wader vs. farmer john

Can you buy a snug-fitting neoprene stocking wader that would be fairly equivalent to a Farmer John wetsuit – or do they all fit much looser? I like the idea of having dry feet.

The trouble with waders
The trouble with waders is that they fill up with water and hold it.Fishermen drown that way.But tight waders with the feet cut off can be a cheap cold water alternitive using another foot covering.I found an old pair made for women fisherfolks that were tight enough at a yard sale for 5$.


Don’t know
But consider the posibility of needing to climb a steep slippery river bank in waders full of water.

Lots of folks wear knee high Choatas or similar boots.

It sounds like you don’t have a wetsuit yet. For what it’s worth, right about now you can pick up a one or two year old model (still new) from NRS quite cheaply. All they change from year to year is a stretchy panel or some funky thing about the lining, so the older models are still just fine. And wetsuits are nice protection against bumps on rocks in WW.

As to feet, a separate pair of boots may be altogether more useful given the range of paddling your profile lists. For dry feet, you may want to consider the Skinz waterblocker socks that have a waterproof lining and a waterproof barrier on top as well. I found that a pair only lasts a season, but it’s a cheaper, drier and more flexible alternative than something like the wader.

Farmer John in classifieds here
I have a NRS Hydroskin Farmer John “Grizzley” for sale in the classifieds.

I only used it a couple of times, and washed it with wet suit wash and put it away, It is like new.

Winter paddling in a wet suit was just not for me.

Check it out, and make me a serious offer. :slight_smile:

I have a wetsuit… and it is a PITA to remove… and it is not particularly warm.

-boots or socks still may not keep my feet dry.

-boots would be a tight fit in some of my boats.

waders keep you warm?

If you wear tight polypro or lycra under the wet suit it will be easy to get on and off. Wont stink either. Dive shops sell lycra suits to wear under the wet suit but poly works well too. I use poly or running tights and a compression shirt.

Waders full of water wont sink you but it will be very difficult to re enter. A lot of the kayak fishermen wear breathable waders and dry or semi dry tops. Make sure you have a tight belt. Waders full of water in a current can be another story. I saw a fisherman get swept away in a dam release when he ignored the warning siren. He was saved by his tight neoprene waders with a chest belt. A pair of rubber waders probably would have drowned him. I got rid of my rubber waders that day and bought neoprene. I was not kayaking then.

Got that
On the wetsuit, do you also wear a drytop? Agreed that a wet wetsuit isn’t terribly warm up in the air without a windblock over it. If it’s an in-the-water cold… that’s finally why I sprang for a drysuit. I had so darned many layers on me to extend my season using wetsuit type stuff that I could barely bend.

Also on the feet - I can’t wear anything other than river socks in my WW boat. But - the Skinz waterblockers may work for you. They aren’t super expensive.

neoprene waders
I think a lot of the comments here are made by folks who have never owned neoprene waders.

I highly recommend them. I’d get a snug fitting pair that allows you to wear fleece pants and wool socks underneath. Then take them swimming with you and a competent friend to learn how they really act in water. I know folks drown wearing waders. even more folks drown while not wearing waders.

I don’t know of anyone drowning while wearing waders and a pfd. If anyone has a story of someone drowning with their PFD on I

d love to read it.

Reentering my canoe with waders is not significantly harder than doing it in a bathing suit.

If waders were so dangerous the manufacturers would be sued out of business.

Paddling and wading are really dangerous. Don’t try any of the stuff mentioned above. in fact stay away from the water and please don’t sue me if you drown while wearing waders.

drowning with PFD
Some people do drown while wearing PFDs. Every PFD except Type Vs are not designed to float an unconcious victim face up.

neoprene vs rubber waders
neoprene waders probably don’t hold as much water as rubber waders, and neoprene floats… so… I imagine wearing snug neoprene waders wouldn’t be too hazardous. Wearing rubber waders and having them fill with water would probably make for a very rough day, or at least an un-enjoyable swimming experience.

I don’t know how well I could swim with neoprene waders, but I know I can float in them fairly well, and really that is what matters.

Link to Tests
I thought this link came from a msg here recently, but maybe not. From a guy who actually tested the “Killer Wader” theory:


Neoprene waders
I use neoprene waders for fishing and have on occasion gone swimming in them :frowning: . I can tell you this, neoprene waders can hold a surprising amount of water and will stretch to the point of snapping the suspender buckles in a current. the problem is two-fold. If you are in a current the only way to stand up is to face up stream which forces water to flow in the bib. Once your waders fill you can’t get out of the water due to the weight of the water you have to lift above the surface. A wader belt helps to minimize this by preventing large quantities from entering. In still water this is rarely a problem as you dont have the water pressure trying to fill your waders and you will probably only get a gallon or 2 in them

A cheap wet suit and Seal Skin socks
That way you will be reasonably warm and if the worst happens you can swim and be rescued.

I hauled a guy over the side of my Oldtown 169 once with waders. He was my size ( 175 Lbs) the rubbers ( rubber ) were about the same. We almost swamped the canoe and had he panicked we would have had a swim.

A friend had to pull a diver ( alive ) in a dry suit out of the water while sea urchin collecting. The dry suit leaked and almost filled. They had to use a light crane to get him on board and my friend had to dive into the bay with a knife to cut the button out of the legs so they could lift him on board.

I did a demo / course on dry suits that may effect hip waders. the legs are filled with air as would be the case in a head first emersion will hold your feet nicely above the water. You have to grab your knees in a fetal position, squeeze like hell and make a breast stroke for the surface.

That is a lot of information and some good reasons to keep it simple and get a wet or dry suit. That and water shoes.

Celia is a good source of well thought out information. Very ballanced and she may be closer to you so more aware of your safety issues.


Old wives tale. Wader’s dont drown
fisherman. That’s been put to the test time and time over. Just BS. The amount of water waders take on if one turtles is inconsequential.

Waders combined wth the same warm
clothing you wear with other winter paddling gear will.

Thanks for posting it. I posted
the link originally in another interminable debate over waders drowning fishermen and boaters. The crap about waders causing people to drown was tested over 40 years ago by Lee Wulf, a famous fly fishermen and sportsman of the time. He found it to be false.