Best Waders, Wading Jackets, and Boots for Fishing in Alaska in 2016
Caddis Systems 5-Ply Extreme Endurance
Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader
Our tester found them to be lightweight and comfortable. He commented that they were very well-designed, durable and easy to wear all-day. Features include reinforced knees and seat, seams that are taped, glued and stitched, ample pockets, heavy-duty neoprene soles, attached gravel guards and Caddis’ 5-ply breathable technology.
Aquaz Rogue Bootfoot Wader
The Rogue Bootfoot Wader is a breathable chest wader constructed of three-layer Aqualex Pro fabric. It’s made from lightweight, highly-breathable and waterproof fabric, melded to premium Bogs insulated boots. Features include a front chest pocket with water-repellent zipper, 2mm AirMesh and 5mm NeoTech rubber insulated boots by Bogs, anatomically-shaped legs with seams located on the outside to eliminate seam wear, highest-quality proprietary Japanese breathable fabrics, adjustable waist belt with 1 1/2-inch buckle, adjustable elastic shoulder suspenders, and is available in felt-sole and rubber-sole versions. We tested the rubber-sole version and found it to be a great wader. The Bogs boots attached to this wader felt much warmer than traditional stocking foot waders and wading boots while the rubber soles provide excellent traction. The cut of this wader allows for significant layering without being exceedingly loose.
Caddis Northern Guide Platinum EcoSmart III Wading Shoe
Featuring EcoSmart III grip soles, these boots performed in some of the more treacherous wading conditions we could find, from constantly shifting pea gravel in deep-water flows to moss-covered boulders in swiftly-flowing freestone streams. The saltwater-proof speed-lacing system is another big reason to love these wading shoes.
Hodgman H3 Stocking Foot Wader and Boots
www.hodgman.comFor many of us, Hodgman neoprene waders were among the first we owned. Today, the company produces a wide range of waders. Their H3 Stocking Foot breathable wader is comfortable and roomy – which is especially appreciated when wearing multiple layers under waders to
shield against Alaska’s cold, often glacier-influenced water. The front inner and outer pockets are large and functional, and the built-in gravel guards perform well. Boots are comfortable and provide good traction on slippery surfaces through aggressive sticky rubber soles that are also able to accept studs. They feature a cushioned mid-sole, drainage ports, a D-ring for gravel-guard attachment, padded collar and tongue, and a reinforced toe. Wader and boots come with Hodgman’s one-year Grit Gear guarantee. We think these are solid products and a good value.
Patagonia Women’s Spring River Waders
From trout-opener forays on the Russian River to long hikes through the thick Southeast rainforest and days wading the tundra rivers of Bristol Bay, these midweight waders performed, packed away and performed again, all season long. The new Spring River waders offer a range of updated features, but most notably for female anglers is the innovative rear-buckle system that provides quick drop-seat function.
Chota Bob Clouser Series Southfork Wader
The Chota Bob Clouser Series Southfork Wader has a feature not found in any other high-quality, breathable wader: The DUCS Suspender System. The Patented DUCS Suspender System secures shoulder straps firmly, and allows the South Forks to be easily adjustable from chest-high to waist-high or lower (when nature calls); without removing over-gear (vest, chest pack, rain jacket, etc.). This feature took some getting used-to, but over a couple days on a remote trip the ability to lower the waders without involving a zipper (zippers can eventually fail) proved to be a great feature. The South Forks also incorporate integrated gravel guards and compression-resistant neoprene socks, allowing this wader to be extraordinarily comfortable and durable. Finally, additional storage has been added with both splash-resistant front and inside zippered pockets completing this one-of-a-kind wader.
Simms Women’s Freestone Waders
Our female testers appreciated Simms’ proven women’s wader fit, which includes articulated patterning along with center leg seams for all-day comfort. The Toray QuadraLam outer layer breathes easy, repels water and even allows wearers to do some bushwhacking without fear of wearing through the waders.
Redington Sonic Dry Pant
These comfortable wading pants are a nice alternative to waders when you plan on staying in the shallows. Testers stated that they liked the adjustable waist closer and built-in gravel guards.
Patagonia Foot Tractor Wading Boots
Sometimes it seems there isn’t a lot separating different wading boots, but our tester assures us that’s not the case with the Foot Tractors, which feature Patagonia’s award-winning aluminum-bar technology—more than fancy words, suffice to say this showed up most when dancing across slippery boulder gardens to nymph that delicate pool on the far bank.
These overshoe cleats give a wader better traction on slippery rock and ice. Our tester likes that you can take them on and off easily, which is especially handy when wade-fishing the Kenai while floating in a fiberglass drift boat. The overshoe’s five-point connection and molded rubber walls keep them stable on your feet.