal storage pockets and a great labtop compartment.

October 8, 2019

The Everyday Bag

I purchased this bag to use as an everyday bag. When I leave my house for the day I want to bring everything with me because it is inconvenient to make multiple trips back to the house. The fact that the bag turns into a backpack was the selling point for me because I got sick of carrying a duffel bag. With that being said I was debating between th... Read Moree 45L and the 26L. I opted for the 26L. So, when I wake up in the morning (not feeling like P.Diddy because I’m just a regular guy) I pack my military uniform, boots, my weightlifting shoes, a thick leather lifting belt, knee sleeves, wrist wraps, and a shaker. The main compartment fits my military boots and weightlifting shoes along with my uniform (granted, there was a bit of tetris-omg involved). I place the wrist wraps into a convenient compartment and the knee sleeves go into the front compartment. I got a bit creative with the weightlifting belt. The back of the bag has a sleeve to hook the bag onto luggage. Instead, I unzip that back flap and slide my weightlifting belt through it. By now the bag is so bloated the belt won’t go all the way around so I just grab some string and tie the belt together so it stays attached. But wait, I realized I forgot the shaker. Luckily, Patagonia included a hinge (I guess you could call it that?) on the left backpack strap to attach a carabiner which holds my shaker. At this point I have nearly exhausted all the compartments in the bag and it is quite bloated with all my gear. If you need to carry more things than what I listed here, I recommend getting the 45L. But if you’re looking for an everyday bag that has an impressive amount of space, look no further and buy the thing.

September 26, 2019

Quality "weekender" bag, a little heavy

I've used the bag for about a week now. The duffle and backpack versatility seems like a really useful feature so far. I'm currently using it for a short trip, but plan to use it as a gym bag in my day-to-day. There are lots of cool little organizer pockets built-in (though I'm not sure how much I'll actually utilize them). The ... Read Moreone drawback is that the bag is fairly heavy for its size.

September 25, 2019

Great bag.

Perfect for carry on and short (weekend) trips. I have larger version and my wife uses this 26L version. Both need a pocket to hold a water bottle.

September 23, 2019

Best. Travel. Bag. Ever.

This has become my favorite travel bag. Ever. Awesome that it has the luggage handle sleeve, can be shoulder bag, or a backpack. How great is that. Plenty of pockets and compartments to make it useful. Could be bigger, but if it was probably would defeat the purpose of a great addition to my rolley carry-on. Get on Patagonia!

September 23, 2019

Great bag

The design is well thought out. Great quality.

September 19, 2019

Loved this bag!

The black hole mini made traveling cross country, with my ten month old (solo I might add) substantially easier. There was plenty of space for 3 days worth of clothes for both of us. The option of the messenger strap, backpack, or just using a handle was awesome, too.

September 9, 2019

Laptop backpack

Always been a big fan of the Black hole luggage, I bought this as a carry-on and as a work backpack and it has been outstanding. Excellent quality and durable.

September 8, 2019

Perfect work bag for travel

I was looking for something a little more functional for travel. Fits my computer easily and lots of room for whatever else I need.

September 6, 2019

Great Everyday/Weekend Bag

I bought this bag for two specific uses. I use it daily for my laptop bag, carrying a 15.6" laptop (I think it could fit one slightly larger than that, potentially 17") to work everyday. I also has an excellent spot for a phone, some charging cables, a book or notepad, and my iPad. It almost has TOO MUCH storage space for everyday (which ... Read Moreis why I chose the 26L vs. the 45L) for a daybag but I don't mind the extra bulk as my walk isn't far. Where the bag SHINES is as a travel/weekend bag. Including toiletries, I can pack 3-4 days worth of clothes in this thing (along with my laptop/work stuff). It fits very easily in overhead storage for flights so you don't have to be separated from anything. It is enough storage for getting away for a weekend or having multi-day work travel. On the downside, after having this item only a week the "patagonia" sign on the side of it has already had one of the letters rub off. That was a bummer. Also, the description states that the laptop pouch unzips out so you don't have to remove the laptop from the bag to go through security screening. This is entirely true, however most airport security forces you to put bags into a bin and since this unfolds lengthwise versus widthwise, it will not fit into any of the bins they require you to put it in (so I still have to take the laptop out of the bag). If they redesign it, having the laptop fold out on the vertical versus horizontal axis could possibly allow it to fit into the bins. Otherwise, this is a great bag that fits 95% of my needs.

September 6, 2019

Great All Around Player!

I am excited to have a laptop travel bag with backpack capability AND luggage carrier sleeve. That combination is super useful. The tablet sleeve fits the standard iPad profile, laptop pocket works with the 15"MBP, and cell phone pocket works well with iPhone Xr. The pockets work well for my use case and there is enough room inside for all the... Read More computer accessories, headphones, water bottle, paper files, note book, extra computer, and a change of clothes. Unfortunately all of that is a standard load on my travels and this is the right bag. The rugged and easy to clean outer shell is great for getting kicked under a seat or placed in the overhead. I like the looks because it doesn't have the "I just came off a 10 pitch epic" backpack look, yet retains a unique style, all weather finish, and multi use capability. Travels can have their own 10 pitch epics at times and this piece definitely helps get one through. Really happy to have this bag.

August 28, 2019

Perfect traveling companion

After owning several travel bags, backpacks etc this one hits a perfect balance of size, functionality, durability and good looks. !!

August 24, 2019

Amazing!

I love the size of this bag, it’s perfect for carry on and I use it for my gym bag. I couldn’t recommend this enough!

August 22, 2019

Changed my idea of what a bag can be

Awesome awesome awesome. I've had some really great bags from big outdoor & commuter brands, but this one far away takes the cake. Tons of compartments, quality zippers that easily open/close with one hand, durable feel, and lightweight. It ended up being amazing enough that my wife bought the exact same bag.

August 21, 2019

Perfect light travel bag. Love

Perfect light travel bag. Love all the organizational pockets.

August 21, 2019

Absolutely The PERFECT Bag!

I bought this bag for travel and it is unbelievably perfect. It has tons of pockets (including a padded laptop pouch), holds so much gear, fits perfectly on every plane, makes TSA a breeze, is totally spill-proof, and it even converts from a messenger to a backpack. I am so excited to use it for years of adventures to come!

August 21, 2019

Black Hole Mini MLC 26L works great

I had wanted the real mini messenger bag, 12L but it is no longer available so settled for the 26L. It is really roomy and you can definitely use it for an overnight. It fits great over the handle of my Patagonia roll on and is a great carry on extra piece, especially for longer trips. I would love a smaller version for shorter trips

August 11, 2019

Not the son of LBC

I did not love the mini-MLC. I dearly wanted to but it was an easy decision to send it back. “Maximum legal carry-on” is not an actual term of art. The requirements vary by airline, sometimes widely. In general, there’s a US standard and a smaller international standard, usually expressed in linear dimensions. The venerable Patagonia MLC, which ... Read Morepractically invented the convertible one bag category, is sized in its various incarnations for the US standard. I love the MLC and am travelling in the Azores right now with an ancient version that has seen a lot of miles. Years ago, Patagonia briefly sold a smaller version of the original MLC, called the LBC (“Little Brother Carryon”) sized, I think, for international carry-on specs. I was hoping that the new mini-MLC would be like the old LBC: a simple convertible travel bag. Unfortunately, the bag is seriously over featured and, as a result, too heavy unloaded. For the mini-MLC, Patagonia copied the structure of their latest MLC with all of its flaps and zippers and pockets with pockets and other organization features. On a bigger bag these are a matter of taste: I prefer a plainer bag because I like to use my own ditty bags for organization. But on a small bag these features don’t scale down: they overwhelm the mini-MLC with complexity and weight. And the mini-MLC is astonishingly, shockingly, small. The linear measurements that the airlines use are better expressed I think as volumetric measures. The international standard is around 40 liters, the US standard is something like 45-48 liters. I’d like to see Patagonia make a simple bag in the 40 liter size, even a bit smaller. The mini-MLC at 27 liters is just too small, especially with the overwhelming complexity that was copied from the regular version.

Response from Patagonia
August 21, 2019

Thanks so much for sharing your detailed review with us. We've passed your feedback along. Let us know if you have any questions regarding your return/refund!

July 29, 2019

Great Travel Bag

This is a wonderful bag for travel for short trips or as a carry on for longer ones. I understand that this bag is supposed to take the place of the black hole messenger bags. While this bag is well suited for travel, it's not as good as the messenger bag for everyday commutes. Please consider reintroducing a black hole messenger bag. I have... Read More the 12L mini messenger which is great and would love to add a larger one like the old 24L. thank you for designing wonderful products that i am proud to own.

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