Orvis Pro Waders

Craig Coltman gives the Orvis Pro waders a solid going over

Working as a fly-fishing guide, I wear my waders on average for around 200 days each year. After two full seasons I’m yet to have a single leak in my Orvis Pro waders. They’ve had some heavy-duty use and this is the best performance I’ve ever had out of a pair of breathable waders. What’s more, I believe there are still a few more seasons left in them. 

Last season while fishing the Mersey River, I inadvertently slid down an embankment into a raft of rubbish left by previous floods. You can imagine my concern when I realised that barbed wire was mixed in with the rubbish as it scraped across my legs. That’s the end of these waders, was my first thought. Amazingly, there was no damage at all.
I put this down to very tough waders (and a degree of good fortune).

Orvis partnered with fabric designer Cordura, who specialise in developing hard-wearing fabrics. The upper parts of the waders are manufactured from a 4-layer fabric, while the lower high-wear areas are 5-layer. 

Puncture resistance is only one part of ensuring waders remain leak free. Seams are the other area where waders commonly fail. Orvis has addressed this by designing waders with only one seam, located at the rear of the leg. They use a durable, low-profile lock-stitch construction, which reduces chafing while walking, and the seam is reinforced. New Vetex taping provides a more consistent gluing process and better peel and tear integrity on all seams. 

Another aspect of these waders I have come to appreciate is the freedom of movement. Climbing in and out of a boat is much easier as the crotch has a well designed gusset allowing a greater range of movement. It’s likely this gusset also removes stress from the crutch seam providing long term durability. 

Getting out of these waders is also a breeze. In some waders it is extremely difficult to remove your feet from the neoprene booties at the end of the day. I often have to pull them off for some of my older clients, which is frustrating and a little embarrassing. I simply step out of my Orvis Pros. 

When I first purchased these waders and tried them on, the knee area felt different. I quickly discovered they have removable knee pads. Initially, they seemed unnecessary, as previous waders I’ve owned have not featured them. After wearing them for a while, the foam formed to my knee shape, and now I like the feature. When kneeling to chase tailing trout or lowering my profile, the pads dramatically improve comfort, protecting my creaking knee joints.

I have also come to appreciate the microfleece handwarmer pockets. I guide a mixture of clients throughout the season with some experienced and others new to the sport. Newcomers and Tassie Highland winds don’t go well together, and I spend a fair amount of time during the day untangling leaders, where gloves are impractical. Being able to slip my hands into these built-in hand warmers is a godsend. When not required or wading deep, the water-resistant zips keep the pockets dry.

The darker grey colour is appealing. Waders can get very dirty over a season and the dark grey hides the dirt well.

In my view, waders have one job – to keep you dry. Orvis Pro waders do this better than any others I have used and incorporate quality design features. They are serious waders that deliver excellent value and should be a contender when considering your next pair of waders.