Welcome to another installment of Editor’s Review from FREESKIER. Each week our staff provides in-depth, honest reviews about the gear they’re testing on a weekly basis. Our goal? To point you towards the best brands and products on Earth so you can trust your equipment whole-heartedly and have as much fun in the mountains as possible. Read up on YETI’s Panga 50, below, then visit us again tomorrow for more awesome gear coverage.
YETI — Panga 50 Dry Duffel Bag
This beastly bag, in the words of YETI, is built to “withstand whatever you put it through.” With that in mind, I felt confident that it would be a reliable companion on a recent stand-up paddle adventure, spanning three days and nights and covering 50 miles of Utah’s Green River. The experience proved to be, in a word, grueling (40 MPH headwinds on a SUP board stacked with camping gear… oof!), but there was a silver lining: Tough conditions very often allow for ideal gear testing. And the Panga 50 earned two thumbs up in regards to its durability and protective qualities.
Explained: This dry duffel is essentially impenetrable thanks to a laminated, high-density nylon construction. You’d have to take a damn power drill to the thing to crack it (please don’t actually try this). Pair that impregnability with a HYDROLOK™ zipper that is one hundred-percent waterproof and you’ve got a fully-submersible bag that will keep your goods perfectly cozy and dry, even in pissing rain, sleet or snow, or—as we discovered when the SUPs flipped in the raging waves stirred by the powerful winds—completely underwater. I won’t soon forget arriving at our campsite on day two, after dark, following a twelve-hour stint of nearly non-stop paddling; the slog had been trying for all members of our team and morale was low. Reaching into that Panga 50 to find comfortable, dry clothing provided a moment of bliss amid an otherwise cold, wet, sandy, beer-drenched, nasty evening.
More to love: An EVA-molded base provides a sturdy resting pad for the Panga 50. Two easy-access mesh pockets provide a safe haven for your valuables. DRYHAUL™ straps allow for over-the-shoulder or backpack-like hauling. Additionally, six total lash points allow for versatility in your carrying strategy.
We utilized the Panga 50 and also the Range 75 on the trip; the larger of the two housed most of our large, clunky cooking items: stoves, pots, pans, etc. We reserved the smaller Pangas for clothing and personal items. Having both was ideal, of course, but if you had to choose just one, I’d point you towards the 50; it’s comfortable when carried as a backpack and—at 10 x 24 x 14 inches in size—it fits in most jetliners’ overhead compartments. Keep in mind, you’ve got one large compartment in which to house your gear; there are no internal dividers.
Whether it’s strapped to the roof of your car as you’re blasting through snowy conditions en route to a perfect powder day (see image, top) or strapped to your SUP in the spring/summer/fall of ’18, you can count on this Bad Larry to keep your goods protected.
More to love…
YETI Hopper Flip 18
When you’ve pillaged every possible ounce of fresh pow on the mountain you’ll need an icy-cold brew to cap off your day. There’s hardly a better way to enjoy said brew than out of the trunk of your car, while also providing beers for your pals. Enter: The Hopper Flip 18, a compact and burly cooler that’s new to Yeti’s line-up this season. It’s 100-percent leakproof, it’s ultra-durable to withstand sharp ski edges and ski poles in the trunk of your car and it comes packed with closed-cell rubber foam insulation to keep contents cold for days on end, literally. Take the plunge and you’ll come to realize your cooler of yesteryear doesn’t even come close. Not even a little.
YETI Tundra 35
The Tundra 35 is superior to the Hopper Flip 18 when it comes to insulation, no ifs, ands or buts about it. When it comes to multi-day missions and keeping food cold is more of a necessity than a luxury, this here’s your best friend. I also love the size of this cooler; we’ve played with the 45-, 65- and 75-liter editions of the Tundra over the course of the past year and they’re all equally well-suited to various folks’ needs, but when it comes to portability the 35 takes the cake. The Tundra 35 fits perfectly on the back of a SUP or inside of an inner tube. This cooler easily stored must-be-refrigerated essentials, for four people, for the above-mentioned three-day river trip. Up to three inches of PermaFrost™ Insulation kept our goods cool, even in the desert heat. Additionally, rotomolded construction ensures this cooler stands up to abuse and heavy-duty rubber latches keep unwelcome air out, and the freshness in. Even when my buddy capsized his boat and our precious food was floating down the river untethered, we had full confidence that we’d still be chowing a gourmet meal later in the evening.
Scenes from the Green…