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.
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.
– 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.