Best Waders for Fishing and Hunting
Don’t let the depths stop you—find the best waders for what you do in the water.
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Every outdoors person knows the importance of a good set of waders, and not just because they allow you to wade through deep water without getting wet. The best waders can keep you cold when the water is frigid; provide stability on slippery creek, river, and lake bottoms; and allow you access to the places that you want to fish or hunt.
There are several different types of waders on the market today, made with different materials that offer qualities suited to specific hunting and fishing scenarios. Below is a comprehensive guide to help you choose the right pair to add to your hunting and fishing gear arsenal.
- Best Duck Hunting Waders: Cabela’s SuperMag Chest Waders for Men
- Best Fishing Waders: Simms G3 Guide GORE-TEX Stocking-Foot Waders
- Best Wading Pants: frogg toggs Pilot II Breathable Stockingfoot Guide Wading Pants
- Best Waders for Women: Simms Freestone Z Stockingfoot Waders for Ladies
- Best All-Around Pair: Redington Palix River Waders
- Best Cheap Waders: White River Fly Shop Three Fork Stocking-Foot Chest Waders
Features To Consider When Shopping For The Best Waders
Fit is a primary consideration of waders, because you’ll be wearing them for long periods. After that, think about what you’ll be using the them for (or at least for the majority of the time) and how often. That will determine style, material, insulation, and price range.
Do you need a pair for duck hunting?
Waders are crucial for duck and waterfowl hunters. They need durable pair that will provide warmth when moving in and around cold waters in fall, and sitting in blinds for hours. Hunting waders don’t differ much from fishing waders in design, but they often come in boot-foot style, which makes them easy to put on, take off, and clean. Look for ones that are insulated, since odds are you will be hunting during the cold weather months, and in camo that will match your surroundings.
Best Duck Hunting Waders: Cabela’s SuperMag Chest Waders for Men
The Cabela’s SuperMag Chest Waders come in four different camo print options, allowing you to match the camo to the natural flora and fauna where you hunt. The 5mm-thick neoprene Armor-Flex exterior is abrasion resistant without limiting your movement. There is 600 gram 3M® Thinsulate Ultra Insulation packed into the duck hunting waders’ built-in boots, which will keep your feet toasty even when they’re immersed in the coldest water. Front pockets, a hand warming pocket, and D-rings for accessory storage are all nice touches.
Will you be wading streams?
When you’re looking for fishing waders, you need to consider what type of material you prefer. By far, the most common material used is neoprene, which is made with a rubber material that’s filled with nitrogen bubbles. This material prevents water from entering—and escaping—and insulates well. But neoprene is not particularly breathable, and will become uncomfortably warm in hot weather, and get clammy because your body perspiration has nowhere to go. Other non-breathable materials that these can be made of include nylon and rubber (which is commonly used to manufacture in hip boots). These also will do a good of keeping the water out, but they will also keep the sweat in.
Breathable waders are made with material such as Gore-Tex, a synthetic membrane that keeps water out while also allowing water vapor—i.e. sweat—to pass through. This means that Gore-Tex waders will keep you dry from both the water you are wading in as well as the sweat that your body is generating. The main drawback of Gore-Tex is the price. But if you’re willing to shell out a couple of extra bucks for a pair made with premium material, Gore-Tex is the way to go.
Best Fishing Waders: Simms G3 Guide GORE-TEX Stocking-Foot Waders
Simms waders are high-quality and long lasting, and the G3 Guide GORE-TEX Stocking-Foot Wader is the company’s most popular premium chest wader model. Waterproof and breathable 4-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell fabric is in the legs and upper section. Leg seams increase comfort and mobility. They are durable, abrasion-resistant, and designed with premium features such as gravel guards and a Super-Fly storage patch on the chest. These are excellent for fly fishing during the warmer months.
Will you be wearing fishing waders in shallow streams or creeks?
Chest waders are only necessary to wade through deep water. If you’ll be fishing small creeks and not going in past your knees, consider hip boots. But If you’ll be wading in water that’s thigh-deep, consider wading pants. They cost less, aren’t as cumbersome, and allow you access to more water. They’re also available in lightweight, breathable versions.
Best Wading Pants: frogg toggs Pilot II Breathable Stockingfoot Guide Wading Pants
The frogg toggs Pilot II Breathable Stockingfoot Guide Wading Pants fit just like normal pants, making them extremely comfortable to wear. The lightweight but tough 4-ply nylon shell is both waterproof and breathable. Zip-secure waist pockets offer ample storage capacity, and an elastic belt allows you to adjust the fit to your body and what you’re wearing.
Do you need waders for women?
A crucial component of picking new pair is fit. They should fit snugly without significantly constricting your range of movement. You need to pay attention to both height and girth. Some pairs might fit your height well, but will be too tight or too baggy across your waist.
Waders for women differ from waders for men. Men’s are wider around the chest and taper down through the hips and legs. Women’s will be wider around the waist, allowing for a more form-fitting and comfortable fit (as outdoor gear for women should be).
Best Waders for Women: Simms Freestone Z Stockingfoot Waders for Ladies
The Simms Freestone Z Stockingfoot Waders for Ladies are designed with a female-specific fit that’s comfortable and allows easy mobility. The Freestone Z features durable four-ply construction in the legs with a more breathable three-ply upper. The are 100% waterproof, easy to put on and take off, and even feature a high-waist conversion for warm days.
Are you looking for an all-around pair?
Chest waders can certainly be versatile. The trick is to decide which style is best.
A stockingfoot design is more versatile than a boot-foot wader because you can use different types of wading boots depending on the situation. For instance, if you’re going to be kayaking, all you may need is a cheap pair of oversized sneakers. Surf anglers may simply want to get a big pair of Crocs, so the sand can easily wash out. Need serious grip for fly fishing in slippery streams? Get a pair of wading boots designed for the situation.
Waders made of a breathable fabric will keep you comfortable in warm weather. You can always add layers underneath if you’ll be using them in cold weather. Also look for reinforced knee sections, because multi-purpose pair will be subject to a lot of abrasion.
Best All-Around Waders: Redington Palix River Waders
The Redington Palix River Waders offer great value for a high-performing chest design. These are constructed from 3-layer, waterproof/breathable DWR coated fabric. The lower legs and knees are reinforced for added durability. High density neoprene booties are not prone to leaking. A spacious chest pocket allows you to stash your valuables within an easy to reach spot.
On a Budget? What You Get For Under $60
The old adage is true when it comes to this piece of outdoor gear: You really do get what you pay for. More expensive ones will last longer before springing a leak, and offer more comfort and mobility when you’re on the water. Cheap waders are much more liable to spring leaks, and after time, the seams will likely split entirely, rendering them useless. That said, if you’re new to hunting or fishing or if you’re on a tight budget, a cheap pair will offer you decent waterproof protection. Just make sure they’re durable.
Best Cheap Waders: White River Fly Shop Three Fork Stocking-Foot Chest Waders
The White River Fly Shop
The White River Fly Shop Three Fork Stocking-Foot Chest Waders are made of heavy-duty, PVC-coated, 420D nylon—which is relatively durable for a budget option. Reinforced, adjustable webbing suspenders make for a customizable fit. A front pocket with a hook-and-loop closure offers similar storage capacity to pricier pairs.
Q: What are the most durable waders?
Many experienced anglers say that Simms and Orvis waders last the longest, but this isn’t always the case. If you want durability, look for a pair with reinforced knees and seams.
Q: How long should waders last?
How long a pair last depends on the quality, how often you use them, and how well you take care of them. Generally, waders will last anywhere from one to five-plus years.
Q: Are waders worth it?
Whether or not waders are worth it depends on the time of year and climate where you go hunting or fishing. If you expect to wade in cold water or during the spring, fall, or winter, the answer is an easy yes. If you head out only during the summer when it’s warm enough to “wet wade,” or wade in your shorts, comfortably, then probably not.