If you are planning to spend significant amount of time in the water rather on the bank, or if conditions where you fish are perhaps not the best. Then investing in a decent well fitted set of chest waders is going to make those days on the water much, much more pleasant.
Well fitted chest waders are vital to preserve both longevity and functionality. You will need measure your widest girth, in seam and shoe size. This may be chest hips or waist and then compare to the relevant brand sizing chart. It is important to remember you will have layers of clothes on when measuring.
The most important considerations for sizing of waders are listed below
- Your Widest Girth, this may be Chest, hips, or waist
- Your shoe or boot size
- Your inseam size
- The conditions you will be using them in
- What clothing you are likely to have underneath your waders.
Why to buying correctly fitting waders is so important?
You will be wearing this equipment in extreme and challenging conditions. Ensuring that the size is suitable is important for a number of reasons.
Too large and they fold and crease and are at risk of catching and tearing. They also create more air around your body which takes longer and more energy to keep warm.
Too small and they will be stressed as the seams and joints like knees, crotch and even your behind ( not suggesting that is over sized or anything!) If this size is small for your feet then it could reduce the layers you can wear and cold feet or even reduced circulation can result.
When Do You Need Chest Waders?
If you clicked this sizing link you probably already know if you need chest waders or not. However we will highlight the use cases here.
- Fishing Deep and Cold Water
- If you spend a lot of time in the water
- If you winter fish often (if you get insulated waders)
- If you are likely to Hunt and Fish together
- Warm and dry are an absolute must for you!
There are also pant waders, hip waders and knee waders. Which are become increasingly common and if you are not spending the day in deep water may suit both your fishing and your wallet better. You can check out a selection of trouser style waders here.
Which ever style of wader you decide to get it is important to get waders that fit you well and are going to last you many seasons of fishing so take a look at how to get the best fit.
Wader Materials and Body Size
Gone, well almost, are the days of Rubber waders and we welcome the days, and price, of breathable materials. These will make a day spent in waders immeasurably more comfortable.
I am old enough to remember, and not fondly, pouring out significant amounts of sweat and frankly skin from rubber waders and gear at the end of long days and it is an gross and unpleasant as it sounds.
So material wise get the lightest and most breathable material you can. Of course if you are fishing in cold or extreme conditions then looking at insulated materials will benefit but for most of us who are looking to stay warm and dry then a nice waterproof breathable wader with out insulation will suit.
The more established brands are Simms, Patagonia, and Orvis but more and more brands have entered the market and there are always deals to be had.
As we mentioned above there are certain measurements you will need to to make sure you get a good fit of wader, and although it is always best to go and try them on we also realize that sometimes that isn’t possible. Also sometimes you can try them on and then find the price cheaper online!
Measuring your chest, waist or hips wherever you are widest, should be done with one eye on what else you are going to be wearing underneath. In mid summer this may be nothing more than a rash vest or t-shirt, but in winter you may add layers to this with fleeces or thermals.
You don’t want something flapping around like an inflatable Santa costume, but similarly you don’t want to look like you are about to do gymnastics. A little give is fine, and recommended, flapping around like the fish you are catching isn’t. Be sure to have a waist belt to put tightly around the middle of your waders if you are going for chest waders.
This will stop water rushing in if you do fall and submerge, and is there to protect your safety. Most decent sets now come with them included, but if you find yourself without them, then bungy cords will do the same job.
Inseam Measurements for Chest Waders
You will want, well have to, measure from the crotch and we suggest a little higher all the way to the floor. This is to give the waders some leeway when you are walking, hiking or climbing over rocks, these materials have very little give usually, so you have to plan for that. If you have to kneel down to take that photo with the monster, you don’t want anything splitting as you do!
Choosing a Wading Boot Size
If the waders you get don’t have boots attached, and we think this is the best option ( which we will explain why below) Then you can size your boots as you size your feet. With one caveat. You are likely to be wrapping your feel into some warm socks.
So if you have hiking boots or similar it would be wise to follow the size you have for those. As long as you don’t go for clown size you can always wrap your feet up a little, if you get too small wading boots there isn’t much you can do apart from have cold feet.
Bootfoot Waders Vs Stockingfoot Waders.
The choice is down to the individual but here at Fisher and Hunter we hugely prefer Stockingfoot waders and want to explain a few reasons why. First the difference.
Bootfoot waders are wader are waders that are an all in one solution and prevents the need for additional purchases and gear.
Stockingfoot waders do not have a wading boot attached to the bottom of the wader and it is usually replaced with neoprene show on the bottom. You have to buy the boots separately.
So why do we prefer the Stockingfoot versions?
- Well they are lighter as a rule, although adding the boots will make that negligible, but it does offer the freedom too then choose your boot instead of having to settle for the one on the end of bootfoot waders.
- We like the fact that if you don’t want to wear the waders you can still wear the boots ( for grip). If you boat and have one set of waders, you can wear these without the heavy boots.
- If the wading boot has a problem on a bootfoot wader then the whole unit has a problem, this is not the case with a stockingfoot wader.
- Stockignfoot waders are easier to take off.
Brand Name Waders Vs Generic
This is a tricky one. A simple amazon search like this one will show you there is a big range in prices, from tens to hundreds of dollars, between the price of chest waders.
Which one is a fit for you can depend on the reason for purchase, the condition you fish in, the reason for purchase, how much money you have and the type of purchaser you are will ALL play a role in this.
Me, I can be a gear snob, but realistically if the fit is good, the material is sound and they are both safe and functional then it really shouldn’t matter which brand you get as long as they work and continue to work after more than a few trips to the river. As an example the two below both have excellent ratings but are very, very different in price.
The decision is yours, if you want the piece of mind and are going to be using these a lot then an established brand may help, but if you are an infrequent wader then maybe something mid range will suit. We can’t choose this one for you I’m afraid.
Chest waders can make an average fishing day good, being warm, dry and comfortable when you are out for such a long time is more than a luxury its an essential.
Making sure you get the best you can afford and that they fit correctly is going to turn that good day into a great one. to help with choosing which wader suits your fishing we have a guide here if you need. If not then suit up and get out there! Tight Lines!
Hi I am Marc, when I am not in a classroom teaching you will find me, or more likely not find me, on a boat, trekking through the woods, sitting by a river or pier hoping for tight lines or a straight shot. I have been teaching Outdoor skills, fishing, archery, shooting, Kayaking, Climbing and more for over 30 years. Its about time I shared some of that with you all.