Wow! Thank you all for your indepth answers and friendly hello's! I found that the information you all have provided with me is of great help, as I like the Orvis brand and I have an Orvis store here in Lombard Illinois. Thanks again, you have given me alot to think about and that is based on the experiences you all have had with waders and fly fishing. Thanks again.
i too have been looking to get a pair of waders.
im under no pressure yet being here in So.Cal
but this winter will be my first winter fly fishing so i know ill want chest high's
and hopefully i can do some CO/UT trip once or twice.
im actually going back to NYC this weekend for few days, and ORVIS has their warehouse (suppose to have best discount/special deals) in CT only about 40 min away from where i live, so i think ill be going there to check out what they have. if not, i might just wait another month or two for holiday sales as im under no pressure
The new Orvis silver sonic waders hit the local store today, they're awesome. The main problem I had with my pack-n-travel ones (too much material in the socks) has been corrected. Definitely well thought out overall based on the time I spent fiddling with them. And for $260... Well, they're priced to sell.
Most chest high breathable waders feature opposing Fastex (or Chinese imitations of) buckles on their suspenders to facilitate rolling down the uppers and clipping the suspenders around your waist to keep them in place. Trout and their relatives' characteristics were forged during and post ice age and they remain in preference of cold water and cooler seasons; waist high waders are, by definition, limiting your angling to very finite habitats. Regarding brand, with the exception of Simms made in Montana high end waders, widely considered the best built of the best materials wader on the market, virtually all others are made in China to brand spec (Orvis, Patagonia, Redington, up coming Hardys) or boiler plate to price point (Cabelas, etc.). Price differences are fundamentally brand recognition and warranty service. You may get nearly identical performance from a catalog brand, inexpensive wader as from an elite fly fishing company brand's full price product...until you split a seam. I tend to be tough on waders and no matter what I pay they don't last too many seasons. I went with the buzz last fall and acquired Sonic Seam Pro, award-winning, newest and bestest waders and, after roughly 30 days use, experienced a seam failure. Sent 'um back and got a new pair right away with an explanation that, what I had happen was very unusual and must have been a bad batch (sonically welded on a Monday?).
Paying extra for friendly warranty service aside, here are a few features to look for in a wader: good quality, easily adjustable suspender design, left/right specific neoprene feet that are well taped and stoutly connected to the uppers, hand warmer pockets if you fish in a chill, stretchy and snug built in gravel cuffs with a lace hook that will attach to laces not errant coils of fly line, extra layers of material at ankles, knees and seat for puncture resistance and, importantly, a comfortable fit that is roomy enough to allow climbing over fences, getting in and out of drift boats and kneeling down to release that big fish.
Contrary to popular opinion, the vast majority of "punctures" are not caused by barbed wire but by siting down on the bank to await an insect emergence and enjoy a sandwich with your partner. Tinny barbed grass seeds and seedling Russian thistle cause countless pinholes in the breathable membrane and treated woven fabric of wader seats and legs that are all but impossible to avoid. Watch where you sit almost as carefully as where you cast.
sweetandsalt brings up a great point that I did not think of in my initial post. Suspenders. I had a pair of the LL Bean predecessor to the Rapid Rivers and the only knock on those waders was the suspenders. They were fine during the winter or cooler weather, but the neoprene harness was just too hot to suit me. Luckily, my bud had an extra pair of suspenders from his Pro Guides which he kindly gave to me. I also use those on the Sonic Seam waders as I found the ones that came with those absolutely useless.
Those Sonic Seams are great for travel I have yet to see waders pack down that small and they are ideal for warmer weather. I'm sure they would be just fine as a primary pair, but mine are for the most part relegated to backup duty unless it's warm. I can roll them down and go waist high with them, or adjust the suspenders so they ride very low towards the waist.
The suspenders are not bad at all on the new Silver Sonics. They also have clips on them that when unclipped allow the waders to be lowered to waist high while the suspenders stay up. Personally, I like the original suspenders from the Pack-n-Travels because of the ease of removal and simplicity, plus they don't get in the way or dig in when I'm wearing both a chestpack and backpack and have other straps going over my shoulders every which way. The pair of the new Silver Sonics I tried also came with the original style suspenders as an extra, which I thought was a nice touch. But like Jaybo said,they're not going to pack down as small as those sonic seam travelers. I took them to Sweden with me and they took up less room in my bag than a single wading boot.
You ask 20 diff. people you're going to get 20 different answers, but hey you'll have a wealth of opinions after it's all said and done! Me personally, I am a redington fan. I have the zip front sonic seam version and love them. I have not had any problems with them whatsoever. The quality and the price is unbeatable, like most redington products.
After much debate, soul searching, deep research and analysis (and a few "pops" by way of Ireland), I've decided to buy the new Orvis Silver Sonic Waders!!!! YTotal price: about $270.00. Now, onto the trout waters of Michigan!!!! Thanks for all the great feedback!