If you love wade fishing, then chances are, you’re going to need a pair of chest waders! While you may already know how important a good quality pair of waders are, you may not know which ones to buy. At first glance, it may seem that all chest waders are the same. However, some are made of rubber, while others look more like a pair of slacks. Some slip into boots, while others actually include the boot. And then there are the various storage options, which will determine how much fishing gear that you’ll be able to carry with you on the water.
While we love all of the chest waders on our list, we feel that the best all-around wader for your money is without a doubt Redington’s Palix River Bootfoot Waders. With that being said, you really can’t go wrong with selecting any of the waders that we reviewed.
Keep in mind that waders will not only help to keep you warm and dry but will also provide you with plenty of storage for all of your favorite fishing gear. So, whether you’ll be casting to bonefish on the flats in knee-deep water, or in search of Rainbow Trout on a secluded Montana stream, a good pair of chest waders are a must!
Chest Wader Reviews
Redington Palix River Bootfoot Waders
When factoring comfort, durability and water resistance, Redington’s Palix just might be one of the best chest waders to strike a solid balance. It’s also a great choice if a little hiking is needed to reach your favorite fishing spot.
It’s among the relatively few waders that are adjustable to chest or waist height. This comes thanks to the opposing buckle straps, which feature adjustable straps similar to those found on backpacks. This also makes it easier to layer up in colder water.
For even more comfort and durability, the Palix is constructed of 3 layers of polyester fabric. Both breathability and water resistance are kept high, while damage is minimized. The layered construction is doubled in the knee area for both enhanced durability and protection.
It also features a sizeable chest pocket which flips out for easy storage and access. It’s sealed via zipper with an inner pocket that is completely waterproof. To each side, fleece-lined hand pockets provide easy warmth.
The Palix uses booties, which can fit a bit tight. However, this helps guarantee an easy fit with virtually any favorite external boot or shoe. They are also fairly snug and will help keep feet warm in cold water.
If you would like to find out more about the Redington Palix River Bootfoot Waders, you can find more reviews and see the price on Amazon.
Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-top Waders
The Silver Sonic is engineered at the microscopic level to eliminate any traces of leaks, then double reinforced with durable nylon fabric. The end result is a 4-layer water-resisting machine that’s guaranteed to last for the long run.
Despite its rugged build, the Silver Sonic still offer impressive comfort. The opposing straps can be easily adjusted to chest or waist height, depending on preference. The plush booties are designed to contour to your feet for enhanced fit and comfort.
If you’re particularly keen on sharing your fishing adventures with fish and family, the chest pocket features a touchscreen friendly fold-out pocket! Easily snap pictures and tap away without shifting around to find the right angle. Of course, the pocket seals close to protect your devices from moisture.
Granted, the Silver Sonic doesn’t have hand-warming pockets. However, it does offer a breathable lightweight design that hardly makes them noticeable. So overall, they still rank pretty well in comfort.
If you would like to find out more about the Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible-top Waders, you can find more reviews and see the price on Amazon.
Hodgman Caster Neoprene Cleated Bootfoot Chest Waders
Hodgman’s Caster waders offer a pretty solid start for the fisherman who’s ready to spend a few hours – heck, maybe even a day – casting his line. It offers enough water resistance, durability, and storage for an extended trip in the water.
On the surface, the Caster features a 3.5mm neoprene shell designed to repel water during even extended stays in the water. The knees also feature a double-layer construction, offering a little extra protection in case of a fall, snag or drop.
For storage, the Caster offers 2 front D-Rings for easy access and an additional rear D-Ring for even more storage. It also features an upper pocket lined with fleece.
Overall, it’s a pretty roomy fit. This may actually be to its detriment in colder weather, as it doesn’t seem as well insulated. But given its strong exterior, layering up a bit shouldn’t be a problem anyways.
If you would like to find out more about the Hodgman Caster Neoprene Cleated Bootfoot Chest Waders, you can find more reviews and see the price on Amazon.
Compass 360 Deadfall Breathable STFT Chest Wader
The B.A.P. chest pockets provide large, sealed storage for equipment and devices while offering fleece-lined back pockets for warmth. In fact, the chest pocket actually flips outward for ease of access and storage. Easily pull out your phone to snap a few quick pictures, then fold it back in for safe keeping.
Its nylon construction uses a 4-Ply engineering process for improved durability and protection. It also offers layered padding to protect both knees and shins.
At the bottom, the Deadfall’s booties are designed to contour around a range of foot sizes. Yes, this means that you’ll have to bring your own boots, but its booties are engineered to resist bunching while ensuring comfort. They also offer room for thicker socks during winter months.
If you would like to find out more about the Compass 360 Deadfall Breathable STFT Chest Wader, you can find more reviews and see the price on Amazon.
Caddis Men’s Taupe Breathable Stocking Foot Wader
The durable polyester construction is designed with safety in mind. The booties feature a double-glue construction for solid foot protection. Granted, they can fit a little loose, but a thicker pair of socks will easily take care of that. Even better, it actually includes gravel guards just above the booties to protect against even the most dangerous hazards.
The Taupe is arguably one of the most breathable chest waders. CaddisDry technology has been built into the suit to help perspiration while still repelling water. It’s also available in a variety of sizes, including youth. The suspenders clip easily over the shoulder for added comfort and layering.
If you would like to find out more about the Caddis Men’s Taupe Breathable Stocking Foot Wader, you can find more reviews and see the price on Amazon.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Select The Best Chest Wader
Before choosing your waders, it’s important to consider both its features and your typical day of fishing. For example, do you live in a cold area? Will you be fishing in mostly moving or flat water? Do any venomous snakes live nearby? Will a little hiking be needed to reach your favorite spot? Keep this in mind as you consider each suit’s features.
As we previously mentioned, safety is important when standing and fishing in moving water. Balance is vitally important; water will be rushing, the ground underneath will be uneven and your line – whether by fish or snag – will be tugged. Ensure that your suit fits properly and that your boots offer comfort and traction.
Even with proper balance, falls are pretty likely (perhaps even inevitable). That’s why many chest waders feature increased padding around knees and elbows. It’s also important to ensure that your boots (whether attached or not) also feature thick soles with adequate traction (ideally cleated).
The best chest waders are also engineered to help prevent bites from snakes or cuts from rocks. Often, the point of wearing a wader is to fish in remote areas, where emergency help may not be immediately available. That’s why the proper precautions must be taken. Your suit should be a thick, rugged design and offer storage for all necessary supplies.
Imagine finally settling on the perfect spot in the middle of a river, getting your equipment ready to go – only to realize that you left that perfect lure or snack back along the shoreline. Wading even a short distance can take time (depending on the water levels and terrain), and we prefer as little movement as possible to prevent scaring away the fish.
This very scenario is why we look for ample storage in the best chest waders. Your suit should be able to easily hold extra bait, hooks, lines and even a few snacks.
Depending on the water’s depth, pockets can be a little trick on chest waders. Obviously, resistance to water is important, but it can be difficult to prevent pockets from filling with water (adding extra weight along the way). This is why they should be placed higher up.
D-rings are a common component of chest waders. They can be used to supplement pockets for additional storage. In fact, some fishing gear is designed to attach to D-Rings. For example, many fishermen will use a back D-Ring to carry their nets.
Even the best chest waders will inevitably incur some level of damage. And when this occurs during an otherwise nice fishing trip, you have 2 choices: pack it up and leave early, or repair your waders with a patch kit.
Patch kits tend to be pretty cheap and are easy to apply. They’re also usually small enough to fit in a single pocket. Just be certain to read the instructions carefully to determine how long the kit may need to dry. It may also be helpful to bring along a small cloth to dry the area first.
By far, neoprene is the most common water-resistant material used in chest waders. However, some people experience allergic reactions when neoprene comes in contact with their skin (as with many other man-made rubbers). Unfortunately, it’s hardly an afterthought to most people until it’s too late.
Please do not take this lightly. Even if you are a generally healthy person and never suffer from allergies, make certain that you will not have an allergic reaction before finding yourself alone in a remote area.
Boots vs. Booties
Some chest waders have the boots built in. Others use booties that fit easily into most waterproof shoes. So how do you find the best chest wader based on its footing?
Do you plan to get particularly soaked? If so, it may be important to ensure that no water finds its way in, thereby
Or do you plan to fish in areas with many obstacles along the way? If so, you may need the added flexibility of a separate boot. We all know how challenging rocky terrain can be underwater, especially on days when that water is particularly murky (which some fish seem to love).
While waders don’t appear to be very different on the surface, it’s the small nuances that will ultimately help you determine which is the best chest wader for you. While durability is certainly important, don’t undermine comfort. But before you even get that far, always be sure to consider safety.
While we love the durability of the Super Sonic or the overall balance found in the Redington Palix, neither offer as much storage as the Hodgman Caster. So take some time to consider your own fishing needs and the terrain of your favorite spots.