Hey Everyone! If you haven't already, it's time to take your photography talents into the water with a pair of high-quality waders. Buy a decent pair of waders, and carry them with you whenever you think you're going to be in the water. Think about it, you guys. If you see a beautiful shot across the river and think, "well, I can't get there because I'll get soaked!" then you need waders. If you can get over to that prime spot more easily with waders on, then you are that much closer to getting the shot you want.
When buying a pair of waders, you'll need to consider a few things, such as wader style, height, and material.
For style, there are two common options to choose from, bootfoot waders and stockingfoot waders. Bootfoot waders, for some, are a good economical choice because they already have the boot sewn onto the foot, so there is no need to purchase wader boots. One of the drawbacks can be the lack of customizing the fit of the boot. However, they are good for keeping debris out of undesirable places.
With Stockingfoot waders, the wader is sewn into a pair of booties that are designed to be worn with a pair of boots. Some styles come with an additional gravel guard to help keep debris out of your boots. Stockingfoot booties are usually neoprene which helps keep your toes warm and dry from the elements. Another plus with stockingfoot waders is that they tend to be lighter, and you can synch up your laces to your heart's content.
Up next is wader height. The most common sizes are hip, high-waist, and chest waders. Hip waders are great for shallow water adventures. They act like chaps and attach to your belt. With waist-high waders, these act just like pants. They can attach with a belt or be worn with suspenders (some come with suspenders too). This option is good for adventures that take you mid-thigh into water. However, our favorite and most recommended wader heights are chest waders. These are the largest option available and work great as you traverse rivers and dense brush while out to capture the perfect shot. Because they are so tall, they provide great coverage and sport other features like chest pockets to keep your hands warm in colder weather. On a safe note, just because you can access deeper water with these waders doesn't mean you should. Always use caution and be aware and attentive to the environment around you.
When it comes to material choices, there are three popular options, breathable nylon/polyester fabric with a waterproof membrane, neoprene, and rubber. It's important to consider the type of terrain you will be in when choosing a material type. Breathable waders are among the most popular to purchase because they are lightweight and great for warmer summer days. For colder temperatures, they can be paired with an insulating base layer to help keep you warm.
Neoprene is another good option to consider. They have great insulating ability and different thickness options to choose from. However, they lack breathability but are great for keeping you warm.
Of all the fabric options, rubber is the most durable and waterproof. A lot of waders have rubber components built into them, usually in the boot construction. Something to consider with rubber waders is the lack of breathability and flexibility. Most rubber waders can be found primarily as hip height options. It's rare to find waist-high or chest waders in this material.
We hope this post helps you see the benefits that come from owning a pair of high-quality waders. Take them everywhere with you. Wear them all the time! It will get you into areas for shots that everybody else won't get. So get out there and give this a try.