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Black Hole MLC 45L Reviews

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4.6/5

True To Size

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Patagonia Black Hole® MLC® Convertible Suitcase 45L

4.6/5
True To Size
February 1, 2023

Versatile Travel Carry-On!

I bought this bag to use as a carry-on for domestic flights in the US. It worked perfectly on my Delta flight, though one of the two small gotchas I encountered was that because it's a soft case, it can expand beyond what will fit in the overhead compartments. Had to kind of push it a bit to get it to fit, but I mean I really had this thing pa... Read Morecked full! Only other thing is that because the waist strap doubles as the shoulder strap, it can't extend very low when you're using it as an over-the-shoulder bag. I had the strap extended as far as it could go and the bag rested about at my waist, even with the strap on the shoulder on the same side as the bag. This was not the most comfortable while traveling through the airport, but by no means a deal breaker. Otherwise, it fit an impressive amount of clothes and supplies for my four day trip, and had more than enough compartmentalization to keep my things separate! Would absolutely buy again!

January 21, 2023

Great international travel bag with some caveats

Recently returned from 2 wks in Taiwan. This bag was perfectly enough for myself and some of my 6yrs old belongings (this was the only bag I brought with me by the way. I pack light when traveling international because I move around different cities a lot). I liked that I can carry like a backpack or a sling bag (was very helpful during busy commut... Read Moree on the bus and train). There are some caveats though and might not apply to others. The problem I have with this bag is the weight limit when traveling to certain Asian countries or on certain Asian airlines where the weight limit for carry-on is 15lbs! To Taiwan I had to unloaded some weight at the ticket counter. At 5'4 this bag is huge on me! I wished they have a 35L version like the Cotopaxi Allpa 35L. I noticed Patagonia has the 30L version but I think it's small for me for international travel with only a backpack. I also wish they have a smaller outer compartment for a quick easy access to smaller items like a passport going through security. As much as I want to keep this bag, the 45L version is too big for me. Wishful for 35L version in the future. Going to settle on the Cotopaxi allpa 35L for my next international trip.

January 16, 2023

Versitle

This bag has a lot of different configurations to carry it which is nice for traveling. It also has multiple partitions and storage areas that keep the contents from mixing together. It seems very well constructed.

January 16, 2023

Could this be the perfect carry on?

Bought this from an outfitter last min for a 10 day fly fishing trip to Cuba. This thing is incredible. well thought out. Lots of space, more than it looks like it can carry. Well thought out pocket placement. Didnt even need packing cubes as each segment holds specific items. Comfortable straps, looks good. Maybe an exterior pocket would be great ... Read Morefor next gen. for phones easy to access items. Otherwise this replaces my black hole duffle for trips.

January 12, 2023

Comfortable & Organized

I purchased this bag ahead of a 3 week backpacking trip and it was everything I hoped it would be - organized, lightweight and versatile. It fit easily into the overhead bins on my flight and the two zippered pockets made it easy to grab things on the go. I'd recommend this to anyone looking to replace their carry on!

January 8, 2023

perfect for pushing the carry-on limit

Because I can carry this bag on my back, I've never been issued the dreaded pink gate checked bag tag. Yet it carries as much, if not more, than the ubiquitous black roller bag that always gets nabbed at the gate for less than prompt priority boarding passengers or unfortunate Zone 7 passengers.

January 4, 2023

All purpose and organized

This bag brings organization to the sloppiest commuter. Plenty of room for laptop and multiple chargers; clean and dirty clothes, + hidden features throughout. This bag is so adaptable for 1-4 day trips, seems durable - and great color combos make it easy on the eyes. This is my go-to bag for any short term traveling.

January 4, 2023

Spacious and practical

Simple and clever design; the bag separates business/office and apparel, while giving you options on how to move through the airport/train/ruck. Very smart details throughout - but missing a small exterior pocket for keys, sunglasses or snacks. Still a 5 star product - bulletproof and stylish.

January 3, 2023

Quiver of One!

This bag works perfectly as a travel carry on, overnighter, daily work/school shoulder bag, or even a smaller backpack. Super versatile for the size and compliments the rest of the Black Hole lineup.

December 31, 2022

Excellent design and function

Another excellent product from Patagonia. Bought this with with the immediate intention to replace my old laptop bag and then promptly used it on a week long trip to Costa Rica, the pocket and compartment layout was intuitive and easy to use, and the padded/zippered laptop compartment put me at ease when putting my computer in it. I get the feeling... Read More that this bag will be my new sidekick on adventures in work and travel, highly recommended!

December 20, 2022

Wish it had a hip belt.

Great pack but with the amount of stuff you can put in it, it should have a hip belt. I see the new version does, how about a retro fit for all of that bought one earlier.

December 20, 2022

Great travel bag

Just returned from a week in Europe and used this bag as my carry-on bag. It holds a ton, I had no trouble getting it in the overhead bin in the plane, and I love the organization built into the bag. I usually use packing cubes to organize my clothing, but did not need to with this bag. I only used it as a backpack, not a shoulder bag, and that wor... Read Moreked really well through the airports. Also like that it has a way of attaching to the handle of a rolling bag, which a lot of packs do not have. I am excited to use this on my next trip. It is a new fav!

December 12, 2022

Good, Almost Great, Travel Pack

I've owned this pack for a couple years and have used it for one week trips as well as a four week European travel. The good: Workmanship, comfort, size -- holds an impressive amount of stuff, durability, easy accessibility to contents. The bad: No bottle holder. Seems remarkable that Patagonia didn't include one. Would I buy it agai... Read Moren and recommend it to others? Probably, but I would shop other brands to see what the alternatives are.

December 7, 2022

Solid

Great travel bag.

November 24, 2022

Patagonia Black Hole® MLC® Convertible Suitcase 45L

I really wanted to love this bag- it had pockets and a strap and could also be used as a backpack...but at it was just too big for my frame. I'm 5'2, and the backpack was gigantic on me. The design is amazing, and for sure, buy it if you are 5'5 or taller. If not, go for the 45L black hole duffel; it will fit your frame better!

Response from Patagonia
November 30, 2022

Hi Randi! THank you for taking the time to write us a review. We're sorry to hear that the bag was too large for your frame. We greatly appreciate this feedback and we'll share it with our design team.

November 22, 2022

everything you need but small it enough to be easy

I have been traveling on planes with my black hole duffels for years but they always felt a little overqualified to sit on a plane. This is my dedicated weekend or eeklong tavel bag. Bigger than a backpack but smaller than a 90L duffel. And it's just like any other Patagonia product, you are amazed at the quality when you open it and then say ... Read Moreto yourself "Yeah they thought of that too". I will still be amazed at the quality 10 years from now.

November 22, 2022

The Best Travel Bag!

This is a great bag for travel, whether by plane, train, or car. The bag is very thoughtfully designed and it is perfect as a carry-on when flying, but equally well suited for traveling more locally via train or car. I mainly use it as a backpack and look forward to getting the 26L version to use in tandem as a shoulder bag. I can easily fit a week... Read More's worth of clothes/gear in it. Before purchasing this I looked at Tom Bihn, Osprey, and many others. I think this bag has the best balance of versatility, functionality, and robust construction. I always steer clear of anything with wheels as I see them as a liability and limitation. This bag is perfect for adventures on or off the trodden path. I look forward to using it for many years to come.

November 16, 2022

Great Travel Bag

I am beyond pleased with this bag. Ive used it exclusively for travel and it has been perfect for my needs. The pockets and pouches are plentiful and make sense. I typically carry a 15 inch laptop, an iPad Pro, power banks, chargers, and my Nintendo Switch in the back compartment. The way the compartments open completely makes taking out my elect... Read Moreronics through security quick and easy. The front compartment has so much space as well. I put my travel pillow, extra clothes, and and extra electronics bag for easy access. The top pouch is perfect to get to my headphones quickly. It fits completely under a plane seat when placed perpendicular to you, but will stick out quite a bit when placed parallel to you. The shoulder strap doubling as the waist strap works exceptionally and is easy to convert as needed. Wearing it over the shoulder is comfortable. I typically carry about 9kg or almost 20lbs of stuff and configure it with the straps and waist belt. The weight is unnoticeable and fairly comfortable. The only thing is the chest strap just kind of seems to be an afterthought but it gets the straps tight nonetheless. Overall, I love this bag and am beyond happy with the quality and feel. I am looking forward to putting it to further use in the future.

November 14, 2022

Roomy travel bag that packs well

I recently used the MLC black hole convertible suitcase for a 3 week trip to Patagonia (yes, the irony is not lost on me). The bag was the perfect size for the 22 lb carry on weight limit. The internal compartments made it easy to pack all of our layers with extra pockets to organize our other essentials. When fully packed, the bag is quite large o... Read Moren my small frame, but the chest and waist straps help distribute the weight relatively comfortably. The straps to synch the pack down also help make the size more manageable. My one concern is the fabric. While most of the fabric seems very durable, I noticed that the wax-coated fabric on the back of the pack gets beat up quickly. After only a couple days of travel on buses I had multiple scratches that make the pack look old and used. I can't imagine how it will look once I have to check the bag through an airline. I stopped by a local Patagonia store to ask for recs to maintain the fabric, but they didn't know either. It would also be nice to have an easily accessible smaller, external pocket that could fit a wallet, phone, passport, and some food on the go as well as a water bottle holder in the future.

November 14, 2022

Best "suitcase" out there

This is the perfect bag for a quick trip. I use it mostly for work travel, but for other shorter personal trips as well. Its super easy to carry and great for organizing all of my stuff.

November 11, 2022

Excellent

The layout and finish are brilliant. It holds more than you'd want to carry for very far, but also trims down for smaller loads. The only suggestions would be a water bottle holder, an outside quick access pocket or two, a pass-through phone charger, and a longer waist belt. It isn't big enough to fit around my 40" waist - but might ... Read Morebe if I alter the ends of the belting. Not inexpensive, but it feels substantial enough to last for many, many years. Love that it's made with recycled materials.

October 28, 2022

Excellent Carry on

This bag works really well as a carry-on that can be used as a travel backpack. The suspension system is pretty comfortable (for a square-shaped carry-on), and the waist band doubling as a shoulder strap works great. It has lots of sleeves and pockets inside, but they don't get in the way if you aren't using them.

October 26, 2022

This bag is pretty awesome!

This bag is pretty awesome! I just wish it had a little more padding behind the laptop sleeve. The carry options are great - back pack vs over the shoulder. The compartments work well.

October 18, 2022

Well made but not great for travel

Well made but not really designed to wear as a backpack thru airports, etc. I need a hip belt to take weight off my shoulders but the hip belt does not work well. I have the 45L and the smaller size may work better. Loads shift as well.

Response from Patagonia
October 20, 2022

We're sorry to hear this one has been a disappointment! [Note that the shoulder strap becomes a hip belt](https://youtu.be/wfKGuMRJgy4) when threaded through the back. Please reach out to our Customer Service team if you have any additional questions. We'll be happy to help!

October 18, 2022

Great weekender bag

Great bag, lots of volume and compartments. The carrying options of shoulder strap, rucksack straps or handle add to the versatility of the bag. Only wish there was a small compartment on the outside of the bag for easy access to passports etc.

October 17, 2022

Amazing bag!

My wife gave me this bag as a birthday gift. I was looking to get the MLC 25 but she got confused and got me the MLC 45. At first, I thought it was going to be too big and it is if you plan to use it as an EDC, but I use it for travel and it works perfect. It is almost the size of a carry-on but it doesn't feel that way unless you fill it up... Read More to the brim. For the compartments, it is nice how you have your laptop in a separate way so going through the airport's TSA makes it a lot easy to just open the side of the bag that has the laptop and leave the rest packed. It does not have a tablet compartment, but you can still store your tablet in the zipper pocket behind the laptop and it works just fine. I have a M2 Macbook air and it has a tooooon of extra room left. I do like the material a lot, I've been looking to get the MLC bags for a while but the plastic feel of the previous bags stopped me from buying them but this bag has great material all around. The fit, is great, the handle passthrough is amazing, I almost never carry it through the airport. Having the option of stowing away the backpack straps and using the hipbelt as a should strap is genius! I do wish the strap was a little bit longer but at 5'10, it fits perfect for me. While I was reviewing the MLC25, I saw it has a water bottle pocket which the MLC 45 does not have, I wish it did as it is bigger so it has more space. Overall, very pleased with the bag, lots of room and organization in the inside and materials feel premium.

October 14, 2022

Great for packing

Doing two months backpacking through Europe and this feels like the perfect size. Big enough to hold everything I need but not too big. I think my favorite part is the versatility in how the bag can be carried - backpack, over the shoulder dufflebag, traditional suitcase handle. Depending on whether I'm going through airport security, small a... Read Moreisles on a train, or longer walks to my hotel it works for all. So far I've only been using it for about two weeks but it seems to be a very reliable build. As long as it holds up I will be using this bag for a long time!

August 27, 2022

Versatile, Roomy; Used for Travel, School/Work, Gym

I was looking for a 45 liter backpack with a hip belt that was not too heavy; the ability to convert to a sling and duffel is a welcomed bonus. The bag is crunchier and shinier (and more attractive in my opinion) in person compared to the photos; has a durable feel. There is very adequate organization without being too convoluted in such a way that... Read More it adds bulk or eats up the internal volume. It is comfortable to wear, and consolidating the hip belt and sling into one removable, convertible strap saves on weight and bulk. Built in compression straps can both compress the bag when carrying lighter loads and hold onto bulkier items externally (like a Jiu Jitsu gi, in my case). External loops can be used to attach items via straps or carabiners, etc.. The only criticisms I have are: upon receiving the bag, there were a couple small, loose threads on the inside, and I wish there was a smaller easy access pocket on the outside (but the flatter yet still cavernous tech organization section is easily accessible enough).

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