OtterBox has steadily expanded its offerings from their original dry box, first sold in 1998, to include drinkware, phone cases, tablet cases, and coolers. The brand branched into luggage with the Yampa series of dry duffles, released in August 2018. We’ve been testing the 70-liter version for two months, using it to shuttle climbing gear and camping gear on several state crossing adventures.
The Yampa 70 Dry Duffle stores, hauls, and protects gear from the elements and impacts, while also protecting the things it contacts, thanks to its padded exterior. The bag’s materials and construction promise extreme durability and longevity.
The Yampa 70 in the field
The Yampa 70 felt super burly out of the box; the TPU coated body fabric was very stiff and seemed extremely resistant to any form of physical damage, and the reinforced bottom and ends even more so. The high stiffness made compressing and handling the empty bag somewhat cumbersome. The waterproof zipper had a lot of drag (as many waterproof or water-resistant zippers do), but the attached T-handle eased sliding and the included zipper lubricant made docking the zipper pull at the end of the zipper run smoother. The Yampa 70 was easily the burliest feeling duffel bag I’ve ever tested.
The zipped main opening doesn’t span the width of the bag, leaving 2.5 inches closed on each end. Filling the Yampa 70 wasn’t as easy as a non-dry bag duffel due to the straight opening and the stiff nature of the fabric; bulkier items required holding the top open. Once filled, the top folds over and secured by two buckled straps that also compressed the load. The top folded over in one direction to expose the shoulder straps and back panel, while flipping it over covered them, making the Yampa 70 suitable as checked luggage.
The backpack straps and ventilated back panel sufficed to ferry heavy loads from car to campground, or shuttle to airport counter, and the grab handles on the ends and top made moving the large bag easy.
The Yampa 70 proved to be fully waterproof. From morning dew to driving rain, the bag never allowed water ingress. I submersed the packed bag in my daughter’s kiddie pool; no leakage occurred during this “residential” test. The bag is so resistant to both water and air that I had to open the zipper a tad to let the air out to compress the bag before buckling the closure straps.
Accessing larger contents for removal required holding the top open in the same manner as loading larger items. The brightly colored interior aided in finding smaller loose items like tent stakes.
My favorite attribute of the OtterBox Yampa 70 was the foam padding along the bottom and sides. This padding did double duty, protecting both interior contents and exterior surfaces from impacts and sharp edges or points. During one trip, I put a new steel grill I had to test inside to protect it from getting dented from metal items packed around in the back of a van while driving down rough dirt roads. On another trip, the bag was full of trad climbing hardware, and the padding protected camera gear packed around it. The padding can also protect car roofs when lashed on top.
The OtterBox Yampa 70 Dry Duffle packs, protects, and transports a large volume of gear like any other duffle, but also protects contents from water and impacts. The padding also shields surrounding items from impacts or sharp edges. The bag is a tad more difficult to handle while packing and when empty due to its stiff main fabric, but this is a small price to pay for the extreme durability. When it’s critical that gear remain clean, dry, and protected from impacts during rough handling and travel, the Yampa 70 is a clear choice for me. $300 Buy now.
OtterBox also offers the Yampa in a 35-liter ($250) and 105-liter ($350) size.