Updated: Oct 14, 2016
Fishing/Hunting Waders Reviews:
- What are hunting/fishing waders?
- Benefits of using chest waders
- How much do hip waders cost? Which should I buy?
Fishing waders are a crucial part of attire if you want to be able to get into streams and fly fish or try regular fishing. Any good fly fisherman owns a pair of waders so they can get better access to the hot spots in the rivers and streams that they fish in. Waders allow you to get out into the water without getting wet. Hunters often wear waders as well since they come in handy when having to retrieve ducks or geese from swampy water areas.
The outdoors can be muddy, wet, and downright sloppy when you are out in the woods or near rivers. Waders let you walk through knee high mud or waist deep water without worrying. Hunting waders are even sold in camouflage colors so you can blend in while hunting. What type of waders are best? Which size should you buy? We answer all these questions down below in our buying guide section which is followed by reviews of the top products.
The video below shows why you should choose SIMMS Waders:
Waders Buying Guide
Buying a quality pair of waders is not difficult if you are looking for the right features. Not all fly fishermen require waders to be comfortable in the first place. If you plan on fishing in warmer waters when the the weather is hotter in the summer months, waders may not even be a necessity. Most fly fishermen, though, venture to cooler climates and fish in colder waters which in turn requires a good pair of waders.
For fly fisherman, there are 3 types of waders you will need to choose from - stockingfoot waders, bootfoot waders, and hip waders. You will find that most waders come up to your chest, waist, or thigh area depending on how deep the waters you will be fishing in are. To play it safe, go with chest waders so you know that you are covered in case the waters are deep. The boot foot waders are the kind that actually have a boot permanently attached to the waders and they will come up to your chest. With these fishing waders, you don't have to buy separate wading boots. See fly fishing reels here.
Some people say getting into bootfoot waders is not easy and therefore they choose to buy their wading boots separately along with stockingfoot waders. Stockingfoot waders are identical to bootfoot waders but they don't have the attached boot. Instead, a neoprene sock is located on the foot of these waders where you can put your wading boots over them. Putting these waders on is definitely easier, but you end up with the same bulky feel at the end of it all. Hip waders come up to an anglers upper thight (just below the waist) and are meant for fishing in calmer and shallower waters.
Fly fishermen who venture into slow moving streams often prefer hip waders for their ease of mobility and because they are simple to get on and off. Some hip waders have boots attached and others don't (it's up to your preference). When it comes to materials, most fly fishing waders are made from neoprene or more breathable fabrics like Gore-Tex. The neoprene waders are great for fishing in colder waters and they are sold much like wetsuits are with varying thicknesses based around the water temperature you will be wading in. 3mm thickness neoprene waders work just fine in warmer conditions while the thicker 5mm style are best for cold waters.
Experts say the neoprene waders are not breathable enough for most fly fishing conditions and you should only buy them for fly fishing in colder water. Otherwise, they say go with breathable, Gore-Tex waders that will keep you dry all day and allow your sweat and natural body heat to escape and keep you comfortable. Stay away from heavy, bulky waders that drastically limit your maneuverability in the water or on land. Stick with light, breathable waders so you can enjoy the fishing and not worry about staying comfortable during the day. Most manufacturers will have waders available in mens, womens, and kids sizes so they fit properly.
The top brands for fishing waders are Hodgman, Simms, Columbia, Orvis, Patagonia, and Cabela's. Expect to spend at least $70 for a good pair of fishing waders and upwards of $150 for a top rated pair. We visited our local fishing shop for some pointers on which brands are the best for fishing or hunting and which products are the best sellers. We also went online to sites like Cabelas.com, Sierratradingpost.com, Bigskyfishing.com to find the newest fishing waders. For hunting waders, check out Txfowlers.com - their selection of Lacrosse waders was superb. You can browse the top selling fishing/hunting waders here.
Best Chest Waders:
In our search in retail sporting goods stores and online at specialty fishing e-tailers, the Hodgman brand came up as ranked #1 by experts and consumers alike. The Hodgman Wadelite Stockingfoot Breathable Waders ($95) are top selling on several sites and they consistently get excellent reviews by customers. They come in sizes small, medium, large and XL (most online stores have a sizing guide for your reference). The reason anglers love these fishing chest waders is because they are lightweight, comfortable, and breathable.
The Hodgman Wadelite waders are made from Horco-Tex CL Plus which blocks water from coming in but permits your perspiration to escape so you stay dry. The quality construction includes sealed seams and a tough taslan nylon outer shell that is very resistant to tears. The neoprene booties are 3mm in thickness and the suspenders are adjustable. Both an exterior and interior pocket is included for safe storage of your valuables.
Owners say these Hodgman chest waders are "perfect for wading the Washington rivers for steelhead and salmon" and "they fit well and don't leak". Cabelas.com carries this product plus many more of Hodgmans waders. See the most popular chest waders online here.
To check out how to get the right size and style of waders - click the image below to go to video.
Best Fly Fishing Waders:
Simms is the other name in fly fishing waders that gets praise from anglers worldwide. Although the Simms waders are expensive in many cases, owners say their durability and comfort are second to none. The Simms G3 Guide GORE-TEX Waders ($450) are a top seller and Simms definitely knows fly fishing as they are located right in the heart of fly fishing country in Bozeman, Montana. The G3 Guide waders have a unique 3-layer fabric which gives the fly fisherman improved breathability and they are nearly puncture resistant.
The lower section is made with a 5-layer Gore-Tex laminate for increased durability and added mobility for the legs. Owners say they like the fact that the waders are saltwater compatible and they are DEET resistant. Users of these fly fishing waders also commend the hand warmers in the pocket saying "they come in handy on cold mornings". Each review we read online mentioned how well they fit (not too loose or baggy) and they are very breathable. You can find these on Cabelas.com as well.
Top Rated Hip Waders:
Some anglers don't want or need chest high waders, so they go with the hip waders that come up to your lower waist area on the thigh. If you are only going to be in knee deep waters, many fly fisherman say you should consider the hip waders as they allow more freedom of movement. The Hodgman Brighton Insulated Rubber Hip Waders with Cleated Soles ($36) are rated high for traditional fly fishing and many owners say they come in handy while walking through muddy swamps too. The snug ankle fit keeps your feet in place and your body balanced which helps with castings in moving waters. We found this pair of Hodgman hip waders online at Sportsmansguide.com. View the best selling hip waders on Amazon.com here.
Waders work great for fishermen who are constantly standing in water, but hunters also prefer wearing waders so they can trudge through mud and swampy areas. The Lacrosse Brush Tuff Extreme Waders ($250) are the hunting waders of choice for many outdoorsmen. Features include heavy-weight 5mm neoprene which is abrasion resistant, fleece lining, the seams are double stitched, there are shell holder loops, and these waders are rugged. Built for the toughest of conditions, the Lacrosse hunting waders are camouflaged to keep you hidden in the brush and comfortable.
RECOMMENDED - Check out the newest hunting waders from Columbia Sportswear. The Columbia Sportswear Men's Mossy Oak Camo Quad Waders get high praise from duck hunters for their wearability and durability in rough conditions. You can browse the entire line of hunting waders online here.
Best Womens Waders:
Ladies we haven't forgotten about you. Many of the leading manufacturers of waders make them for women and youths as well. The Women's Silver Label Bootfoot Waders ($229) come in regular, petite, and tall sizes and their performance is what sets them apart from the pack. The rugged neoprene lined boot is durable and comfortable for those long days in the water. You can find a great selection online at Orvis.com with women's wading boots as well.
RECOMMENDED - Update January 2016 - the Columbia Sportswear Women's/Youth Mossy Oak Camo Pintail Boot Foot Waders come in sizes 5, 6, 7, and 8. Features include double reinforced knees, a quick release suspender system, and a built in fleece hand warmer center chest pocket. Includes foot booted waders and fits most youth and women. Reviews are good for this set of waders.
More videos and resources are here on our Wader Resource Page.
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