No matter how good your waders are, you’ll only be as comfortable as the pants underneath.
We have friends who still wear jeans under waders. These are solid anglers, people who can execute perfect reach or tuck casts. They know the difference between good gear and bad gear. They will spend money on well-made waders. And yet... they ruin them with jeans.
If you’re going to invest in a good pair of waders, you should wear high-quality layers against your skin as well.
In honor of those friends, we’ve put together a list of pants we do not recommend you wear under your Skwala waders.
5) Cotton sweatpants
We love cotton sweatpants as much as the next person, they’re comfort food for your legs, mac n cheese of inner thighs. Sweatpants belong on your couch not inside your waders. While these aren’t the absolute worst choice, they’re not good either. Cotton, in general, makes a poor layering fabric, and sweatpants are cut for sloth, not speed.
4) Wading or flats pants
Again, not the worst choice to rock under your waders, but not the best either. Wading pants are specifically designed for wet wading, so they dry quickly and generally offer an athletic cut. What they lack, however, is insulation and wicking. Save your wading pants for the days you ditch the waders.
Your Carharts will thank you for leaving them at home.
Carhartt makes a damn fine pair of work pants—well-cut, durable, functional—they’re the de facto state uniform here in Montana. You’ll see Carhartts on just about every farm and ranch in the state, on dance floors and barstools, even on the floor of the State Capital Building. One place they don’t belong, however, is under your waders. You simply won’t be comfortable.
While jeans come in a wide variety of cuts and styles, none of them are good under waders. 90s style baggy jeans will leave you swimming in a sea of stiff, bunched-up fabric. Aughts skinny jeans will prevent you from moving at all. And those strange saggy-skinny jeans combos are the worst of both worlds. No matter the style, denim doesn’t breathe well and tends to get soupy in humid environments. Bottom line: don’t wear jeans fishing.
Save your jorts for the dancefloor.
This may seem obvious considering that we just described jeans as a no-no but giving them the Daisy Duke treatment won’t solve their inherent flaws. We know jorts have made a comeback recently (along with disco) in some circles. We’re not here to judge other people’s fashion (or music) choices, but if you’re going to rock the cutoffs, do it when you’re wet wading.
What you should wear.
You should always have a high-quality base layer under your waders, preferably one made from Merino wool. Merino will keep you warmer and drier than synthetic materials. Its natural antimicrobial properties will also keep the funk to a minimum.
On warm days, you’ll be most comfortable in pair of thin, 150-gram bottoms. In cold weather, you’ll want something more substantial, like our Thermo 350 pants. When things get really bitter, we suggest wearing both.
If you’re one of those guys who wears jeans (or any other casual pants) under your waders, it’s not too late to change. Don’t let laziness or ego make you clammy and uncomfortable again. Wearing inappropriate pants under Skwala quality waders is like casting a Walmart fly line on a Scott rod. Don’t be that guy.