Waders are a necessary piece of equipment when fly fishing, especially here in the west where many lakes and rivers stay very cold year-round. You won’t necessarily need them every day you fish, but if you fish or plan to fish outside of the summer months, you will want to invest in a good pair of waders. In the hot summer, you can “wet wade.” More on that topic later.
Most waders today are made from one of two main types of materials: coated-fabrics or membranes...
The biggest differences to note would be…
When shopping for waders and deciding which type of material you want, take into account: how often you fish, how hard are you on your gear, your budget, are you exposed to a lot of the above mentioned chemicals that can affect coated fabrics?
Waist-high or chest-high?
Most anglers prefer a chest-high wader. This gives you the ability to be protected up to about the middle of your chest. While crossing a river at that depth is not recommended, this style will keep you dry if you need to do so. The higher chest is also helpful protection against splashes or in case you tumble and fall into the river. In the winter, it also adds an extra layer to trap your body heat.
Waist high waders, also called pant waders, are a good option if you are going to be doing very minimal wading in small streams. They’re also a good option if you mostly fish in the summer as the pants are a cooler option in the hot summer months.