When duck hunting you want to be at your best, and this can be hard when your waders are keeping you down with the combined weight of water and your own sweat.
If this is a problem, then breathable waders are probably a better option for you than the standard neoprene ones since they wick sweat away and allow moisture to pass through its material and dissipate rather than getting locked in.
Below we’ve got a list of breathable wader options you can find on the online market as well as write ups about why we think they might be the best kit for the job, and we also have a buyers’ guide and an FAQ so you can learn more about what goes into manufacturing waders.
This way you can make a more informed purchase so that you don’t embarrass yourself in front of the ducks.
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Why it's our top pick?
If you need to get waders as soon as possible, we have our number one product in the list below here too. This way you can get the best product without having to do some light reading. We chose the Frogg Toggs Grand Refuge 2.0 Bootfoot Wader due to the balance it strikes between its features and its affordability. See why we liked them below:
Insulated by a 120-gram liner that can be removed, the waders allow you to have a lot of adjustability, also having adjustable elastic suspenders and a wading belt that locks securely around your waist.
The waders are durable thanks to heavy-duty nylon padding at the seat, knees, and shins to protect the sensitive areas of your legs. As for the boots, they’re 1,200-gram Thinsulate boots with cleats for added stability in mud.
Lots of storage with zippered storage pockets on the front and quick access pockets that store up to 10-shells.
Best Breathable Waders for Duck Hunting - Comparison Table
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Best Breathable Waders for Duck Hunting - Reviews
The first waders we have for you are the Frogg Toggs Grand Refuge 2.0 Bootfoot Waders, which are both breathable and insulated thanks to a 12-gram insulated liner that can be removed as and when by a convenient zipper, adding some variability to these waders depending on the terrain and the state of weather you’re hunting in.
As bootfoot waders, the ends of these models bear 1,200-gram cleated boots by Thinsulate that are designed to tackle treacherous conditions and keep you grounded so that unsure footing doesn’t impact shot accuracy.
At the shins, knees, and seat of these waders are abrasion-resistant, heavy-duty nylon patches to protect the harder parts of your body from any knocks or scrapes that can happen during the thrill of the hunt.
The waders are also really easy to wear, having adjustable elastic suspenders and locking buckle wading belt so that you can be confident that these waders will fit in a way that won’t be restrictive and distracting. They also have an ample storage room with two zippered storage pockets at the front and a polyester upper that has quick access storage to ten shotgun shells.
The second wader we chose for this list is the SITKA Gear Delta Zip Wader, season-long and water-resistant waders made here in the USA. Upon putting them on the first thing people notice is the YKK AQUASEAL zipper which remains easy to zip up or down despite being completely waterproof.
The boots on these are also of a good quality, benefiting from LaCrosse AeroForm technology where polyurethane mold injection is used to make lightweight boots that are also flexible, warm, and insulated. This means that they can allow you to be agile whilst being durable enough to take the punishment of duck hunting.
The boots aren’t the only durable part of these waders, however, with the shins and knees of these waders being reinforced with rugged foam padding that can break through everything from the brush to ice for several years before sustaining damage.
To add to all of these great features is the fact that the waders retail in two colors, or more specifically camouflages, that are for hunting in timber or marsh. This way you can get the right waders for the right hunting grounds you’ll be operating in.
All of these features don’t come without a price, and there’s a reason these waders are at our number two spot, that being the fact they’re very pricey. The best product for everyone sometimes needs to be one that’s affordable to everyone, and the price of these waders alone set them back from the top spot. If you can justify the price of these then they’ll be a very safe investment into your activities as a waterfowler.
The third wader on our list is the Banded Redzone Breathable Insulated Wader, a camouflaged wader made with waterproof material and fully taped seams to stop leakage that can distract you from your hunt.
The materials used at the knees of these waders is a thick 900 Denier so that your knees are protected against any stress or damage they could sustain whilst skulking about in swampland. Don’t mistake the above information as meaning the knees are restrictive though, the articulated knee designs ensure that you retain the maximum range of leg motion so you can creep, crouch, and crawl towards your prey with no limitations.
The fit at your chest is adjustable thanks to side zips, so you don’t need to be worried about a tight or loose fit that may restrict upper body movement or let water in. The waders also come in six different camouflage colors, from classic nat gear camo to specialized options like bottomland or blades, that allow you to pick which one best suits the area where your local ducks call home.
For all of the good things that can be said about the design of the knees and shins of these waders, the boots themselves can be tight on your foot. This means it can feel loose in the field, and ache if wearing them all day long since the foot bed isn’t the most ergonomically supportive.
At number four are the Bassdash Breathable Ultra Lightweight Hunting Waders, a pair of waders that are made from three layers of breathable shell fabric. It’s lightweight, and front leg seams allow you to move more than you normally would be able to with constrictive waders.
YKK waterproof zipper tech is used, so these waders are easy to get in and out of and their zippers won’t have trouble performing when wet. They also won’t let any liquids in. The suspenders and belt are also elasticated so that they can adapt to the bodies of different hunters, making a snug fit out in the field.
These waders use the patented DESOLVE veil camouflage to break up the shape of the hunter, meaning any spooked birds will hesitate before fleeing due to the uncertainty. Those extra seconds can be the difference between losing or bagging a duck.
A mesh storage bag and a repair kit are included with this purchase, making it a handy option for those who want to get a little more out of their cash than usual. Even if they weren’t included, these waders are still one of the most affordable in this list.
The boots of these waders can run smaller than you’d expect from the sizing. Boot sizing is something a lot of wader manufacturers suffer with, and Bassdash seems to be no exception.
Our fifth product on this list are the Hodgman Caster Neoprene Bootfoot Chest Waders, a set of neoprene-shelled waders whose three layers includes one for breathability to keep the body dry and warm when hunting.
Speaking of warm, some of the pockets on these waders are fleece-lined for comfort whereas the internal pockets are glued and taped so that no water gets through.
It uses Thinsulate rubber boots that have cleated soles to help keep your footing when wading through mud or other wet terrains. The shoe size may be something to keep an eye on though, since the sizing with these waders can be inaccurate.
Consult the sizing chart on their product page for exact measurements.
The waders come in a solid color that isn’t ideal for those waterfowlers who prefer to have some camouflage when on the hunt. Nevertheless, these waders are a great option if you’re on a budget, hence their place on the list.
Best Breathable Waders for Duck Hunting - Buyers Guide
How to choose the best waders
This guide will help you learn what to look for in waders, including breathable waders specifically.
Since we’ll be going through breathable waders over older, neoprene ones, we’ll just say that neoprene hasn’t got the properties you’d want in a breathable wader. Instead neoprene is heavier in the water and keeps moisture in, though this makes them more durable.
On the other hand, breathable waders aren’t as durable as neoprene, but they’re lightweight and comfortable to wear. They don’t have as much insulation built into them but give you the option of adding your own if necessary.
For the rest of this guide we’ll be going through the other different types of waders, whether you should go for insulated or uninsulated, and some of the features to look out for.
Types of Waders
What are generally called waders can be separated into three sub-categories, hip boots, waist waders, and chest waders. All of the waders in the above list are chest waders and so this guide will particularly focus on them.
For the sake of explanation though, hip boots are boots with long stockings that you attach to your clothes to hold them on. They’re best for shallow waters instead of deep. Waist waders are like chest waders except they don’t come up to the chest, sacrificing storage space and functionality since these are designed for water levels beneath your waist.
Chest waders come up to your, well, chest. They’re the most common style of wader out there since many figure that if you’re spending money on waders, you can make a one and done purchase by getting chest waders.
There are also different types of wader bottoms, most being split between stockingfoot and bootfoot. Stockingfoot waders are more useful for fishing since they end in neoprene socks that have good traction on them, which allows them to remain steady on wet surfaces. Bootfoot waders, on the other hand, have boots on the end that won’t come off in the mud. They’re also very insulated since they’re built into the waders.
We prefer bootfoot waders, which is what the majority of the above are, since the boots can get to high quality. This is because it’s not uncommon for the boots to be designed by pedigree boot manufacturers, such as LaCrosse with our second option from SITKA. Duck hunting is a muddy way of life too, so we think it’s best to go for bootfoot, so you have the option of premium comfort and better performance on most terrain.
Insulated V Uninsulated
You should consider when you plan to go hunting, and how your body reacts to certain seasons and temperatures. If you plan on hunting in cold weather you should probably go for insulated waders, whereas uninsulated is more suitable for warmer climates.
If you get hot faster than others, then you’ll definitely want to hedge your bets and go uninsulated if you hunt in a neutral environment. Some waders, like our number one pick, have removable insulated liners so you can easily change your insulation with the literal changing of the weather. If layering up with insulated waders, you’ll need to factor that into the sizing.
Duck Hunting Features
You’ll want the features of your chosen waders to complement the activities you have planned. We’ve already mentioned variable insulation as one such feature that negates the insulated wader versus uninsulated wader dilemma.
Let’s start with a feature that’s almost universally a plus, pockets. Storage space in your waders allows you to bring whatever you want out with you, and this includes pocketable gear for your hunts. There are even hand-warming pockets that are fleece-lined to keep your hands warm when it’s cold.
You can also get waders which have reinforced elbow and knee pads, and sometimes reinforced shins too, which add some durability and protection to the hard and vulnerable parts of your legs.
Shell storage is a great feature to look for in waders that you want to wear when duck hunting. This can come in the form of chest-mounted slots where eight or ten shells can be placed, or waders will have D-rings that allow you to clip the shell holders to. These are a more variable option since you can clip a wide number of attachments like landing nets to these rings.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should you wear under duck hunting waders?
There are wading leggings and wading socks that are a good option for wearing under breathable waders as a good year-round option. It is obviously important to stay warm during the winter months and that’s why some prefer fleece pants under their waders too.
For the summer months it’s a lot easier, you can just dress for the weather under your waders since you don’t want to sweat much. You might even get away with a normal pair of socks in the spring and summer time, but that depends on how cold the water is at your hunting ground.
Do you need to wear waders when duck hunting?
Of course not, all you need to bag some duck is your trusty firearm, shells for that firearm, and any licensing or other permissions you may need from your local authorities to have that gun and the freedom to hunt.
Waders are a popular option since they keep you relatively dry, since you often need to trudge through marsh to get close to the ducks. They also come in camouflaged styles, meaning many find it easier to invest in some good waders rather than piece their outfits together to include individually camouflaged clothing.
Waders are just a convenient way to make many of the average waterfowler’s distractions, like being damp or having a boot come off, a nonfactor in their hunting adventures.