A worthy replacement for the century-old portage pack?
A worthy replacement for the century-old portage pack? (Photo: Ben Fox)

The Yeti Panga Is Essential Waterside-Camping Gear

This may just replace the century-old portage pack

A worthy replacement for the century-old portage pack?

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The portage pack—also known as a Duluth pack—has been around since 1882 and was originally built to help trappers, traders, and timber workers haul their gear through the waterways of the great lakes region. Over the years, the design has remained mostly unchanged and the portage pack has since become a staple of canoe and water travel. Although effective, the pack's burly canvas outer and massive 70-liter size make them notoriously unwieldy. Once loaded, it often takes at least two people to get them on your back.  

Enter the Panga duffel. Featuring Yeti's over-engineered design, this bag is fully submersible and completely waterproof. I recently dragged the 75-liter Panga through the Boundary Waters for seven days—and 40 miles—of harsh portages and sketchy fall weather and decided that the Panga is the ultimate canoe camping duffel. 

The bag worked great for storing loose items like my cook kit, water filter, and trail snacks. When it came time for a portage, I chucked the bag out of the boat onto the ground with reckless abandon. The bottom of the bag is made from molded EVA foam so I didn't have to worry about damaging the contents. When I landed at camp for the day, the large vertical zipper allows for quick and easy access to the main compartment.

While the zipper is much better than on standard portage packs, it's also my main complaint of the duffel. Like with many other Yeti products, the zipper requires a strong pull to get open. It's a small compromise for the benefits this bag offers. 

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Lead Photo: Ben Fox

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