Bombproof. Waterproof. Adventure-proof.

(This story originally featured in Wild #186, Summer 2022)

 By James McCormack


Most couples have an issue they disagree vehemently over. A really polarising one. It could be who does the most housework. Or whether it’s OK to use your phone while on the toilet. (It’s not, BTW). But for my wife and I, our polarising issue is this: duffel bags. My wife, for reasons unknown (but then again, reasons unknown are the source of many of our arguments), hates them. But I absolutely love them. I don’t think I’ve used a suitcase in decades. Being soft and flexible, duffels are way easier to pack into cars for road trips, or to sling them over your shoulder to carry them over uneven ground. And if you’re travelling, they’re so much more practical than backpacks. A single zip accesses everything. You can see your gear easily. There are fewer items for airport baggage handlers to snap.

Anyway, I love duffel bags so much I’ve probably owned five of them over the last 15 years. But my current one, I’m pretty sure, will last longer than any of the others, if not all of them combined. It’s a 100L YETI Panga, and it’s bombproof. Well, to be precise, the tag that came with the duffel didn’t say bombproof, but instead “adventure-proof.” It also called the Panga an “All-weather gear fortress”. Honestly, this barely counts as hyperbole. I’ve never encountered such a rugged bag. And it’s not just the abrasion- and puncture-proof shell, or the added protection of an EVA-moulded base,  the zip is without doubt the burliest zip I’ve ever seen. And it’s waterproof, too. In fact, the entire duffel is not just waterproof, it’s actually submersible. And as I quickly realised, this has advantages beyond simply not having to worry about having it out in the rain; when I took it out on a couple of skiing road trips this winter, the fact I could just throw it out on the wet ground of the car park without a care in the world made rummaging around for gear so much easier. There are a couple of trade-offs for all this strength and durability, though. Firstly, it’s not the lightest duffel in the world. I weighed it at 2.9kg. Secondly, it’s not cheap, either. That said, it’s going to last far longer than anything comparable. Honestly, the Panga feels like it’s the very antithesis of planned obsolescence; it’s hard to imagine the level of sustained abuse it would take to require replacing it.

There are a few more things worth noting: The Panga comes with straps to let you carry it backpack-style, and it has six heavy-duty lash points for securing the bag (on a car roof, or kayak deck, for example). Lastly, it also comes in a range of size options: 50L, 75L, and 100L. For me, there was no real consideration of anything but the largest of these. I need something huge; I don’t travel light. Actually, the sheer amount of gear I carry is another polarising issue I have with my wife; in fact, it’s one of the few that makes our disagreement about duffels pale into insignificance.



Product Class:

Waterproof luggage