Testing Yeti’s New Panga 28 Backpack

Tough and waterproof, it fits everything you need for a day

The pack’s design is simple: just one main, cavernous compartment with a small mesh zippered essentials pocket and a laptop sleeve inside. (Courtesy Yeti/Sarah Frankie Lind)
Photo: Courtesy Yeti/Sarah Frankie Lind yeti

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Yeti’s Panga waterproof duffels have become a favorite among boaters, fishermen, and anyone who spends a lot of time around water or in foul weather. The tubular gear haulers are made out of thick, laminated nylon that’s virtually impossible to rip or tear, and they’re sealed with zippers that live up to their waterproof billing.

Recently the company announced it was adding a backpack to the Panga line. We got our hands on the new Panga Backpack 28 ($300), which, true to its heritage, is just about as protective as you could want.

The 28-liter pack is made of the same super-durable nylon as the duffels, with hefty nylon daisy-chain lash points on the front, carry handles on the top and both sides, and the same waterproof zipper that’s on all of Yeti’s duffels and soft coolers. Because of an unfortunate drought here in New Mexico, we haven’t had the chance to test the backpack’s waterproofness in the wild, but we did perform a home test, stuffing a towel in the pack and submerging it under water for four minutes. The towel came out bone dry.

The pack’s design is simple: just one cavernous main compartment with a small zippered mesh pocket and a laptop sleeve inside. Without padded straps or a supportive hipbelt, the Panga doesn’t ride as well as a technical hiking pack, but for its intended use (fishing, boating, or generally toting around when the weather is nasty), it does the job. It swallows a lot of gear, and the long zipper means you won’t be struggling to hold the pack open to see what’s inside.

Thanks to the burly material, the pack holds its shape, stands upright, and won’t flop when partially filled. Alas, this also means it doesn’t compress well when you need to shove it into tight spaces. If you’re on a long kayaking trip and want to maximize hull space, you’re better off with a traditional drybag. But if you’ve got space to spare and are more concerned with comfortable all-day carry—say, for a day of fly-fishing or sailing—the Panga Backpack is a promising choice.

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