Gear Review: The YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel


For traveling anglers and other adventurers, very few pieces of gear are more important than a duffel bag, and for some, a good duffel is the foundational piece of gear that holds critical value. (After all, the duffel is what transports our most important gear!)

For years I had several mediocre duffel bags that were no more than good enough. But after all of my clothes (and Christmas gifts) were soaked after my bag was left outside on the baggage cart at the airport during a December Colorado storm, I knew I had to get serious about my travel gear.

I travel a fair amount, and from the mountains of Alaska to the jungles of Nicaragua, I rely on duffel bags. Duffels have been with me on international travel, and I always have at least one with me on the many road trips I take. And at the risk of sounding like I have a duffel bag addiction, I feel like I’ve tried them all. There are actual stacks of duffel bags in the garage that now store gear but are too insufficient to make it on trips.

Some duffels cut it. I have duffel bags that I love and have received deserved high praise on The Venturing Angler. That said, there has been no duffel bag that I have encountered that is as impressive as the new YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel.

Announced this summer, the YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel immediately caught my attention for two reasons. First, these bags are attractive and look like they might be tough enough to get it done. Second, YETI has a great record of making superior gear and their entry into duffel bags could only leave me to assume they would make excellent travel gear.

YETI Duffel

Sure enough, YETI nailed it in every regard with the Panga. Coming in three sizes (50, 75, and 100L), I was fortunate to test the 50 and 75L bags. These tough-as-nails duffels have been overthought and overbuilt to benefit the user in every conceivable way.

First, these bags are as durable as it gets. Not only are they fully waterproof and submersible (seriously!), the thick nylon shell gives additional piece of mind as it almost feels like protective armor. I can’t always care for my gear the way I want to. From baggage handlers to how my bag is holding up under a dozen others in the back of a truck, stuff happens. The thick material on the outside of the bag gives me some peace, especially when I have camera gear, a laptop, and other gear inside. In a similar way, the EVA molded bottom adds more durability and also gives me comfort knowing that what’s inside might better endure the trials of travel. The thick materials provide toughness but also enough structure that the bags hold their form — even when the occasional odd or heavy object is inside. Additionally, the bags can be stood upright. This makes for convenience in a number of situations.

Another important exterior feature is the straps. The straps allow the Panga to be comfortably warn as a backpack, allowing for much more convenience. And these straps are also built tough. I often load a ton of gear in my bags, and with all of the weight, the straps are usually the most vulnerable part of the bag. The thick and durable material will endure a great deal, and the MetalLock™ hardware that secures the straps will keep the bag held together strong where the straps are secured (and where they often break on other bags).

I could rave on and on about the YETI Panga, but two additional features that stand out for me are the six lash points on the Panga for securing gear and also the mesh pockets inside to keep valuables secured and organized.

The YETI Panga is one of the best new pieces of gear I’ve encountered in quite a long time. And from the numerous float trips to the jungle fly fishing exploration I have coming up, I am confident that I have the best travel gear accompanying me on my journeys.

The YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel is available now and comes costs $299.99 for the 50, $349.99 for the 75, and $399.999 for the 100. Considering the valuables inside as well as the lifespan of these bags, the price is well worth it.

To check out more on the YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel, please click here.

– Tim Harden

Disclosure: YETI is in a professional relationship with The Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.

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Take Action to Protect Bristol Bay

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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is up to his shady secret shenanigans and now Bristol Bay is at serious risk. It is imperative that the fly fishing community comes together to voice their opposition to the proposed Pebble Mine, which, unfortunately, might have the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (of all people) as a key supporter. If this happens, it’s over. Please take action and add your voice to those commenting that we do not want this mine.

To take quick and easy action, please click here.

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Tell Congress to Defend National Monuments


A leaked document reveals that Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke intends to recommend to the president that 10 national monuments are compromised to accommodate business interests. Some of the monuments mights be shrinked while others will be deregulated to allow for mining, drilling, and commercial fishing. This can’t happen.

To tell your congress person to defend public lands, please click here.

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Gear Review: The Patagonia Tough Puff Hoody

Patagonia Tough Puff Hoody

“The Patagonia Nano Puff is the greatest jacket ever made.” It would be impossible to even guess how many times I’ve repeated these words. In fact, it’s probably so frequent that it classifies as excessive. Like Uncle Rico talking about his high school football days, I must’ve subconsciously believed if I told just one more person, I’d be one step closer to enlightening the masses. Well, it turns out, maybe the Nano Puff isn’t the greatest jacket ever made. I now believe that crown goes to the Patagonia Tough Puff Hoody.

The Nano Puff has two features that contributed to my love fest. First, it packs down to fit into its own chest pocket, making it ideal for travel. Second, the jacket is a perfect match for a wide range of weather conditions. In the case of the new Tough Puff Hoody, anglers get an easy-to-pack jacket that handles different weather conditions as well as features that will add further appeal to anglers.

Let’s start with the word “tough.” While the Nano Puff remains a favorite jacket, it did at times have a hard time keeping up with me. Thrashed by brush and stabbed by plenty of flies, my Nano Puff has been patched and pieced back together enough that I almost wear it with honor. However, I’d frequently desired a solution to fears of abrasion. The Tough Puff Hoody is that solution.

The Tough Puff Hoody features a 100% polyester outer shell with a “moisture-shedding DWR (durable water repellent) finish.” Bringing enhanced durability, this jacket is designed for handling the conditions anglers often face.

The Tough Puff Hoody also delivers comfort. Similar to the Nano-Air® design and the idea that you would never want to take it off, the Tough Puff feels as comfortable as my favorite cotton hoody but with technical features that make it more practical in the mountains or on the water. In fact, during a day recently with extreme temperature fluctuations, my Tough Puff kept me warm on a frigid morning then raised eyebrows later when I was still wearing it zipped up after highs reached 80 degrees.

The Tough Puff is also my new favorite because of additional design features that suit the needs of fly anglers. In addition to its water repellent and abrasion resistant finish, the Tough Puff features a “60-g FullRange® 100% polyester stretch insulation.” The stretch is key. From climbing around the bank to reaching for fish, the stretch brings added comfort and mobility. And for those times when you’re trekking through the woods or rowing the raft, the material of the Tough Puff brings warmth but also breathability. A Capilene® lining inside also brings enhanced breathability and moisture wicking.

I tested this jacket day-in and day-out in a wide range of conditions but knew my concluding thoughts would come after a weekend in steelhead country. It is often on the water up in Northern California where I discover shortcomings to technical gear, but in the case of the Tough Puff Hoody, this is where I found more to love about this piece. The crew at Patagonia truly thought of everything with the Tough Puff. As someone who always wants to cut down on bulk with my packs and attire, it came as a surprise that the Tough Puff has two chest pockets for fly boxes. Most jackets with these pockets tend to be bulky in the chest, but here they are low-profile, which makes the Tough Puff a more suitable crossover to daily casual life. In addition to these pockets, the Tough Puff features lower pockets as well. With many fly fishing jackets having upper fly box pockets but not normal lower pockets, this design feature brings even more practical use. And finally, elastic in the cuffs helps keep the cold out while allowing comfort with layering underneath.

Look out, friends! A fair warning that you will hear me talk about the Tough Puff Hoody a good bit from now on. This is undoubtedly my go-to piece from here on out.

The Patagonia Tough Puff Hoody comes in Black and Bay Blue and retails for $299.

To check out more on the Patagonia Tough Puff Hoody, please click here.

– Tim Harden

Disclosure: Patagonia is in a professional relationship with the The Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.

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Global Rescue — Essential for Destination Fly Fishing


I like to travel to fly fish. Whether it’s a long road trip or exploring a foreign land, I live to pursue my passion in new places.

Just as fly fishing in itself has risks that range from dangerous currents to backcountry injuries to extreme weather, travel also has risks. I was in Central America when the zika virus hit, and I’ve been way off the grid when car problems have come up.

After getting a hip replacement two years ago, I recognized that my risk is even greater now than most. Dislocating my hip on the water or taking on an injury far from home could put me in a grave situation, especially if traveling in a country that has inadequate health care. With that, there was no question that I would join Global Rescue.

At risk of sounding too much like a commercial, it actually is essential that destination anglers join Global Rescue. In fact, if you talk to the folks at any fly fishing travel company from The Fly Shop to Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures to Tailwaters Fly Fishing Company, they not only strongly recommend Global Rescue, but they are also all members.

Global Rescue is the ultimate backup plan for adventurers. Say I do dislocate my hip on the side of a mountain in Nicaragua? I would call Global Rescue and they would send a helicopter to get me and take me to the medical care I need. Heading to a country that has political conflict? Global Rescue even has plans that deliver extraction services in the case of a coup or revolution.

There’s no way I could afford these services if paid for when needed. With Global Rescue, you pay a reasonable monthly rate based on your needs.

I am fortunate to know the most well-traveled anglers who go to the ends of the earth to fly fish. They are all members. Additionally, it is Global Rescue that supports Everest climbers with their needs if things go awry. It’s a great service that I don’t leave home without.

To learn more about Global Rescue, please click here.

— Tim Harden


Disclosure: Global Rescue is in a professional relationship with The Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.

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Take Action: Stop Timber Sale in the Tongass National Forest

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The Tongass National Forest is Southeast Alaska is truly a national treasure. This lush rainforest is regarded as the last salmon forest and it is also stacked with steelhead. Unfortunately, there are frequent threats from logging, and we now have a new threat.

Earth Justice is urging people to voice their opposition to a big timber sale. To add your voice, please click here.

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Podcast: Fly Fishing in Georgia with Justin Pickett

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Justin Pickett of Gink & Gasoline is an angler who takes full advantage of his home waters in Georgia. In this episode of The Venturing Angler Podcast — sponsored by Nautilus Reels — Justin discusses the waters and many species of Georgia.

To check out more from Gink & Gasoline, please click here.

And to check out the podcast, please click below or download our podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud:

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