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Choose the Right Gear

Conditions often vary. Selecting the right waders and footwear can make the difference between a great day in the water and sitting on the side lines watching your buddies have a good time. Follow these helpful tips to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience during your next outdoor adventure. Remember, always wear a wading belt securely fastened around your waist when wading.

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Warm Weather

Hodgman® Fabric Perfomance Layers

Breathable waders are often preferred over neoprene and PVC, allowing sweat to escape while still remaining waterproof.

  • The ability to layer with a breathable wader makes it a more versatile purchase. Selecting the right material worn under your wader can make a big difference. Avoid cotton and jeans for optimum performance in warm weather.

Find versatility in waders with a drop top suspender system - a good idea for 90 degree plus days.

  • The Hodgman® Aesis Sonic™ converts to a waist high for hot afternoons without removing the suspenders. Additionally most Hodgman chest waders have opposing buckles that allow the wearer to roll down the top and buckle the shoulder straps at the waist.
  • Zip front models of chest waders are a great choice for hot days — consider the Hodgman® Aesis™ Sonic Zip Front Stocking Foot Wader.

On warm days when you will only be wading in shallow water, hip waders are great for lightweight wader options:

Selecting the right outerwear will keep you comfortable.

  • Waterproof/breathable shell jackets with fully taped seams and hoods will keep you comfortable in summer rain squalls.
  • Lightweight jackets like the Aesis Sonic WadeLite jacket pack into a small space so you can pull them out only when needed.

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Cold Weather

Many people think you have to switch to neoprene during cold weather, but that just isn't true. Understanding how to layer under breathable waders in cold conditions will keep you warm and comfortable all day long. Add or shed layers as your activity level or weather conditions change. When conditions are going to be cold all day or for several months add extra warmth to Hodgman breathable waders with the Core INS Removable Wader Liner and eliminate the need for an extra base layer.

Hodgman® Core INS™
  • Thinsulate® insulation in the Core INS adds more insulation value than typical fleece base layers.
  • Always wear a good wading sock designed for winter conditions. This is especially important when wearing stocking foot waders. A high quality warm wool sock can make all the difference in preventing cold toes. Also upgrading to a Hodgman stocking foot wader with 5mm of neoprene in the foot like the H5 or Aesis Sonic will keep your feet warmer.
  • Buying a size up in footwear ensures proper blood circulation in your feet while making room for insulating footwear.
  • Insulation for your upper body is crucial just as with waders. You'll want to layer to stay warm. Read about layering below in the Outerwear and Layering section.

Hodgman also offer neoprene waders, in both stocking foot and bootfoot models, which provide excellent insulation in cold weather and when wading in cold water. Neoprene is a non-breathable material that keeps you warm by trapping a layer of air and neoprene material between you and the outside conditions.

  • While generally more restrictive and heavy than fabric waders, stretch neoprene material does allow for a close body fit and helps retain body heat.
  • Choose 3.5mm for cold conditions and thicker 5mm for very cold weather and water.
  • Many anglers prefer to wear bootfoot waders during cold weather months. Some Hodgman bootfoot waders have Thinsulate® insulation for additional warmth. Bootfoot waders keep more warm air between your feet and cold conditions outside the wader. The Hodgman® Caster® Neoprene Bootfoot Waders are lined with Thinsulate™ insulation for additional warmth.

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Consider what type of terrain you will be trekking through to and from your next spot and upgrade to a garment designed for the conditions at hand. If you'll be navigating brush and rough conditions, utilizing waders constructed from five-layer fabric in the leg and seat will add life to your waders and prevent pinhole leaks that can ruin your day. Waders with five-layer fabric in the seat are a good idea if you'll be rowing in a drift boat or kayak where 3-layer fabrics don't hold up.

For Ultimate Hodgman Durability

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Selecting the right sole for the type of conditions you are wading prevents slipping and ensures you wade safely. Remember different conditions require specialize footwear.

Felt Soles

Hodgman® H3 Wade Shoe with Felt Sole
  • Felt soles are often preferred in algae covered rock bottom rivers and shorelines, and grip well on slippery rocks or streambeds.
  • Pay attention to local regulations as many states have implemented bans on felt in an effort to prevent the transmission of invasive species. Always take care to dry and clean felt between uses to prevent spreading invasive species.
  • Felt offers no discernible advantage on salt water flats, muddy, or soft bottom streams or lakes and can be slippery on grass or steep slopes.
  • In snow, felt may not be the best choice as snow sticks to wet felt and adds weight.
  • Studs can be added after market on many designs.

Rubber Soles

  • Rubber soles are helpful when terrains are gravel, mud or grassy.
  • Rubber soles are a good choice in areas were felt is banned in an effort to prevent the transfer of invasive species.
  • Rubber soles are available in a range of patterns and compound compositions. Each design can provide traction and performance benefits in certain conditions but may not perform well in others.
  • Rubber is often preferred in snowy, icy winter conditions.
  • Studs can be added after market on many designs.

Studded Soles

  • The improved traction of studded soles, combined with a wading staff, can make wading safer when fishing deep, fast rivers.
  • Often the addition of studs in snowy winter conditions prevents slipping.
  • Studs can be slippery on dry, round or larger hard surfaces on riverbanks and shorelines.
  • In an effort to prevent damage to valuable equipment, most guides won't allow studded wading boots when using a drift boat or raft.

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Outerwear & Layering

Layering your clothing is one of the best ways to ensure you are comfortable in the outdoors. Simply shed or add layers based on the weather conditions or your level of physical activity. Layers typically consist of a base-layer to manage moisture, mid-layers for insulation, and shell layer to protect you from wind, snow or rain.

Base Layers

The base layer is the layer next to your skin and it is used to regulate moisture. This layer is helps you stay cool or shield you from the sun in the warm temps. As the temperature drops the base layer prevents hypothermia in the cold.

  • Avoid wearing cotton. Cotton holds moisture so if you work up a sweat while moving around you'll quickly discover how cold it really is once you stop moving.

Mid Layers

The mid layer is worn on top of the base layer to keep you warm. This layer is typically made from natural (such as down or wool) or synthetic materials (such as fleece or Thinsulate®). When it is cool outside but not raining or windy, the mid layer over the base layer is all you need.

Shell Layers

This layer can make the difference in a bad day on the water or the epic experience that we all live for. The shell (or outer layer) shields you from the rain, snow and wind. In the cold or wind toss this layer on top of your mid layer. When it is warmer but still rainy, windy or just a chill is in the air, ditch the mid layer and just wear a shell over your base layer.

The Best Jacket for Your End Use

Using waterproof/breathable shell fabrics with fully taped seams and hoods are the best choices for stopping torrential downpours. The shell fabrics normally use a laminated membrane that allows sweat vapor to exit the fabric yet stop wind and water from entering the fabric. The Hodgman V-TecH hydrophilic laminate goes a step further by pulling the moisture away from the body and preventing the clammy feeling inside the jacket. The following jackets are a great choice as waterproof breathable rain shells.

Ideal Jackets for Heavy Rain and Precipitation

Water-resistant/breathable shells are a great choice in light, short-term precipitation. The fabric is coated with a Durable Water Repellant (DWR) coating or it is designed in a way to prevent moisture from soaking through. However many Hodgman outerwear items utilize fully two or three-layer waterproof breathable fabrics in key areas like the shoulders without taping seams and water-resistant fabric on other areas. This can make a big difference for short-term use in light misting rains or snow experienced in places like the Pacific Northwest. The Hodgman® Aesis™ HyperDry® Down Jacket and Hodgman® Aesis™ Softshell Jacket both use waterproof fabric in key areas without fully taped seams.

Insulating shells have a layer of insulation to keep you warm along with waterproof or water-resistant properties. These jackets are not taped seamed for use in heavy downpours. For cool conditions the Hodgman® Aesis™ Softshell Jacket is lined with a brushed fleece fabric for added warmth and insulation. For very cold conditions goose down is a great choice for mountaineering, but typically hasn't been used in wet environments because it loses insulation properties when damp and takes a long time to dry. The Hodgman® Aesis™ HyperDry® Down jacket utilizes water repellant goose down from Allied® Down to create a shell perfect for use in wading environments. This jacket is also versatile enough to be worn as a mid layer if needed.

Layering and systems based jackets such as the Hodgman® Aesis™ 3-in-1 Jacket, come with multiple systems in one jacket for year round use. 3-in-1 jackets include a shell jacket which can be worn separately for protection from precipitation and wind, and a mid-layer jacket which can be worn separately in cooler months. For additional warmth in the colder months, the shell jacket and mid-layer jacket can be zipped together into one jacket, hence the name 3-in-1. The Hodgman® Aesis™ 3-In-1 Jacket features a mid-layer jacket with moisture-resistant Thinsulate® to help retain insulating properties even if you work up a sweat during high aerobic periods.

Outwear Fabrics

Three-Layer fabrics

These consist of a shell fabric with Durable Water Repellent coatings to make water bead up and roll off the fabric. An inner breathable, water proof laminate to keep you dry and comfortable. And lastly a backer fabric is applied to protect the laminate from abrasion and other harmful materials.

Hodgman® 3 Layer

Jackets with three-layers and fully taped seams

Jackets with three-layers and non-taped seams

Two-Layer fabric

Everything you would find in a three layer minus the protective backer applied to the laminate. Sometimes a liner fabric is used to cover and protect the laminate inside the garment.

Hodgman® 2 Layer

Jackets with two-layers and fully taped seams

Jackets with two-layers and non-taped seams

Water-resistant or Water-repellant Fabric

These fabrics are coated with a Durable Water Repellant (DWR) treatment which causes water to bead on the outside of the garment or can resist precipitation for a short period of time. According to our standards water-resistant fabrics do not meet the requirement to be called waterproof. WR fabrics are typically used on mid-layers and shells that don't have a need to be worn in heavy rains or lingering precipitation.

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