Gear Review: Patagonia MLC Transport

Patmlctransp2It’s been awhile since I’ve done a gear review so I thought I’d start out with the much anticipated review of the new Patagonia MLC Transport.

The Transport is the latest version of the MLC line.

While Patagonia doesn’t give out dimensions, they state it holds 2746 cu. in/45 liters and weighs 3 lbs 2 oz. /1431g.  I estimate the dimensions are about 21.5 in x 14 in x 8 in.

It’s made of recycled 900 denier polyester with a 200 denier lining.

Patmlctransp4The front of the bag has two compartments. A front smaller one big enough for a 3-1-1 bag or a small book. This compartment also has a key ring.

The second front compartment has organizer panels on both sides with most having either velcro or a zipper to close.




Patmlctransp7Unlike previous versions of the MLC where there were two equal halves of the bag with a floating divider taking up space in one half, the Transport has a larger main compartment and a smaller lid.






Patmlctransp9The lid can hold items up to about 2 inches thick. There is a zippered panel to seal off the lid. This panel has two zippered compartments with one being mesh covered.






Patmlctransp10The main compartment is one big compartment with no pockets. There are no tie down straps but there is a zippered mesh cover. (It’s unfolded open in the photo.)






Patmlctransp11On the rear of the bag is a padded laptop compartment that can hold one up to 17″.  A not-too-stuffed Eagle Creek 15 folder will also fit.






Patmlctransp15There are two hideaway padded backpack straps as well as a sternum strap. The connector clips for the backpack straps hideaway as well. (More on this later.)

There is also a magazine pocket on the rear with a zippered bottom to turn it into a sleeve allowing the bag to slide on the handles of a wheelie.





Almost everything I didn’t like about the previous version of the MLC was fixed in this version. It’s almost as if they read my mind. When I saw it in the store, I acted on impulse and bought it knowing I was going to love this bag. It is designed exactly the way I would design a bag.

However, once I got it home, I found a couple of issues that cooled my excitement.

Patmlctransp6The biggst problem I have is with the zippers. Even though they are YKK, they are designed terribly. There is no way to lock any of them, some of the metal pulls are so small it’s almost impossible to put a lock through them, the laptop compartment only has one zipper pull so you can’t secure it to anything, the zippers have stuck and gotten caught numeorous times, and if you look closely at the photo to the left, you’ll notice there is a good size opening when the main compartment zippers are bought together. Water, bugs, or who knows what could get into the bag including roving hands while the bag is on my back.


Patmlctransp13As mentioned earlier, the bag does come with hideaway clips for the packable backpack straps. A nice touch if you can get them to go in and out. They are so stiff, I find it necessary to unzip the rear compartment to help nudge the clips in and out of their hole.  Not good.


If you don’t mind the issues with the zippers and don’t mind leaving the backpack strap clips out, then this might be a bag to consider. Patagonia makes good products and stands behind their work.

I have mixed feelings about this bag. On one hand, it is designed the exact way I’d want a bag designed and the right size. On the other hand….I hate the zippers.

The Patagonia MLC  Transport retails for $179. Made in Vietnam.









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4 Responses to Gear Review: Patagonia MLC Transport

  1. Gafer says:

    Thanks for the review. I saw a guy in the airport a couple weeks ago with one of these and I was envious. The lack of tie down straps is the deal breaker for me. Think I’ll stick with my Eagle Creek Adventure Weekender. Still seems the best multi-purpose for me even though I’m yet to really use the backpack straps.

    • D M says:

      You can add tie down straps yourself pretty easily. Or have a tailor do it if you aren’t comfortable sewing. I suspect it would cost no more than $20.

  2. Ralph says:

    What store was selling it? I’ve only seen it online.

  3. Frank@OBOW says:

    It wasn’t a national chain….just a small camping store not far from where I’m currently residing.