Pack Check: Yeti Panga 28 Review

Last updated on January 9th, 2024.

Leonard Schoenberger

Today’s narrative isn’t just about a backpack, but a steadfast companion that accompanied me through rippling rivers and silent streams:

The Yeti Panga 28 Waterproof Backpack. As a fly fisherman, the call of the flowing water is irresistible, and having a reliable backpack is not a choice but a necessity. Let’s reel in the details of the experiences this rugged companion and I shared amidst the rhythm of nature’s watercourses.

An Armor Against Nature’s Fury

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YETI Panga 28 Backpack on dock
We gave the YETI Panga the nickname “Elephant skin” Photo: Leonard Schoenberger © The Wading List

The Panga 28 isn’t just built, it’s forged with a blend of high-density nylon and thick TPU lamination, embodying a robust, almost invincible feel (we nicknamed it “elephant skin”). The first touch resonated with a promise of endurance. This backpack has journeyed through thorny trails, rested on muddy banks, and even played the role of a trusted seating beside a campfire – and yet, it stood undeterred.

An Unyielding Shield Against Water

Fly fisherman in the water wearing the YETI Panga 28 Backpack
The Panga is a big packpack (compared to a sling in particular) – Photo: Leonard Schoenberger © The Wading List

Every fly fisherman knows that the waters are both a friend and a foe. The Panga 28 stands as a vigilant guard against the watery foe. Its HydroLok™ Zipper is a fortress against every droplet intent on finding its way inside (make sure to always close the zipper 100%, otherwise the waterproofness is down the drain). Be it rainstorms, river splashes, or an unexpected tumble into the stream, not a single drop breached this backpack’s defense. The DryHaul™ Straps join the pact of protection, ensuring comfort even when the backpack is loaded to the brim.

YETI Panga 28 Backpack handle
The YETI Panga features a number of very thought-through handles and attachment options. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger © The Wading List

A Vast Haven

Fly fisherman with the YETI Panga 28 Waterproof Backpack
The bulky shape provides ample storage room on the inside Photo: Leonard Schoenberger © The Wading List

Out here, space isn’t just a luxury but a necessity. The Panga 28 is a marvel when it comes to space. It graciously devours the bulky gear, the extra flies, the layers of clothing, and still has room for more. The inner sleeve is a shelter for a laptop or a hydration reservoir, subtly nodding at its versatility for both the angler and the modern-day adventurer.

Every Compartment, A Narrative

YETI Panga 28 Backpack laptop sleeve
A 15″ laptop easily fits into the YETI. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger © The Wading List

The Panga 28 tells stories not just through its exterior, but its interior. Thoughtfully designed pockets (although there aren’t many of them since the focus is on simple design, bullet- and waterproofness) become a home for each piece of tackle, ensuring a place for everything and everything in its place.

Tales of Wet and Wild Adventures

YETI Panga 28 Backpack on dock
The padding on the shoulder straps is solid enough for long days on the water. Photo: Leonard Schoenberger © The Wading List

Our stories together aren’t just of trails but of endless casting and wading in the river. Each time the skies opened, the Panga 28 stood as a reliable shelter for my gear. The waterproof zipper has faced the wrath of rains and emerged unyielding. Great thing about the Panga is the fact that it cannot only take water from above but you can also fully submerge it (put it underwater) and water still won’t penetrate it.

Its abrasion-resistant bottom is a testimony to countless adventures, bearing the brunt of rocky outcrops yet looking as gallant as ever. This backpack isn’t just an outdoor enthusiast’s desire; it’s a fly fisherman’s trusted ally.


Material: High-density nylon coupled with thick TPU lamination.

Waterproofing: HydroLok™ Zipper ensures a water-tight seal.

Straps: DryHaul™ Straps designed for comfortable carrying even when fully loaded. Additional Removable chest and waist straps

Capacity: 28 liters, providing ample storage for gear.

Inner Sleeve: Accommodates a laptop or hydration reservoir.

Interior Pocket: Provides basic storage.

Dimensions: 12.5″W x 7.0″D x 20.0″H

Weight: 3.9LBS (This is a fairly heavy backpack)

Warranty: 3 years

Each of these specifications is a testament to the thoughtfulness invested in designing a backpack that meets the demands of an adventurer, especially one who’s spellbound by the rhythm of the flowing waters. The specs translate into real-world benefits that make every fishing trip a bit more comfortable, a tad more organized, and significantly more enjoyable. What I enjoyed most in this regard about the Panga 28, is the fact that it features so many handles and almost carries like a suitcase when needed. It also comes with a variety of attachment loops for additional gear such as a fly fishing net.

How Does the YETI Panga 28 Compare?

YETI Panga 28 Backpack on dock

When stacked against its competitors, the Yeti Panga Backpack holds its ground firmly. Let’s draw a comparison with the Filson Backpack Dry Bag and the Patagonia Guidewater Backpack 29L, two other stalwarts in the arena of waterproof backpacks (read our Guide on the Best Waterproof Backpacks) tailored for anglers.

The Filson Backpack Dry Bag prides itself on its submersible design, offering an extra layer of assurance when wading through deep waters. While its TIZIP® closure keeps water at bay, I found the Yeti Panga’s HydroLok™ Zipper easier to maneuver, especially in hurried situations by the river. However, the Dry Bag scores with its lightweight design and a greater number of external attachment points which can be a boon for anglers with a lot of gear. Plus, it features an exterior pocket.

On the other hand, the Patagonia Guidewater Backpack 29L has a slight edge in capacity, providing that extra liter of space which might come in handy on extended trips. Its waterproof construction is commendable, but the Panga 28’s thick TPU lamination seemed to offer a bit more in terms of ruggedness and durability. Additionally, the Guidewater’s interior organization with multiple pockets is a sweet spot for those who prefer a place for everything.

The Yeti Panga 28, stands out with its tank-like construction, which from personal experience, has endured more rough usage than I initially imagined it could. It balances a streamlined design with sufficient storage space and robust waterproofing capabilities making it a reliable companion for both short escapades and long, demanding adventures.

Each of these backpacks has its set of merits and slight demerits. Your choice would hinge on personal preferences – whether it’s the versatility of the Thunderhead, the extra space and organization of the Guidewater, or the ruggedness and reliable waterproofing of the Yeti Panga 28.

A Valiant Companion Worth Every Cast

Fly Fishing Backpack Overview
The Panga with the Ortlieb Atrack and the (former version) of the Patagonia Guidewater

In the realm of outdoor gear, the Panga 28 Waterproof Backpack stands as a knight loyal to the angler’s cause. Whether you’re a seasoned fly fisherman or someone testing the waters, this backpack is an investment in peace. It transcends being just a bag; it’s a promise of protection against the unpredictable aquatic escapades.


  • Extremely durable
  • Fully submersible
  • Lots of handles and attachment options
  • Additional support straps


  • Bulky design takes up a lot of space when packed even empty
  • A few extra pockets would be a nice evolution
  • Fairly heavy at 3.9 lbs




Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Yeti Panga 28’s waterproofing compare to other backpacks on the market?

The Yeti Panga 28 features a HydroLok™ Zipper, which is considered a premium standard for waterproofing. This zipper ensures a tight seal, keeping your belongings dry even in heavy rain or if the backpack is briefly submerged.

Is the Yeti Panga 28 suitable for multi-day fishing trips?

Yes, the Panga 28 has a 28-liter capacity which should suffice for multi-day trips, provided you pack efficiently. It can accommodate essential gear, extra clothing, and a hydration reservoir or laptop.

How comfortable is the backpack to carry on long treks?

Thanks to its ergonomic DryHaul™ Straps, the Panga 28 is designed for comfort even during long treks. The straps distribute weight evenly, reducing strain on your shoulders and back.

Is the abrasion-resistant bottom durable enough for rough terrains?

Absolutely. The abrasion-resistant bottom of the Panga 28 is designed to withstand rough terrains, ensuring the backpack remains undamaged even when placed on rocky or uneven surfaces.