Can £100 buy you a decent pair of "breathable" waders ?
Note the word "breathable" here, because it was not until I started wearing high-end Simms waders myself that I really found out what the word meant in conjunction with waders. The Greys Platinum waders for example have done me really well, but I never thought they were chucking moisture (sweat) out on a long walk or climb - to the point where I kind of assumed that perhaps breathable waders were actually a bit of a myth. But I have seen the light, and that light is Simms G3 and G4 waders. Anyway, I digress...........
I never really feel that comfortable calling something that might cost around the £100 mark "budget", but the simple fact is that lightweight waders (let's call them that, i.e. not neoprene or PVC etc.) at around this price point are low price or budget when compared to what you can spend. Anyway, I have a lot of good experiences with the (budget) Greys G series waders that I see now are retailing at around the £130-150 plus mark, so I thought it was about time that I had a go with another brand's entry level lightweight waders to see how they might do with my fishing and photography. Enter the Redington Crosswater waders that I am seeing online for less than £100.
What can I say about them other than they are working just fine ? No, a sub-£100 pair of lightweight waders like these are not going to be shaped/cut nearly as well as high end waders, but as with most things I take an XL and they fit pretty well - with plenty of room to feel like you're moving around properly. The neoprene "booties" are pretty comfortable as well and the integrated gravel guards seem to be holding up well at the moment which is more than I can say about some waders that I have used where the neoprene gravel guards have torn up almost on the first day. Everything is just fine with these waders as far as I can tell, but I would not describe the overall fit as ergonomic if you get my drift (you can see a load of technical details about these waders here). I have done plenty of walking and climbing up and down in them and because they are so light to wear I find them pretty good for this kind of thing. If you know the Greys G series waders then I would describe these Redington Crosswater ones as being made of a more lightweight material.
I can't imagine that they are going to take a lot of falling over on sharp rocks without needing to be repaired, but to be fair, lightweight waders don't respond well to this kind of treatment full stop. If we rip waders on the kind of ground we fish then it's our fault, plain and simple, but these Crosswater waders are bone dry on me so far - and yes, I have gone deep wading to the point where I shipped a lot of cold water over the top of mine the other evening as I tried to wade a gully a bit too early. They were nice and dry before I did my usual get wet thing !! I really like that fact that there are belt loops to take a wading belt - a simple fabric one is supplied with the waders, but for years now I have used one of these here and it is as good as the day I bought it.
If you are reading this blog post and spluttering into your tea or coffee at how anybody could contemplate spending £100 on a pair of waders then I would guess that you haven't yet stumbled on to how important increasing numbers of saltwater anglers feel a pair of waders can be for certain kinds of fishing (not to mention my photography of course). I think these Redington Crosswater waders represent very good value for money, and a couple of the clients on my recent trip to Canada were wearing and speaking very highly of the more expensive Redington Sonic-Pro waders (check here). They looked pretty nifty to me. I would also guess that the roughly £150 Redington Palix River waders with the reinforced knees and lower leg sections might be worth looking at for saltwater fishing (see here). And if you think £100 is a lot to spend on waders, then whatever you do protect your health and don't have a look at Simms G3 and G4 waders on the internet !! As is always the case, the really, really good stuff always costs, but as regards a "budget" pair of proper waders to wear for lure fishing I reckon these Redington Crosswater ones are really worth a look.
Oh, and I had a chat yesterday with a thoroughly nice guy who goes by the name Dave from "Diver Dave's Wader Repair" (see here) - if you have any problems with your waders then I implore you to give them a shout and get these guys to repair them. I would class it as almost scary how much these people know about the ins and outs of waders and from a brief phone call I can't tell you how much I learnt. The moment I have any (leaking) problems with any of my waders and they are going straight off to these people for repair. I had no real idea as to how long I might prolong the life of my waders for very little dosh.