I have been using these waders for two months – the busiest part of the season for me - and I am pleased to say they have had an awful lot of wear. Since wearing my beloved Patagonia Gallegos to destruction including a trip to Diver Dave for repair I have toiled to find a decent replacement. Why didn’t I just buy another set? Well, at £550 a pop I just didn’t have the loose change in my pocket! So alternatives, Airflo and Snowbee covered my backside for a while they both come up short though and I don’t mean on the leg! To be fair the Snowbee waders were OK for the local river Avon where little effort fighting through gorse bushes and sliding down banks is required but would they survive contact with the Welsh Dee or the Eden? I am a little unsure that they would.
I was discussing my recent plight with Steve Cullen from Wychwood in regards waders and he kindly sent me some ex-magzine review ones. I had looked at these in the shop, but the fact they had no front zip (I pee a lot) deterred me from buying a set. But a freebie! I gratefully accepted Steve’s offer.
The first thing that struck me when I got them out the packaging was how similar they felt to my old Patagonia’s and indeed the material in the legs did not feel unlike a pair of Simms waders I had been looking over the previous week! When I tried them on they were a little neat on my ample frame - as they were free I had to make do with Medium King - but once I was inside they felt very comfortable.
Here is sales description for the product.
“Tough and hardwearing yet incredibly lightweight, these breathable waders offer security and comfort for anglers that are active and on the move.
The microporous coating features a structure made up of tiny holes which not only prevents liquid water from penetrating the fabric but also allows individual particles of water vapour to pass through which means the fabric is super waterproof and highly breathable. Delivering 20,000mm Hydrostatic Head and 4,000g/m2 breathability rating, these waders are designed to perform to a very high standard.
The coating combined with a tough, durable face means that Wychwood Waders are reliable and comfortable to wear the whole year through. Stay Dry System, Super lightweight, robust and hard wearing, highly waterproof and breathable construction 100& Nylon with DWR Finnish, 20,000 Hydrostatic head / 4,000/M2 breathability Sonic Welding across all seams. Five layer construction across high wear areas for maximum durability. Ergonomic make up without any side seams for greater durability and freedom of movement. Adjustable shoulder straps and waist belt for comfortable and close fit, to eliminate current drag. Taped, spacious front pocket with water resistant zip. Two internal pockets, one featuring a clear-welded pocket providing waterproof security for valuables. Daisy chain lanyard for essentials. Adjustable top edge for fitted feel, ideal for deep wading. Gravel Guard, hardwearing, wader fabric featuring elasticated gravel guard with stainless steel boot lace hook, for extra protection.”
If you are going for a short session on the river, and I often do, there is ample room for a box of flies, tippet and other essentials. The clear plastic, removable pocket section is ideal for your phone so you can see the screen and ignore all the unimportant shite that seems to flash across the screen. On the odd occasion that you need to see important messages you can, without going through the pain of digging the phone from a waterproof bag. The lanyard has ample clips for snips and forceps and for those short sessions this is ideal. If you wear a fishing vest these pockets are still accessible. For those that prefer a chest pack the pockets can become largely redundant as to gain access you have to come in from the sides. Or move the whole pack
One of the things that I really like is the gravel guards, they are very generous allowing the clip to be secured to the bottom lace or clip on your wading boots. This is important as it relieves the pressure on the seam when you are trudging around or indeed kneeling down. It seems a small thing but I have had issues with several other brands in this area where water has found a way in.
The fact these have five layers at the hardwear points mean that they feel far more robust than your normal sub £500 waders. The wear points are triple taped, so they are rock solid, there’s more than enough room, so that layering can be achieved without them becoming too snug, they come in seven sizes covering everything from medium to XL king, so everyone is sorted!
The adjustable waist and shoulder strap ensure a good fit and the chest pull cord allows you to pinch the waders tight at the tip alleviating current drag. Hardened rubber tools tabs and D rings at the chest allow you to carry lots of bits and pieces, ideal for wading no matter what the weather.
It’s easy to say stuff is good when you get it for free, unfortunately, I have to say how I find and many of my reviews never see the light of day. I won’t apologise for that but it is great when somebody sends you something and it has been properly thought through. The quality of these Gorge Waders really is quite exceptional considering the ticket price and despite not having a front zip, I think I may have found my future purchases as regards to my new favourite waders. These really are top product for a bargain price, I have not tried the boots but I will be having a good look when my current set fall off my feet.