When you’re out hunting and fishing with the guys, the very last thing on your mind should be how wet and cold your feet are. Sure, you’re no whiner, but wouldn’t you rather not have that problem in the first place? Your standard outdoor rubber boots aren’t going to cut if you’re trying to get your next big catch. You need some hunting waders that will serve you well in all your outdoor adventures. The thing is, buying a great pair of men’s hunting waders can be a big investment, not to mention a confusing one. With so many different styles and options available, it can be hard to know you’re putting money on the right ones. Here are four key things you need to consider when choosing your next pair.
- Function: First off, you need to carefully consider what type of activities you’ll most often be using your wading boots for. Are you a cold water angler? A duck hunter? Will you be doing a lot of hiking or mostly sitting and standing? Do you plan to barely get wet, or to go all in? All these factors make a huge difference, because ultimately you want to choose the waders that will keep you protected and comfortable. For example, if you plan to incorporate quite a bit of hiking into your adventures, clunky and heavy boots will be more of a burden than a benefit. That means that boot-foot waders might not be your best friend, and you may want to opt for the lighter and more accommodating stocking-foot waders. How much you expect to be in the water will also affect what style you purchase. Outdoor rubber boots are just the mere tip of the iceberg. You can purchase anything from short boots to hip waders, to pants or chest waders. It all depends on how wet you want to get. If you’re buying outdoor rubber boots to layer over your stocking-foot waders, look for ones that are 100% waterproof and scent-free.
- Temperature: What’s the weather like where you’re hunting? What are the most extreme water temperatures you’ll be exposed to? Temperature is a major factor in choosing the appropriate gear, so consider it wisely. Most outdoor rubber boots won’t give you the kind of insulation you’ll need if your’e hunting in near-freezing water. Waders can generally be broken down into two categories: breathable and neoprene. Neoprene waders have a long history. They are warm (to varying degrees), heavy, and trusty in very cold weather. Breathable waders are obviously much less warm. However, breathable varieties can more easily be layered with insulated clothing, wool socks, and the like.
- Budget: When it comes to actually shelling out for a new pair of waders, the sticker shock might give you pause, but you’re better off in the long run buying the best waders you can afford. If you settle for the cheaper option now, you might regret that choice in a matter of days or weeks when they start leaking. There’s an enormous gap in quality between poor waders and great ones. Would you rather pay now and enjoy them for years, or save now and have to buy a new set every time hunting season rolls around? Sizing: Last, but definitely not least, you’ll need to pay attention to sizing your waterproof waders. The main thing to remember is that every manufacturer will have different sizing. If you’re at all concerned about the fit of your outdoor rubber boots, take a minute to contact the company and ask if they run small or large, or if there’s anything in particular you should know about the fit of their gear. Returning merchandise is a hassle, so plan ahead.
Remember, you get what you pay for. Its a cliche for reason: because it’s painfully true. Hopefully, this short list will help you ascertain exactly what type of waders will be the perfect fit for you, and will serve you well for a long time. Happy hunting!