YETI Panga 50 Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Super durable, completely waterproof
Cons: Expensive, rigid
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The YETI Panga is 10 inches tall, 14 inches wide, and 23.5 inches long. It's made of high-density, laminated nylon, and when empty and dry, it weighs 5.2 pounds. This burly profile gives it the necessary heft to withstand some serious rough and tumble. Its duffel shape, innovative Hydrolock zippered closure system, removable backpack straps, and utterly waterproof construction make it the ultimate travel dry pack.
The ability to keep your gear dry is clearly the most important aspect of these products, and the Panga does not disappoint in this metric. It earns an elusive perfect score for its ability to not only prevent a single drop of water from getting inside the bag throughout all of our testing but for being completely airtight as well. To complete our submersion test, a 170-pound man had to sit on the bag to get it underwater, and after floating on it for a while, there was still no water inside.
The outer material of the Panga quickly sheds water when it is pulled ashore, and no matter how long you've had it in the water, the fabric never becomes damp. Water absorbent material is one of the primary problems with super-lightweight models, but not so with this watertight monster.
Our one complaint about the Panga in this category is that it has a relatively rigid shape and no roll-top closure system, which prevents you from removing extra air from the internal cavity.
Ease of Use
A single midline zipper makes packing this bag a bit awkward. The zippered opening doesn't completely expose the inside of the bag, and thus things sometimes have to be pulled in and out to get to what you need. Or, since you can't visualize the entire inside compartment, you have to stick your hand inside and rummage around until you find whatever you are looking for. Fortunately, two zippered mesh pockets are located inside the main body, which are helpful for car keys and other small items.
Handles on each end and removable backpack straps make for convenient and comfortable carrying options. While the backpack straps are much appreciated over shorter distances, they aren't true backpacking straps like some of the other models we tested that have padded straps and a waist belt, facilitating longer, more comfortably carries. As simple, wide webbing straps, they help you move a heavy load from the luggage claim to the back of a waiting taxi but dig in uncomfortably after carrying for too long. How far you'll be comfortable carrying it will be even more reduced if you've loaded this 50-liter bag full of heavy equipment. But for short distances, these backpack straps are fantastically convenient.
Once again, we're pretty big fans of the Panga. Its most unique feature is the Hydrolock zipper. This heavy-duty zipper is easy to open and close and works remarkably well to seal out water. The zipper locks into place when it is closed, which makes it easy to confirm that it has been completely sealed.
With six nylon webbing lash points, it's easy to attach this model to your boat or board, and the removable backpack straps are comfortable and durable when carrying it with manpower becomes necessary. Inside zippered mesh pockets help make it easier to store and find small items.
These many thoughtful design features are the main differentiating point between the Panga and other, similar dry bags. The vast majority of dry bags out there have no internal organization at all and minimal options for carrying and attaching them, so we really appreciate all the features this bag offers.
The Panga scores well yet again in this metric. It is made out of super durable laminated high-density nylon, which makes it resistant to scratches, abrasions, and slices. It also has an EVA molded bottom that provides added protection against whatever surface its placed on or dragged over. The removable backpack straps attach to the main body via metal carabiner type fasteners that are secured to a thick 2-ply webbing.
It is hard to imagine a more durable dry bag than the Panga. Its burliness and its duffel shape are what have earned it our Top Pick for Traveling. It's perfectly suited to handle the abrasive nature of traveling and is the appropriate shape and size for airline travel. It's more rigid design also help in keeping your contents both dry and secure no matter where you go.
The Panga comes in two additional sizes, 75 and 100 liters. Yeti also makes a Panga Backpack that is 28 liters and has a slightly different design. While the Panga can be used as a backpack, it is primarily a duffel, but the Backpack is more ergonomically designed for regular backpack-style use.
The very steep price tag of the Panga match the exceptional quality. While it may seem like a hefty fee, it's worth the investment if you're aiming for absolute waterproof protection for your camera gear or other electronics.
The YETI Panga is a fantastic dry bag and is perfectly suited for adventure travel to soggy destinations, be they familiar or more remote. We love using it for transporting our camera gear, and its extreme durability gives us a belief in its protecting prowess. From horse packing to airline travel to multi-week adventures on the river, this model is ideal for keeping your gear dry no matter how far the distance you cover.
— Maggie Brandenburg & Leslie Yedor