OtterBox is branching out from cases and coolers. On Tuesday, the company announced its new Yampa dry duffel collection. The dry duffels, which went on preorder Tuesday, come in three sizes: 35, 70, and 105 liters, ranging from $250 to $400. The steep prices, and the bags’ burly design, put them in the same league as Yeti’s Panga series.
I got my hands on a sample of the 70-liter Yampa ($300), which seems protective and durable without sacrificing ease of use. (I haven’t had the chance to take it on any adventures yet.)
Constructed out of TPU-coated nylon, this bag is made to endure rocky shorelines and brambly bushwhacks. A watertight zipper keeps everything dry, and an internal layer of low-density foam means you can haul, toss, and drag your gear without fear of damaging it.
Durability is nothing new when it comes to duffels, which have been getting more and more overbuilt as companies like Yeti, Sea to Summit, and NRS have iterated on their waterproof adventure haulers. But user-friendliness is where OtterBox’s bag truly shines. A fold-over harness system lets you swap between backpack and duffel carry by clipping the buckles to one side or the other. Unlike the Panga, which has a smaller opening that makes the interior difficult to organize, the Yampa has an extra-wide opening that shows you all your gear quickly.
The convenience of a large opening does come with a trade-off, however: OtterBox had to add buckles to hold down the extra material at either end when the duffel is zipped shut. The two massive buckles are a bit unwieldy and difficult to work in a hurry. I had to use two hands to undo each buckle, which felt clunky. Thankfully, there is an external water-resistant pocket where I can store essentials I need to reach in a flash. It’s not fully waterproof though, so I’m careful with what I choose to store here.
In many, if not most, outdoor adventure situations, this duffel will be more than you need. But people who do a lot of backcountry water travel may find that it’s just tough enough to inspire confidence on long portages and rough waters.