This article was produced in partnership with our friends at YETI.
In the event of a nuclear apocalypse, there are very few things you can count on surviving, namely Twinkies, cockroaches and YETI gear. We've had a few YETI products come through the SURFER offices, and each one seems almost comically hardy in its construction. Their new airtight/watertight Panga Backpack is no different.
The backpack features YETI's ThickSkin Shell, which is made of some kind of high-density nylon laminated with a "puncture- and abrasion-resistant material" called thermoplastic polyurethane. While that may sound like something used in Space-X shuttle parts, it is, in fact, what makes up the outside of the backpack, and what ensures that you can throw it in your truck or your boat along with sharp fishing equipment, surfboard fins or other stabby things without batting an eye.
Sure, the backpack has ample storage room and a few nifty compartments and yadda yadda, but the main reason people will likely want this piece of gear is because of the HydroLok Zipper and U-Dock—the part where the zipper ends and forms an airtight seal. These features are likely meant as safeguards in the event that you're hiking along a jungle coastline with a pack full of food and perhaps your camera when the sky opens up and starts dumping water all over you. Or maybe it's for when you're boating to some off-the-beaten-path break in an aluminum skiff and water's flying over the bow and all over your stuff. But we figured, "Why wait for some over-the-top adventure when we can just go sink this thing in the ocean?" So that's exactly what we did.
At an undistinguished stretch of San Diego beach break with shoulder-high surf coming in, we filled the YETI backpack with our interns' laptops (just kidding, we used towels) and went for a swim. After diving under a few waves, sitting on top of the pack in the lineup (it floats from the trapped air, of course), and, inevitably, trying to catch a wave on top of the backpack and surfing it back to shore, it was time to check on the contents. Bone dry, sure enough.
It's an odd thing, simply zipping up a backpack as you would any other, and then being able to submerge it completely without soaking anything inside. But, according to YETI, they got their inspiration for their zip system from hazmat suits—that's right, suits made so that scientists can go in and fix damaged nuclear reactors. So not only will YETI backpacks likely survive the nuclear apocalypse, but in the aftermath they'll be a great place to keep all your Twinkies. In the meantime, they're more than sturdy enough for your most-rugged surf trip.
Click here to buy one for yourself.