This photo shows the YETI Panga 100L Waterproof Duffel bag near a river.

YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel Review

- Field-tested -

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The YETI Panga 100L Waterproof Duffel is a large, rugged, expedition-ready duffel bag that comes with removable backpack straps.

To get us a closer look, YETI sent Man Makes Fire a 100L review unit in the new Tan color option. After testing the YETI Panga 100L on a week-long whitewater rafting trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River — as well as on a mountain lake kayaking trip — this is what we learned:

YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel Review

This photo shows the YETI Panga 100L Waterproof Duffle on wet rocks near a river.
The YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel is very rugged and completely waterproof.

The most important feature of the YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel is that it is totally waterproof. Unlike most rugged duffel bags that are only water-resistant, the YETI is completely submersible. Tested to an IPX7 rating, the Panga will keep your gear dry for 30 minutes at a depth of one meter.

While rafting on the permit-only Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho this summer, we tested the YETI Panga 100L Duffel as a deck bag on our raft. Basically, we kept it stationed between the passengers in the front of the boat and the rower. The zipper gave us quick access to water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, phones, sun hats, splash jackets, and whatever gear we happened to stash in there for the day.

Because of the position on our raft, the Panga got splashed every day for seven days. No leaks.

 

This photo shows the YETI Panga 110L Waterproof Duffel on a raft during the testing and review process.
We used the YETI Panga 100L Waterproof Duffel as a handy deck bag on a 7-day whitewater rafting trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. The interior contents never got wet.

Our gear testers also took the Panga on a three-day mountain lake kayaking trip. The Panga was strapped to an iSUP behind a kayak and towed — because our gear testers like to pack a lot of PBR and lot of luxury gear. Again, lots of splashing from waves and a bit of rain and zero leaks.

I also tested it by turning the Panga zipper down and floating it in the river — and sat on it for some extra pressure. Again, no leaks. Because the YETI Panga uses a proven rugged HydroLock Zipper, I don’t expect any problems for years to come.

Ultra Rugged

This photo shows a closeup of the outside of the YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel in the tan color option.
YETI’s ThickSkin high-density nylon is thicker than most competing dry bags.

The main body of the Panga is made from YETI’s ThickSkin high-density nylon. It’s thick and very tough. In fact, it’s thicker and seems to be tougher than most rugged dry bags, including an NRS Bill’s Bag Dry Bag, which we’ve found to be extremely durable.

If you somehow managed to place a YETI Panga Duffel between the antlers of two rutting, fighting bull elk, they could likely puncture it — but then again, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Panga survived.

The EVA molded bottom sports a YETI logo and is even tougher than the main body of the bag. It will take a lot of effort or some very sharp material to puncture a YETI Panga.

The grab handles and straps are similarly rugged, as is the MetalLock hardware that attaches the removable backpack straps.

As if YETI had something to prove here, YETI takes its rugged cred seriously by offering a 3-year warranty on the Panga Duffel line.

 

Waterproof Zipper

This review and testing photo shows a closeup of the YETI Panga waterproof zipper.
The Panga’s burly waterproof zipper has a big pull handle for easier opening and closing.

YETI has long used heavy-duty waterproof zippers in many of its soft coolers, and the Panga zipper is excellent. It’s burly and waterproof. It’s also nearly as long as the entire Panga duffel, which I appreciate because it makes stowing gear and finding gear much easier. Some competing waterproof bags have a tendency to skimp on the zipper by making them too short.

YETI includes a small tube of zipper lubricant, which you should use — it makes the zipper easier to seat and should help maintain waterproofness over the years.

More Outstanding Design Elements

What makes the YETI Panga 100L Waterproof Duffel achieve such a high rating from Man Makes Fire? The YETI attention to detail is outstanding. Better yet, each element works well with other elements. Here are a few key things that help illustrate the design genius:

This photo shows the author carrying the YETI Panga 100L Waterproof Duffle near a river.
The backpack straps make hauling a big Panga easy. Note the slightly flattened shape, which makes the Panga easier to carry and stow.

First, the shape of the duffel is more rectangular or oval-like than it is round. This means it doesn’t roll and it barely shifts when you drop it on uneven surfaces or tilting surfaces. In addition, when you wear it as a backpack, you get a flatter surface against your back. It rides better and looks better than bags that are shaped more cylindrically.

Second, the grab handles and lash points are strong and functional. We throw gear bags into vehicles with lots of other gear, which can make bags hard to grab and hard to lash down. YETI’s handles are easy to grab and strong enough to take abuse. The lash points, which YETI calls QuickGrab Lash Points, go behind simple daisy chain lash points. How? You get multiple size options in the lash points, which makes it easy to thread straps, attach carabiners, or even thread a rope through.

Third, the DryHaul backpack straps are wider at the shoulders but they taper down in the middle to create a grip-friendly handle when you’re carrying the Panga like a traditional duffel. Most people won’t notice this, but it’s a very intentional design element that we appreciate. Most competing duffel bags with backpack straps just aren’t as functional as handles.

This photo shows a closeup of the YETI MetalLock Hardware backpack clip on the Panga 100L Waterproof Duffel.
Even the hardware is extra burly!

Fourth, YETI goes all out with its MetalLock Hardware, which is found on the ends of its DryHaul Straps. The metal is a thick aluminum that looks good and inspires confidence. It is entirely overbuilt. Even the interior hook, which is used inside the top middle of the bag when you overstuff it, is far stronger than it needs to be.

Finally, we do want to give a shout out to the two interior mesh pockets. YETI could have gotten away with just a single interior stash pocket, but we appreciate two.

 

Excellent Fit & Finish

Meanwhile, it’s important to note that YETI’s Panga Duffel delivers consistently great fit and finish throughout. The welded sections are cut cleanly and perfectly placed.

The stitching on the handles and lash loops is far more precise than what you find in most duffels.

This photo shows the YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel on a raft.
The quality is so good you just don’t have to worry about the YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel.

My previous Panga experience comes from the YETI Panga 28L Backpack, which I consider to be one of the best fishing backpacks available today. I’ve used it for years for both fishing and hiking in wet conditions. In fact, I should probably update its review with some long-term notes: Despite a lack of care and plenty of abuse, the Panga 28L Backpack still looks fantastic and is going strong. When I stow cameras or computers inside the Panga, I just don’t worry about them getting wet.

Multiple Size Options

The YETI Panga line comes in four size options, the first of which is the YETI Panga 28L Waterproof Backpack. It’s a dedicated backpack with non-removable straps. It’s been available for several years, but this is the first year it’s available in the new Tan color option. For more detail, check out our full Panga 28L Waterproof Backpack review here.

The duffel series comes in three sizes, a 50L version that’s carry-on compatible for most airlines, along with 75L and 100L options. They all share the exactly same materials and design, just in different dimensions:

Panga 50L Waterproof Duffel

Dimensions: 23.5″ x 14.0″ x 10.0″
Weight: 5.2 lbs

Panga 75L Waterproof Duffel

Dimensions: 28.0″ x 15.5″ x 11.0″
Weight: 6.1 lbs

Panga 100L Waterproof Duffel

Dimensions: 32.5″ x 17.0″ x 12.0″
Weight: 6.8 lbs

Versatility

This photos shows the YETI Panga 100L Waterproof Duffel strapped to a standup paddleboard near some kayaks.
If you have gear you want to protect from water, dirt or dust, the YETI Panga can do it with ease.

Here is what I really appreciate most about the YETI Panga 100L Waterproof Duffel: It’s far more versatile than I first imagined. Because it’s so durable, you can really abuse it. You can drop it on rocks and gravel, drag it or throw it in the back of a pickup — and you just don’t have to worry much about what’s rubbing on it.

Better yet, I can toss it in the back of my pickup and drive far off the beaten path on dusty gravel and dirt roads. Once I get to camp, if it’s covered in dust, that’s not a big deal because it’s dust-proof, too. Even so, I can rinse the bag off or toss it in a creek to wash it off and not worry about the contents getting wet.

And if it’s a long drive in rain or snow? Not a problem — I just don’t have to worry about my gear when it’s safe inside the YETI Panga Duffel.

I did not expect to appreciate the rugged waterproofness of the YETI Panga nearly as much as I do.

Competitive Alternatives & Options

If you’re interested in rugged waterproof duffel bags, here some alternative duffel bags that you could also consider:

Patagonia Guidewater Duffel 80L — The 80-liter Patagonia Guidewater is lighter than the YETI Panga but also a bit less durable. That’s not to say the Guidewater isn’t durable, it’s just not as rugged as the Panga. The Guidewater also has lash points for fly fishing rod tubes, as well as an internal organizer pocket that can be moved to the external lash points for quick access.

Simms G3 Guide Z Duffel Bag — Like the Patagonia Guidewater Duffel, the Simms G3 Guide Z Duffel is aimed at fly fishers. It features an external stash pocket and plenty of lash points. It’s not as rugged as the YETI Panga, but it’s lighter. One drawback is that it’s limited to a 60-liter size option. If you want a larger duffel from Simms, though, you could try the Dry Creek Duffel, which is a roll-top waterproof style bag that comes in three size options.

NRS High Roll 35-to-105L Duffel Dry Bags — The key benefit of the NRS High Roll Duffel Dry Bags is the affordable price point. By using a roll-top design, the bags are easier to manufacture and cost less than waterproof bags with high-quality waterproof zippers like the YETI Panga. The biggest drawback to the roll-top closure is that it’s not as fast or simple to use as a zipper. Functionally, however, roll-top dry bags and duffels are very good and result in waterproof seals.

The Bottom Line

All-in-all, the YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel takes expedition-ready bags to a whole new level. If you somehow managed to place a YETI Panga Duffel between the antlers of two rutting, fighting bull elk, they could likely puncture it — but then again, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Panga survived. Clearly we appreciate the super durable rugged build, along with the burly waterproof zipper. You can lash the bag down through multiple lash points or let it ride free in the back of a pickup with little risk. The backpack straps work well for backpack carry as well as standard duffel carry handles. The whole build inspires confidence — once you start using the YETI Panga, you know it will do its job no matter what conditions you face. Big fans here. Very highly recommended.

Get the Gear:

YETI Panga Waterproof Duffel
Benefits
Super rugged and durable
Excellent waterproof zipper
Outstanding overall fit and finish
Drawbacks
We wish it had an exterior stash pocket (but that's not even close to being a dealbreaker)
4.9

 

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