The best fly fishing chest waders won’t only keep you and your gear dry, but they’ll be comfortable and durable. They’ll also come with straps that can be adjusted to fit you better.
Waders are a great way to get out on the water more often. There will be times and conditions where wet wading simply isn’t possible, and waders will help you with that.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about chest waders, then check out the information below. I’ll go over several different types of waders as well as some products to help give you a better understanding.
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Why Are Chest Waders a Worthwhile Investment?
You can’t always wet wade. It’s great fun to break out a pair of shorts or quick-dry pants and wade a spring creek, but sometimes it’s just necessary to put on a pair of waders.
Not only will they protect you, but they’ll also allow you to get out and fish more often, which is the whole reason we do this anyway. They’ll also improve your fishing experience, making you more comfortable and allowing you to fish for longer periods.
So, below I’ll go over a few different features on why chest waders are a worthwhile investment. Check them out and see which one you like the best!
Waders don’t offer a lot of protection, but they can be the difference between a skinned knee and a ruined pair of waders. Having that extra layer of protection plays a bigger role than you think.
Rivers and lakes are filled with unseen hazards. Laydowns, boulders, and trash can potentially crowd you when you’re in the water. So, keep a pair of waders with you and use them as much as possible to keep yourself safe.
Keeps You Dry
Yes, chest waders will keep you dry. It’s great to know you don’t have to drive home with wet pants or change at your car into dry clothes.
However, they also play an important role in keeping your gear dry. Many times chest waders have waterproof pockets. These are great spots to hold your valuables. Phones, wallets, and keys can all be placed here.
When you’re wading in the winter, spring and fall, there’s a good possibility that the water and air temperature will be too cold for wet wading. So, you’ll need an extra layer to help keep you warm.
On top of the extra layer from your waders, you can also layer up underneath. Wearing long johns and sweat pants underneath can help keep you warm when you’re fishing on those cool spring mornings.
The Best Chest Waders of 2023
Below, I’ll go over five different chest waders. Each of them has its own pros and cons, so check them out and see which ones will work best for you.
- Pros: Can convert to waist wader, great quality, great warranty
- Cons: Material is stiff
In 2023 I decided that the Sonic Pro Waders beat out the previous Redington Palix, but it was a very close battle. I’d say if you don’t mind the extra cost, the Sonic Pros are worth it. Otherwise, the Palix are still an excellent option.
Both are great waders, but the Sonic Pros just feel a bit better and are higher quality.
If you’re looking for a combination of great quality, an excellent warranty, lots of storage, and an affordable price, then these are likely the waders for you.
These are stockingfoot waders, so make sure to check out our guide to The Best Wading Boots so that you can get the perfect pair of boots to go along with these excellent waders.
- Pros: Warmth, mobility
- Cons: Odd fit with big stockings and large torso area
If you’re looking for a pair of neoprene waders to keep you warm during those cold winter months, then look no further. The Caddis Neoprene Waders are the ones for you.
If you’re fortunate enough to have spring-fed rivers nearby, then you can fish year-round. You’ll just need to keep warm when in and out of the water. That’s where neoprene waders come into play.
These are a great neoprene wader if you’re just starting out. They’ll keep you warm and give you some mobility when you’re walking in the river and on any paths outside of it.
If you’re like me and enjoy fishing year-round, then neoprene waders are something that you need to have. Occasionally the weather is too harsh to layer up under polyester. That’s where the toughness and warmth of neoprene come into play.
- Pros: Breathable fabric, front hand warmer pocket
- Cons: Very large stockings make it uncomfortable if they don’t fit properly
The Caddis Men’s Taupe waders are made with a lightweight and breathable polyester, making them perfect for fishing in the warmer months of the year. If need be, you can wear layers beneath and use them in the winter too.
The front hand warmer pocket is great for keeping your fingers warm on those cool mornings. Also, the waders have a zippered pocket in front to keep flies, a phone, or anything else you need.
These are the ideal waders for someone who’s looking to take the next step and upgrade their gear. These are both comfortable and durable, making them great for an angler.
- Pros: Breathable and very comfortable
- Cons: Lacking in durability on the front zippered pocket
Similar to the waders above, the Canyon II is great for someone making the leap from inexpensive chest waders gear to a nicer set of waders.
These are made of breathable polyester and have a 4 ply upper, making them surprisingly durable for their price point. These will hold up to just about anything you can throw at them.
These also made our list of the best waders overall, but in the best value category. It’s really hard to find a good pair of fly fishing chest waders for under $100, and the Frogg Togg Canyon II chest waders can be picked up on Amazon for around $70-$90, depending on your size.
One of the anglers on our team, Danny, has had these waders for over two years and has put them through their paces. They’re still holding up, and they’re still his go-to set when he’s out on the rivers in the Midwest.
They also come with an adjustable wading belt that’s perfect for keeping your waders snug and secure. Also, you’ll find the H back suspenders will make your wading experience much more comfortable.
There’s a front pocket that’s zippered and waterproof. Excessive use of the zipper can cause it to break and become useless. So, keep that in mind if you really need a pocket. It might be best to avoid these if so.
- Pros: Cheap, comes with boots
- Cons: Not very durable and not breathable
The TideWe Bootfoot waders are great for someone looking to get into fly fishing who just needs a pair of waders to get going on their way. They come in at a pretty cheap price point, so you don’t have to feel bad when you trade them in later.
These are also great because you don’t have to spend any extra money on boots. These boot foot chest waders are ready to go straight from the box. You can carry them right to the river and start fishing.
Don’t expect to do any hardcore fishing in these. They aren’t breathable and you will overheat if fishing in warm weather in these. However, they’re ideal for beginners.
- Pros: Extremely durable as well lightweight
- Cons: Price, not a lot of pockets for gear storage.
If you want some top-of-the-line waders, then the Aquaz Dryzip Waders are the ones for you. They’re extremely durable, breathable, and comfortable. They’re perfect for the hardcore angler who spends more time on the water than anywhere else.
The price tag is a little high for just a normal weekend warrior angler. However, if you want something that will last fishing season after fishing season, then these are hard to beat.
Because of how lightweight they are, they make for great waders to hike in. There’s no need to worry about overheating on your 3-mile hike back to your favorite trout stream.
Chest Waders Buyer’s Guide
Below, I’ll go over the different types of chest waders for fishing as well as different materials. Each has their own pros and cons, so check them out and see which one is the best for you.
These are typically the nicest waders. They come in many different materials and styles, and it’s recommended that you purchase wading boots with them.
The stockingfoot is just a neoprene sock that’s meant to be worn inside of a shoe or boot. So, you’ll have to include the cost of a boot if you plan on buying these.
These are usually made of neoprene, rubber, or polyester. However, they typically aren’t the nicest waders out there. You can find nice ones, though. It just takes a little hunting.
These are great because there’s a boot already attached to the waders. This way you can just purchase one item and not have to worry about outfitting your waders with boots.
These are chest waders for fly fishing that allow you to roll down the chest part so that they just cover you right at your hips. These are great for fishing in warm weather and when you know you won’t be wading in deep water.
Most chest waders can do this as long as the adjustable straps allow for the chest section to be rolled down. Ensure that they will allow this before purchasing.
Chest Wader Important Features
Below, I’ll cover some important features that you should be looking for when purchasing your chest waders. Check them out and see which features will work the best for you.
If you plan on fishing in warm weather, then this is a must. Polyester is the best bet for you, as these are the most breathable waders. Neoprene is the opposite and should only be worn in very cold weather or water.
The suspenders and belt of your waders should be fully adjustable. This helps customize the fit to your body and will allow you to walk and wade much more comfortably. If they don’t adjust, then you should be looking elsewhere for waders.
This is critical for durable waders. You need to have seams that are reinforced against leaks. This is especially true if you fish a lot in really rough conditions. Typically you’ll see “reinforced seams” on the package of the waders.
There has been a surge in the past decade in fly fishing packs. However, you still need pockets on your waders. These allow for easy access for grab-and-go tools, flies, and other valuables. Ensure these pockets are waterproof before putting a phone in there.
Waders can become expensive very quickly. So, if you’re just starting out, it’s recommended that you purchase the best budget chest waders to help get you going. Once you know how often you plan on fishing, you can upgrade to something a little more expensive and nicer.
Most cheap waders don’t have the best durability. So, if you fish every weekend and plan on taking these waders to the backcountry, then look for something that can withstand briars, rocks, and miles of walking.
This goes back to adjustability. You need to be able to adjust your suspenders as well as your belt to customize your fit. On top of this, you also need to be able to try on the waders to make sure they fit. You don’t want the feet too big or too small.
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Table of Contents
- Why Are Chest Waders a Worthwhile Investment?
- Fly Fishing Gear
- The Best Chest Waders of 2023
- Chest Waders Buyer’s Guide
- Chest Wader Important Features
Chest waders are a very important tool in a fly angler’s toolbox. They’ll help you get out on the water more often and on top of that will also help protect you from any cuts or abrasions you might get while out in the woods.
Chest waders in particular are great because of their versatility. They can be used in deep water, and some of them can even be rolled down to be used in shallower water and during warmer weather. The same goes for material as well. You can find a chest wader made of any material you can think of.
So, if you find that this will help you fish more often, I recommend going out and purchasing a chest wader of your own. Check out Amazon to see what kind of deals they have. They have a huge selection, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find one!