Waders & Apparel
Recent studies have shown women are the fastest growing demographic in outdoor sports, including fly fishing. That being the case, many manufacturers are rethinking their lineups and creating products specifically tailored for females.
Case in point is Redington’s updated Willow River wader ($160) and boot ($110). Made from a triple-layer breathable fabric, the waders are trimmed and sized differently than other waders to better fit the female figure, and the boots have a wide insole that is strong but lightweight, and a padded ankle collar for solid support in slippery environments.
Simms’s G3 Guide Stockingfoot WQW waders ($550) and Intruder boots ($180), were winners of IFTD best waders and boots, respectively. The new G3s have three layers of Gore-Tex Pro Shell in the uppers, and five layers in the legs, micro-fleece handwarmer pockets, zippered chest pocket, and a removable flip-out Tippet Tender pocket. What’s more, Simms is donating a portion of the wader sales to Warriors & Quiet Waters (see page 12). The Intruder, available with either felt or Vibram soles, was actually designed to stand on its own without waders – there’s a neoprene sock stitched inside and the boot is intended for wet wading.
To improve customer satisfaction, Patagonia brought together a collection of fabric developers and design experts, dubbed it the Wader Task Force, and asked it to eliminate variation in the production process. The result, Patagonia says, is a revamped collection of waders, like the Rio Gallegos ($500), with an emphasis on quality and functionality.
The BOA Pivot boot ($200) is the newest wading boot from Orvis. Though there are several manufacturers using the BOA system (which on this boot is guaranteed for the life of the boot), the Pivot feels exceptionally lightweight, likely because it’s made with the same microfiber material as the company’s Riverguard Ultralight boot. Orvis Marketing Manager Tom Rosenbauer also said a lot of thinking went behind the sole design to make it “grippy” without sacrificing comfort.
Since Hodgman underwent a rebranding and returned to the fishing apparel industry last year, it’s been working hard to improve its wader and outerwear options. The Aesis ($350) wader is built with the company’s fabric-welding technology, which it claims is much stronger and leakproof than traditional wader seams, and includes other comforts like anatomically correct neoprene feet, a water-resistant chest pocket, and a D-ring on the back for a net. It is also compatible with other pieces in the company’s removable insulation system. One of the garments in that line is the Aesis HyperDRY Down Jacket ($200), which features a water-resistant goose down insulation and beltcatch loops that keep it in place while strapping on waders.
Simms created several noteworthy garments for 2016, but it was the Vapor Elite Jacket ($450) that won last year’s IFTD award for best men’s outerwear. While that may seem like a hefty price tag, the jacket is incredibly lightweight, and according to Simms, the fabric will actually wick moisture away from the body in warm climates, making it a good packable option in saltwater environments. The cuffs cinch to keep water out of sleeves, and the hood has the same 3-point cord-system as the Prodry Jacket so you can tighten it around your head and face without sacrifi cing vision (or your hat).
Finally, Western Rise, a relatively new company on the scene, is creating some interesting clothing options not just for angling, but for the general outdoors, that are both comfortable and functional. The Bodie Button Down ($80) has a classic-western look, but is made of modern water-wicking fabric. However, my personal favorite is the Granite Camp Pant ($100).