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Thread: Caribou hunt/Waist Waders Breathable vs Pants and ankle fit

  1. #1
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    Default Caribou hunt/Waist Waders Breathable vs Pants and ankle fit

    This is my first post. You guys have a great forum, with some very fine info!

    This Sept. I am going on a Caribou hunt on the North Slope of the Brooks Range. I have read about different kinds of pants and ankle fit knee high waders. It has been my experience that hip boot ankle fit waders are a horrible choice for a lot of hiking{no support,sweaty,heavy and basically uncomfortable}.On my moose hunt I wore breathable waders out of necessity{swamps,bogs,river crossings}. They worked very well, but long hikes weren't necessary.

    Has any body here worn waist high breathables and good fitting vibram soled wading boots on a caribou hunt. I know they will stay dry ,breathe,and give me support and I am thinking the tundra will be like a wet sponge everyday all day. If this is a bad idea, please advise me on pants{I have read up on them} and more importantly the boots of choice to go with them. All my hunting boots are Leather Russell mocassin type boots and they dont do well if they are soaking wet.
    Thank you in advance to anyone who decides to post,your opinion as Alaskan hunters is highly regarded and I will base my decision on you guys recommendations.

    Kind regards,
    Moose

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    You'll find many folks on here that swear by hippers, while others love the breathables. I personally don't like the fit of waist high breathable waders, so I will always wear chest highs. If you have a fair chance of running into water on your hunt, I would definately recommend breathables. I pair mine with the Simms G4 Guide Boot (other really like the Korkers). This is by far the most comforable and durable wading boot I've used. They are a bit expensive, but worth it. Hopefully, you have better luck than I do. It seem like on every caribou hunt on the tundra, I find the hole that drops me up to my crotch. I stopped wearing hippers after that. If you do go the breathable route, I highly recommend each evening turning them inside out. This serves a two fold purpose; it airs the waders out and drys the neoprene booties.

    Good luck and whatever you decide to purchase, enjoy the hunt and let us know how it went.

    Moose44

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    I have used both the waist high and chest style on multiple brooks range trips. I would recomend the chest style especially if you dont have a raft and might have to do some stream and river crossings. The chest style can always be rolled down when it is warm out. I have also had good luck with the Korkers boot. I have had bad luck with sims waders which was suprising for the money you pay. Wright Mcgill waders seem to hold up pretty good. If you look at my hunting pictures under my profile I am wearing waders in a few of them. Good luck!

    Brian

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    Hello,I guide up there I wore the cabelas tundra wader last fall they worked great.the best combo I've found,I've also used kenetrac boots with gators if the steams aren't real deep with no problems,good luck!!!

  5. #5
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    Muck boots also make a pull up waders called "Woody Bayou Hip Boots". I've no bought a pair, yet. I like Muck boots and these are sip on.

  6. #6
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    .....WhitRiver....,

    ....this is one of those great question that pop up often, and there just is not a perfect answer. But the guidance from this non-gadget-guy, old-school-type-of-hunter/guide is.......

    LaCrosse hip boots, the Big Chief style, air bob sole with 800MG of insulation is the normal boot for tundra hunts in AK. This includes moose hunts in the river bottoms.

    My recommendation is the result of dealing with about 100+ client-hunters in the last 12 years. The LaCrosse hip boots are hard to get for those of you in the lowere 48. Because of that, many client hunters end up with Cabelas hip boots. And because I can get by with both size 10 or 11 hip boots, I have ended up with several pair of Cabelas hip boots when client-hunters leave AK. Regardless of style, none of the Cabelas hip boots are as comfortable to me as the LaCrosse Big Chief style.

    The wrong foot wear, the wrong boots have led to more problems in the bush than any other single thing. Hip boots are never perfect in every situation, but at the end of every hunt the guys without hip boots say they would not return to AK without 'em. The guys without LaCrosse hip boots say they would not return without LaCrosse.

    The knock on hip boots are that they get wet inside from sweaty feet. True. And I did not care for them at the end of a 16 mile hike on a super warm September day after we got to chasing after a big caribou. And also, occasionally they may not be high enough to keep you dry while crossing some rivers.

    But most of the time they are the most important single item, along with great rain gear, that will contribute to the success of a tundra hunt for moose, caribou, and bears. If you are gonna sit in a boat or a riverside blind all day or just raft or just fish, then it probably does not matter what type of waterproof footwear you have. But if you are an active spot-and-stalk or run-and-gun hunter....get hip boots, pref LaCrosse.

    So the sweat deal is the negitive point. And without good rain gear or a butt pad, your posterior end will become wet sitting out on the spotting hill. And the guys with fat legs hate trying to get them off at the end of the day.

    Here are the positive points.
    1) Keeps your feet and legs dry.
    2) No time wasting boot changes while racing to cut off a traveling brown bear. Keep in mind that the tundra often has many wet spots and muskeg swamps that look dry until you are knee deep in 'em. (I have saw guys waste 30 minutes changing in and out of boots five times in only a mile...)
    3) On dry ground, fold 'em down to keep your legs cool.
    4) On windy days pull 'em up to keep the wind off your legs.
    5) During those cold days sitting on a lookout hill, stick your hands down your hip boots to keep 'em warm.

    Breathable wader pants and chest-high waders are fine except that they are tough to get down while peeing, and they begin to smell really bad after a few active and sweaty days. More than one hunter has been thrown out of the tent because his breathable wader pants began to smell like ...like really sweaty terrible bad.

    Client-hunters will always debate the merit of LaCross hip Boots as opposed to breathable-pant-waders or as opposed to hiking boots and quick-change-overboots. I have heard the verbal opposition to hip boots so many times that I now, after one or two hip-boot sales talks, I just tell to bring whatever they want. But at the end of a hard day, and at the end of the hunt I know that every client-hunter says he wishes he had listened to me and brought LaCross hip boots.

    But...with hard work and a bit of good fortune you will have a great moose hunt wearing either hip boots or breathables....Chevy vs Ford vs Dodge, Ruger vs Winchester vs Remington...and isn't it about time for one of these "scent free" boot companies to come out with a new scent-free thigh-high hipboot made of some new spaceage materials?, and then advertised by some whitetail deer hunter in Iowa...

    Regardless of which waterproof boot you take, you will probably have a great hunt.

    (Also, check the gear forum and hunting forum archives....and whatever type of boot you want to wear will be supported....somewhere.)

    ...in my experience...in my humble opinion...

    Dennis

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    Guys,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my questions. It sounds like both will work well and if I do go with hippers it will have to be the La Crosse Dennis. The good points on the hippers were enlightening.

    I tend to not like a wet butt while glassing and being 6' 3" and 235 lbs when I step in a hole, I tend to sink further than most. Can some of you tell me major drawbacks other than smell to a good pair of wasist or chest waders.I have G4 Simms and find them comfortable. However I dont want to be the guy who says "Man,I should have brought La Crosse hippers."

    Thanks Again,
    Moose Watson

  8. #8
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhiteriverinn View Post
    However I dont want to be the guy who says "Man,I should have brought La Crosse hippers."
    In my past life as a spring beaver/rat trapper hunter, I have owned and used LaCrosse ankle fit boots. They are great for walking as far as hip boots go. If you have a warm camp every night, i. e. a FIRE, they can be dried each night. But they are difficult to get off, and without heat, will be difficult to dry. You may be slipping on damp boots every morn.
    One time my sleeping bag got wet in a boat. Had to sleep in a wet bag, under a tarp in pouring rain. I had chest high breatheables. I was able to stay fairly dry inside the wet bag, and get some sleep on an otherwise cold wet night. I live and hunt on the tundra. Dry hills, wet creek bottoms. I own a pair of hippers still..............but almost never wear them. The breatheables get my nod. I use the sock type with a wading boot...........a canvas wading boot that dries fairly easily.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaTrueAdventure View Post
    .....WhitRiver....,

    ....this is one of those great question that pop up often, and there just is not a perfect answer. But the guidance from this non-gadget-guy, old-school-type-of-hunter/guide is.......

    LaCrosse hip boots, the Big Chief style, air bob sole with 800MG of insulation is the normal boot for tundra hunts in AK. This includes moose hunts in the river bottoms.

    My recommendation is the result of dealing with about 100+ client-hunters in the last 12 years. The LaCrosse hip boots are hard to get for those of you in the lowere 48. Because of that, many client hunters end up with Cabelas hip boots. And because I can get by with both size 10 or 11 hip boots, I have ended up with several pair of Cabelas hip boots when client-hunters leave AK. Regardless of style, none of the Cabelas hip boots are as comfortable to me as the LaCrosse Big Chief style.

    The wrong foot wear, the wrong boots have led to more problems in the bush than any other single thing. Hip boots are never perfect in every situation, but at the end of every hunt the guys without hip boots say they would not return to AK without 'em. The guys without LaCrosse hip boots say they would not return without LaCrosse.

    The knock on hip boots are that they get wet inside from sweaty feet. True. And I did not care for them at the end of a 16 mile hike on a super warm September day after we got to chasing after a big caribou. And also, occasionally they may not be high enough to keep you dry while crossing some rivers.

    But most of the time they are the most important single item, along with great rain gear, that will contribute to the success of a tundra hunt for moose, caribou, and bears. If you are gonna sit in a boat or a riverside blind all day or just raft or just fish, then it probably does not matter what type of waterproof footwear you have. But if you are an active spot-and-stalk or run-and-gun hunter....get hip boots, pref LaCrosse.

    So the sweat deal is the negitive point. And without good rain gear or a butt pad, your posterior end will become wet sitting out on the spotting hill. And the guys with fat legs hate trying to get them off at the end of the day.

    Here are the positive points.
    1) Keeps your feet and legs dry.
    2) No time wasting boot changes while racing to cut off a traveling brown bear. Keep in mind that the tundra often has many wet spots and muskeg swamps that look dry until you are knee deep in 'em. (I have saw guys waste 30 minutes changing in and out of boots five times in only a mile...)
    3) On dry ground, fold 'em down to keep your legs cool.
    4) On windy days pull 'em up to keep the wind off your legs.
    5) During those cold days sitting on a lookout hill, stick your hands down your hip boots to keep 'em warm.

    Breathable wader pants and chest-high waders are fine except that they are tough to get down while peeing, and they begin to smell really bad after a few active and sweaty days. More than one hunter has been thrown out of the tent because his breathable wader pants began to smell like ...like really sweaty terrible bad.

    Client-hunters will always debate the merit of LaCross hip Boots as opposed to breathable-pant-waders or as opposed to hiking boots and quick-change-overboots. I have heard the verbal opposition to hip boots so many times that I now, after one or two hip-boot sales talks, I just tell to bring whatever they want. But at the end of a hard day, and at the end of the hunt I know that every client-hunter says he wishes he had listened to me and brought LaCross hip boots.

    But...with hard work and a bit of good fortune you will have a great moose hunt wearing either hip boots or breathables....Chevy vs Ford vs Dodge, Ruger vs Winchester vs Remington...and isn't it about time for one of these "scent free" boot companies to come out with a new scent-free thigh-high hipboot made of some new spaceage materials?, and then advertised by some whitetail deer hunter in Iowa...

    Regardless of which waterproof boot you take, you will probably have a great hunt.

    (Also, check the gear forum and hunting forum archives....and whatever type of boot you want to wear will be supported....somewhere.)

    ...in my experience...in my humble opinion...

    Dennis
    Thanks for going into such detail. Truly helped.

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    If you go with ankle fit hippers - be sure to have enough trash bags to use inside them. Pull a bag over your socks then pull the boot on. On he tundra you won't be able to have a drying fire at night. As someone else stated, the boots will be hard to take off - they'll be just impossible to put on the next morning. This is due to perspiration accumulating in the boots during the day and not being able to dry them out overnight. The plastic bags allow the boot to slip right on. Your socks & pant legs will be damper (perspiration again) but warmer and the boot will come off easier at night.
    IMO, breathables are the way to go.

  11. #11

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    We use SIMMS G3 chest high and roll them to our waist most days on caribou hunts along rivers or around swampy tundra. The waders also negate packing in rain bottoms, and I'm a fan of reducing gear weight and bulk. These waders are wind and water proof, and with a solid pair of wading boots I'd say they breathe better than rubber hippers and your butt stays dry.

  12. #12
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    I love hunting the slope. Iíve made a lot of trips up inAugust and September. I normally hike out the 5 miles (you need to be 5 milesfrom the road to hunt with a gun). I honestly would never do that hike in anythingother than hiking boots or extra tuffs. The last few trips Iíve done the hikewith shorts on (Keeps the pants dry from sweat).
    Iíve got a couple of questions for you:
    How do you plan to hunt? (fly out, float, hunt the road witha bow, hike out and hunt with rifle).
    How much gear are you bringing?
    Do you mind wet feet?
    I would think twice before planning to do all my hunting inwaders or hip boots, walking on the tundra is hard work and I would definitelywant the option of good hiking boots.

  13. #13
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    Because I always guided via float plane, I always needed my ankle fit LaCross hippers. But I never went on a hunt without a good pair of goretex hunting boots. There were many times I could find my way around bad places in the tundra so I could just wear my boots......and if I could, I would, because I never was a big fan of wearing hip boots for any length of time. Also, sometimes all I needed hip boots for was to cross a stream, and if so I'd just leave the hippers there after crossing. But the hippers saved my bacon more than a few times. It really just depends on the area you are hunting. Oh and btw....I never had any real problem putting ankle fits on or off. Sure they can be somewhat difficult at times, but never was any great worry to me.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  14. #14
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    +1 more for the Simms breathables. Used on numerous trips and they work for more situations. The times that I didn't have them I wished that I did. I still always bring hiking books
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    My experience - for a Sept hunt - breathable pant waders... I used chest waders and they worked great, overall - a lot of protection from the elements (float hunt), but my hunting partners had wader pants and I think they really were more ideal for walking. Had hiking boots along too, for those days the waders were not needed. But mostly we wore the waders with wader shoes.

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  16. #16

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    I have to disagree with Gary about trash bags as liners. He's right about slipping on well but man do your feet sweat and after a week of that nonsense your toes will smell like swamp water if it's warm outside. Uh uh...no thank you sir. Waterproof? yes. Best case scenario for the comfort and support (slippage) and swamp foot...no sir. Just my experience, one of many.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    I have to disagree with Gary about trash bags as liners. He's right about slipping on well but man do your feet sweat and after a week of that nonsense your toes will smell like swamp water if it's warm outside. Uh uh...no thank you sir. Waterproof? yes. Best case scenario for the comfort and support (slippage) and swamp foot...no sir. Just my experience, one of many.
    And I would definitely agree with you.....

    At least with a wader there's usually a little bit of room around your foot for it to breath.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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