Yeti has been crushing it as of late with their new line up of hard/soft coolers and now they’ve set their sights on a new category, duffle bags. The super rugged, waterproof and airtight Yeti Panga’s are due to arrive in stores this spring and come in three sizes, 50, 75 and 100 litres. We’ll focus on the largest size in this review. Like all things Yeti, these are premium duffles and with that comes a premium price tag, the 100L will set you back $526.78CAN / $399.95US. If you’ve recovered from the sticker shock lets dive into why the Panga 100 cost so much and if it’s worth all those green backs.
Waterproof and airtight, the Yeti Panga 100 Duffle Bag is ideal for paddling and water adventures.
Not all duffels are created equally. We reviewed the Patagonia Black Hole duffles a few years back but these aren’t in the same league as the Yeti Panga 100 since the Blackholes are not waterproof, nor airtight. We’ve also taken a look at a few Ortlieb Waterproof Dry Bags which are similar in design but again not nearly as durable and tough. The Sea to Summit Hydraulic Dry Pac that we’ve also reviewed offers up similar durability to the Panga but is a roll-top dry bag and doesn’t provide the same convenience of a duffle style waterproof bag. Roll-top dry bags have long been the standard for river dry bags, this is because the zipper technology had not evolved far enough to make a truly waterproof duffle, that is until now. Roll-top dry bags meant you were stuck dumping out the entire contents of the bag to retrieve the one item that is typically always at the bottom of the bag. No more. The Panga 100 Duffle Bag has a wide mouth which provides easy access, in addition to this, there are two internal zippered Stowaway Mesh Pockets which provide storage for those smaller items you need to keep track of.
What justifies the Yeti Panga 100’s classification as a premium duffle bag and its hefty price tag is the fact that its shell is constructed from ultra-tough “ThickSkin” material along with RF welding which is standard on Yeti’s Hoppers series of coolers. This nylon construction and thick TPU lamination make the Panga 100 incredibly tough. Since the base of the Panga 100 will take the brunt of the abuse, Yeti gave it an EVA molded bottom. This not only provides a more rugged and tough platform but also provided a firm base so that the entire duffle doesn’t taco when empty or partially full like most other duffles.
The second feature that screams quality is the Hydrolok Zipper which makes the Panga 100 not only waterproof but also 100% airtight, so it’s submersible. You do need to ensure that the zipper is firmly closed and ‘pops’ closed. This ensures a full seal and will keep your precious cargo dry. Be sure to ‘hydrate’ the zipper with the lubricant stick Yeti provides. This regular maintenance will ensure things run smoothly and that the zipper will not bind up or slow down over time.
To ensure that added stress is not placed on the Panga 100’s zipper when filled to (or past) the brim, there’s a built-in ‘ZipAssist’ quick clip that connects both sides of the bag just below the zipper. This makes closing the zipper much easier when you may have brought one too many luxury items on your next backcountry paddling adventure.
On the exterior of the Panga 100, there are a total of 6 Quickgrab lash points, 2 end handles and 2 Dryhaul Straps. The two large side lash points are designed to carry a fishing rod tube while the Dryhaul Straps can also be used as an effective backpack carry to shoulder your load over long distances.
At almost seven pounds the Yeti Panga 100 is not light for a duffle, but something constructed this tough has to have some weight to it. It’s so tough that rocks and roughing it about won’t even phase it, you’d need to intentionally cut it to get through the Thickskin Shell. At over $500 Canadian I wouldn’t recommend going too tough on it as this is one pricey duffle and you’d want to go easy on your investment just to be safe.
Yeti has never been known for cutting corners or sacrificing when it comes to the performance of their products and the Panga 100 is no exception. Similar waterproof bags from Ortleib are almost half the price but the durability is not even close. In order to justify the Panga 100’s price tag you have to value durability and want an airtight duffle that will not let you down.
To test the Panga 100, I fully loaded it for a SUP camping trip on Kootenay Lake and instead of lashing it to my paddle board where it would be safe and dry, I decided to tow it for a while behind my SUP and see if any water penetrated the seams or Hydralock Zipper. Of course, I ensured that the zipper was properly seated first as this ensures that it’s truly airtight. After watching it tumble about for 30 minutes and a rather challenging paddle, the end result was that everything inside remained bone dry.
Since I’m fairly careful with my gear, the incredible burliness of the Panga 100 is not really a top-shelf priority for me, however, I can appreciate the merits of this for someone who’s a hunter or fisherman. And, if you have money to spare, there is no better duffel out there. It’s rugged, waterproof, airtight, submersible and has plenty of haul loops and can be carried as a backpack if needed and if not then you can simply remove those straps altogether. What more could you want, other than perhaps two for that price?
If the Panga 100 is out of your price range then consider sizing down to save some money with out sacrificing on any of the features. The Panga 75 will set you back $460.93CAN / $349.99US and measures 28x11x15.25” and weighs 6.1lb, where as the Panga 50 is priced even lower at $395.08CAN / $299.99US and measures 23.5x10x14” while weighing 5.2lb.
Price: $526.78CAN / $399.95US (100L
Volume: 100L (also available in 50L and 75L)
Dimensions: 32.5 x 12 x 17”
Weight: 3.08kg / 6.8lb
Colour: Storm Grey
Warranty: 3 years
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