Searching for a great set of fly-fishing waders? Check out the 10 best fishing waders in 2018 and quickly find out the best options available to you.
As a fly angler, it’s inevitable that you’re going to find yourself getting into the water to get to where the fish are, be able to cast your fly well or to have more fun. When you have the best fishing waders with you, you won’t hesitate to get into the water when you need to. The best fishing waders are high quality, comfortable, protective and allow freedom of movement in the water. The pair you choose should also suit the water conditions and weather conditions you fish in.
But with all the types, styles, materials, and brands of fishing waders available, figuring out the one best fly fishing waders for you can quickly become an overwhelming task taking too much of your time when you’d rather be enjoying yourself outdoors. To simplify the task and make it easy and fast to identify the best water waders for your fishing style and your fishing conditions, we’ve done the hard work and reviewed the best fishing waders.
Read on and find the perfect pair of water waders for your next fly fishing adventure.
How To Choose The Best Fishing Wader – Buying Guide
Even after exploring the best fishing waders reviewed above, you may still not know exactly which type of fishing waders to get and why. There are certain aspects you should pay attention to when shopping for fly fishing waders to ensure you make the right choice.
Below are the most important features to keep in mind when looking for a great pair of fishing waders plus more information on how to narrow your search and choose the best fly fishing waders suited to your type of fishing, water, climate and season.
There are different types of materials used in the making of fishing waders. Each material has its unique features as well as pros and cons. The type of wader material that you should choose will depend on where and when you fish. Keep in mind the water type, climate/weather and general fishing conditions when selecting fly-fishing waders.
Here are the different types of materials fishing waders are made from and the fishing conditions they suit.
Non Breathable Materials
Non-breathable materials such as rubber, PVC and neoprene are 100% waterproof. They’re less expensive, last long and are easy to fix if torn or punctured.
Non-breathable fishing waders are ideal when fishing in extremely cold water and cold climates. They keep you dry, warm and comfortable in cold conditions. However, they can be heavy and rigid making them hard to move with them on.
In the past, water waders were made out of rubber, which is completely waterproof and durable. Rubber waders are still available and they’re cheap and easy to fix if damaged. They also provide excellent waterproof protection.
However, rubber gets hot and heavy, rigid and is prone to chafing, puncturing and tearing. When its warm or hot, rubber waders don’t allow the skin to breathe and one experiences excessive sweating which leads to extreme discomfort and the risk of dehydration. Rubber waders are also prone to developing unpleasant odors if they’re not cleaned and dried properly.
Canvas is tougher than rubber, durable and easy to fix tears or punctures. It’s heavyduty and rugged therefore a good fishing wader material for fishing in terrain with a lot of rocks and debris. The downside is that waders made from canvas also tends to be warm, heavy and stiff depending on the level of insulation they offer.
Nylon is another material often used in the construction of fishing waders. Nylon is strong, durable and lighter than rubber. This makes for lightweight and comfortable fishing waders that one can wear for extended durations in the water.
The best nylon fishing waders are made from heavy duty nylon and have a PVC coating to effectively keep water out. Some cheap waders are made from plain nylon and their breathability, longevity, waterproofing and insulating features are very poor.
Neoprene is the most popular material fishing waders are made out of today. It’s also the material used to make wetsuits for divers.
Neoprene is a kind of synthetic rubber that’s waterproof, has great insulating properties and is lighter than both rubber and canvas. It’s also hard to tear, easy to maintain and patches are readily available to fix tears or punctures.
Neoprene is available in various thicknesses – 3.5mm, 5mm and 7mm. The thicker the material, the more insulating and better suited to cold conditions and the more durable. However, the heavy weight can make them cumbersome and hard to move with them on.
Neoprene fishing waders are non-breathable but provide excellent insulation. If you only fish in cold water, winter months or cold climates, neoprene waders will offer the level of insulation you need to stay warm. This will ensure you don’t freeze especially when you need to stand immobile for a prolonged period in cold water.
Because neoprene lacks sweat wicking ability, wearing them in the summer of hot weather is a bad idea. You may get uncomfortably warm, heavy and sweaty.
Today, thanks to modern technology, fishing waders are made from a variety of high performance materials that are lightweight and both waterproof to keep water from getting inside and breathable to allow perspiration to get out. Examples of breathable fishing wader materials are Gore-Tex, Valour Tec, N2No among others.
These materials have the ability to wick away moisture allowing sweat to evaporate hence cooling the skin and keeping fishermen cool, dry and comfortable when fishing in hot conditions.
If you fish in summer, spring, warm water, warm climates or fish in all seasons and weather conditions, lighter, and breathable materials are best for you. They will keep you dry, cool and comfortable.
You can always adapt your breathable set of waders to suit cold weather conditions. For example, wear warm under-clothing like fleece pants underneath your waders when its cold.
While breathable fishing waders usually cost more, they’re worth it when you consider the versatility, comfort, and durability they offer fly fishers.
A popular breathable material for fishing waders manufacturing is Gore-Tex. It is the oldest breathable yet waterproof material. Gore-Tex fishing waders have a waterproof and breathable PTFE membrane laminate which keeps water from getting into the waders while at the same time allowing moisture from sweat to evaporate keeping the fisherman dry, cool and comfortable.
There are two main types of waders according to the foot design. The best type of fishing waders for you will depend on your fishing style, the frequency of use and the terrain conditions you’ll be fishing in.
Bootfoot Fishing Waders
Bootfoot waders are a type of fishing waders with boots built into the waders. The boots are usually made out of rubber to make them waterproof. This is a convenient design as you only have to put on one garment before getting into the water.
These can be a good choice if you want fishing waders that aren’t too expensive (you don’t have to purchase boots separately) and don’t plan on using them a lot.
Bootfoot waders usually have built-in insulation and you can wear heavy socks for warmer feet when fishing in cold conditions.
Plus there’s no risk of getting to your fishing spot so excited to delve into the water only to realize that you forgot your wading boots or shoes.
They are also some downsides to bootfoot fly fishing waders.
Most often, the attached boots are just a basic pair that won’t allow you to safely access certain points such as where you have to step on rocks, uneven ground or slippery areas. Navigating through such areas require a sturdy pair of wading boots with a good sole, secure attachment and sufficient ankle and heel support
There’s also the issue of fit, as the boots are not sized according to your foot size. The attached wading boots may not fit your feet well.
If you choose to get a pair of bootfoot fishing waders, look for one with a sturdy pair of boots and a slip resistant sole for safety.
Rubber soles suit a range of terrains and are also good for walking on land. Studded or cleated soles give you good traction on muddy surfaces. Boots with felt soles give traction on slippery surfaces.
However, boots with porous, felt soles have been found to host and easily transmit invasive organisms from one place to another posing a threat to fish and their habitats. As a result, many places are taking measures to ban these kinds of soles.
Stockingfoot Fishing Waders
Stockingfoot fishing waders have stocking or socks as the foot part of the wader. The sock or stocking is usually made from neoprene.
With this type, you’ve to purchase a pair of wading boots separately. This means you can get boots of your choice that fit you perfectly, offer good ankle and heel support, have soles with a better grip and have features that suit the terrain and conditions you fish in.
While stockingfoot fishing waders come with the extra expense of purchasing boots separately, they’re the best fishing wader type for regular use and are a more versatile investment.
They’re also the obvious go to if you already own a good pair of wading boots or shoes.
There are features that are convenient to have built into a pair of fishing waders. Other additions enhance a fisherman’s safety in the water. The most important features to consider when choosing the best fly fishing waders include:
The knee area suffers the most beating because you may have to kneel on rough grounds and sharp rocks. A knee reinforcement can ensure your knees are protected from punctures and tears and your waders last long. You don’t want to have your waders tear up the first time you kneel on a rock.
Attached Gravel Guards
Built-in gravel cuffs are a very important feature to have in your fishing waders. This is a cover on top of wading boots or shoes to prevent sand from getting into the boots when you’re standing or wading in the river. Even tiny bits of gravel can be uncomfortable and eat into the boots over time creating holes.
Fishing waders with multiple pockets or even an integrated chest pack are great. This way, you’ll have enough storage space for the tools you need to take with you into the water. This will eliminate the hassle of having to wade to and from the shore whenever you need something you don’t have.
Some even have an inside pocket where you can keep your phone away from exposure to water. Other come with a D ring where you can clip accessories at a place where you can reach for them easily. Another great feature is an insulated pocket for keeping your hands warm.
Straps and Buckles
The shoulder straps and buckle system are a very important part of your fishing waders. A necessary feature to consider when choosing the best fishing waders is how the straps and buckles are set up.
It’s important that your set of waders has buckles that are high quality, easy to operate and promote safety in the water. If the shoulders don’t stay up or the buckles aren’t sturdy and easy to adjust, they can ruin the whole experience. A pair of water waders with an adjustable strap system allows you to adjust the fit to your desired comfort.
A cinching belt built into your fishing waders is a critical safety feature to have especially if will be wading into deep waters.
This safety feature would prevent water from getting into and filling your fishing waders weighing you down and making it hard to get to shore if you were to fall into the water or encounter a wave.
Proper fit is very important as it ensures fishing waders are comfortable, function as they should and allow you freedom of movement. Wearing poorly fitting fishing waders can cause irritations, rashes, and abrasions, which can be very uncomfortable and annoying.
Fit in fishing waders can be tricky to get right especially when you’re buying bootfoot waders.
Knowing your measurements and comparing them to an item’s size chart and description is the best way to ensure you get a well fitting pair of fishing waders. It’s also a good idea to check out the user reviews for an idea on the fit.
When wearing breathable fishing waders in cold conditions, you may want to get a size larger to leave enough room for thermal layers underneath to keep you warm.
Many manufacturers have started making fly fishing waders designed and sized to offer a better fit for female anglers.
Most of the fly fishing waders out there feature dull and camouflaging colors. There are claims that bright colors will attract fish and colors that blend in with the environment will not spook the fish giving the fly fisherman the element of surprise. However, there is no proof that this is the case. The color you go for is a matter of personal style and preference.
In addition to the types, they are different styles of fishing waders according to their height level:
This style of fishing waders extends from your foot to your hip where they attach to your belt. They’re normally bootfoots but stockingfoots are also available.
They keep you dry from your legs to your hips and are a good style to wear when fishing in shallow waters such as streams and creeks where there’s not much current and also on hot summer days.
Waist High Waders
Waist high waders extend from your foot to your waist, just like a pair of pants. They’ll keep your lower body up to your waist dry and are sufficient when fishing in shallower waters where there are no waves.
Chest waders reach up to your chest. The design is similar to that of overalls with over the shoulder buckle fastenings and clippings at the chest. This is the most common style of fishing waders.
Offering waterproof protection up to the chest, they’re the ultimate in versatility as you can wear them in a wider range of environments, from shallow waters to deeper levels.
Q: How Do Fishing Waders Benefit Fishermen?
It can be hard to justify spending money to purchase a pair of fishing waders unless you understand their importance.
Fishing waders benefit fishermen in a number of ways. They’re protective, ensure comfort and they lead to a more successful and enjoyable fishing trip.
With a pair of fly fishing waders on, fishermen won’t hesitate to enter muddy or marshy zones to find better fishing spots, be able to cast their fly more effectively or reach areas of the river or lake that can’t be accessed easily. All these can result in a very successful fishing day out.
As a fly fisherman, you may find yourself getting into the water and staying there for hours on end. It’s essential that you keep warm in cold conditions and have proper protection.
In warm weather, fishing waders keep fishermen dry and protect their skin from unknown elements in the water.
During colder months, fishing waders keep the cold water off the skin and prevent hypothermia and other health problems. The combination of cold water, cold weather and immobility can be lethal.
Fishing waders also protect fishermen from exposure to health hazards such as bacteria, organisms and other irritants found in the water.
Fishing waders also ensure the feet stay dry, which prevents fishermen from contracting trench foot. This is a fungal infection that causes the outer layer of skin to rot and deteriorate. It arises after standing barefoot or with non-waterproof shoes in cold water for prolonged durations.
Water waders remain the best solution for keeping river and fly fishers dry, warm, comfortable and protected when spending extended periods of time in the water.
They also make fishermen more effective and can make fishing trips more fun and satisfying.
Q: What Is The Best Use For Fishing Waders?
The best use for or best time to use fishing waders is a controversial and debatable matter. There are anglers who use them every time they’ve to get into the water and there are those who reserve their pair for extremely cold water conditions that may harm their health.
As useful and protective as fishing waders are, you don’t have to wear them all the time. When you catch fish best while on land, you don’t need a pair of waders. When fishing in shallow waters and warm weather where the water is warm, clean and clear, you can just go into the water without the waders.
Fishing waders should be used when fishing in cold conditions, where exposure to the cold for a prolonged period may cause freezing, hypothermia and other health problems. Waders are also great to put on when fishing in deep waters that go above your waist.
Ultimately, the best way to use a pair of fishing waders is a matter of personal preference. If you use waders all the time, you can invest in two pairs. A light, breathable one to wear in warm conditions and a slightly thicker and insulated neoprene pair to keep you warm and comfortable in cold conditions.
Q: What Are Fishing Waders And Why Would I Use Them?
Waders are a kind of waterproof boots that extend from the feet to the chest. They look like a set of overalls. Fishing waders are waders designed to be worn by fishermen when they need to get into the water while fishing without getting wet.
As a fly fisherman, getting into the water allows you to get to where the fish are and cast your fly more effectively. This way, you’ll be able to catch more fish and experience even more enjoyment out of your favorite pastime.
While you could get into the water just the way you’re (assuming you brought a change of clothes and shoes with you), this would get you wet, be uncomfortable and unhealthy when fishing in cold water and expose your skin to all kinds of bacteria, irritants, and organisms in the water.
Fly fishing waders help you overcome all these challenges and get into the water without worry or hesitation.
If you catch your fish standing or seated at the shore, you may not need to wear fishing waders. If you need to get into the water to best catch the fish, having a pair of fishing waders on when in the water keeps you dry, comfortable and protects your skin from unknown elements in the water and health conditions like trench foot and hypothermia.
A nice pair of fishing waders is a necessary accessory for every fly or river fisherman. It’s a protective gear to keep anglers dry, comfortable and healthy. However, a bad set can run a fishing trip. This’s why it is important to choose the pair of fishing waders to buy with care.
After looking at some of the best fishing waders available and learning the different types, styles and features offered, you probably now have a good idea on the kind of fly fishing wader that will suit your needs best.
The best fishing waders reviewed here are all high quality, protective, comfortable and top rated fishing waders offered by reputable brands. They are all great fly fishing waders that will deliver the comfort and protection you need. And they fall under all kinds of price ranges.
Go through the best fly fishing waders reviews above to get an idea what features and benefits each offers and narrow down your choice to the one that suits your fishing style, season, climate, terrain and water conditions. One of these might be just what you’re looking for to make your future flyfishing adventures wonderful.
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Do you own a great pair of fishing waders? How best do you use your pair? We’d love to know your experience. Feel free to share by commenting below.