Expert Review: Orvis Men's PRO WaderPublished on 07/28/2022 · 7 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the waders, which I purchased with my own money in September of 2020.
Fly Fishing in Washington. All photos courtesy of Jacob Jesionek
About this review: This review is my honest opinion of the waders, which I purchased with my own money in September of 2020.
When it comes to top-of-the-line waders, I believe the Orvis Men’s PRO Waders stand out among the rest. All-day comfort combined with breathability and durability make these waders great for the experienced angler looking to maximize his days on the water.
About the waders I own
- Model: Orvis Men’s PRO Fishing Waders
- Size: Medium Tall
- Material: Cordura fabric
- Type: Chest
- Boot Style: Stockingfoot
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 170 lbs
- Preferred type of fishing: Fly
- Preferred fishing style(s): Dry fly, nymphing, streamers
- Experience: 15+ years of fly fishing
- When I bought this: September 2020
- Days tested: 100+ days
- Waters I’ve used it on: Rivers and lakes of OH, WA, OR, CO, as well as high-alpine creeks in the mountains
- Boots paired with waders: Orvis Mens PRO Wading Boot
How they perform
What I was looking for
When I first got into fly fishing, I started off with a pair of the Orvis Clearwater Waders. While they served their purpose well, I wore them often and eventually ended up with a few leaks. I knew that for my next pair, I would be willing to spend more for increased lifespan and better comfort for long days of fishing.
Why I chose this gear
I ended up going with the Orvis PRO Waders for a couple reasons. First, I believe that Orvis has a strong grasp on what their customers need, and the quality of their products reflects that. They took into consideration a lot of comforts that anglers search for when buying waders, such as the removable knee pads and lined kangaroo pocket. Secondly, I wanted a pair that was durable and would last a while. While reading reviews, it was clear that people were very happy with the materials these waders were built from.
What I love about it
- Quality: The waders are built from a strong yet comfortable material that I can hike around in while staying cool. They also look stylish and sleek with colors that don’t stand out to the fish looking up from below.
- Versatility: I’ve used these waders to target multiple different species in many habitats. They have been built so that I can tailor my waders to my day of fishing depending on what I want to store on, in, or around my waders: whether that be nets, extra flies, streamers, snips etc. They come with a removable pocket as well as the zippered front pocket—this allows me to carry the essentials that I need for my day on the water. However, they are not the best winter waders, as they are made to be light and breathable, so I need to layer up on cold days.
- Use Case: I have had the chance to use these on a variety of waters ranging from rivers to lakes. What impresses me is how they can be effective for days when I’m floating in a boat, wading into a lake, or doing high-country hiking and stalking finicky cutthroat trout.
- Materials: The waders are made out of a patented, breathable Cordura fabric that allows for all-day comfort while giving me enough stretch to know they are not going to rip if I bend over.
- Literal Weight: These are a good option for packing if I have some room in my backpack. They aren’t designed as a backpacking wader—as they are a slightly heavier material that doesn’t pack down super small to preserve durability—but they still only come in at three pounds.
- Storage: I was very happy to find that the waders came with a detachable pocket that holds a good amount of gear. It can be stored either inside the waders in the breast or left to swing outside of the waders in the chest area. I normally store my keys and wallet in the waterproof front zipper because I know they will be safe if I accidentally take a swim.
- Suspender System: The shoulder straps on the Orvis PRO Fishing waders are essentially a one-time adjustment that I made when I first used them. Then I never had to worry about them again, as I can simply buckle and unbuckle them.
- Wading Belt: The wading belt is also a one-adjustment, pull-tight belt that buckles in the front and is click-it-and-forget-it simple.
- Durability: After two years of use and tons of days on the water, the waders still look like they were bought a month ago. The knee pads make kneeling in the water considerably more comfortable, and I don't feel concerned when I have to bushwack to get to a fishing spot.
- Warranty: Orvis offers a 60-day-money-back warranty for waders. Beyond 60 days, they are eligible for repairs at a flat rate of $60, which is very reasonable.
- Additional accessories: Beyond the storage pocket that iIve already discussed, the removable knee pads that are included are a huge bonus to these waders. Being comfortable kneeling in water is ideal for fish health, as I can get down to their level and not have to remove them from the river or lake I’m fishing in.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Fit : When I purchased these waders, I went with the medium tall. In hindsight, I would have ordered the medium. This was my error, but there is a little bit of extra material near my ankles. Otherwise the fit is great.
- Insulation: The Orvis PRO Fishing Waders are not the warmest; they are designed to be breathable for those spring, summer, and fall days. I always layer up under the waders when I am doing my winter steelhead fishing.
- Packability: These aren't intended to be packed but could fit in a typical drawstring bag if I so desire. When I want to hike with them, I typically strap them to the outside of my bag after I roll them up. There is no system to repack them, and they do not pack down very small, so one would have to purchase a separate packing system for them.
Favorite moment with this gear
Back in 2021, I was talking with a fishing buddy that I met through Curated: Kobe Grassi. We both were near the legendary Pyramid Lake in Nevada, and he just so happened to know the ins and outs of fishing it. The crazy thing about this particular lake is people fish there with ladders! They wader up, grab their ladders, and walk as far into the cold water as they can before setting up a ladder and climbing to the top to fly fish from it. After a few weeks of planning we finally met up on this lake that I had dreamed of fishing since before moving out West. I threw on the Orvis Pro Waders and we walked our ladders out into the water. After hours of fishing and a few spot changes I finally hooked up to a 9–10 pound Lahontan cutthroat trout and landed it on a rocky shore with the help of Kobe’s net. Kneeling in the waters of Pyramid Lake holding the biggest cutthroat trout of my life was a memory I will never forget.
Value for the money vs. other options
When it comes to nice waders, they get extremely pricey very quickly. What separated these Orvis PRO Waders from the rest of the pack was their attention to detail and inclusion of knee pads and extra storage (which is an extra charge with other companies). A comparable wader such as the Simms G3 are similarly priced but missing some of these bonus features for extra comfort.
All in all, I can’t speak highly enough about my Orvis PRO Fishing Waders. They've given me the peace of mind to fish all sorts of waters while keeping me dry and well supplied for long days.