Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gear Review: Cabela's Dry-Plus G-II Stockingfoot Chest Waders - Regular

So I believe, after using the Cabela's Dry-Plus™ G-II Stockingfoot Chest Waders for 4 years, I can write that I have used them enough to give them a fair evaluation. When it comes to waders and fly fishing, these are one of the most important items as far as your equipment goes. If your waders leak, you're going to have a long day on the river. So with that said, let's talk about these waders.

Sporting my waders in their first year
Price wise, these waders come in at a very cheap price of under $130. Cabela's offers them in two varieties, regular and stout. The waders come with a mesh sack to pack them into and a wader belt. The suspenders are sewn into the fabric, so not really replaceable.

I must say, I have owned these waders for 4 years, and fished them in all sorts of weather over that time period. Admittedly I haven't used them in weather much lower than 35 degrees, or water much cooler than 45 degrees. During that span, I haven't really ever had a problem with these waders. The seams are taped and I did find that the tape on the bootie tends to wear the fastest, partially because it is centered on the heel area, thus it takes the brunt of the action while you are wearing them. At this point I feel that the tape is starting to lose its effectiveness and allow water into the bottom of my waders. I had used these waders without issue until a couple of weeks ago. When I came off the river, I realized that my right leg was soaked. When I got home, I filled that leg with water but didn't succeed in finding the culprit. So I'll keep a close eye and see if I can spot the problem area next time out.

These waders aren't Goretex, but they are breathable. I can wear them on 80-90 degree days without an issue. At the same time, they keep me warm enough in colder weather as long as I have something appropriate on under neath. (Ie. fleece pants or light weight fishing pants)

Looks wise, wearing these waders you aren't going to look stylish. Compared to Simms and the other pricier wader options they aren't nearly as fitting. However, because of this, I have found that I can wear jeans, fleece pants, track pants, or just shorts under them without them feeling overly tight. Also the waist area doesn't have any belt loops. It hasn't been an issue, but on a skinner person, I could easily see the belt moving up or down on a person throughout the day. However, these waders do have plenty of spare room in the crotch. Last summer, I slipped off the bank and heard a loud ripping noise. I thought my waders were done, but after looking them over, couldn't find a rip. It turns out, I had ripped my pants I was wearing under them. Phew!

Other features of these waders includes a small pouch on the inside of the chest area. I find this useful to store my small camera, or a small fly box if I'm fishing minimal gear. The velcro doesn't always stay closed so I don't recommend your keys in here! There is also a draw string at the top to help minimalize the water intake should you fall, or go over your waders following that 30" trout.

Starting at the knees and down there are extra layers just in case you get a snag while bush wacking. I never had this problem though. I got my first hole when I tried to navigate over a barb wire fence and didn't quite succeed. Down by the boot is a nice section that folds over the top of your boot keeping gravel and sand out of your boot. It also includes  a small metal clips that you can hook onto a lace. If you don't... be careful because that loop has caught my fly line once or twice when I'm standing in top of the shoe deep water.

A view of my largest trout ever on the fly... oh and the gravel guards in action!
The suspenders are adjustable and keyed so that you can't accidentally put your left suspender on the right side and vice versa. A nice feature for those who can't get things right the first time!

Lastly, I find that these waders back down small very nicely for back country hikes. I can easily pack them down wet or dry to 10" by 5" into their stuff sack. That's for a XXL set of waders. So for those of you who are normal weight, I can imagine you might shrink that down to 7"x4". Doing this they take very little room in my day pack. allowing me to carry more gear, water, and food.

So if you are just getting into wanting to try wade fishing I think you should seriously consider this pair of waders. They will last you many years, and at the price, won't force you to take out a second mortgage.

Just like any waders you have to hang them out to dry after a day on the river. Don't hang them by the suspenders, as you put stress on the seam where the suspenders are sewn into the material. Instead, I find it best to fold them over a couple of strings or a chair. I haven't had any issues with them not drying out. Also be sure to spray them down with water. Remove any mud that may harbor problems like whirling disease from one watershed to another.

Tight lines!


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