I’m looking to get some new waders. Here’s my wader story.
My first year of trout fishing I bought a pair of waders from Farm and Fleet. These hip waders were made of rubber and had big floppy boots. They worked OK and kept the water out, and they were tough as nails, and affordable. The downside was that they were hip waders, so water sometimes came in over the top.
Late that season I bought a pair of neoprene waders from Farm and Fleet. These were great for keeping water out, but they were hot, smelly, and sprung some leaks. The boots were also floppy and the soles were thin, so walking over streambed stones was not real comfortable, and by the end of the day I had a blister or two from my feet sliding around inside the boots.
After using the neoprenes for a full year I decided to spend some hard-earned money on expensive waders and wading boots. I bought some Simms Headwater waders. These babies, along with wading boots, were a world apart from the hot, smelly, sweaty, moist, floppy waders I’d been using. Boy was I happy! The downside, the waders cost me $300. But I figured they’d get used hard for 3 or 4 years, maybe even 5, before I needed to shell out more dough.
Well, they lasted exactly two years. Seam failures in the crotch and inner knees after the first year killed my initial feelings of love for these handsome waders. Patch job after patch job was followed by leak after leak. Each leg has a seam running vertically along the inseam that intersects like a “T” with a seam running laterally around the “Knee-pit”, and it is at this juncture that holes were worn through the material due to abrasion from walking. On top of that, the material was so breathable it started to allow water to wick in.
I’m not sure how any serious fisherman could justify spending the money on these waders. They were a big disappointment.
So now what?
As you may know, a trip was had to the Brule River. Fly By Night Guide Tim showed me and Stephen how to catch steelhead. He also sported a pair of Redington waders that he’d used as a guide in Alaska for a few years. They looked used, but definitely not broken. Guides in Alaska live in their waders for months straight. These waders also had a nice pocket system built into them that allowed Tim to go without a vest or backpack. Bonus!
So, late this winter I’ll be shelling out $350 to get what some are calling the best waders around. Let’s hope this time I’m happy with my purchase.