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October 31, 2008

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How Long Should Waders Last?

In an ideal world, you spend a few hundred bucks for a pair of waders, they last a lifetime. Not in my case. I typically get one good season in a pair of waders, and then, maybe, another season if I do enough patchwork. Don't even get me started on boots... usually six weeks before the seams start popping and the laces break. Granted, I fish a lot, and I travel a lot. And I leave my waders in my truck, where they alternately freeze and bake in the sun this time of year. I do have a pair now that has lasted well (I'm not naming names, because, in fairness, I'd feel like outing the other pieces of junk I have littering my garage at the moment). And I just got a new pair of really nice lightweight waders with the seams relocated from the insides of the legs... smart)...

But I'm wondering... do you think you get what you pay for in waders? How long should a pair reasonably last? 100 days in the river? For some people, that's 10 years, for others it's one year? Has anyone found the Gore-Tex grail?



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Tyler P

Touchy Subject...yet on point for many reasons. You can say that a good quality breathable wader should last for at least 2 to 3 years at 50 plus days a year. But in recent years the hype in building and marketing has superceded the performance test bar none. I won't name companies; but to pontificate my reasoning I can suggest that most fisherman and guides have used waders from a company touting Gore-Tex. When I first started guiding in 1996 breathable waders were the exception. By year 1998 every guide in AK was banging them around the bush. Tough as hell, withstand oil spills, av fuel, cutting firewood, lower unit grease..etc..etc.. The reputation is built among hard core end users and the trickle down effect occurs almost over a summer. Whoila! Ten years later and I still haven't found a pair to last a whole season from early spring through winter steelhead...In fact those first guide model waders I gave to one of our pilots in 2000 because he was new to the sport. 4 yrs and countless calendar days is almost too much to ask from a wader company. For $400 to $700 I expect them to at least last 200 days.
I sympathize with the manufacturer because if they were bombproof, no reciprocal sales year in year out.
Undoutedly I will die before the ultimate wader is found at the end of the riffle!!

Evan V

Wouldn't a halloween post be more appropriate?
But on the waders, years.


One more trip...;-)


Think about it in terms of dollars a day... Okay, to stay dry and comfortable it costs you, what, $5 a day? $10 a day? $1 a day?

I think maybe $2-3 a day is fair "tax" for staying dry and comfortable. Provided it fits good. Ok, $3 a day... that's at least 100 days, more like 150 or more at going rates. Any less, and you're getting suckered.


BTW, Evan V, maybe Halloween... eh... but I couldn't bring myself to dilute a Philly Series win by honoring a Hallmark holiday.


they should last forever, i'm an american and i demand it because i paid money.

Blue Ox

I know it's asking the impossible, but I gotta go with joey on this one.


first - congrats, philly fan!

second - many, many years, assuming that the owner takes care of them. I take care of mine (dan bailey) and my current pair is on its fourth season (~40 fishing days a year). They've just about had it, but I'll get through steelhead season with them.

all and all I think most waders last a reasonable amount of time. you know what should last longer? wading boots. As far as I can tell, all wading boots suck.



I think you need to put it in terms of "days on the stream". I put 10 - 15 days a year on the stream, therefore I think mine should last 5 - 7 years. I also don't bust brush in Alaska (I would VERY much like to) so you may have to add a use category (light, medium, heavy). I do know this, if I am giving $300+ for a pair of waders, I damn sure would want them to last at least two years of 200 heavy use days.

I agree on the wading boots. How hard can it be to make a reasonably comfortable pair that does have the stitches popping after a couple of trips? Too much time and energy (read: dollars) on the flash (this years new model!!) and not nearly enough on function. I have hunting boots that make it through hard years of hunting before showing the same signs of wear. My $0.02.

Justin T

Just keep your waders out of sunlight, especially if they are breathable, every time I use mine, I put them in a black gym bag afterward. I fish an average of 50 days a year and more if I can, I have had a pair of Cabelas brand wading boots for 3 years and cabelas brand waders for 4 and have only had to put in one patch. Keep them out of sunlight, UV rays are rough on the material, neoprene is not really affected by that to this extent.


Wow,I fish about 200 days a year,maybe half in waders. The longest ive had any last is about 2 years,but i was thinking at $150.00 for an average pair my most costly were $375.00 some ones getting filty rich.Average # of US fishermen is around 30,000,000 if half own waders probably more,Thats $150X15,000,000=2,250,000,000.00 freakin dollars a year.They should last forever.I gotta open a wader buisness you fishermen a suckers LOL.Tight Lines All.


I don't own any breathable waders, yet, because my neoprene waders are still working fine, but I would suggest looking at LL Bean waders. All LL Bean products have a lifetime guarantee, so if after a year your waders fall apart you can bring them back and get a brand new pair at no cost. I plan to make all my future outdoor gear purchases thru LL Bean just for that reason.


Patrick, you are correct to be moving to breathables as they are much more comfortable than neoprene in my opinion. You're also smart to be looking at LLBean waders. I've owned several over the years. They're a good value and they usually hold up as well as can be expected. But as a lifelong customer and former seasonal employee, I can tell you that their products don't have a "lifetime guarantee. " Rather, their products have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, an important distinction. So if your waders blow out sooner than they should, you're covered. But if you're fishing them hard and they start leaking like every wader eventually does, it doesn't get you new waders in perpetuity.

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