TOP 10 Wading Jacket 2023
Fly fishing is a fun activity, but it can turn into a disaster if you do not have the right equipment and gear. It is not an unknown fact that fly fishing is the most productive on rainy days. So, how do you keep yourself dry and warm without the best wading jacket at your disposal?
Simms is a reliable brand, and for us, Simms Challenger Waterproof Fishing Coat is overall the best wading jacket you can have for fly fishing.
Simms Challenger is quite sturdy and suitable for every challenging weather. It can keep you warm in cold weather, and dry in rainstorms. The challenger has all features that an angler seeks from the best fly fishing jacket. The most remarkable feature apart from water resistance and durability is it’s lightweight and extremely comfortable.
In this article, we have not just mentioned the best wading jackets of 2022 and also incorporated a buying guide and some FAQs to help you make a well-informed purchase.
Best Wading Jackets – Quick Answer List
1.Simms Challenger Waterproof Fishing Rain Coat?– Overall Best Wading Jacket
2.Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Jacket??– Best Lightweight Wading Jacket
3.Simms Men’s Freestone Wading Jacket?– Best Value Wading Jacket
4.Frogg Toggs Men’s Li Guide Wading Jacket?– Best Wading Jacket For The Money
5.Rivers West Kokanee Waterproof Fishing Jacket?– Best Windproof Wading Jacket
6.Compass 360 Men Regular Wading Jacket?– Best Breathable Wading Jacket
7.Frogg Toggs Java Hell Bender Wading Jacket?– Best Waterproof Wading Jacket
8.Kylebooker WJ002 Wading Jacket?– Best Insulated Wading Jacket
9.Compass 360 Hells Gate Wading Jacket?– Best Wading Jacket Under $100
10.Frogg Toggs Pilot 3 Guide Rain Jacket?– Best Rain Fishing Jacket
The following are reviews of the best wading jackets this year.
10 Best Wading Jackets in 2023 Reviews:
1. Simms Challenger Waterproof Fishing Rain Coat – Overall Best Wading Jacket
This is a really nice shell. Very lightweight, easy to roll up and store in my vest in the spring when weather can go bad quickly. Extra big for under layers Exactly what I was looking for.
Starting with its Toray Fabric technology, it is highly durable, breathable, and comfortable. It is made from Quadralam fabric that has a microporous water-resistant coating. This keeps the angler dry while also allowing the sweat to escape from the minute pores. Hence, you can stay fresh and comfortable throughout the day.
The seams are all taped to enhance waterproofness. Even the zippers of this jacket are water-resistant. Another commendable feature of this wading jacket is that the zippers are corrosion and rust-free!
2. Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Jacket – Best Lightweight Wading Jacket
I've found that a packable rain jacket allows me the versatility I need on the river while fly fishing on those "iffy" days---rain one moment, bright sunshine the next. It's very light and seems to do the job. One small issue: I like to keep the jacket unzipped much of the time so that I can access my vest, but wind keeps blowing it off my shoulder, but I'm toying with a clip system to keep it closed at the top.
The tri-layered and welded nylon shell combined with waterproof zippers and a DWR jacket significantly increases its wind resistance and waterproofness. And let us highlight – that even after multiple layers, the breathability of this jacket is not compromised. You can wear it for hours without feeling suffocated as this jacket is super comfortable.
The Dolphin skin cuff allows the angler to tighten the sleeves around his wrist when submerging their hands in the water, so you don’t have to worry about drenching your arms. The storage pocket at the front and the internal mesh pocket provide ample space for gear storage.
3. Simms Men’s Freestone Wading Jacket – Best Value Wading Jacket
Used it in a heavy snow/rain mix my first day out with it. Really excellent jacket. Simms always kills it with their products. If you live in the PNW and enjoy getting skunked winter steelheading, this jacket is a good choice for you. You may not get the bite you want, but you’ll stay dry.
It will keep you completely dry during rainy days. A further plus point about this product is that all the seams are double-taped for enhanced protection against water. Thanks to the adjustable waistline cord, you can tightly secure the jacket around your waist to prevent the risk of water entering inside in case of splatter. It is the most popular choice for the rainy season due to its aforementioned features.
The three-layered material used to build this jacket plays a vital role in keeping you warm in extreme weather conditions. Since wading jackets are mostly worn for fly fishing in winters, this is one of the best wading jackets if withstanding cold weather is an essential feature for you as it provides excellent wind resistance as well. You can expect this jacket to protect you against invading winds even if the wind speed is greater than 40 mph.
But this does not make the jacket unsuitable for summers as it can keep you extremely cool even in 37-degree weather! Hence, you can wear it all year long so it’s a great investment! This wading jacket is also the best saltwater wading jacket thanks to its excellent quality and features.
Besides, the Simms Freestone wading jacket also comes with large spacious pockets, two near the chest and two by the waist. The above two pockets can be used to keep your valuables safe, while the ones near the waist can also be used for the purpose of keeping your hands warm. The pockets are secured with a micro-brushed tricot liner and drain holes.
4. Frogg Toggs Men’s Li Guide Wading Jacket – Best Wading Jacket For The Money
The jacket is nice overall. The option of the insulated jacket or vest is handy and makes the jacket that much more versatile. It's light enough for a summer rain jacket that is very windproof and with the additional insulation option im comfortably wearing it fishing tournaments in November here in Michigan still with just a shirt and hoodie underneath. My only complains are the hood and the sleeves. The sleeves seen short at times like reaching down into livewells. They pull up my arms and I bend down and reach. For me it's almost a bonus but not everyone is going to appreciate that. The hook has a nice zipper for removal but the hook doesn't have its own pocket to roll up in or anything, it just detaches with a quality zipper and you do what you wish after that.
I found the jacket here for a great price and I'm totally happy with it for that price ($80 or so). However full price would make me a little less impressed. I do like it as much or more than the Huk tournament jacket it replaced.
The waterproofness of this jacket is also next to none. Not only is its structure resistant to water, but even the zippers are made from water-resistant material. The pockets are covered with flaps that keep the water out in case of splatter, so the safety of your belongings is ensured at all times.
5. Rivers West Kokanee Waterproof Windproof Fishing Jacket – Best Windproof Wading Jacket
I could have ordered a small if they had one (female) but the medium works. I am in love with this jacket. No, it's not gonna be good for hunting (too noisy) but omg the quality and warmth is top notch. For fishing and farm/ranch chores you just can't beat this jacket, and it's stylish to boot. My friends are always admiring it and I tell them go get your own. It's probably going to outlast me it's built that well.
I live where the wind will cut you in two like a cold knife and I don't feel anything with this jacket on. Definitely rainproof and yes if you need to plunge your hands into cold water those neoprene velcro wrist straps keep water out. It is such sturdy fabric, love the color, plenty of pockets and those incredibly soft fluffy lined pockets are a game changer! I haven't put hand warmers in the pouches yet but will try that out. This is an excellent fishing jacket (or just around town or on the farm) and paired with some waders ur good to go up against any weather. Best jacket I've ever owned.
Next up is its durability, which is quite commendable as well. But it does not come as a surprise considering the high-quality materials used in the construction of this wading jacket. And, of course, its rugged exterior prevents it from damage and makes it last for years to come.
The breathability of this jacket is also next to none. It won’t make you feel suffocated while keeping the water out at the same time. Due to the presence of a waterproof membrane, the River West wading jacket has impressive resistance against water.
Not to forget – the jacket comes with a hood and neoprene cuffs. The hood is a lifesaver during rain as it prevents your vision from obscuring and keeps the water from falling on your face. The neoprene cuffs cinch the jacket around the wrists to make sure not even a single water finds its way inside while your hand is in contact with water.
The zippered pockets lined with fleece serve the purpose of a hand warmer while also allowing the angler to store some of the accessories and belongings securely.
6. Compass 360 Men Regular Wading Jacket – Best Breathable Wading Jacket
Simply put, this jacket is amazing and I would give it six stars if I could. It is well designed and in fact the features of the jacket aren't spelled out enough in the description. I live in the Pacific Northwest and we get plenty of rain here. Having a good waterproof jacket is a must and this one is probably the best I've owned with features equal to a $250+ jacket. It works great as a top layer when it's cold and because it is breathable is fine in warmer temperatures also. The amount of adjustments you can make on it is probably what I like most and this is where the description on Amazon doesn't do the jacket justice.
Cuffs - this is one of my favorite features. When you look at the images you see the strap on the outside where you can adjust the cuff, which is great but what you don't see in the internal neoprene cuff, which is also adjustable. I've had jackets with the neoprene cuffs, which is great but often they are too tight. This one you can adjust to what is best for you.
Seams - yes, this jacket is waterproof but what you don't see are the taped and sealed seems on the inside of the jacket. I've seen taped seems before but these seems are sealed in such a way making it impossible to open up.
Sizing - I am 6 feet tall and weigh 195. Most would say I have a dad's body, not athletic but not at all overweight. I bought a double extra large (XX on the drop down) and it fit me perfectly to be able to layer. So far I've worn it with three thin layers and it fit fine with plenty of room to put on at least one more thick layer and probably another thin layer. I've had it on with just a t-shirt and didn't feel like I was swimming in it either.
Longevity - I haven't owned it long enough to rate the longevity but based on the quality I expect it will last a long time. If anything changes I will come back to edit this review. Don't expect to see any edits.
How I review:
When I review a product said product automatically starts with four stars as I rarely will purchase anything below four stars. I then add and/subtract stars based on certain criteria as listed below.
1. If an item is exactly what I expected and nothing more it will receive a four star rating
2. If an item surpasses my expectations it will gain a star (5 Stars)
3. If an item goes slightly below my expectations it will lose a star (3 Stars)
4. If the instructions for the product (if needed) are poorly written (hard to understand due to language issues or grammar) or just too hard to follow it will lose a star no matter if the product meets or exceed my expectations
5. If a product is significantly below my expectations I will deduct two stars
6. It will be rare that I would give a product one star since I buy mostly items that have a 4+ rating but in rare instances there may be a good reason that even a four star product receives a one star rating from me. It could be because of customer service issues from the company but whatever the case is I will clearly explain my reason for giving a product only one star
7. Frogg Toggs Java Hell Bender Wading Jacket – Best Waterproof Wading Jacket
I bought and returned several jackets until I received this one. I love it !!! Very roomy. I am confident I will be able to wear this over a heavy hoodie and still fly fish. There are six nice size pockets that will complement me wearing a smaller vest or chest pack. Love the side pockets that will allow for hand warmers. the fit along the waist, and the neoprene cuffs. I can't wait to wear it in the rain. I couldn't be happier with the design and fit of the jacket. 5 STARS !!!!
The hood and cuffs of the jacket are adjustable. While the hood is super effective in protecting your hair and head against moisture, we cannot say the same for the cuffs. They do not seal the wrists well enough to prevent the water from coming in 100%. Plus, the quality of the zippers is not as good as you’d expect. Therefore, it might not be suitable to wear this jacket for fly fishing on a cold day.
The jacket comes with large chest pockets and a D ring at the back. You can use this space to store and hang fishing accessories without having to carry a bag which is a great plus. Conclusively, this is the best waterproof fishing jacket by Frogg Toggs at a reasonable price!
8. Kylebooker WJ002 Wading Jacket– Best Insulated Wading Jacket
I have been looking for a fishing jacket like this for a while because I get wet often in spring and summer. But the price for them is often quite high, which is a deterrent to my purchasing decision. I saw this on Amazon the other day, but there is no review of this product. Nevertheless, given my experience with this seller, I decided to give it a try. The jacket came within two days, which I shall give credit to Amazon, and was well packaged. After opening it, I took a very close look at its quality, materials, and design, knowing that I can return it if it is not well made. To my pleasant surprise, I did not find anything wrong. It is a good-looking fishing jacket that is well-made with decent material. I am going to use it for fishing on any outing. I have to say that this is a decent product!
Made from a unique 3-layered ripstop plaid fabric, the water-resistance of this jacket is uncompromised. It keeps the angler dry at all times. The sleeves are attached with adjustable neoprene cuffs that can be tightened around to prevent the water from getting inside and making your arms wet. The D-rings at the back is a great addition as they can be used to carry a fishing net and other accessories.
9. Compass 360 Hells Gate Wading Jacket – Best Wading Jacket Under $100
I’m clumsy and fell down a few times crossing the river, sunk my full backside while rushing to net a trout (klutz), dropped my hand to the bottom of the river (almost 3’ deep) tryin to balance myself during a slip. Not the least, the sunny morning got cloudy and dropped 20 degrees and turned into a slushy frosty rain.
I broke out my brand new Hells Gate Jacket (was still in the wrapper - didn’t think I’d need it) and it saved my a$$. It warmed my up and helped me to dry out and keep fishing. I know it’s water tight because I left a pocket open, and a few hours later when I got to the car to change clothes, my pocket was still full of the Rio Bravo. Best $90 bucks I ever spent ~pb
This wading jacket also has adjustable cuffs that can be tightened to keep the water when you are supposed to dip your hand in the water. However, the cuffs are not as efficient in stopping the water as the Simms Freestone wading jacket.
10. Frogg Toggs Pilot 3 Guide Rain Jacket – Best Rain Fishing Jacket
Rain Proof, breathable, roomy, & sturdy.
Tested twice while angling (lots of walking and light rain for 7 hours each) and twice while hunting ducks in windy-heavy downpours for 6 hours each.
Most duck hunters like the grassy patterns, this jacket; while not made to hold shells, looks like an old cottonwood tree and functions fine.
The zipper is a little difficult to get started but that's probably my handicap.
As it is a drop shoulder, it allows a great deal of movement. All the seams of this rain jacket are tightly sealed to keep the water out at all times. The numerous storage pockets are great for keeping your valuables and accessories safe.
Buying Guide – Best Fly Fishing Jackets
Here are all the factors that you need to consider before purchasing a wading jacket:
As the market for wading jackets is supersaturated, it might be difficult to find the most suitable option for you if you do not have a specific budget in mind. Decide on an amount that you are willing to invest in your wading jacket as that will narrow down your options and make the choice easier!
Your comfort will be greatly compromised if the jacket is unable to let moisture escape from the inside. Hence, look for wading jackets that offer maximum breathability.
3. Water Resistance
Since you will be spending a significant amount of time in the water, it is vital for you to stay dry to maintain your comfort level. So always go for waterproof fishing jackets if you want your trip to be enjoyable.
Also Read: Best Waders For Cold Weather
4. Wind Resistance
You don’t want the cold winds invading you while you are already inches deep in water. Some of the best fishing jackets offer great resistance against the wind so try to go for them if you have plans of fishing during the winter.
If you are to cover rough terrain during your excursion, it is best to get a fishing jacket that lacks in weight. A lightweight fishing jacket will allow you to move freely and non-restrictively.
Wading jackets come in a variety of materials. In order to ensure you get the best fly fishing jacket, always go for the material that suits your fishing conditions the best. For instance, don’t buy fleece-lined jackets if you don’t plan on going fishing in the cold season.
7. Storage Space
Wearing a vest above your wading jacket can get quite uncomfortable. Therefore, prioritize the wading jackets that have ample storage space so you can keep your belongings and accessories in those pockets.
8. Sealed Cuffs
Only the best waterproof jackets offer this feature. As fly fishing will have you submerging your hands in the water several times, it is best to get a wading jacket that has sealable cuffs so the water does not get inside!
Now that we are done with the best wading jacket reviews and you know what factors and features you need to look for, let’s move on to the next part. In this section, we will be addressing some frequently asked questions about wading jackets. Let’s have a look:
Q: Why should I wear a wading jacket?
Answer: The purpose of the best wading jacket is to keep the upper half of your body dry while you are wading in the water. You should wear them if you don’t like the idea of getting soaked while fishing or hunting. Additionally, they are great for storing your stuff and they eliminate the need to carry a bag!
Q: What can cause a wading jacket to get wet from the inside?
Answer: There can be several reasons behind your wading jacket getting wet if the brand claimed it to be waterproof. Here is everything that could be wrong:
A tear or cut on the exterior:
Fly fishing is a tough sport, especially for beginners. We won’t be surprised if you got a cut on your jacket while fishing. This could increase the porosity of the jacket, allowing the water inside.
If the cuffs of your wading jacket are not cinched around tightly, water is bound to find its way inside as soon as you dip your hands in the water. So make sure the cuffs are always perfectly sealed before you immerse your hands in the stream.
If none of the elements mentioned above seem to be the cause of the wading jacket getting wet internally, it might be due to the less breathability of the jacket. You can invest in the best waterproof wading jacket but you will still end up getting wet if the jacket is incapable of proper ventilation.
Q: Is buying an expensive wading jacket worth it?
Answer: The best wading jackets for money are usually a combination of the best features. Therefore, it is recommended to look at the features of a wading jacket rather than its price! If it has all the excellent features, then buying an expensive wading jacket will definitely be worth it!
For instance the Orvis Men’s Ultralight wading jacket and the Simms Men Freestone wading jacket. Both these jackets possess some exceptional features such as great waterproofness, high breathability, and comfortable to wear. If you decide to spend on an expensive wading jacket, these two might be your best options.
To sum everything up, wading jackets are a crucial investment for a fun fly fishing trip. And since they can be expensive, it is important to purchase one after doing plenty of research. Once again, we would recommend getting the Simms Challenger Waterproof Fishing Rain Coat as it is an all-rounder. And the best fishing jacket for rain as well. It is a combination of some of the best features which makes it worth the investment. But still, the choice is all yours!
If you have read this article till the end, you are now ready to buy the best fly fishing jacket for yourself as long as you keep the aforementioned points in mind. Scroll back up to the list of 10 best wading jackets and choose the one you like the most. Happy shopping!
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