The 11 Best Wader and Fishing Apparel BrandsPublished on 05/10/2023 · 9 min readFly Fishing Expert Rylyn S. lays out his top 11 brands for fly fishing apparel and waders, so you can be sure to choose the best waders or apparel for your next cast.
When it comes to the best fishing apparel and wader brands, each brand is known for its performance out on the water for whatever nature may throw at you. Whether that be UV protection, warmth, or keeping you dry, these brands are the top producers of quality gear. This article will look at the top 10 brands in fly fishing apparel and waders. Before hitting the water this season, check out the list of the best fishing apparel brands in the industry, in no particular order. Then, I’ll let you judge who is the best!
Initially known for its saltwater fishing tackle, American Fishing Tackle Company (AFTCO) has developed products with unparalleled quality and performance in extreme conditions. Their products are field tested in Southern California, where many of their products are still handcrafted. Being family-owned and operated, AFTCO prides itself on tradition, conservation, and innovation within the fishing industry.
AFTCO is known for its Reaper series of apparel, specifically, the award-winning Reaper Windproof Pullover Hoodie, Reaper Sweatshirt, and Samurai sun protection gear. These are some of the best fishing shirts on the market today, with critical features for specific situations on the water.
The Samurai series provides sun protection clothing with high UPF ratings to eliminate sunburn and encourage comfort and airflow when needed in the summer. The Reaper series protects on the other end of the spectrum, providing wind-blocking technology on windy, chilly days and the best foul-weather gear. This gear is more for the conventional angler but is starting to be viewed as fly-fishing apparel.
In 1937, owner Gert Boyle’s parents fled Nazi Germany and settled in Portland, where they bought a business and later named it the Columbia Hat Company. Gert’s motto has always been, “It’s perfect. Now make it better,” which still leads the company upon her passing. Columbia’s Performance Fishing Gear (PFG) is seen where water is present. Many beach and lake goers have picked this series for everyday casual wear.
The Columbia PFG is known for its lightweight and relaxed design with a nylon finish for quick drying and UV protection. Their mesh-lined vents keep you cool when out on the water in hot weather and humid conditions. Their trademark lies within the sleeves, with the option to roll the sleeves up and secure them with the tabs. There is also a built-in rod holder behind the brand name featured on all PFG sun-protective T-shirts and long sleeves. Simply release the Velcro and secure your fishing rod for hands-free rigging.
Frogg Toggs has specialized in rain gear for 25 years, where they soon developed several series of waders for hunting and fishing. Frogg Togg's approach is to provide cost-effective equipment that meets anglers' demands without compromising affordability by offering several options and series. Many people ask why so many options are available. They reason that not just one fabric responds similarly in every situation and environment. Frogg Togg listens to the angler's needs and produces the product specifically for their application.
The Pilot and Hellbender series of Frogg Toggs waders are famous for both fly and conventional anglers. This company also offers a wide range of sizes, unlike other brands for big and tall anglers. So if you need a pair of waders suitable for big and tall or even large shoe sizes, Frogg Toggs has you covered. Frogg Toggs also have many bootfoot options for waders if you want to go that route for wading.
Since in 2008, Gillz's sole mission is to provide gear for anglers who focus on performance. Gillz protects from sun up to sun down. Their GillzTec fabric is revolutionary, distributing moisture 360 degrees and providing apparel that is 30% cooler than the competitor, all while wicking sweat in those hot summer months. Gillz is the ultimate tournament fishers and saltwater anglers apparel company that performs to your highest standards when you need it.
Whether in the skiff stripping streamers or the bass boat flipping docks, Gillz has the gear to keep you cool in the harshest conditions. Their long sleeve sun protection, SPF shorts and pants, and outerwear provide some of the most breathable materials on the market today.
It’s debated whether HUK is pronounced “Huck” or “Hook.” I am here to end that debate and tell you it is pronounced “Hook,” which makes sense considering the company's beginnings. Their motto focuses on the only thing that connects all anglers: the “Huk.” HUK is known for the best foul-weather gear providing some of the best bibs and jackets that are 100% waterproof and 100% windproof.
Their top products are rain gear and sun protective gear, specifically their Icon and Pursuit apparel series. Also, if you are looking for a full-performing deck boot for the boat, HUK Rogue Deck Boots are some of the best to keep you dry and surefooted during the most challenging and wettest conditions. So, if you are a saltwater angler or a tournament fisher, HUK has you covered.
If you have been fly fishing for an extended period or just getting started, you have probably heard of Orvis. This company was founded in 1856 in Manchester, Vermont, by Charles F. Orvis. Today, it is one of the most trusted brands in the industry.
Orvis is known for its flagship Orvis Pro Series of products, with one of the most durable waders in the industry being the Orvis Pro Wader. This company has changed the industry with 100% CORDURA fabric, YKK AquaGuard zippers, and low-profile seam construction, making this one of the most comfortable, durable, and breathable waders in fly shops all across America. However, Orvis also keeps the beginner in mind. If you are just starting, you can get all the apparel and wading gear you need and everything from the fly rod to the net. Orvis is a one-stop shop for all outdoor equipment.
If you haven’t read the Patagonia story, you need to. Patagonia started as a climbing gear company and black smithery, producing base layers from hiking and camping apparel to now one of the most popular brands for casual wear and even fly fishing gear. Patagonia also makes its products with less environmental impact while contributing a portion of its income to conservation programs. Patagonia fishing products are tailored to the fly angler. Patagonia has everything you need aside from the actual tackle, from waders and wading boots to sling packs and vests.
Patagonia is known for its Swiftcurrent series wader and Foot Tractor wading boots by Danner. The company’s waders are produced with 98% recycled material. Their H2No® technology is the benchmark for all waterproof gear. Patagonia has everything you need if you are a fly angler looking for quality gear.
Everyone dreams of landing a predatory migratory fish someday, like blue marlin, tuna, or wahoo. Pelagic is a premium high-performance fishing brand that prides gear for customers that live, eat, sleep, and breathe fishing. For over 20 years, Pelagic has provided technical equipment for anglers in all conditions.
Pelagic has a wide variety of technical fishing shorts, which is where the company is most known, along with its UV protective gear and high-performance polarized optics. The offshore salt life meets the comfortability of everyday life. Spending hours on the water used to be uncomfortable until Pelagic designed fishing gear to meet all needs of the hardcore salt angler. Their hands-on approach to fishing means they have thought of everything regarding apparel and equipment.
Redington has a wide range of products under the Farbank Company umbrella. Farbank owns Rio Fishing Products, Sage Fly Rod and Reels, Redington, and Fly Water Travel, all world-renowned names in the fly fishing industry.
Redington has the essentials a fly angler needs to have on the water. They offer budget-friendly, high-performance fly fishing rods and reels tailored to the beginner. The company believes good quality fishing gear doesn’t have to be overpriced.
The company covers everything from wading pants and breathable waders to rain jackets and wading boots. All while Redington keeps affordability in mind, they also provide top-selling waders like the Sonic Pro HD series, which feature a four-layer high-performance wader with durability in mind with designs tailored to cover you where the most wear and tear happens. In addition, the Redington Women's Aurora Waders won the "best women’s wading boot" in the 2022 International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) Best of Show.
Since 1980, Simms has taken a different approach to providing quality gear and outdoor apparel. Specifically, with their rain jackets, footwear, and waders, Simms has targeted every piece of clothing to have a specific purpose with advanced technology to fish harder and go further on the water. From base layers to outerwear, Simms has precisely what any angler needs in any condition. Simms also prides itself in providing handmade-in-the-USA products, such as the G3 and G4 series of waders right in the heart of fly fishing in Bozeman, Montana. As a result, they won many IFTD awards in the fly fishing apparel and wader categories and the 2022 Best of Show.
Simms is known for its all-new G3 series of waders, Flyweight Access Boots, GORE-TEX fabric technology, anatomically correct wader designs, product warranties, and front seam technology, allowing for the best durability, mobility, and innovation in the wading industry. Also, Simms offers a Bugstopper long-sleeve shirt series, which eliminates bug bites on the water. Simms provides expertise in gear needed for any angler from head to toe, whether with a fly rod in your hand or out in blue water angling for tuna. Simms is an excellent addition to your apparel needs.
Skwala announced its launch in March 2022 and has since made strides. This new fly fishing apparel and gear company debuted in the same town as many renowned brands: Bozeman, Montana. Skwala uses a proprietary fabric and has intentionally opted away from the typical choice of GORE-TEX. Instead, Skwala designed its stretch textile fabric from the ground up and is used in their RS Wader and wading jackets. Specifically, this fabric has four layers of breathable laminate with a double-weave face textile, making some of the most durable materials for waders.
Recently, Skwala took major strides with their RS Wader, named the “best new wader of 2023” by Fly Fisherman Magazine. This wader features their buckle-less wader straps and a built-in wading belt which adds to its durability and functionality. In addition, these waders are known for allowing the avid angler to catch fish in the toughest terrain due to their ultra-dense 100% polyester microfiber textile, all while achieving the best in comfortability.
There are many options for the best fishing apparel brands, but in the end, it all comes down to preference, application, and your fishing environment needs. If you have any questions about these brands or want to find the right gear for you, whether it be fly rods, wading boots, waders, sunglasses, outerwear, or other fishing accessories, reach out to a Curated Fishing Expert for free, personalized advice and recommendations for your outdoor activities.