Breathable chest waders are a key piece of fly fishing gear. Whether keeping you dry, or warm, being comfortable is going to keep you casting longer which usually results in more hook ups.
But with so many wader options available, choosing the right pair can be challenging. So after thorough research and years of wading I thought I could share some thoughts and provide some direction. It really boils down to how much you’d like to spend and how important a brand name is to you.
Breathable chest waders provide comfort by allowing your sweat to evaporate reducing the clammy feeling and allowing clothes to stay dry. This provides warmth in cold weather and ventilation in hot weather. Unique fabrics like Gore-Tex (trademark) are a system of fabric layers that provide abrasion resistance, waterproofing and breathability.
A breathable chest wader is a must-have fishing accessory for most weather conditions. Staying dry, comfortable and organized (with pockets) is necessary for fishing success.
Let’s dig into some of the best breathable chest waders for fly fishing comfort in the market.
Guide Recommendation: If you’d like to skip reading about durability, taped seams and punctures from barb wire fences and want the BEST VALUE – check out the Compass Deadfall Waders (link to Amazon for prices and reviews) I owe three pairs of these waders.
I will freely admit, you get what you pay for when it comes to waders. My Simms G3 waders were probably the best on the market when I bought them. So, if you want the best – check out this link to SIMMS – https://www.simmsfishing.com/shop/mens/waders
But I’d like you to consider something, what if the leaks in your waders weren’t because of the craftsmanship of the waders. What if most of the leaks were caused by user error? For the price of those Simms, I could buy 2 trips with a guide and still buy a pair of waders that stayed leak-free just as long as those Simms’s G3s.
Breathable chest waders are the best way to stay comfortable. The only time I’ll wear my neoprene waders anymore is if the temps get really low. (Under 20 degrees Fahrenheit) As I get older, I’m finding that standing in a river with the air temperature that cold isn’t even fun.
For me, the dilemma is should I get the bragging rights that come with a high-end name brand? Or find great value knowing that all waders will leak when rubbed on a barb wire fence.
Waders aren’t cheap. I’ve got some articles to help select, find a great value and repair.
- Need to get a recommendation for a VALUE packed pair of waders? Read – Breathable Chest Waders for Your Fishing Comfort
- Looking for a short cut to selecting waders? Read – 5 Things to Know When Selecting Fishing Waders
- Get some wisdom from someone who wears waders a lot – 13 Hacks for Fishing Waders
- Can you clean and rejuvenate waders? YES read – How to Care for and Repair Fly Fishing Waders
I have owned a half dozen brands of breathable waders over the years. I even ordered 10 pairs of various sizes to test with the idea of selling waders. For me whether I spend +$750 dollars for G3 Simms or $150 on something from Amazon, all waders are going to leak eventually.
I bought my first pair of Compass Deadfall Waders over four years ago. My SIMMS waders were getting older and I was getting ready to send them in for 4 weeks of leak repair. So, I needed some waders to cover me for the repair time and I can always use backup waders.
The Compass Waders surprised me before even trying them on. The knees are double layered with the top layer exclusively used for wear protection. I’m hard on wader knees, I crawl and shuffle to stay low to avoid fish seeing me.
Other features of note:
- A water-resistant front pocket.
- Fleece lined hand warming pocket.
- Comfortable wide shoulder straps with “correctly” oriented snaps.
- A flip out zippered pocket in the front interior.
- An elastic adjustable top string to snug the wader top tight.
- Double layer seat area along with the knees
- Included patch repair kit
- Gravel guard with shoe lace hook.
- A couple “gadget” rings for clipping on tools.
I’m not an expert by any means in wader construction. But these waders have 100% seam tape on the inside with “patches” of seam tape at the ankle and crotch areas.
I really only have two grips. The first is the ankles are a little tight, and this might be me. I have a clothing system that has four layers of clothing at my ankles.
The other beef is the belt loops are located towards the back of the waders. It’s a bit difficult to reach these with the waders on.
In the last 5 years I’ve bought THREE pair of Compass Deadfall Waders – the last ones are “extras” because I’m afraid I won’t be able to find them when I’m due for another pair.
Durability, needs to be talked about. I’m hard on waders, the type of fishing I enjoy pushes the limits, bush-whacking through briar bushes, climbing over fallen logs and kneeling on rocks and gravel are my idea of fun. (I truly believe hiking a little farther than most yields more fish)
Guide Tip: Repairing Waders is pretty easy. If you need a “quick fix” I’ve used UV Glue. Spread it and zap it. For a lasting repair get some Aquaseal and either use a piece of wader material or tape. Read exactly what to do with this article: How to Care For and Repair Fly Fishing Waders
The Deadfall waders have held up admirably. Two years without a leak is about the same as my Simms. I’ve had to repair a hole in the neoprene bootie, that was caused by my crappy old wading boots wearing through. This isn’t a fault of the waders though. I’ve also patched and repaired a rip caused by a fence.
Picture of repair Warranty, Amazon provides the standard 30 day no questions asked, plus Compass states they have a 1-year warranty protecting against manufactures defects.
2) Simms G4Z Stocking Foot Waders – No Question “The Best”
If you’re looking for the best the G4Z’s, are it. They’re a development beyond the G3s I own. The features you’ll love are the full-length zipper in the front and the neoprene cushioned straps.
The G4Z comes in 9 sizes and the option to get a short, regular or tall fit. When I bought mine, the first pair delivered were sent back so I could switch to a regular cut.
The fabric is measurably thicker than my Deadfalls, I didn’t measure it, but you can feel the difference. Durability is outstanding my G3s are 7 years old and from what I see on the G4Z is they’re as well built. My G3s have the full zipper, which is convenient for quickly taking a leak without stripping layers off.
If you’d like to read more and check current prices here’s a link over to Simms G4Z – https://www.simmsfishing.com/shop/mens/waders/g4z-stockingfoot-1
Made in Bozeman, USA and with an incredible warranty that basically allows you to get the waders fixed for the cost of postage or repaired for life. (Nominal Fee Paid)
Guide Tip: Waders have a coating called DWR (Durable Water Repellent) this coating repels water and disperses it. Eventually DWR wears out causing the outer surface to become saturated limiting the “breathability”. Luckily you can buy DWR and re-treat your garment. Amazon sells this stuff – Here’s a link – DWR on Amazon
3) TideWe Breathable Insulated Chest Wader
If you’re looking for a high-quality breathable chest wader that will keep your entire body warm and dry during the cold fly fishing season, then this is the best option.
When designing this chest wader, TideWe thought about both hunters and anglers. It is the main reason why they included a pair of Thinsulate insulated steel shank boots. They also lined the suit with 120g of insulation that will keep you warm for an extended period. (source)
Other than the fact that the nylon shell is breathable, this wader is also waterproof. TideWe wader comes with an armor weld with sealed and double-stitched seams. And for extra protection, it has polyurethane-coated leggings. Besides the high-quality materials used to make this wader, its unique 3-layer construction provides superior performance and durability. (source)
Get the current prices and more reviews on Amazon with this link – TideWe Waders
TideWe wader’s built-in rubber pair of shoes are pretty comfortable and can even be worn without socks. These shoes also offer extra protection against punctures so that you can fly fish comfortably and safely from the shores or in shallow lakes and rivers. And to provide you with better traction and protection on muddy and wet surfaces, these shoes have rugged boot-tread traction. (source)
TideWe made sure that this wader is user-friendly by adding an adjustable high-quality elastic suspender; therefore, wearing and taking off this wader is relatively easy and fast. This wader also comes with fleece-lined hand warmers that can help keep your hands warm during the cold fishing or hunting seasons. Unfortunately, some users have complained that the sizing chart of this product is way off. (source)
- 1200grams Thinsulate insulated boot
- Lightweight, abrasion-resistant, and breathable nylon shell
- 600D reinforced shin in the seat and knee areas
- A steel shank between the sole and inner sole to offer stability
- Zippered front storage pocket
- Fleece-lined handwarmer pockets
- You can wear rubber boots even without socks
- Its zippered front storage can help keep your fly fishing gear dry and safe.
- It can double as both a fishing and hunting wader
- Compared to other waders in the market, this TideWe wader is quite costly
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5
Conclusion: This TideWe breathable wader is a perfect option for people who love taking hunting and fishing trips. In fact, it is designed to keep you warm and safe while doing both activities on a wide range of terrains.
Guide Recommended Tip: Read: 13 Hacks for Fly Fishing Waders
4) HISEA Kids Breathable Chest Wader
Fishing is a fun family activity that parents and grandparents have used to bond with their kids and grandkids for centuries. Therefore, you must keep your kid protected with HISEA kids wader while teaching them about life and how to fly fish. HISEA Kid’s breathable chest wader is available for kids between 2 and 13 years old. But for a better fit, make sure you check the size chart and the shoe size; after all, the boots and waders must fit your child perfectly. (source)
HISEA Kids’ breathable chest wader’s construction utilizes PVC and 70D nylon materials that are 30% lighter than the traditional materials. Therefore, your kid is guaranteed a lightweight wader that can do more than just keep them safe. This product construction includes using ripstop PVC on the inside and tightly woven nylon on the outside. The mixture of PVC and 70D nylon for waders offer great water-resistant and durability.
Buy with confidence at Amazon. Get current prices and read more reviews with this link – HISEA Kids Waders
Plus, the thermoplastic material’s hot welding technology and excellent stitching provide breathability without causing any leakages. Therefore, it can keep your kids comfortable and fresh all day long. This wader also comes with unique shoes with non-slip soles that keep the kids safe while fishing in the water.
And to help you spot your kids in the water, HISEA Kids’ breathable chest wader comes with green safety alert suspenders. These suspenders can help you spot your kids despite how further they wander away from you. Unfortunately, some parents have complained that finding the right match for their kids can be pretty challenging.
- Its construction uses a mixture of PVC and 70D nylon.
- It comes with a pair of safety boots with non-slip soles.
- It has green safety suspenders.
- The youth HISEA waders have a protective knee lining.
- It’s ideal for kids of all ages.
- Has shoes to keep the kids safe
- Some parents have complained that finding a pair that fits their kids can be pretty tricky.
Conclusion: HISEA kids’ chest wader is a perfect option for kids who love fishing with their parents. Its waterproof design and safety boots will guarantee your kid’s safety. Plus, the fact that you can spot them even from a distance is a bonus.
5) HISEA Fly Fishing Breathable Chest Waders
HISEA has an extensive line of waders ranging from PVC boot foot to thick neoprene. We’ll concentrate on the stocking foot breathable waders which will be the most comfortable and have “breathable” fabric. HISEA has designed there wader is to keep you comfortable all day long while hunting or fishing. It combines a breathable membrane and a high-quality micro denier upper for perfect comfort. (source)
The 100% breathable and waterproof inner membrane allows the body heat and moisture to escape while keeping out the water. Its ultra-lightweight design offers you a wide range of motion while making it easier for you to carry it for your wading or fishing trips. Plus, every wader comes with a netting and nylon storage bag for easy transportation. (source Amazon)
Its unique 3-ply polyester design offers high wear resistance. Reinforced with a sturdy 420D material, the wader’s gravel guard works with the seat and knee region to increase durability in these regions. This wader comes with high-density neoprene stocking feet that offer exceptional waterproof comfort and insulation all day long. (source Amazon)
In order to guarantee that it’s waterproof and durable, all waders from HISEA are customarily tested by turning them inside out and filling them with water before being hung to dry.
Check out this link to get current prices and more reviews – HISEA Fly Fishing Chest Waders Breathable Stocking Foot
- A free netting and nylon storage bag
- Zippered waterproof storage
- A fleece-lined pass-through pocket
- A unique chest Molle hanging system for quickly accessing your tools
- X-back elastic adjustable suspenders
- Wading belt
- Attached belt loops
- It offers more storage spaces for your gear
- Some anglers don’t like its buggy design
Conclusion: HISEA fly fishing chest wader is an affordable option for fly anglers that love a wader with no attached pair of boots. Its ultra-lightweight design makes it the best choice for people who love fishing in exotic fishing spots worldwide. Plus, the fact that it has extra storage spaces is a bonus for fly anglers.
6) Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Chest Wader – Cheap but OK
Frogg Toggs Canyon II is an excellent breathable wader designed to keep you comfortable while fly fishing. This wader is composed of 4mm double-taped neoprene booty and a 4-ply nylon upper. This product is perfect for long day fishing; after all, they are vetted and tested before being released to the market. So make sure you pick the right wader size and shoe size that fits you perfectly.
The outer part of this wader has a nylon shell that is lightweight, supple, abrasion-resistant, breathable, and lightweight. The middle part is waterproof, making it the best option for extreme weather conditions as it is lightweight and guarantees maximum breathability. The inner layer has a cool, smooth, and soft micro-textured fabric that helps reduce skin contact for a cool and light experience. (source)
This chest wader is available in a wide range of sizes ranging from XXL to small. Therefore, you can get a chest wader that fits you and your family members perfectly. Plus, the fact that its machine wash is a turn-off for some anglers. Unfortunately, some users have complained that it’s not a great option for anglers with massive bodies and tiny feet.
- It has a zippered flip-out chest pocket
- It comes with a D-ring in the chest region
- Splash-proof zippered chest pocket
- It has adjustable Y-back suspenders
- It comes with gravel guards and integral lace hooks
- Adjustable wading belt
- It’s easy to put on and take off
- It has a zippered flip-out chest pocket for keeping your valuables safe when fly fishing.
- It is not ideal for anglers with oversized bodies and feet.
Conclusion: Frogg Toggs Canyon II wader is an excellent option for fishing in a wide range of climatic conditions and water bodies. Plus, the fact that it is available in a wide range of colors means you can get an option that matches your style and even occasion.
7) Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Waterproof Chest Waders
Simms makes awesome fly fishing gear. All the high-end waders are made in Bozeman Montana. But like most brands Simms has low end waders made overseas. The Tributary series is one of those models. These are basic, bare bones waders the fit well.
Amazon sells the Simms Tributary waders. Check out the current prices and reviews with this convenient link – Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Waders
The key to getting these comfortable is taking the time to measure yourself and matching those measurements with one of the EIGHT sizes.
Features that stand out with the Tributary’s are the Four-Layer construction in the lower and a cut that provides mobility of motion.
Guide Tip: Thoroughly dry waders after every use. Mold and condensation will reduce the breathability of the waterproofing membrane.
What’s great about the Tributary’s is that the sizing is true to folks from North America. The reputable brand provides a 60 day warranty and repair for one year with a nominal $60 fee.
Typical pass through pocket and zippered pocket (not waterproof), I would like it if Simms included an interior flip out pocket.
- Interior zip pocket for holding your personal items
- Stockingfoot with neoprene bootie
- Gravel guard
- Polyester material with seam tape
- Adjustable should straps with opposing snaps
- Simms reputation
- A wading belt to prevent flooding
Conclusion: Simms Tributary will give you brand recognition in front of you buddies, but for the same $$ or less you can get a better wader.
A breathable chest wader is a lightweight angling gear that guarantees mobility and comfort while keeping you safe. Some breathable waders come with extra storage spaces for your valuables and flies. They are versatile fishing gear that you can wear all year long, whether you’re hunting or fishing.
Generally, these waders are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, but they are not supposed to be too baggy. The design of these waders is purposeful to be comfortable, but some anglers agree that a little baggy provides room for many movements, which is nice if you like wearing multiple layers of clothing.
When it is cold, you need a layer of clothes under your wader to help keep you warm; unfortunately, this doesn’t mean insulated snow pants or jeans. In fact, you should avoid wearing cotton or denim clothes under your wader. Look at wearing polyester fleece sweat pants, not cotton like jeans.
One More Cast
The success of any fly fishing trip is in many ways determined by the kind of gear you carry and how comfortable and relaxed you will be while casting and reeling in your catch. Plus, since you will be out there in the water for a very long time, you need the right breathable chest wader that can keep you dry and cool at the same time. And with the above breathable chest waders, you can have your entire family members in the water fishing without worrying about their safety.
- Ted Leeson, Wading in Deep, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=VrgR90EzyMIC&pg=PA84&dq=what+is+a+breathable+chest+wader&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi83dOUjtnzAhVfSfEDHTZsDNUQ6AF6BAgIEAI#v=onepage&q=what%20is%20a%20breathable%20chest%20wader&f=false/ Accessed October 20, 2021
- Amazon staff, Dark Lighting Breathable Insulated Chest Waders, https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Lightning-Breathable-Insulated-Stockingfoot/dp/B08B5ZTKVQ/ref=sr_1_4_sspa?crid=1E9MSSQJJJFS6&dchild=1&keywords=breathable+chest+waders&qid=1634793310&sprefix=breathable+chest+wader%2Caps%2C460&sr=8-4-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzRE9JRzhPUFRWQjVKJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNDQyNzE2MzVBSk0yMDEwQ09DMiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNDA3NjE2MzdZWjkyVlI3RkxXSCZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=/ Accessed October 20, 2021
- Amazon staff, TIDEWE Breathable Insulated Chest Wader with Boot Hanger. https://www.amazon.com/TIDEWE-Breathable-Insulated-Insulation-Waterproof/dp/B08BLRSLPB/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1E9MSSQJJJFS6&dchild=1&keywords=breathable+chest+waders&qid=1634795178&sprefix=breathable+chest+wader%2Caps%2C460&sr=8-5/ Accessed October 21, 2021
- Amazon staff, RUNCL Kids Chest Wader with Boots, https://www.amazon.com/RUNCL-Chest-Waders-Waist-High-Bootfoot/dp/B08XZC3825/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=1E9MSSQJJJFS6&dchild=1&keywords=breathable+chest+waders&qid=1634795178&sprefix=breathable+chest+wader%2Caps%2C460&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFFSExDN0ZaRjFFMzkmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA5MDIxMzkxOTk3UDkyQkdVNDJLJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA0MTA1MDExVDFZNURFMTZSVzROJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==/ Accessed October 21, 2021
- Amazon staff, HISEA Fly Fishing Chest Waders Breathable Foot Wader Without Boots for Men and Women, https://www.amazon.com/HISEA-Fishing-Breathable-Stocking-Without/dp/B07V5XXD52/ Accessed October 21, 2021
- Amazon staff, Piscifun BX Breathable Chest Waders with Boots, https://www.amazon.com/Piscifun-Breathable-Bootfoot-Polyester-Camouflage/dp/B08R1B7GTD/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?crid=1E9MSSQJJJFS6&dchild=1&keywords=breathable+chest+waders&qid=1634795178&sprefix=breathable+chest+wader%2Caps%2C460&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFFSExDN0ZaRjFFMzkmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA5MDIxMzkxOTk3UDkyQkdVNDJLJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA3MzQyMTkxSlJBV1dTOVo0MEdCJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==/ Accessed October 21, 2021
- Amazon staff, Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader, https://www.amazon.com/Frogg-Toggs-Breathable-Stockingfoot-X-Large/dp/B077PMTDLL/ref=sr_1_7?crid=1E9MSSQJJJFS6&dchild=1&keywords=breathable+chest+waders&qid=1634795178&sprefix=breathable+chest+wader%2Caps%2C460&sr=8-7/ Accessed October 21, 2021
- Amazon staff, RUNCL Chest Waders with Boots for Men and Women, https://www.amazon.com/RUNCL-Chest-Waders/dp/B08VN9RJX4/ref=sr_1_19_sspa?crid=1E9MSSQJJJFS6&dchild=1&keywords=breathable+chest+waders&qid=1634795178&sprefix=breathable+chest+wader%2Caps%2C460&sr=8-19-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFFSExDN0ZaRjFFMzkmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA5MDIxMzkxOTk3UDkyQkdVNDJLJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA4NTE3OTUxRlpUTzg2TUxCVjdKJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfbXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==/ Accessed October 21, 2021