2009 Duck Hunting Waders

To assess this year’s waders, we climbed in and out of boats, lay in the mud and walked through heavy thickets. Here’s some help in buying that new set of waders for the fall 2009 season.
2009 Duck Hunting Waders

Hodgman Early Season WaderHodgman Early Season Waterfowl Wader

For all of you who consume too much coffee, these waders will make your life a little more convenient on a cold day. The patented waterproof Riri zipper makes these waders pleasurable to wear for a long day in the boat or blind. The zipper is easier to use than any we’ve tried so far. (Some just about take a pair of pliers to open.)

The waders’ light, three-layer construction uses a highly breathable fabric with additional laminated nylon in high-wear areas like the seat and knees. There are lined hand-warming pockets and two zippered wallet or key pockets inside. Outside are two convenient mesh storage pockets. The snug-ankle-fit boots stay in place while you’re walking through sticky mud, and additional insulation is added, with an 8mm wool-felt midsole to keep you warm and dry.

Boot sizes: Men’s 7 to 13

Special sizing: no

Material: 3-layer, breathable Horco-Tex

Camo: MAX-4HD

Boot insulation: 600 grams

Weight: 7 pounds

MSRP: $249

Website: Hodgman

Contact: (800) 835-3278

Macks Prairie Wings WaderMack’s Prairie Wings Grand Prairie Wader

Mack’s is the exclusive place to buy waders in the new Avery Marsh Grass camo pattern, and these neoprene waders clearly sported the most features of the eight reviewed. Starting from the ground up with 1,200 grams of Thinsulate, the boots use an 8mm felt sole. Additional neoprene is incorporated into the boots, making cold feet a thing of the past.

The exterior is a four-way stretch, nearly thorn-proof Dura Hyde nylon laminated to a neoprene shell. There are shell loops, two sets of hand-warmer pockets and an oversized front and inside zipper pocket.

Hands down, the Grand Prairie had the most bells and whistles, but they are not for hot weather. It’s offered in more sizes than are available from any other company, so no matter what your girth or height, you can find a pair that fits. If it’s really cold and you’re wading in deep water for long periods of time, this wader is for you.

Boot sizes: Men’s 7 to 13

Special sizing: Tall, Stout, Big Boy, Junior, Youth

Material: Dura-Hyde with 3.5 neoprene

Camo: Avery’s Marsh Grass, Avery Buck Brush, Avery KW-1

Boot insulation: 1,200 grams

Weight: 12 pounds

MSRP: $239

Website: Mack''s Prairie Wings

Contact: (877) 622-5779

Muck Boots Wood MarshMuck Boots/Woody Marsh Utility Hipper

Updated this year with a tough interior membrane, this utility hipper is even more puncture-resistant than Muck’s previous models. It’s available in a new camo pattern, and the belt-attachment strap is wider and more comfortable. The bottom is the traditional Muck Wetland neoprene boot with a heavy cleated sole.

Designed for trapping and waterfowling, these industrial-quality hippers have super-comfortable bottoms that you can stand all day and walk several miles in. They’re tough enough so you can walk through the worst slash your marsh has to offer, and at the end of the day, just kick them off.

Boot sizes: Men’s 5 to 15

Special sizing: no

Material: 900-denier nylon

Camo: Mossy Oak Shadow Grass

Boot insulation: CR foam and neoprene

Weight: 6 pounds

MSRP: $149

Website: Muck Boots

Contact: (877) 438-6825

Cabelas Warrior II WaderCabela’s Warrior II Wader

Using a combination of breathable fabric throughout, these light waders feature a layer of light 1.5mm neoprene padding and a piece of heavy nylon on the front of the legs. The removable suspenders are 1.5mm neoprene to allow stretching. The hand-warming pocket has a Velcro horizontal pocket layered with three web-mesh exterior pouches.

The lack of give in the fabric can make these waders a little unforgiving if they’re sized too tight, but the slightly shorter cut in the legs is ideal if you’re not over 6 feet tall. Most hunters will find this to be an extraordinarily durable, breathable wader.

Boot sizes: Men’s 8 to 14

Special sizing: Stout

Material: 900 denier breathable nylon

Camo: MAX-4HD, Mossy Oak Duck Blind

Boot insulation: 1,000 grams

Weight: 8 pounds MSRP: $199

Website: Cabelas

Contact: (800) 237-4444

LL Bean Helix Waterfowl WaderL.L. Bean Helix Waterfowl Waders

Since breathables showed up in the marsh a decade ago, there really haven’t been any significant improvements to them…until now. The guys at Bean not only made a breathable that’s much more comfortable to wear with the Helix’s spiral seam design, but they also managed to make it much more durable.

After a couple of seasons, the seams on most breathables degenerate and start to leak. Bean has reduced by half the number of seams on these waders. With no seams over your knees, the waders are dramatically more comfortable. Other smart features like low-profile buckles and a smart shoulder harness that doesn’t restrict movement makes shouldering a shotgun a breeze. These are very nice waders, but a little pricey.

Boot sizes: Men’s 8 to 14

Special sizing: no

Material: 4-layer Helix breathable fabric

Camo: Mossy Oak Duck Blind

Boot insulation: 1,200 grams

Weight: 7 pounds MSRP: $399

Website: L.L. Bean

Contact: (800) 441-5713

Lacrosse Alpha Northern Flight WaderLaCrosse Alpha Northern Flight Waders

The boots on these waders use rubber-over-neoprene technology for true waterproofing, a lightweight and scent-free convenience. They’re lined with fleece. A custom suspender system on this wader allows for the removeable chest pac to fit all of the company’s Northern Flight waders. A Trac-Lite outsole will give you all the traction you’ll need in a muddy field or a slippery swamp, with an EVA midsole for cushioning and a sport-chassis outsole for stability on uneven terrain.

Boot sizes: Men’s 7 to 15

Special sizing: Regular, Stout, King

Material: 5mm waterproof neoprene

Camo: Max-4 HD

Boot insulation: 1,200 grams

Weight: 10.3 pounds

MSRP: $290

Website: Lacrosse Footwear

Contact: (800) 323-2668

Pro Line Sunrise 7002 WaderPro Line Sunrise 7002 Winchester Waders

Made lightweight for all-day wearing, the Sunrise 7002 Winchester Waders (with 200 grams of Thinsulate) are perfect for early-season wear or year-round wear in Southern waters. They’re made of durable 420 Denier nylon laminated to rubber with 90 Denier backing. All seams are vulcanized to keep water out, and a handy inside utility pocket keeps your essentials handy.

The boot has a rubber foam midsole for comfort and a steel shank for stability, and molded foam knee pads to keep you comfortable when bending and stretching.

Boot sizes: Men’s 8 to 13

Special sizing: no

Material: 2-ply

Camo: Mossy Oak New BreakUp, Mossy Oak Duck Blind, Advantage Max-4

Boot insulation: 200 grams

Weight: 10 pounds

MSRP: $89.99

Website: Pro Line Boots

Contact: (800) 334-4612

Drake LST EqwaderDrake LST Eqwader Wading System

These babies are loaded with features, from a Hydro-Durance HD2 (Heavy-Duty) fabric to a fleece-lined against-the-body handwarmer to pockets galore. An adjustable Boot-Lok allows you to achieve maximum comfort and stability in the boots, which come with a whopping 1,600 grams of Thinsulate. No-buckle shoulder straps stay out of the way of your gun mount, and a vertical call pouch keeps your calls from swinging around and clanking together. You’ll also appreciate the reinforced knee pads and adjustable belt.

Boot sizes: Men’s 8 to 14

Special sizing: Regular, Stout

Material: 5mm neoprene

Camo: Max-4 HD, Mossy Oak Duck Blind, Mossy Oak Bottomland

Boot insulation: 1,600 grams

Weight: 11 pounds

MSRP: $280

Website: Drake Waterfowl

Contact: (866) 521-5012


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