Patagonia Black Hole Snow Roller Ski Bag – 190cm
- Weight: 3674g / 8 lbs 1.6 oz
- Volume: 7933 Cubic Inches
- Dimensions: 75x14x7 inches
- Carry / haul handles
- four corner-mounted webbing daisy chains
- Clamshell zippered exterior pocket
- Padded bottom and side panels
- Fabric: Waterproof 14.7-oz 1,200-denier polyester w/ TPU-film laminate; DWR(durable water repellent) treated
- 2-week trip Anchorage to Honshu and Hokkaido Japan with multiple car, plane, bus and train transfers.
- 2 trips from Anchorage to Jackson Hole
- 1 trip to Utah
- 1 trip from Anchorage to Canterbury, New Zealand
I spend a fair amount of time each year traveling with skis, and one of the more challenging realities of ski travel is getting skis and gear safely to your destination.
Having now used at least six different ski bags in the past decade – and having just completed a four-flight, 30-hour trip from Anchorage, Alaska to Canterbury, New Zealand – I’ve learned a bit about the attributes that can make a difference in getting my gear where I need it as safely and hassle-free as possible.
Patagonia describes the Black Hole Snow Roller as a “super-durable, highly water-resistant rolling duffel designed to protect and carry your snowboard, skis and other awkwardly shaped gear.”
Based on my experience, it is the best iteration of a ski bag I’ve used. I’ll try to break down what makes it a solid choice and a few places where I could imagine improvement.
The two features of this bag that immediately appealed to me was the weight of the bag, and the capacity to load other types of luggage on top of it (see below for this second point).
The bag comes in just over 8 lbs, which is more than 4 pounds lighter than other rolling double ski bags I’ve used such as those from Dakine, Dynastar and PM Gear. A quick web search reveals that most other ski bags in this class are in the 12 lb range, with the one notable exception I’m aware of being the Douchebag ski carry which weighs just 7.5lbs).
This may not seem like a big deal, but I’m almost always taking multiple pairs of skis, poles, avalanche gear, and usually winter camping equipment everywhere I go, and saving four pounds makes a big difference.
The Patagonia Black Hole Snow Roller looks different than other ski bags I’ve seen. It has a clean, rectangular shape without any external pockets or extra straps, and has padding across all six panels.
Where other ski bags end up rather amorphous, depending on its contents, the Snow Roller maintains it’s shape and volume whether it’s full or empty. This is more aesthetic than functional, but to me, the shape makes the bag look smaller than it is which can be a boon when trying to convince a reluctant taxi driver or air service agent that it will easily fit.
The material used is primarily 1,200 denier polyester with a TPU film laminate, the same material used in the rest of Patagonia’s Black Hole line of bags. This is a relatively durable, waterproof material. The bag itself it not watertight due to the zipper and all of the seems, but the material keeps the bag from getting saturated when sitting out in a long, wet snowstorm awaiting a bus, and to date, my gear has stayed completely dry inside through rain and wet snow.
The zipper is robust, and is similar to the zippers I’ve had on other ski bags like the Dakine Concourse Double. I’ll speak more to the durability of all of the materials and zippers below.
The Black Hole Snow Roller has a clean design inside and out. There are no pockets on the outside and just two small mesh pouches sewn into the top panel of the bag. While I do like the organizer pockets on other bags I’ve owned (most recently the Dakine Concourse Double), they add weight to the bag and make it substantially more bulky to handle and stuff into rental cars and other small spaces. I thought I would miss having a small outside pocket (where I usually stash a couple of NRS-style cam straps that I use to lash the bag to a taxi or rental roofs) but the lack of external pockets hasn’t been an issue for me.
There are no straps to retain skis and poles, and no dividers to separate gear or skis. Again, this is a feature that I have come to like on other ski bags and thought it to be relatively important to keeping skis and bindings from shifting around and possibly being damaged. But after quite a bit of travel with quite a few different configurations of skis and bindings, the lack of straps and dividers has not been an issue. This is largely due the full padding on all sides of the bag that keep contents from smashing around too much. The dimensions of the bag also seem just about right for fitting several pairs of skis without allowing them to bounce around too much.
There are two small (about 4×6 inches) flat mesh pockets on the inside that I have not used. They are about the right size to hold a scraper or other small, flat objects.
If there was a caveat to this, it might be for skiers with shorter skis. All of the skis I’ve had in the bag are around 185-190cm, so don’t have much room to bounce up and down. The Snow Roller does not have the ability to shorten the effective length. (We haven’t yet reviewed the Douchebag ski bag but its ability to adjust length is a nice feature.)