Rafting Waders - Hip boots versus breathable chest



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  • Rafting Waders - Hip boots versus breathable chest

    I'm looking for advice on wader selection for a fall float hunt. I've generally always worn hip boots while hunting in the fall minus ducks and don't mind hiking all day in them. My thought is with rafting is that I could avoid a wet but or the occasional hole in the river by wearing the breathable chest waders. I can't really afford to bring both pairs just from a weight perspective so I'm asking for some advice. I hear that the breathables are loud when walking and not very durable. Does anyone have any recommendations as to brand and preference? Thanks, Mike.

  • #2
    Thats a great question...and I'll be watching the suggestions offered...

    While fishing rivers like the Kenai river, I always wear breathable chest waders.
    But I have never found a wader-boot that I feel I can hike in, so I always wear my LaCross hip boots while float hunting. Hip boots do not bother me at all, except on the hottest days in Sept.

    Anway, I just cant believe that breathable waders would stand up to very many eight mile days, which is very common. And breathable waders can't be rolled down or folded down like hip boots.

    For my float hunts I'll probably stick with my 'ol faithful LaCross Hip Boots, unless you get some great answers and alternatives from this thread...

    Imagine (It's easy if you try)
    …miles and miles of mountains…wide expanses of tundra...remote wild waters…
    (Whisper words of wisdom) Let It Be


    • #3
      Great question.

      I use Extra Tuff boots and Helly Hansen rain bibs.

      The Helly Hansen's are made from impertech which is sort of stretchy so it doesn't tear or break as easy as plastic type rain gear. They are quiet and while the fabric itself doesn't actually breathe you are able to get some ventilation at the top and through the cuffs at the bottom. They will protect you from the splashes of sitting in a raft all day and you can sit down on a wet hillside and stay dry. If it isn't too hot you can walk around in them and you won't get soaked from the rain on the brush.

      The Extra Tuffs are great with an insole. I've packed loads of meat in them and have sidehilled across scree slopes in sheep/fall bear country and they fit very well. They will keep your feet dry in the raft too and when you have to beach. They come up just below the knee.

      If it is a hot day on the tundra, just go with the boots. If you need some waterproofing to keep your legs from getting wet after a rain, put on some gators and you'll be set.

      Hope this helps. Where are you headed?


      • #4
        I agree, this is a great question.

        On my float trips to NW Alaska, I always wear breathable chest waders while in the boat and fishing. Once on dry land, especially if off river, I will put on my gortex hiking boots. I also wear the hiking boots in the evening around camp and the fire. Heat and breathable waders don't go well together. Its also nice to let your body/feet (and the waders) breathe a bit after a long day on the river. Much warmer by the fire at night as well as you can get much closer to the fire without burning your rubber boots or wader material. If you can afford the extra weight, I would suggest chest waders (or hip waders) in the boat and around the river, then some good gortex hunting/hiking boots for the off river jaunts. Cabelas has a good supply of all. Be sure to check out the "Bargain Cave" for deals.
        The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.


        • #5
          La Cross ankle fit hippers

          It seems that every accomplished Alaskan who spends years in the bush go for the ankle fit hikers/hippers. I would feel naked if I didn't have my ankle fits hikers/hippers. The air bob sole, the good fit, the tough as nails green rubber. The only time i hange em up is when I dipnet, or relaxing around camp. I don't ever hit the woods or the boat without them.


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