2015 Fish Alaska ECA: Waders, Wading Jackets, and Boots
1. Caddis Natural Ensemble Women’s Breathable Waders
A great price-point wader, our tester liked the comfort and breathability of these waders, which feature CaddisDry Breathable Technology, and also that they made it through the year unscathed due to the heavy-duty polyester material. Attached gravel guards, waterproof zippers and multiple storage pockets round out the features we appreciated most.
2. Simms Headwaters Convertible Stockingfoot Waders
Delivering top up—or down—performance, the Simms Headwaters Convertible Stockingfoot Waders impressed our testers this season with their comfort (Gore-Tex 3-layer Pro Shell build), as well as their convenience—we could wade aggressively with the chest- high capabilities or convert the waders to waist-high for more leisurely fishing, such as when in the drift boat.
3. Redington SonicDry Fly Wader
They are a very light wader despite having a lot of features packed into the design, including convenient pockets both inside and outside the wader, a wide, elastic wading belt and built-in gravel guards. The fit is great—not too baggy or sloppy, with enough room to wear long johns and fleece pants. The material of the lower leg is resistant to brush and branches. The suspenders are comfortable since the waders are so light. One of our tester’s favorite features was the zipper. It makes taking the waders off or putting them on much easier, among other things. The zipper has not only proven useful; it hasn’t leaked after a season of hard use both wading rivers and while strapped into a float tube.
4. Redington Siren Wader-Marilyn
Siren waders were designed to fit a woman’s body properly, and were created in two different fit patterns specifically for the female angler—the Kate and the Marilyn, which our tester chose. Both models feature suspenders with a stretch mesh back panel to move with you, neoprene underarm gussets for a secure fit and an asymmetrical hip to flatter any figure. The Marilyn is more curvaceous through bust and hips, while the Kate is narrower; both are offered at the same MSRP.
5. Chota Lost Creek Wading Boot
We used these lightweight and rugged boots across the state this year, wading everything from pea gravel to large, slippery boulders, and the boots performed well. These boots are very comfortable and absorb the impact of uneven river rock well. They feature nonabsorbent synthetic materials inside and out, making them quite warm and helping the boots drain and dry relatively quickly. There’s more to love about these, however, including Chota’s enhanced QuickLace System, which speeds up getting the boots on and off. On the back of the heel there is a molded ledge of sorts that helps keep some kinds of fins more securely on your feet if you fish from a kick boat or float tube.
6. Caddis Natural Ensemble Wading Shoewith EcoSmart II Sole
A convenient speed-lacing system was much appreciated when heading to the water in these wading shoes from Caddis; a cushioned insole meant plenty of comfort and the reinforced toe cap and heel provided durability to last the season. By regulation, Alaskans can no longer wade with felt-bottomed shoes, and so the EcoSmart II sole chosen for this boot was perfect, providing plenty of traction across conditions.
7. Chota Long Rifle Carbide Cleat Kit
With self-tapping threads designed to hold fast in rubber soles, these extremely heavy-duty carbide cleats help you bite through slippery silt and algae and gain firm traction while wading in any of the conditions Alaska can throw your way. We like the versatility of having removable and replaceable cleats along on any trip, where wading conditions can change in a hurry and these install easily with a ¼-inch nut driver or socket. We used them in some very challenging wading scenarios, and after a summer’s use, the cleats are still in good shape and working well.
8. Patagonia Women’s River Salt Jacket
Every now and then our testers encounter a product that does more than just hold up to the Alaska elements, and the Women’s River Salt Jacket was one in 2014, excelling in the wettest, roughest conditions of the year. Patagonia’s toughest, most durable fishing shell, the River Salt is made with 4-layer waterproof/breathable H2No performance-standard wader fabric for long-lasting performance and durability. This jacket is sure to remain in the rotation for years to come.
9. Eddie Bauer Immersion Wading Jacket
Whether fishing in unpredictable spring conditions or late in the windy, rainy fall, this bombproof jacket became a go-to of ours in 2014. The performance comes from an ultra-durable 75-denier Cordura nylon shell and exclusive 3-layer Weatheredge Plus technology. The StormRepel finish seemed to work as well, with rain beading up and running off the jacket rather than soaking into the fabric over the course of a wet day.
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