8 Best Duck and Waterfowl Hunting Waders Check Out In 2018

Brutal Hunting Conditions Call for the Best Gear 

Waterfowl hunting is tough on men and equipment simply because the hunting season for ducks and geese takes place during the fall migration season, and the northern areas of the US into Canada and along the frigid northeastern coastlines are where the best hunting grounds lie.

Unless you are strictly field hunting for geese, chances are you will be wading thigh-deep in icy water and slogging through mud loaded down with guns, gear, and game birds.

Good Waders Increase Success in the Field 

Seasoned wetland bird hunters look for the best waders because they know that a successful hunt depends on staying protected all day in the cold mud and freezing water. If you want to maximize your performance during waterfowl season, take a look at our review of some of the top waders on the market today.

8 Best Duck & Waterfowl Hunting Waders

1. Lacrosse Waders Swamp Tuff Pro (700130)

Lacrosse Waders Swamp Tuff Pro (700130)

The Brush Tuffs are high-end waders designed for guides and other heavy users who hunt in extreme cold.

A fleece lining in the 5mm neoprene upper provides warmth and comfort in the worst conditions. The seams are double-stitched, bonded and taped, then covered with abrasion-resistant rubber coating for long leak-free performance. 

The high-strength shoulder strap system of these waders converts to a belt so the waders can be worn folded down. The waist belt holds a removable shot shell pouch, and an unfolding game bag is attached to the back of the waders. A large chest pocket system and removable inner security pocket will take care of your storage needs. The boots are heavy rubber and fit to the ankle, with 1000 gram Thinsulate insulation and out soles designed to shed debris and mud.

These pro-grade waders were the most feature-packed in our test—the build is very heavy-duty, and everything is in place to support extended hunting trips in the coldest weather conditions. The boots fit exceptionally well, with a gripping heel pocket and nylon shank that supports on rough terrain, and a removable EVA footbed for warmth and cushioning.

These waders are made for all-terrain use, and the neoprene is covered with a Lycra spandex layer that will take heavy abuse. If you have a high-end budget and want waders that will last for years, you should definitely go with the LaCrosse Brush Tuffs.

What we liked

  • Professional-grade details and durability
  • Super warm
  • Excellent boot fit

What we didn't like

  • Very heavy at 12 pounds
  • High price point

2. LaCrosse Mallard II Expandable Neoprene 

LaCrosse Mallard II Expandable Neoprene

The Mallard II waders offer the lighter weight and increased flexibility of 3.5mm neoprene, and LaCrosse also designed these waders with a low price point in mind.

These waders are durable thanks to the Polyurethane reinforced knees and seat, as well as a Lycra spandex Brush Tuff reinforcement layer on the outside. High back rise on the bib and 1000 gram Thinsulate in the boot keep cold weather performance high—and just like on the more expensive Swamp Tuffs, the Mallard II’s shoulder straps can also function as a belt if you’d like to wear the waders folded down. Other features include a large top-loading chest pocket, an inner phone pocket, and a hand-warmer pocket.

The nice thing about the Mallard II wader is the adjust ability provided by compression straps on the sides of the bib section—not only do they allow different users to wear the waders, they are really useful when layering heavy clothing and jackets.

Every feature on these waders shows LaCrosse quality, and we appreciated seeing the same contoured, tight-fitting, high-traction boots as are found on the high-end LaCrosse waders. Durability and quality make these waders some of the best we have seen in terms of value for the money.

What we liked

  • High-quality build
  • Adjustment system
  • Light weight
  • Good price point

What we didn't like

  • No waist belt

3. Compass 360 2115956-7 DuraTek

The DuraTek waders are high-quality 5mm neoprene chest waders with good durability and detailing.

They have triple-sealed seams to keep leaks out, and the extra high back panel comes to shoulder level for warmth and dryness. The knees and shins are double reinforced. Heavy-duty padded suspenders are integrated into the back of the wader and adjust in the front to give a fit and strength similar to backpack straps.

A large front hand-warmer pocket doubles as a velcro-sealed pouch and has shell loops across the front. Thigh pockets offer quick-access storage, and a wide, heavy nylon belt gives a good fit and carrying capacity at the waist. The boots are insulated with 1200 gram Thinsulate, and a thick, puncture-resistant polyurethane strip attaches the boots to the waders.

Compass 360 has hit all the right details with the DuraTek model, and these are sturdy, functional waders at a value price point. The suspender system is excellent—it is well-padded and form-fitting, but has none of the spongy feel and tendency to twist that we see in lighter suspender systems. The chest D-rings are gusseted on separately, and the waist belt also has a large D-ring.

We really like the thigh pockets, a very rare feature on waders—moreover, they also have the strongest boot attachment that we have seen, and the boot tread is aggressive and designed to shed mud. These waders offer the best value for the money in our test.

What we liked

  • Best details of any waders tested
  • Great shoulder strap system
  • Puncture-resistant

What we didn't like

  • Heavy and bulky
  • High price point

4. Allen Big Timber Neoprene Bootfoot Chest

Allen Big Timbers are lighter 3.5mm neoprene waders—they feature heavy construction suitable for both dryland and waterfowl hunting, and have a high-back cut that rises toward the shoulders for complete splash protection.

They have reinforced knee pads and no-snag outer material to reduce chances of tearing, and the calf-high rubber boots are lined with 600G Thinsulate insulation and have hardened toe caps and steel arch supports.

Details include a large hand-warmer pocket with sealed pouch closure, D-rings on the chest, and a waist belt that allows for adjusting fit and carrying gear. The extra high back on these waders makes them feel tight and cozy, and the belt helps keep out drafts as well. The front pocket pouch is nice, but it has no dividers or compartments.

The boots on these waders are made with extensive dry ground walking in mind, and they fit snugly even when you’re pulling them out of deep muck. While the insulation makes them warmer than plain rubber, deep sock layers will be required in sub-freezing temperatures.

We didn’t find any leakage problems with the Big Timbers, but the seam taping is narrow and could be vulnerable in areas of heavy friction like the seat and inner thighs. Nevertheless, these are solid, heavy-duty waders that come at a lower price than most.

What we liked

  • Heavy material will withstand snags and tears
  • High back stops drafts in any position
  • Boots fit well

What we didn't like

  • No pocket compartments
  • Seam taping could be better

5. Waterfowl Wading Systems Max-5 

Waterfowl Wading Systems Max-5

The Max-5 waders combine warmth with comfort and flexibility with their 3.5mm neoprene construction and a high-back design that keeps water from slopping in.

These Stocking foot waders have hi-density neoprene soles on the foot portion, providing extra insulation against your boot soles. Sliding gravel guards hook securely to your boot laces. The Max-5s come in a wetland camo pattern and have reinforced knees, adjustable web suspenders with front D-rings for hanging gear, and a large front pocket to keep your hands warm.

We like the flexibility and all-day comfort qualities of 3.5mm neoprene, and Waterfowl Wading Systems brings a level of experience that is easy to feel in the way these chest waders fit. The weight savings between 5 and 3.5mm neoprene is surprising, and with the proper layering underneath, we think a pair of waders like these will hold up to all but most extreme conditions. Sitting and walking capabilities are what is important in a duck hunting wader, and the Max-5s wear like a pair of pants.

The only concern we had was with the quality of this lightweight neoprene—it is more prone to snags and tears than heavy neoprene or rubber, so the Max-5s are not the best for working through heavy brush and sticks to get to the blind. However, they are great for working from boats, and the weight savings and freedom of movement will be appreciated by kayak hunters.

What we liked

  • Easy to wear all day
  • Flexible
  • High waist and back

What we didn't like

  • Light-duty material
  • No belt loops

6. Allen Cattail Neoprene Bootfoot Chest Wader

The Allen Cattail waders offer a solution for those who want to get into a neoprene wader at an entry-level price point.

These 3.5mm waders have a Mossy Oak Blades pattern and they come with all the basic details found on high-price waders. The upper rises to mid-back, with H-strap suspenders and quick-release buckles with D-rings. The hand-warmer pocket and velcro-sealed chest pocket are functional, and a waist belt helps snug the uppers. Semi-hard toe caps and a steel arch beef up the rubber boots, and 1000 gram Thinsulate adds warmth.

The Allen Cattails are a set of basic waders that we would consider light-duty—they are comfortable, but the bib portion is a bit baggy, and the suspender straps could use some padding. Mobility is good with the 3.5mm material. On the other hand, we did not like the boot sole tread as it was not very aggressive, and the fit around the ankle area was sloppy. 

The Cattails are a good set of waders for the occasional hunter, or to have as spares—the main upside here is that these waders will suit the budget-conscious buyer well.

What we liked

  • Budget-priced
  • Comfortable
  • Good camo pattern

What we didn't like

  • Light-duty use only
  • Boot soles are slippery

7. Frogg Toggs Amphib Neoprene Bootfoot Chest 

Frogg Toggs Amphib Neoprene Bootfoot Chest

Frogg Toggs offers a bargain-priced 3.5mm wader in the Amphib model.

All of the Amphib’s seams are triple-finished, with stitching, glue, and tape combined to stop leaks and add durability. The rubber boots are insulated with 600 gram Thinsulate and come with an 8mm felt insole. The Amphibs have a high-rise upper that is secured with broad buckle-free straps, and Velcro closures allow for adjustment and easy on and off. D-rings and a basic hand-warmer pocket with a quick-drain hole comprise the details.

The Amhibs are solid waders for their price point, and although they might lack many of the usability details we like to see, they also make up for it with some durability points—for example, the seam treatment, wool insoles, and the padded straps are all features common to more expensive waders. The Amphibs are comfortable to wear, but they tend to run long, probably because of the slack that forms at the boot attachment points. The uppers tend to bag around the chest unless the wearer is huge.

We generally don’t like Velcro for closures where strength is needed, but for this type of wader, it adds easy adjust ability—it’s one reason for choosing the Amphibs as spare waders for taking friends hunting, or choosing them as a starter pair of waders.

What we liked

  • Entry-level pricing
  • Comfortable suspenders
  • Loose fit makes layering easy

What we didn't like

  • Few usable features
  • Light-duty construction

8. Frogg Toggs Cascades Rubber Bootfoot Chest 

The Frogg Toggs Cascades are made from tough 2-ply 300 Denier poly/rubber, with stitched, taped, and vulcanized seams.

These waders have a loose fit on top that allows for easy layering underneath. The extra-wide neoprene suspenders prevent cutting and chafing, and a draw-string closure lets you adjust the top fit and allow ventilation when needed. The Frogg Toggs have no outside pockets, but there is an inside security pocket for essential items that must be kept dry. The boots are lightweight and flexible, with a steel shank for support where it is most important.

We think these are some of the best kayaking waders out there because the light material and loose fit nearly eliminate binding and cutting. They are also very easy to get on and off, and the bib can be rolled down if needed for cooling—this is an essential feature when paddling long distances, and between hard effort and sitting in the cold, you need to be able to adjust layers freely. We liked the way the material of these waders slips and slides through brush and snags though. The boots work well for general wading, but they are not built for a lot of dry land walking.

Maybe the best feature is that it is possible to answer calls of nature with the Cascades on, something that is nearly impossible in heavy neoprene waders. These are good chest waders to own when freedom of movement is more important than protection from deep cold.

What we liked

  • Easy on and off
  • Good for layering and body heat control
  • Lightweight and flexible

What we didn't like

  • No outer pockets or D-rings
  • Boots are light-duty

The Best Waders on the Market 

With such a wide selection of great chest waders available, the key is to find the best in durability and usability for the lowest cost. Hunting style, terrain, and local climatic conditions will also factor into your final choice.

We have tested some of the best duck hunting waders you can buy—now it is up to you to zero in on the set of waders that will do the most to help you put cold weather waterfowl in the bag.

David Valle
 

I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable fishing experience. I deliver more than fishing gear guides, and motivate people to hit the water!

>