August 28, 2013
When it comes to waterfowling comfort, these are the best of times. Though our sport is steeped in tradition, it has definitely gone high-tech. Nowhere is this more evident than with the weather-turning, insulating togs we wear today. Modern waterfowlers enjoy the warmest, most comfortable, waterproof and breathable attire the sport has ever seen.
Old-timers insist temperatures were colder, rainstorms wetter and snows deeper in their day, but maybe it was because their clothing wasn't providing the level of protection we take for granted. Heck, waders don't even spring leaks anymore while trekking through nasty beaver cuttings or briars. And scientifically-designed camo patterns give us an edge over the birds.
Articulated tailoring, multi-panel garment assembly and lighter materials allow us to move and hike without binding. These advancements focus our attention where it should be — on the hunting. Keep away ol' trench toe in style with our list of the best boots and waders for this waterfowl season.
Under Armour Spinex Thermal
wraps a 16-inch rubber knee boot around a thermal heating system, keeping feet warm in cold environments. They also include UA Scent Control Technology to stay fresher longer. The battery-powered system includes variable temperature control, and the ColdGear Infrared Liner reflects heat back into the center.
Banded RedZone Breathable Insulated
HARS insulation technology combines with SHEDS exterior and 1,200-gram Thinsulate boots for a very breathable wader from Banded
. Rated for negative 10 to 50 degrees, the 900D reinforced and articulated knee and seat make the RedZones
super tough. Some features include side-zip chest adjustment, bib-fit styling and an integrated boot gaiter.
Cabela's Northern Flight One-Strap
We have all pounded a wader strap buckle into our shoulder with our gun butt, so we're big fans of Cabela's One-Strap
, which feature an ambidextrous strap to fit your off-hand shoulder. It makes swinging on speeding teal much easier — trust us. The waders are constructed of 5mm neoprene and Armor-Flex, which won't restrict movement. Reinforced knees and 1,200-gram Thinsulate Ultra boots will keep you comfy.
Drake Eqwader 2.0
has undergone massive improvements for 2013. The 2.0 line now includes four-step DryFuse Seam Technology for added dependability and life, higher sides for more protection, two High Ground Pockets and Hydro-Flex knee pads. They still include plenty of features, like no-buckle shoulder straps and multiple pockets with waterproof zippers.
RedHead Bone-Dry Extreme
An advanced 3-ply stretch Span Tough outer shell resists punctures and wear during hard use, and the waders are backed by 5mm neoprene. The RedHead Bone-Dry Extreme
also includes 1,000-gram Thinsulate Ultra insulated boots with 8mm wool midsole, and the outsole provides traction in a wide variety of conditions. The high-back design promotes deep wading, and adjustable suspenders make for a superior fit.
Is there a serious waterfowler out there who doesn't utilize this pattern? Realtree Max-4
includes elements of cattails, common grains, cornstalks, sunflowers, oak and maple leaves, cedar and oak limbs and other plant life to help you blend into a wide variety of environments.
For duck hunters hunkering in riparian brush or flooded timber, a pattern incorporating 'woodland ' elements is key for concealment. Realtree's all-new Xtra
includes larger pattern elements for year-round cloaking in a wide variety of habitats. It also comes in Xtra Green for early-season teal
Mossy Oak Duck Blind
Mossy Oak Duck Blind
features digitally-reproduced images of millet, wild oats, corn stalks, phragmites, Johnson grass, soybeans and native grasses add shadows to enhance depth and create a 3-D effect. Muted browns, tans, grays and blacks — in different tones — give the appearance of dry and wet ground beneath.
Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades
All-new Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades
was designed to fill in the missing link of pure grass elements common in today's field-edge and pothole hunting. It features a precise arrangement of wind-blown, broken and bent grass blades, overlaying a background of lesser or dead grass thatch.
Gore Optifade Concealment Marsh
Scientifically designed to fool waterfowl, this pattern has maximum effect at around 35 yards. Unlike other camo, Gore Optifade
is not a mimicry pattern, instead using digital elements to 'make the hunter appear to be nothing, ' by utilizing micro and macro patterns, and colors that confuse birds.
Hard Core Max-4 Soft Shell Jacket
Keep warm with the Hard Core Max-4 Soft Shell
, a great layering option made of waterproof/breathable polyester twill. The jacket has a 260-gram fleece lining with elastic cuffs and Velcro tabs.
Hard Core Max-4 Lightweight Pant
A perfect companion to the Soft Shell Jacket, the Hard Core Max-4 Lightweight Pant
is waterproof, windproof and breathable, not to mention the elastic waist band that expands after feasting on one too many blind snacks. There's plenty of room for extra gear.
Banded Atchafalaya Jacket
A great option for cool, but not brutally cold hunts, the Atchafalaya Jacket
is moisture-resistant, and constructed of durable windproof polyester Stealth-Shell fabric. The coral fleece lining provides improved comfort and air circulation when working up a sweat.
Banded Atchafalaya Pant
The Banded Atchafalaya Pant
is made up of a windproof and moisture-resistant exterior. An interior coral fleece lining provides comfort and venting. YKK's water-resistant zippers are included on the bilateral thigh and rear cargo pockets.
Beretta Xtreme Ducker 2-in-1 Jacket
Stay hidden and dry with Beretta's 2-in-1 Xtreme Ducker
Gore-Tex in Optifade Marsh. The outer shell is waterproof and breathable, while the inner detachable jacket is made of Gore Windstopper micro-ripstop with Primaloft insulation.
Price: $499 to $509
Beretta Xtreme Ducker Bibs
When frigid mornings turn to sunny afternoons, you'll want a bib that keeps you warm on the walk in and breathes as the temperature rises. These lightweight, waterproof and breathable Beretta Xtreme Ducker Bibs
will keep you comfy. Full side zippers make it easy for putting on and taking off your boots, and the knees are articulated.
Price: $359 to $369
Under Armour SkySweeper Jacket
This 3-in-1 Under Armour SkySweeper Jacket
includes a zip-out, 100-gram Primaloft-insulated vest and removable hood for added versatility. ArmourStorm is 100 percent waterproof and windproof, and the Moisture Transport System wicks away moisture and sweat.
Under Armour SkySweeper Bib
The Under Armour SkySweeper Bib
keeps weather at bay. Its interior Moisture Transport System allows breathability. Zippers at the torso, front and legs make it comfortable. A front pouch with weatherproof zipper, two handwarmers and zippered hip pockets round out its features.
Sitka Boreal Jacket
The Sitka Boreal's
articulated patterning allows range of motion whether swinging a shotgun or climbing into a boat. Gore-Tex's exterior will protect you from the elements, and the 650-fill down keeps you warm. Features include two chest and shell pockets, and adjustable rotating hood for unobstructed view.
Cabela's Dri-Band Rain Gear
Rain can end a layout hunt quick if your buddy hates the wet stuff. Stop his belly-aching with Cabela's Dri-Band Rain Gear
Jacket, WindShear liner and Pant. Both include durable shells with 100 percent waterproof/breathable Dry-Plus laminate.
Price: $129 to $154
Banded Squaw Creek Parka
The new Squaw Creek Parka
shell is made from an extremely durable and comfortable polyester fabric, and includes SHEDS waterproof/breathable technology with fully-taped seams. Other features include YKK zippers and zippered hand and chest pockets.
Hard Core Weather-Tec Rain Jacket
Unseasonably warm winters have made the Hard Core Weather-Tec
a go-to jacket. Waterproof/breathable, it's lined with 210 grams of polyester. Velcro tabs tighten the coat at the cuffs, and a draw-string hood will keep the rain off your beak.
Banded UFS Fleece Full-Zip Jacket
Water beads right up on the Banded UFS Fleece Full-Zip Jacket
after your retriever shakes himself dry. The polyester-bonded fleece will turn wind away too, and its ergonomic fit offers unrestricted range of motion. It's also an excellent layering garment.
Sitka Duck Oven
The Sitka Duck Oven
tucked seamlessly into our waders all season and even kept us relatively dry during a rain-soaked pheasant hunt. You will stay plenty warm too, even when the temp dips thanks to the lightweight Primaloft insulation. The Duck Oven also includes two hand pockets and one chest pocket.
Hard Core Omega Bib
Save your joints and backside with the reinforced knees and seat of the Hard Core Omega Bib
. The Heat Retention Technology lining, water-resistant, windproof and breathable shell will keep you warm. Elastic side panels stretch for comfort, and extra-long YKK leg zippers make it easy to put on or take off while wearing boots.
Filson Wingshooting Jacket
Destination waterfowl hunts sometimes lead to afternoon upland forays after shooting morning limits. Lightweight and waterproof, the versatility of the Filson Wingshooting Jacket
makes it perfect for travel. Fully seam-sealed, the entire jacket can be stashed in a blind bag.
Cabela's Heated Performance Camo Vest
The Cabela's Heated Vest
saved our bacon while shooting sea ducks on frigid Maine shores. Gerbing's Microwire heating technology provides warmth to the right spots on your back and chest, and a 7.4-volt lithium-ion battery pack allows for three temperature settings.
Filson Guide Waterfowl Sweater
The rugged brown-on-camel Filson Guide Sweater
is made for waterfowling comfort. Comprised of 100 percent virgin Merino wool, the 8.5-ounce cotton oil finish Shelter Cloth in the shoulders, arms and wrists repels water to keep you dry. A shooting patch on the right shoulder makes for sure shotgun placement.
Under Armour Base 2.0
We like the Under Armour Base 2.0
crew and leggings because they trap heat, keeping us warm to the core without sacrificing movement. A slick exterior makes it easy to add layers, and you won't end up with a jumbled mess when you slip on waders. UA's ArmourBlock keeps the material fresh, so your buddies won't kick you out of the blind on that week-long trip to Canada this fall.
Price: $55 (per piece)
Cabela's E.C.W.C.S. Thermal Zone
Throw out those old long johns with the hole in the crotch and upgrade to a pair of Cabela's Thermal Zones
. Three different materials — Polar Weight, Mid-Weight and Tech Weight — provide the ultimate in thermal regulation. Polartec Power Dry fabric wicks moisture from the skin, and an antimicrobial treatment keeps you fresh between washings.
Price: $85 to $100
RedHead True Fit Henley Shirt
Made for early season or layering when it gets colder, RedHead's True Fit Henley
is carefully designed for comfort and performance. Designed to stay tucked in while working or hiking, each shirt includes a ribbed neck and cuffs, convenient chest pocket and a tag-free, no-itch collar.
Beretta Xtreme Ducker Thermo Gloves
Water stays out and sweat is allowed to escape with these Beretta Xtreme Ducker Thermo Gloves
gloves. Palms, trigger and middle fingers include non-slip material for a firm grip on your shotgun. The gloves have adjustable wrist straps and elastic draw-cord cuffs with barrel-locks for a snug fit.
Cabela's Heated Performance Gear Camo Gloves
Sometimes it's so cold you feel like slipping your hands in the microwave for a quick re-heat. Powered by a 7.4-volt lithium battery, these electric Cabela's Performance Gear Camo Gloves
have four different power settings to choose from. The batteries recharge in three hours, and are stored in zippered pockets at the cuffs.
Hard Core Neo-Tec Decoy Retriever Gloves
We pushed a flat-bottom across shallow water and thigh-deep mud — it would have been nice to have a pair of Hard Core Neo-Tec Decoy Retriever Gloves
to keep the slop at bay. A hook-and-latch closure at the forearm keeps the muck out and heat in. They also have a sure grip, a fine option when slotting decoys.
Sitka Hudson Cap
Yes, your buddies may chide you a bit for wearing this old-school but high-tech Sitka Hudson Cap
, but when the weather turns they'll be envious. The ultra-toasty hat protects from biting winds, and the visor will keep the glare at a minimum when shooting overhead ducks. A Gore-Tex membrane turns water away, and a fleece lining adds warmth.
Sitka Pantanal Glove
Sick of multiple pairs of gloves piling up in your blind bag? The Sitka Pantanal
is a versatile, all-seasons glove with Gore-Tex membrane, so now you only need one pair regardless of temperature. A DWR-treated stretched woven face helps mold the glove to your hand, and the leather palms offer a sure grip even on wet shotguns.
This all-new line of protective eyewear from Drake
is perfect for those sunny days on the range or in the blind. The sunglasses come in four styles — Sprigs, Volley, Specks and Canvasbacks — with gray, bronze, blue mirror or green mirror polycarbonate lenses, providing 99 percent protection against harmful UV-A and UV-B rays.
Price: $70 to $140
are streamlined, lightweight goggles that protect eyes while piloting boats and ATVs, navigating brushy areas in the dark, or pellets from stray shot. They include interchangeable temples, and a foam cartridge, preventing debris from finding its way into your eyes.
RedHead Decoy Insulated Gloves
Handle wet retrievers and decoys with these 18-inch RedHead Decoy Insulated Gloves
. The 40 grams of Thinsulate will keep your hands warm on chilly days, and a brushed flannel lining helps with moisture management. A weather-sealing cord at the wrist keeps the elements away.
Beretta Xtreme Ducker Gore-Tex Hat
Incoming mallards are supposed to be blinded by the sun, not you, so keep the glare out of your eyes and the rain off your face with this Beretta Xtreme Ducker Gore-Tex Hat
. Drop-down flaps provide ear protection, and the Gore-Tex lining is waterproof and breathable.
SG-20 Outdoor Adhesive
Don't let a hole in your waders spoil an entire trip. SG-20
is a two-part polyurethane adhesive that sets up fast and has you back in action in an hour. The base and a catalyst are easily dispensed through a mixing tip that activates adhesive properties just prior to application. After 1 minute, the material is set. Non-toxic and odor free.