OBN’s favorite gear prompt got me thinking about some of our gear; the gear we love and the gear that proved to be not-so-awesome.  Waders are a source of that not-so-awesome gear.  Below are reviews of the waders we have owned to date.   

Dustin had a pair of Bass Pro waders that lasted him 6 years, with not a hint of a leak.  These waders survived walking through dense brush every year.  Last spring, they finally decided to seep a bit of water, and we replaced them with the exact same style.  We also bought this style for me as well.  Unfortunately, they leaked.  I am not talking a little bitty leak, but a LEAK.  Back to Bass Pro they went.  Dustin was so disappointed, as was I because these waders were super comfortable, and quite breathable.  

After much thought, we decided on another offering from Bass Pro, these were a little more expensive at an $149 price point.  The other options were nice, but we could not bring ourselves to spend $400 on waders, especially with just one income.  Well, we chose poorly.  Dustin and I each had three pairs of these waders.  His first set leaked, my first and second set leaked, and on the third leaky set we said to hell with Bass Pro brands.   

 

Right before we left Kansas City, we exchanged our waders, for what we hoped the last time.  After damning the Bass Pro brand, we tried our hand at the Freestone Waders by Simms.  Surely, Simms waders won’t leak right?  I mean, Simms is supposed to be THE fishing brand.  Not in this case; my first time on the Poudre, I had wet legs.  What was even more disturbing, I was hardly in the water at all; if they leaked this much at the seams under nearly zero stress, what happens when I wear them in a rip-roaring stream?  Heck, the whole side seam might bust out of them then!  Talk about a very unhappy little girl.  Not to mention, these were the most uncomfortable waders I have ever had on in my life.  The one pocket on the front also blew.  I was not as unhappy with the three sets of waders as I was with these.  Major disappointment!   

At this point, I am beginning to think I have razors that spontaneously protrude out of the side of my legs of which I have been completely unaware.  The razors are specialist feeders because they only prefer waders.  My hiking pants, jeans or sweats have not had the same fate.  In fact, the jeans I have on at this moment have survived the spontaneous leg razors for five years. 

Long story short, we are without waders.  A rather problematic situation since we want to fish in the immediate future.  Our quest for the right wader continues this weekend.  The thought of spending gads of green on two sets of waders makes me cranky, but I fear we have no choice.  I really liked the Redington Chena Waders, but upon closer inspection, I didn’t like how the socks and pants came together; too much room for bunching.  Further research has us looking into the Simms Guide Series and William and Joseph’s Drynamic offering.  Of course, we will let you know what works or doesn’t work out.

-Stephanie 

Written by Stephanie Mullins

8 Comments

Jay

Clif is right. Leaky waders are a certainty in the life of a fly fisher. I've had great luck with my White River Bass Pro waders. They've lasted like 5 years and counting, but I honestly don't use them nearly as much as I wet wade.
Have you looked at L.L. Bean? I think they have some pretty cool new offerings.

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Stephanie and Dustin

@Clif – I am okay with waders leaking a bit, but not okay with them leaking A LOT and on the first time out. To me that is just unacceptable.

@Jay – Dustin was really disappointed when he bought new waders. Like I said, his old BP White River brand lasted 6 years and withstood some brutal treatment. He loved those waders and they were uber comfortable. We haven't checked out LL Bean. In fact, I didn't even think about them. Will look into their reviews a little bit. I think it might be a case of us having really bad luck; our first Copper Spur tent we bought (one of the tops on the market) leaked the first time out too.

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Cofisher

I guess I'm lucky because my first set of Simm's guide waders are still hanging in after about 7 or 8 years. That being said, I couldn't justify spending that much money today no matter how good they are. I've heard good things about Dan Bailey out of Montana as well. Don't know much about them though.

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Ivan

I fully understand the frustration with leaky waders. Like you, I can deal with a bit of moisture, but full on leaks are terribly frustrating especially during the winter. Good luck in your search. I have heard great things about the upper end Simms stuff (of course that'll cost you at least 400) and the same for patagonia's stuff. Good luck.

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THE RIVER DAMSEL

I have never had leaky waders…what's with the rest of you, huh? Just kidding. I don't know why, but my Cabela's have treated me very good for the past 3 yrs. Has it been that long already? Wow. Time flies when you're haveing fun!

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The Sowbug

Seems there are 2 levels of waders… Affordable and expensive. The affordable ones (Freestones & LL Bean) are a good option for anyone that only fish about 2-3 times a year… The expensive option (Simms & Patagonia) is for the rest of us. It's a bit absurd how much waterproof bibs and pants cost.

From time to time there are closeouts and sales which seems to be the only way to save on good gear of any kind anymore.

Most important is a company that has enough smarts to stand behind their product. I've had an excellent track record with Patagonia being such a company… but they sure ain't the cheapest.

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Stephanie and Dustin

@Howard – Well it seems your waders were worth the cash, I'll take 7 or 8 years for a few hundred.

@Ivan – You are indeed right, the cold water really stinks when it is coming through at a good clip. It makes already tough fishing that much harder to endure.

@RD – Dustin had a great pair of BP waders…I guess they don't make them like the used to.

@Sowbug – Anything waterproof is absurd. The hiking rain jacket I want costs $499…insanity. I've read good things about Patagonia, and I have not pulled the trigger on the exact pair or brand I want. Patagonia seems to have a good track record.

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