Recently, I used the 35 liter Patagonia Black Hole Pack (2 lbs., 3 oz., $149) for its two main purposes – both as a cragging pack and to carry my laptop. It felt strange shoving beat up draws, dirty climbing shoes, harness and chalk bag in the same pack as delicate electronics, but I had to both work on spreadsheets and climb that day.
The top loading Black Hole looks like a haulbag meets messenger bag. It has padding on either side of the laptop pocket to safely protect the notebook from getting poked by assorted hardware. The padding makes the pack comfy to carry. The pocket doubles as a hydration reservoir carrier. The zip-top lid’s zipper is tucked under the outer material ensuring the contents of the bag stay dry in wet conditions. Two cinch straps on either side of the pack are large enough to carry a skateboard, yoga mat or three-quarter width insolate pad.
The pack is constructed of 14.7-oz 1,200 denier polyester with a TPU, thermoplastic polyurethane, and durable water repellent film laminate. It has padded shoulder straps, sternum strap and load lifters. It is large enough to carry a days’ worth of climbing gear (sans rope), and a 17” laptop, which securely fastens in place via a clip. It has various pockets for cell phone, commuter pass, tablet, and full size note pad.
The waist belt is narrow and unpadded; it keeps the pack from sliding across my back when riding a bike, but doesn’t take much load off my shoulders when hiking. The waist belt pinches bare skin.
Over the past few months the Black Hole has become my primary cragging pack and is especially useful when climbing above the ocean or when biking through town in the rain. When the tide rises, and I want to get in a few more pitches before heading further inland, I stuff everything back inside the pack, zip it up and get back on the route. Crashing waves spray over it but the pack keeps the contents dry.
That recent day, before climbing, I worked on the laptop while sitting shotgun as we drove through San Francisco on the way to Castle Rock. After cragging and bouldering, I got dropped off at the ferry building, stopped into a Peet’s coffee, pulled the laptop back out to send a few emails, then hopped the ferry, unzipped the pack, pulled out the laptop again and typed away while crossing the bay.
The Black Hole carries everything I need, except the rope, for a day at the crags or office; which in my case is anywhere I have reception.
Available in Larimer blue, black and nickel