You know Yeti for their incredible coolers and tumblers, but they’re branching out into other areas that outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy. There might even be some legitimate value for tradesmen as well. The Yeti Panga is one of the latest products to hit the market from this premium manufacturer. I got my hands on the Yeti Panga 75 to see how well it fits into my weekend life and if there are some job site benefits to go along with it.
The defining feature of the Yeti Panga is that it’s a submersible duffel bag that protects what’s inside it. That’s a huge draw for those of us that like to be in the outdoors no matter what the weather is doing.
Three key parts of the Panga make this happen. The foundation is what Yeti calls a ThickSkin Shell. This high-density nylon is thin enough to be flexible but thick enough to resist punctures to a point. It’s also waterproof.
The second piece of the submersible puzzle is probably the most challenging to get right – the zipper. If you’re going to get a leak, it’s likely going to be there. Yeti brings their Hydrolok zipper that we see on the Hopper. The same zipper that keeps the Hopper from leaking out keeps water from leaking into the Panga – even if it’s underwater.
The only downside I find on the zipper is just that it opens up similar to the original Hopper – straight across the bag. Because the nylon is stiffer than most fabrics, it makes getting into the bag and digging around somewhat inconvenient and may be irritating if you scrape your arm against it. While a U-shaped design might be easier, the much larger bag means it’s not as tight as the Hopper was.
Finally, Yeti adds an EVA molded base to the Panga. This is further waterproofing and durability for the bottom where it will spend most of its time sitting.
Waterproofing at the Next Level
DryHaul Straps give you a leg up when you’re carrying the Panga for any kind of distance. These adjustable straps give you the ability to carry it like a backpack. While they’re not uncomfortable, fitting a 75L backpack without hip and chest straps leaves me hoping that I don’t have to carry it for any kind of major distances if I have a heavy load in it.
Yeti’s QuickGrab lashing points are helpful if you have extra gear or storage that’s okay to be out in the weather. Since my major reason for having the Yeti Panga is kayak camping, I keep a few items I need at arm’s length like a knife and a smaller zipper pouch with some snacks.
There are also two mesh pockets to work with on the inside, so your phone and wallet can stay where access is pretty easy and still be out of the elements.
What little metal hardware the Panga uses is pretty stout stainless steel. At this price, you expect it to be.
Should You Buy It?
The Yeti Panga has a lot of potential benefits for keeping your gear stored away from the elements. Outdoorsmen have the greatest benefit. Whether you’re on a boat, kayak, or using pack animals for a backcountry trip, this bag will keep your gear dry. Since the inside of the bag is wide open, you can manage your rain gear, extra layers, reels, tackle, and rods that break down short enough. Where I draw the line is in thinking that it’s a replacement for a hiking backpack to cover longer distances, especially given its 6.1-pound dry weight. With a little creativity, the 50L model can even work as a carryon for flights. I wouldn’t use it for that unless I really need it my destination, though.
For the tradesmen out there, this is going to be hit or miss. The nylon material is tough and can take some abuse. I’d stop short of leaving exposed blades and accessories loose, though. It’s a pretty big investment for storage considering that carbide teeth will win over time. The name of the game is knowing what you need to protect from the elements and what can go in a standard tool bag or duffel. Chances are, a dry bag this large is going to be overkill for you.
Regardless of what you’re storing or what adventure you’re on, remember that heavier items will look for the bottom as you flip it from a duffel to a backpack.
At $300–$400, this is not a cheap bag that you should take lightly. It’s built for those situations where your gear absolutely has to stay dry and the consequences of failure outweigh the price. If that sounds like where you work or play, this is one of the most solidly built bags you can get your hands on.
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Yeti Panga Key Features
- EVA Molded Bottom
- ThickSkin Shell
- Stowaway Mesh Pockets
- Hydrolok Zipper
- MetalLock Hardware
- QuickGrab Lash Points
- DryHaul Straps
Yeti Panga 50 Specifications
- Dimensions: 11″ x 28″ x 15-1/4″
- Weight: 6.1 pounds
- Color: Storm Gray
- Price: $300-400