Best Waders, Wading Jackets, and Boots for Fishing in Alaska

Caddis Waders Hybrid Stockingfoot Chest WaderCaddis-Waders-Hybrid-Stockingfoot-Chest-Wader.jpg
Rivers in Alaska are cold, especially those that are glacially influenced. When wearing breathable waders, it’s critical to wear warm layers underneath and heavy socks. These waders from Caddis are an excellent solution, combining neoprene on the bottom for warmth and breathable material on the top. Some of the features we like in these waders are the fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets and the front storage pocket with a waterproof insert pouch. Gravel guards are attached and seams are taped, glued and stitched.

Hodgman Aesis Shell JacketHodgman-Aesis-Shell-Jacket.jpg
You don’t need to worry about what the Alaska weather might bring you when you’re fishing in your Hodgman Aesis Shell Jacket this year, thanks to its three-layer waterproof and windproof V-TecH breathable fabric, a triple water-shedding rain fly on the front zipper and fully-taped seams. Our tester also appreciated the range-of-motion fit, which allowed him to make all the casts necessary without restriction.

Patagonia Women’s River Salt JacketPatagonia-Women's-River-Salt-Jacket.jpg
Our testers have long loved Patagonia products and the Women’s River Salt Jacket is looked upon no less favorably than the company’s other products by our staff. Made from four-layer waterproof/breathable H2No Performance Standard wader fabric, this jacket held up throughout the year’s excursions and looks like it’s ready for years more. Designed specifically for anglers, this jacket has all the features, in all the right places.

Hodgman H5 Stocking Foot WaderHodgman-H5-Stocking-Foot-Wader.jpg
The three-layer breathable upper material made it comfortable to wear for a long day on the water. They incorporate well-designed pockets for keeping stuff dry and hand-warmer pockets as well. The neoprene booties are comfortable. These waders performed well in cold (freezing) conditions and kept our tester dry when wading the Kenai all fall.

Simms G4 PRO JacketSimms-G4-PRO-Jacket.jpg
Our tester purchased a Simms wading jacket back in 2001. It was a Guide Model, and was top-of-the-line back then. It lasted a very long time but it was definitely worn-out after 10 years of heavy use. This year, he tested a G4 PRO Jacket. It is better in every way imaginable: Better fabric, much lighter, more breathable, more abrasion-resistant, more pockets (nine total), the Dry Cuff system to keep your inner sleeves dry, a much better hood, zippered arm-pit ventilation and two built-in retractors for nippers or other small items. The bellowed chest pockets can easily hold very large fly boxes. The back pocket is even larger. The fit is superb, and the hood has three points of adjustment to keep the elements out.

Chota HYFT-800 Hybrid High-top Rubber-soled Boot Soled Wading BootChotaHybridWadingBoot.jpg
The versatile Chota Hybrid High-Top offers a durable rubber sole combined with a cushy PU midsole to give you great traction and all-day comfort. Large micro screen panels on both sides of the uppers allow for instant and complete drainage, and a reinforced toe and heel area adds extra durability and abrasion resistance.

Aquaz Kenai Convertible Wader
The Kenai Convertible Wader is constructed of three-layers of AQUALEX breathable, waterproof fabric. This is a lightweight, stocking foot wader, with 4mm neoprene booties. The wader has a zippered mesh front pocket and fleece-lined hand-warmer pockets, as well as built-in gravel guards and nylon wading belt. The convertible suspender system allows you to roll down or lower the top section of the wader to convert it to waist-high, a very appealing feature during the middle of summer. What’s more, we’ve found that during cooler seasons when you’re wearing a jacket over the waders, men can actually lower the front of the waders enough to answer the call of nature without having to take off your jacket, your pack or whatever else you have on. Though these are lightweight waders designed for summer fishing, the cut is generous enough to wear layers underneath for early spring or late fall Alaska fishing. This wader can be ordered direct from Aquaz’s website and custom sizes can be made.

Patagonia Men’s Rio Gallegos Zip Front WaderPatagonia-Men's-Rio-Gallegos-Zip-Front-Wader.jpg
These high-end breathable waders are comfortable yet tough and durable, thereby garnering our respect after a full summer of hard use. Our tester commented that the booties fit better than on most waders, and he was impressed with all the interior and exterior pockets allowing for a lot of storage, as well as several places to attach tools.

Simms Headwaters BootSimms-Headwaters-Boots.jpg
Built to excel in the drink, Simms Headwaters Boot was a favorite of our testers this year, as it’s lightweight yet durable and gave peace-of-mind when wading tricky waters due to the boot’s stability and slip-resistant control.

Redington Prowler Wading BootRedington-Prowler-Wading-Boot.jpg
The boot has a sticky rubber sole that gives good traction on slick river rock. Lightweight and comfortable, yet stout with good ankle support, the soles on these boots also conveniently accept studs.

Compass 360 Stillwater Breathable HipperCompass-360-Stillwater-Stft-Hip-Boot.jpg
Our tester loved the Stillwater Breathable Hipper for its simple, functional design and durable performance. This hip boot is a terrific value and is just the right choice for your road-system day-trips next year on the hottest days of summer.

OPST Wading StaffOPST-Wading-Staff.jpg
If you wade aggressively, a wading staff is a vital piece of equipment. OPST hit it out of the park with theirs. It is stout, yet relatively light, and it is a four-piece model made of heavy-walled aluminum, with heavy bungees that automatically pull the pieces into place. Simply pull it out of its neoprene case you’ve attached to your wading belt and it snaps itself together. The handle is made from comfortable foam that is warm to the touch. It’s also adjustable for height over a range of five inches. The tip is machined to a dull point. A three-foot heavy bungee with a snap is attached to the end of the handle, enabling you to clip it to your person and let it hang while fishing.