Black Hole 120L BH $169
BASE CAMP DUFFEL—XXL (150L) BC $175
Mammut CARGON (140L) MC $179
The BH is huge but not as big as the rest. I was looking for a bag that is comparable to the Military issue Sea bags; which is about > 150L @ 24″ x 36″ or larger. Now 150L you say; “that is way bigger than 120L. Why it is almost 4 milk jugs worth of stuff larger!” To which I would say, you are correct. All 3 bags are great and I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them. They are all made of very durable material, roughly the same price, semi water resistant and backpack worthy. If you need something to carry to a base camp, through the woods or think people who have a 4′ x 4′ plastic wheeled behemoth to store somewhere when they aren’t using it are insane…then these bags are for you.
They were all similarly priced; with a max deviation of $10 – $20 for the non-sale patterns. I found the BH @ $50 off, so around $115. Truly a great deal from Patagonia’s website! The Mammut was my original choice, but due to backorders and timing I was unable to go with them. They have what others have called the “best straps in the business…”. True or not, they do look comfy. The BC is probably the most trusted and largest of all the bags I found. NorthFace has a huge following and you can’t go wrong with reports of 20 + years of ownership and no complaints.
After reading a ton about all 3 bags, and comparing them to similar size Seabags, that I have, the biggest factor was comfort. Besides sticking out like a sore thumb you while walk around with a huge green bag on your back, the sea bag very uncomfortable. The BH is the 2nd most comfortable and easy to tote out of the 4 options. My experience with the BH took me from the all over the US to the Mediterranean, Middle East, Dutch land, and a few others. I had to walk miles with it on my back and compared to a sea bag it is worlds apart. I always found that Seabags eat into your shoulders and neck.
Next is durability. The Seabag is great, but has zero water resistance. The NC is probably the toughest with the BH and MC tying with the Seabag for 2nd. There is ton out there about this and more so see below if you want way more info then needed. In the end, 1000D nylon and 900D polyester ripstop didn’t make that much of a difference to me with the additional benefits that the BH brings that the BC does not. The slick coating makes washing moon dust off really easy, although try not looking like a dummy standing in blue-berries and everyone else is wearing deserts….
One of the coolest parts of the BH is how you store it. It is the only duffle that I have seen that is designed to fold up and stuff into itself.
Now my gripes with the bag. I found that unless it was packed to the max; it would double over on itself and ride really, really low on my back. In several instances the straps caused it to “bend” and ride below my butt. Not the greatest experience but better then again choking isn’t either (1). There is only one way to fix this and non of the bags are set up to do it so it is almost a mute point. The only other complaint I have is the handles (not backpack straps) are way too small. For a bag that will hold ~80 to 100 lbs or 35 to 55 kg why in Aunt May’s sweet apple pies are the handles so da’gum small. They are about the size of butch’s knife handle when they are combined. Also their cover is made of plastic and feel cheap compared to the rest of the bag. I had fake leather, and that is what the handles remind me of.
Finally one bag worth mentioning is a B.A.D. They are very durable and have very thick handles which makes they easy to carry. They are very well priced and I have used their #3 for several years now traveling all over the states. If they made one with backpack straps and the water proof coating they would have been my go-to.
I have no affiliation with any of the companies or products mentioned nor received any special discount or pay for my thoughts.
(1) from the Seabag, you’ve got to remember these things. It really takes all the fun out of trying to be witty if you can’t remember previous comments. See the end of paragraph 4….pretty good right, I thought so