I've backpacked into high-mountain lakes without waders just because I couldn't handle the extra weight. Standing crotch-deep in numbing water, I wondered if I made the right decision. I've left essentials at home when flying to remote Alaska wilderness lodges simply because my waders and boots consumed so much space and weight, I had trouble meeting the weight allowance. The waders were nice, but I sure wish I had space for a rain jacket, my box of streamers, and a bottle of Scotch.
Orvis's new Ultralight Waders make backpacking and flying a little bit easier by shaving weight and bulk from a men's and women's wader system that weighs 2.4 pounds (men's medium) and packs smaller than any previous Orvis waders.
To get there, Orvis used a new stitched-and-taped seam system with less overlap and bulk. With seam reinforcements in the knee and crotch areas, Orvis says these seams are stronger than previous Orvis waders with sonic-welded seams. Although packable, the waders still have essential features like a Velcro patch for flies, docking station for hemostats, front outside zippered pocket, and an inside zipper pocket with a large stretch mesh cargo compartment.
Most important, these waders have a slick and easy system to convert chest-high waders into waist-high waderscritical for hot summer days and for peeing. Fidlock magnetic clips hold the waders firmly in place at three points when wading deep. A one-handed flick releases the magnets and allows the waders to slide down the suspenders into the waist-high position. $300| orvis.com.