Breathable waist high waders

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Good evening,

I fish all the time. In the colder months for salmon and steelhead I fish out of my canoe with regular old chest waders. Drift down to a spot, beach canoe, get out and fish. Repeat.

I use rubber boots for canoeing. Sometimes I walk out too far and fill them with water.

I also have a set of waist high breathable stocking foot waders with a boot that has a felt sole so it doesn't slip on slippery stuff. Very comfortable walking distances in them.

I was thinking about using them for canoe trips, but was wondering why I don't see people doing this. Nowadays they are made pretty tough - used the same sets for years crawling around the woods. For some of those deep water landings they would be great, and you can keep your lower body dry paddling in the rain. I always buy larger so I can get in and out of the canoe easily.

Enlightenment please!

Thank you.
 
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I have used hip waders for years to hunt. But mostly out of boats that didn't have a chance of an involuntary dismount, and then only going into water depths that I could stand up in without overtopping.

When using full chest waders, I always wear a wading belt. And then I really, really, try not to wade deeper than the top of the waders. Not saying I've never occasionally stepped into deeper water and floated a hat.

My concern with using hip boots in a canoe is the inability to prevent them from filling with water.
If you have never tried swimming with hip waders, try it, and perhaps you will have an answer to "why I don't see people doing this".

I have never used waist high waders, so I can't do much more than offer an assumption, that if waist high's could also fill with water, they would also be problematic.
If you could kick them off easily, taking a swim might not be as big an issue. If.
If is the big word here. And if not?

My chest waders use separate felt soled boots that lace up, and I would likely not get them unlaced, loosened, and then get out of the waders quickly enough, to be assured of it being something that would not be an issue in cold water. My hip boots are a bear to get out of as well, as they fit my foot really well with heavy wool socks, and I almost have to be sitting to pry them off. That alone is why I can go through deep mud without them getting sucked off my feet.

If you are using waders, odds are that the water is cold enough to need them, and that is when waders can become potential death traps.
Try swimming with yours on. I agree with all the benefits of wearing waders, unfortunately they also come with risks that are real.

Bill
 
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I do not like wet feet, I do not like cold feet, where I paddle the water is usually cold to very cold so when it's not appropriate for a full dry suit........


I've been using Kokatat (semi) dry bottoms for about 10 years, I have the older faux Goretex version (new versions have a POCKET!!!!)

https://kokatat.com/hydrus-3l-tempest-pants-with-socks-ptuhtp

I pair them with thin wool socks and NRS Workboots.

https://www.nrs.com/product/2338/nrs-workboot-wetshoes (warning: go up 2 sizes)

I've gone for a couple of swims, it's only when you drag yourself out of the river you realize you are dragging an extra 30lbs of water with you!
 
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I think the biggest complaint is if you are doing a lot of portaging, particularly over rough terrain, the support/protection isn't there and the other complaint is that even the "breathable" ones you tend to sweat in and still wind up wet from perspiration. A lot of guys are using Chota hippies, which are a convertible hip boot. My buddy has a pair that he has used for a couple of years now....he has gone over the top a couple of times on trips and on warmer days, complains about sweating in them, but he still uses them.....

Mike
 
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Chest high waders are clumsy and clammy. If you come out of your boat you may have some trouble keeping water out of them.
There are some great boots made for canoeing with neoprene and varying heights. I recommend those.
For winter steelhead fishing in the West the standard wear is neoprene chest waders. They fit tightly and will not ship any water. They are warm and pretty comfortable with fleece underneath. Not so good for a lot of walking and portaging.
Good rafting in the West is in the spring. Late Mar to earlly Jun. I like wet suits and dry tops for those conditions.
 
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A friend of mine used the bottoms of a two-piece drysuit on an extended trip a couple of years ago. They worked great. They came in useful for getting out of the boat in deep water (e.g. vegetation prohibiting getting close) when the rest of us had our Mucks on. He also did a lot of tough portages with them. I think he used the Chota boots with them.
 
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I use Chota Hppies with rubber soled wading boots. Felt soled boots are not legal in Alaska. I never cared for the felt soled boots anyway. They were too slippery for me.
 
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I have used hip waders for years to hunt. But mostly out of boats that didn't have a chance of an involuntary dismount, and then only going into water depths that I could stand up in without overtopping.

My concern with using hip boots in a canoe is the inability to prevent them from filling with water.
If you have never tried swimming with hip waders, try it, and perhaps you will have an answer to "why I don't see people doing this".

If you could kick them off easily, taking a swim might not be as big an issue. If. If is the big word here. And if not?

Try swimming with yours on. I agree with all the benefits of wearing waders, unfortunately they also come with risks that are real.

What Bill said about hip waders.

I used hip waders for marsh duckhunting, in a canoe I felt was uber-stable. And for clamming. I never swam from the canoe, or plunged into a deep hole while clamming

But, I was helping a father and young daughter launch down a steep bank at the start of a Canoe Orienteering event. I was wearing hip waders. I was judging, not paddling, and was not wearing a PFD.

When I lost it going down the bank I deposited the daughter abruptly in the bow of their canoe on my way past, and went in feet first. To a considerable depth, well over my head.

“Swimming” to the surface was a chore with water- filled waders, there was not a lot of “kicking” involved.

Once I surfaced I had zero chance of clambering up that steep bank with water filled hip wader legs, and I could not easily lose the waders; they had webbing straps and ladder locks hooked around my belt. I never used that strapped “security” feature again.

The father finally stopped laughing and hauled my soggy ass up the bank; I could not have clambered up that river’s edge on my own.

So yeah, I’d rather not repeat that ever again. Especially if there is no one around to help. After they stopped laughing.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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An old saw about waders is that if you dump, water will get in, and that may weigh you down and drown you. I don't buy much of that. You should have the same buoyancy in the water whether the water is outside or inside your waders. And, in fact, neoprene waders should add buoyancy, though breathable fabric waders wouldn't unless they are holding air in the legs. But on top of all that, a canoeist would have on a life jacket.

The problem with filling up the waders with water is when you try to get out of the water. You probably won't be able to re-enter a canoe with all the extra water weight.

I've canoed with a Goretex bib, which has integral Goretex sock liners, and which is intended to mate with the matching dry top to form a dry suit. I put on one of my many water shoes, boots or sandles over the Goretex socks depending on the temperature and terrain. And, of course, I wear a life jacket. I also may wear a belt to inhibit water entry into the legs. I've never tipped over while wearing this outfit, so I have no personal empirical data.

But this guy, albeit rather wordy, has tested swimming in:

--> neoprene waders:




--> and breathable fabric waders:


 
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My experience mirrors Glenn (again!), swimming in semi-dry pants filled with water is no problem, other than the sensation of dampness it's no different than swimming in a full dry suit. When I've gotten to shore and tried to stand up that's when the "problems start", since at this point I'm at or on the shore it's time to strip off the wet clothing anyway.
 
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Great responses all,

I have asked many guides about the possibility of heading and staying under in waders and they have dispelled the idea. They know the rivers quite well - they go usually go under trying to net a fish for a customer, and then only near the end of the trip if they have been skunked.

My chest high neoprene's fit snug enough (fat) and with the waist belt let very little water in when you go under. But very warm and just for winter steelheading.

I tried hip boats years ago but they did ship too much water.

They are getting harder to find, but a lace-up boot foot works very well and are good for distances.

My waist high breathables have a sturdy belt, and have done a very good job of keeping water out. (on unfamiliar rivers, when you see a line of guys but there is a 10' space between a couple of them....) Durability/breathability is tied into price point - I've had the same Simms for over 10 years and they are still going strong after years of woods walking. The breathability is first rate. The Gander Mountain pair I had to buy (forgot mine at home) didn't last a season.

I think I'll give it a shot on an early fall trip in the dak's - Thank you!


.
 
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I used to paddle with a guy that like to wear hip waders in his canoe but would forget to put on his life jacket. We did some fishing on rivers like the Sacramento which has a king salmon run and very cold water coming out the dam even in summer. He would not listen to the idea of being more careful in the fast current in cold water. I finally quit paddling with him altogether.
 
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One thing not talked about is that high waders and dry suits can form an air pocket at the foot end, lifting your feet up and unless wearing a good pfd or life jacket, your head goes down. Makes swimming more tiring.
Whatever option you decide on I recommend practicing a capsize and swim plus carrying a knife so you can cut any straps to get out of them
 
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