Cut the leader off (35mm only). Bring scissors into your dark room (or bag if you insist on a bag). Wash hands, no gloves necessary. You doing full inversions or agitating by twisting that rod? I only do the inversion-twist-180-method. I also make sure that both sides of the reel are aligned when feeding the film in. Not sure any of this will help? Toss that changing bag is one big thing I would do and get in a light tight bathroom/closet, etc

I learned on metal reels and tanks and recently transitioned to the Patterson and have been quite thrilled. I loaded many old expired 120's on it no prob. Old rolls seem to curl more and still had no prob. Gosh I sure hope you get it down if you use Patterson or metal. I personally find loading the film in the dark to be the most zen moment of the whole photographic process. Threading a needle in the dark per se is so exciting to me.