Have you ever wanted to do some fishing but thought it was to cold? Well then a good pair of waders could be the key to getting you on the water and fishing for that trophy fish, or even just a bunch of nice ones. We would like to break down and compare the best fishing waders for the money, in our opinion, to give you a good idea of what is out there and what price points would be best to fit your fishing needs.
Fishing waders 101
When looking for and deciding on waders we like to think of a few things.
First of all, what is the frequency that you will be fishing, is it once a year, once a month or several times a week. This can make a big difference in regards to what would be the best fit for you.
Second, the conditions you will be fishing in. How cold is it and will you be hiking through dense foliage or treacherous areas?
Third, and of course the most important, the cost that you are willing or able to spend.
If you break it down a little it makes it easier to decide on what is best for you.
After you break that down then the following will help you make the decision of what type and price you are willing to spend a little easier. If this is your first time purchasing then pay attention.
There are many types of waders regarding construction that most don’t know about. Today’s waders are mainly made of either Gor-Tex or nylon, both are great breathable materials but it comes down to the construction, breathability, durability, comfort and cost.
Construction. For a good pair of waders you are going to be looking at a three layer construction. This is usually what most first timers gravitate to and it’s not a bad idea, especially if you are on a budget. A three layer construction will give you some of the protection from the cold that you need but will lack in the durability aspect regarding waders. Three layer will get you fishing for sure but, in our experience, will lend itself to patching and some leaking. That’s not a deal breaker though, because for the price you can put up with a few patches and leaky seams.
The four layer construction, in our opinion, is perfect for all anglers. It’s the middle of the road, although it’s better than the 3 layer but not as good as a 5 layer. It’s a great decision when purchasing a wader. A good 4 layer usually comes with a lot of extras that a three layer misses. Knee and shin guards, lined handwarmers, zippered pockets, built in lanyard, attached wading belt and more. A good 4 layer wader gives you the durability you need with a bunch of upgrades and they really hit the mark.
A five layer is of course the best but you are going to pay for it. We would never tell anyone to shy away from this type of wader but if you think about it you’re going to be shelling out a bunch of money for something that will be out of date in a couple of years. Their going to make something better, it’s just the way it is folkes, and then you will be going back for more.
Breathability. Unless you plan to purchase the old school neoprene waders don’t worry too much about breathability. In our opinion breathability is innate in today’s technology for both Gore-Tex and nylon waders. We have found that between 3 and 5 layer it really doesn’t make much difference.
Durability. Well this just speaks for itself. The more layers the more durable the product is. However of course you will be paying for it.
Comfort. (big sky fly fishing link) We can’t say that the 3 layer is so much less comfortable than the 4 or 5 layer but for some reason, we guess it’s just how our brains work but the higher the cost the more comfortable you feel.
Cost. Here is how we break it down. If you are a first time angler and are just trying it out? Get the less expensive 3 layer. You’re going to be just fine and you won’t regret spending some cash if it just doesn’t work out. If you are a little more serious, then by all means, take that leap into the 4 layer, the mid range, we think this is all you need in a wader. It has everything you need and let’s face it, you’re really only going to using them about 40% of the time on the water. Ok so let’s talk about the more expensive 5 layer. Ya they are amazing and we love them, they have all the bells and whistles and look way cool. If our budget could afford it ya we would love them but for the $ we are headed towards the medium, it just makes more sense.
Here is how we like to break it down
If you purchase a wader that costs $100.00 and use them 10 times a year and they last 2 years well that’s 50.00 a year. If you buy waders that cost $170.00 and they last 4 years well that’s $42.50 a year and if i buy waders that cost $500.00 and they last 5 years, may last longer but something new will come along, well that’s $100.00 a year. All things are relative but in our mind it make so much more sense to buy the mid and pull about 3 to 5 years out of them and then get the next best thing that comes along, than to break the bank and hope for 10 years and worry about something more exciting coming out.
The bottom line
Get what you are comfortable with. Yes the low end 3 layer waders are cheap and may last a few years but as long as you know what you are getting into who cares. The middle of the road 4 layer waders are a solid investment and seriously if you take care of them they could really last for a long time. We think that the more expensive, the 5 layer, waders are really for the fishing fanatic, someone who fishes every day or someone that can afford anything they want.
With that said, we have taken our time and done our field research and have come up with our three recommended best fishing waders for the money. Ranked; 3 Layer Hodgeman H3, 4 Layer Orvis Encounter , Hodgman H4 which is a combination of 3 layer and 5 layer and 5 Layer Simms G3. Check them out here