With numerous different packable daypacks out there, it can be hard to narrow down the perfect one. The Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack 27L stands out amongst its peers as a versatile packable backpack perfect for travel and everyday use. Having used this packable daypack daily for the last 12 months while travelling through Latin America, it’s safe to say I have put it through its paces. I am happy to report it’s up to the job no matter what you throw at it. Check out our review below to see why we thing the Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack is the ultimate packable backpack for travel.

Use Case

A packable backpack is one of the best bits of travel gear you can invest in. It’s a great alternative to lugging around your big travel pack when exploring the city or going on day trips.  The Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack excels as a travel companion as it is both lightweight and compact, easily fitting inside your main travel pack. 

Designed to be slung over your shoulder or held in your hand as a tote, this packable pack can also be transformed into a fully-fledged backpack. In my experience, the versatility of this pack has been invaluable when travelling. I prefer to use it in tote mode for easy access when hitting the local market or when I want to keep an eye on my valuables in busy areas, and the rest of the time I use it in backpack mode when carrying heavier loads or when walking long distances for a more comfortable experience. 

Larger than most other packable backpacks, the Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack can carry plenty of gear and is perfect for weekend trips away with just the essentials. Having personally taken it on a hike of the Quilotoa Loop in Ecuador, the pack comfortably fit all my warm clothing, snacks and toiletries for 3 days. The pack is also a great carry-on-sized backpack for airline travel, easily fitting all your essentials for the journey.

Taking the Patagonia Black Hole Tote hiking in Peru

A full pack after 4 days of hiking the Ausangate Trek in Peru

Features

Packable bags by nature often cut back on some features in comparison to a traditional daypack, as they prioritise weight and packability rather than extensive features. The Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack on the other hand is packed with features when compared with other packable backpacks, whilst still remaining lightweight and packable. 

The first thing that sets this pack apart is that it can be used as either a tote or a backpack. When used as a tote, there are two thin nylon handles on the pack which can be either carried over the shoulder or held in your hand. Carrying the pack this way has been invaluable when travelling as I have found it more convenient to use it as a tote when running errands or in busy areas where there may be a risk of pickpockets. A thing to note with the straps on this tote is that there is minimal padding and I found that it begins to become uncomfortable to carry for extended periods when the pack exceeds around 5kg in weight. Therefore, at heavier weights, I often opted to use it as a backpack instead. Additionally, the handles on this pack seem to be shorter than a traditional tote. This sometimes caused me issues when carrying it over my shoulder as the straps would slip off on some occasions. 

When used as a backpack, the harness can be easily pulled out of its hidden compartment and set up in seconds. Fitted with a mesh harness, the pack performed well for me with heavier loads and has been comfortable to carry for extended periods. It also features an adjustable sternum strap, which helped distribute the weight better when carrying a full pack. While it may not have the support and ventilation of a proper hiking daypack, the Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack did the job when I asked it to. From long days of exploring cities to multiday treks in the Andes, the pack remained comfortable the majority of the time and only I began to feel the strain when carrying loads of 10kg+.

On both sides of the pack are stretching water bottle holders, which both can comfortably fit a 1L Nalgene water bottle. I am a big fan of these water bottle holders as they securely hold your bottle in place and can stretch to accommodate bigger items. The pockets are highly versatile and multi-use, and I have found them to be great for carrying a pair of thongs when heading down to the beach or some trekking poles when hitting the trails.

Adding to the main compartment’s zippered closure, there is also a drawcord closure to secure your belongings. I found this quite useful in the many times I’ve overpacked the bag and was unable to zip it up, as the drawcord could effectively cinch up the main compartment.

Pasochoa Volcano | Patagonia Ultralight Tote

Summiting Pasochoa volcano with my trusty bag by my side

Organisation

With a hefty 27 litres of storage, the Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack is one of the biggest packable backpacks on the market. The large main compartment can easily fit your needs for a day of sightseeing and even for a multiday trip away if packed minimally. While there is no dedicated laptop sleeve, I found that it carried my 15.6” laptop in a case well. It’s worth bearing in mind that a 16” laptop would probably be the max size you could carry in this pack and still be able to zip it up.

Additionally, there is a medium-sized internal pocket with a key chain to store your valuables. This internal pocket also functions as a stow pocket which the pack can stuff itself into when not in use. Closing out the pack, there is one external pocket perfect for all your quick-access items. While it may be lacking in organisation compared to a fully-fledged pack, I think there is a sufficient amount of organisation for a packable backpack.

 

Travelling with the Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote

From riding through tobacco fields in Cuba to climbing Rainbow Mountain in Peru it never let me down

Construction

Patagonia are well known for their great build quality and this pack is no exception. Constructed with lightweight recycled nylon, the pack has been in the wars with me for the last 12 months on the road and has lived to tell the tale. From often being used as a pillow in bus terminals to getting squished into many overhead bins on planes, the pack has held up remarkably well and handled any abuse thrown at it. With only a few pin-sized holes and scratches on the front exterior, the pack is still in great shape and should be for many years to come.

Weighing in at 370g, the Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack is lightweight for a backpack but when compared to other packable bags out there it is on the heavier side. However, with this weight penalty, you get a larger and more feature-rich packable backpack. As always with Patagonia, the pack is Fair Trade certified, which ensures that it has been responsibly and sustainably constructed.

Patagonia packable tote Pack

Successful hike of the Quilotoa Loop with the Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack

Final Thoughts

Patagonia has revolutionised the packable backpack game with the Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack with a feature-rich pack that sets itself apart from its barebone peers. After 1 year of consistent use, the pack has followed me on many adventures and has easily become one of my favourite pieces of travel gear.

 Looking to level up your travel pack? Check out our full range of travel daypacks here.

 

Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole Tote Pack Review
Features90%
Weight75%
Durability90%
Versatility100%
Comfort80%
Value90%
PROS
  • A feature rich packable backpack
  • Huge capacity
  • A versatile pack which can tackle any adventure
CONS
  • A bit heavier compared to other packable packs
  • Minimal padding on tote straps
  • Tote straps sometimes slip off
88%Overall Score

About The Author

Alex Carter

Alex is an avid traveller and hiker with a passion for the outdoors. Having travelled extensively through Latin America, Asia, and Europe, he enjoys immersing himself in the local culture and taking in the stunning environment around him. Whether trekking through remote mountain ranges or navigating bustling cities, he’s always looking for his next adventure.

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