Wiggy’s Waders Review – SectionHiker.com
Wiggy’s is a cottage manufacturer that makes a variety of products ranging from cold weather sleeping bags to insulated outwear for the wilderness hunting/military market. Their claim to fame is insulation they call Lamilite, which is a popular synthetic insulation called Climashield laminated to nylon. They hold at least one patent on the process (https://patents.justia.com/patent/4910055). If you watch some of the videos on their website and read their website information, you could easily conclude that the owner is a crackpot, when in fact he’s just pissed off at all the bullshit marketing claims made by companies in the outdoor industry. I can respect that.
I’ve known about Wiggy’s for a long time but never really delved into their product line much because it isn’t stuff that I’ve needed. There’s one exception to that and it’s Wiggy’s Waders. These are lightweight hip-high waders that are worn over boots/shoes for short stream crossings. They’re quite lightweight and not built for heavy-duty sustained use as fishing waders or waders you’d hunt in all day. But these waders are very useful for cold spring and autumn stream crossings when you don’t want to get your footwear wet or carry extra footwear to make a crossing.
Specs at a GlanceWeight: 13 oz in a size LargeFabric: Urethane-coated ripstop nylonSole: Thin rubber soleSeam taped: YesSuspension: Webbing strap/buckle for pant beltHeight: Hip (crotch) heightSizing: Multiple, fits men’s hunting boot sizes from 5 to 16
The nice thing about Wiggy’s Waders is that they are very lightweight (13 oz in size L) and fold completely flat making them easy to carry in a pack. You just pull them over your hiking boots at streamside, wade across, and slip them off. Quick and easy and fast enough that you won’t get chilled in the transition.
The waders are oversized leggings that slip over your boots/shoes and run up to your crotch.
They’re made with a single piece of urethane-coated ripstop nylon with a front seam running from the top hem to the toe with a thin rubberized textured fabric sole sewn at the bottom. All of the seams are seam-taped inside and the sewing is quite neatly done.
The sole won’t take much abuse so you should avoid sharp rocks and wood debris when crossing streams or walking in them more than is absolutely necessary on abrasive sand or gravel. I’d also recommend pre-emptively applying a coat of seam-grip on the outside, particularly on the bottom, to reinforce and further waterproof the seams. Patching the bottom may eventually be required with shoegoo or tenacious tape.
Each wader leg has a thin rubberized sole.
There’s a webbing strap at the top of each leg that you loop around your belt to keep them from falling down and a drawstring that you can pull tight to prevent splashes from getting inside. You do need to prevent water from coming up over the top of the waders and filling them. This could very easily result in drowning if you’re pulled into deeper water because the waders would be difficult to remove and the weight of the water would make it difficult to stand or swim.
The waders are easy to use in knee-high water.
The fit is very baggy, but the waders are surprisingly easy to maneuver with on knee-high stream crossings. They don’t provide any insulation, however, so it’s best not to linger in the cold water too long. Putting the waders on and taking them off is easy and the coated fabric doesn’t absorb any water, so you can just roll them up and stuff them into your pack when you’re finished with them.
If you search the Internet for waders that can be pulled over hiking boots, you’re going to come up empty. Most waders come with waterproof fishing boots attached or have neoprene stocking feet and are meant to be worn inside fishing boots. They are an option, but they are god-awful heavy to carry on hikes and awkward to change in and out of streamside. Wearing waterproof neoprene socks is also an option (Showers Pass, Sealskinz, or NRS) but your shoes are still going to get wet and cold.
Priced at $85/pair, Wiggy’s Waders are not inexpensive, but they’re a great option for stream crossings when it’s too cold to get your boots/shoes wet and too cold to walk through barefoot. In warmer weather, I usually just walk right through streams, not pausing to remove my mesh trail runners, which drain and dry quickly. But when nighttime temperatures fall below freezing, I want to keep my boots dry, and these waders are just the ticket.
Disclosure: The author owns this product.
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