Wiggy’s Waders Review

Wiggy’s Waders Review

Wiggy’s is a cottage manufacturer that makes a variety of products ranging from cold weather sleeping bags to insulated outwear for the wilderness hunting/military market. Their claim to fame is insulation they call Lamilite, which is a popular synthetic insulation called Climashield laminated to nylon. They hold at least one patent on the process (https://patents.justia.com/patent/4910055). If you watch some of the videos on their website and read their website information, you could easily conclude that the owner is a crackpot, when in fact he’s just pissed off at all the bullshit marketing claims made by companies in the outdoor industry. I can respect that.

I’ve known about Wiggy’s for a long time but never really delved into their product line much because it isn’t stuff that I’ve needed. There’s one exception to that and it’s Wiggy’s Waders. These are lightweight hip-high waders that are worn over boots/shoes for short stream crossings. They’re quite lightweight and not built for heavy-duty sustained use as fishing waders or waders you’d hunt in all day. But these waders are very useful for cold spring and autumn stream crossings when you don’t want to get your footwear wet or carry extra footwear to make a crossing.

Specs at a Glance

  • Weight: 13 oz in a size Large
  • Fabric: Urethane-coated ripstop nylon
  • Sole: Thin rubber sole
  • Seam taped: Yes
  • Suspension: Webbing strap/buckle for pant belt
  • Height: Hip (crotch) height
  • Sizing: Multiple, fits men’s hunting boot sizes from 5 to 16

The nice thing about Wiggy’s Waders is that they are very lightweight (13 oz in size L) and fold completely flat making them easy to carry in a pack. You just pull them over your hiking boots at streamside, wade across, and slip them off. Quick and easy and fast enough that you won’t get chilled in the transition.

The waders are oversized sleeves that slip over your boots:shoes and run up your leg.
The waders are oversized leggings that slip over your boots/shoes and run up to your crotch.

They’re made with a single piece of urethane-coated ripstop nylon with a front seam running from the top hem to the toe with a thin rubberized textured fabric sole sewn at the bottom. All of the seams are seam-taped inside and the sewing is quite neatly done.

The sole won’t take much abuse so you should avoid sharp rocks and wood debris when crossing streams or walking in them more than is absolutely necessary on abrasive sand or gravel. I’d also recommend pre-emptively applying a coat of seam-grip on the outside, particularly on the bottom, to reinforce and further waterproof the seams. Patching the bottom may eventually be required with shoegoo or tenacious tape.

The areas most prone to perforation are the sole and the front of each foot and not the seams. When holes do develop, they’re usually quite small and leak relatively slowly. A tenacious tape patch is usually sufficient to seal them up although you might want to augment it with some seam grip/shoe-goo. You will most likely have to repair these waders eventually. That said they are way better than using plastic garage bags for cold water crossings.
The bottom of the wader has a thin rubberized sole.
Each wader leg has a thin rubberized sole.

There’s a webbing strap at the top of each leg that you loop around your belt to keep them from falling down and a drawstring that you can pull tight to prevent splashes from getting inside. You do need to prevent water from coming up over the top of the waders and filling them. This could very easily result in drowning if you’re pulled into deeper water because the waders would be difficult to remove and the weight of the water would make it difficult to stand or swim.

The waders are easy to maneuver with in knee-high water.
The waders are easy to use in knee-high water.

The fit is very baggy, but the waders are surprisingly easy to maneuver with on knee-high stream crossings. They don’t provide any insulation, however, so it’s best not to linger in the cold water too long. Putting the waders on and taking them off is easy and the coated fabric doesn’t absorb any water, so you can just roll them up and stuff them into your pack when you’re finished with them.

If you search the Internet for waders that can be pulled over hiking boots, you’re going to come up empty. Most waders come with waterproof fishing boots attached or have neoprene stocking feet and are meant to be worn inside fishing boots. They are an option, but they are god-awful heavy to carry on hikes and awkward to change in and out of streamside. Wearing waterproof neoprene socks is also an option (Showers Pass, Sealskinz, or NRS) but your shoes are still going to get wet and cold.

Priced at $85/pair, Wiggy’s Waders are not inexpensive, but they’re a great option for stream crossings when it’s too cold to get your boots/shoes wet and too cold to walk through barefoot. In warmer weather, I usually just walk right through streams, not pausing to remove my mesh trail runners, which drain and dry quickly. But when nighttime temperatures fall below freezing, I want to keep my boots dry, and these waders are just the ticket.

Disclosure: The author owns this product.

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15 comments

  1. Great suggestion. I love it when you review things outside of the industrial and cottage backpacking worlds, like this one or like that Sitka fleece you reviewed a few months ago.

  2. Thank you Phil, I’ve been looking for a product like this for several years. It is now on my Christmas wish list. :)

  3. Thanks for the review. I admit to being skeptical of my hiking friends when they said, “I need to bring my waders.” Now I get it. These may go on the Christmas list

  4. I bought a pair of these a few years ago but have only used them to wade into a lake to test them out. At the time, I was looking for something for stream crossings but then got into using trail runners, wading across, and walking them dry.

    These really are a nice niche product. I live and mostly hike in the South and don’t have to deal with extremely cold winter crossings so I don’t pack these for my hikes, but if I was hiking up North in shoulder seasons, I’d bring them.

  5. I’ve had days where I’d have loved to have those while catching the bus to work.

  6. Thank you for explaining the type of insulation they use in their bags. It did not seem possible that such small company could have an insulation product that was not already in use by others. Plus the introduction paragraph was a hoot :)

  7. I love these. Bought a pair 2 years ago, and they’re still holding up well. Great for early spring hiking up here in Maine when the water levels are high and temps are low.

  8. Never heard of them. I perform trail maintenance on a 12 mile section of trail with 5 large water crossings. Often this work is done in colder months of the year and with higher water. No more leaking large trash bags I’ve used in the past. Thanks for bringing these to light.

  9. I found Wiggy’s many years ago and purchased one of his sleeping bags.

    Since then I have purchased several of his bags plus several coats.

    The bags are heavy but after a lot of use, still like new. You can wash them as often as you like.

    I used to back pack and for back packing Wiggy Bags are a little heavy. I have a collection of dry down and regular bags from the major sleeping bag manufacturers. Have not used them since I found Wiggys.

    Since I mostly raft or canoe these days, the extra weight is no problem. The warmth, durability and sizing of Wiggy’s bags have become my sleeping bag of choice, same for coats and vests.

  10. Hope to get to Owls Head before the month is over. I liked your review saw your picture of Karen R on facebook. Now the delema is buy now or put on my Christmas list.

  11. If you really want these waders to have traction on slippery wet rocks and the like, get a couple sheets of Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scour Pad at your hardware store and cut them to the shape of the bottom of the waders. Then Shoe-Goo them to the outside bottom of the waders. Huge improvement in traction and they do not absorb water like traditional felt wader outsoles. You can shake almost all of the water out of the pads after you take off the waders. I have made similar waders from long gear drybags that I also glued straps to go over your instep for better stability.

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