Fly fishing is a fun activity, but it can turn into a disaster if you do not have the right equipment and gear. It is not an unknown fact that fly fishing is the most productive on rainy days. So, how do you keep yourself dry and warm without the best wading jacket at your disposal?
After reviewing dozens of products we found Simms Challenger as the overall best wading jacket for fly fishing.
Simms Challenger is quite sturdy and suitable for every challenging weather. It can keep you warm in cold weather, and dry in rainstorms. The challenger has all features that an angler seeks from the best fly fishing jacket. The most remarkable feature apart from water resistance and durability is it’s lightweight and extremely comfortable.
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In this article, we have not just mentioned the best wading jackets of 2023 and also incorporated a buying guide and some FAQs to help you make a well-informed purchase.
Quick Answer List – Best Wading Jackets
- Simms Challenger Waterproof Fishing Rain Coat – Overall Best Wading Jacket
- Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Jacket – Best Lightweight Wading Jacket
- Simms Men’s Freestone Wading Jacket – Best Value Wading Jacket
- Frogg Toggs Men’s Li Guide Wading Jacket – Best Wading Jacket For The Money
- Rivers West Kokanee Waterproof Fishing Jacket – Best Windproof Wading Jacket
- Compass 360 Men Regular Wading Jacket – Best Breathable Wading Jacket
- Frogg Toggs Java Hell Bender Wading Jacket – Best Waterproof Wading Jacket
- BASSDASH Valor Waterproof Fishing Jacket – Best Insulated Wading Jacket
- Compass 360 Hells Gate Wading Jacket – Best Wading Jacket Under $100
- Frogg Toggs Pilot 3 Guide Rain Jacket – Best Rain Fishing Jacket
The following are reviews of the best wading jackets this year.
10 Best Wading Jackets in 2023
1. Simms Challenger Waterproof Fishing Jacket – Overall Best
- Material: Quadralam.
- Technology: Toray fabric.
- Water Resistant: Yes.
- Adjustable: Yes.
The jacket comes with multiple storage pockets, and it is entirely adjustable from the cuffs to the hood to the waist. Although it might be over the budget for some people, it is still worth the investment as it will last for years before you may require an update.
If you are someone who is a bit picky about colors, Simms Challenger is the best wading jacket for you since it is available in a variety of shades. But that’s not just the only good thing about this wading jacket. Holding up to its name, this Simms jacket has everything that a fly fishing angler looks for.
Starting with its Toray Fabric technology, it is highly durable, breathable, and comfortable. It is made from Quadralam fabric that has a microporous water-resistant coating. This keeps the angler dry while also allowing the sweat to escape from the minute pores. Hence, you can stay fresh and comfortable throughout the day.
The seams are all taped to enhance waterproofness. Even the zippers of this jacket are water-resistant. Another commendable feature of this wading jacket is that the zippers are corrosion and rust-free!
- It will keep you dry all day long.
- Due to the Toray Fabric technology, the jacket is very durable and rugged.
- It is highly waterproof yet super breathable as well.
- It is not very affordable.
2. Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Jacket – Best Lightweight Wading Jacket
- Material: 3-layered nylon.
- Wind Resistance: Yes
- Water Resistance: Yes
- Weight: 480 g
- Hem: Adjustable
The jacket is also quite versatile. It can also play the role of a wading jacket duck hunting or even hiking and camping. Overall, this wading jacket is a great catch, although it is more on the expensive side!
As most wading jackets are bulky, they are a headache to store and fold. If that’s what troubles you the most, then this Orvis Men’s Ultralight wading jacket is best for you. As suggested by the name, it is as light as a feather, making it conveniently transportable.
The tri-layered and welded nylon shell combined with waterproof zippers and a DWR jacket significantly increases its wind resistance and waterproofness. And let us highlight – that even after multiple layers, the breathability of this jacket is not compromised. You can wear it for hours without feeling suffocated as this jacket is super comfortable.
The Dolphin skin cuff allows the angler to tighten the sleeves around his wrist when submerging their hands in the water, so you don’t have to worry about drenching your arms. The storage pocket at the front and the internal mesh pocket provide ample space for gear storage.
- Excellent breathability even after hours of fishing.
- Its lack of weight allows the angler to store it efficiently.
- Abundant room for storing accessories.
- Not really a budget-friendly option.
3. Simms Men’s Freestone Wading Jacket – Best Value Wading Jacket
- Material: 3-layered Toray Fabric.
- Storage: 4 spacious pockets.
- Water Resistance: Yes
- Wind Resistance: Yes
- Sealed Waist: Yes
- Closure Type: Loop
The jacket is quite breathable and fully insulated to keep you warm on chilly days. Also comes with a lifetime warranty. There is just a slight downside, it is quite expensive. However, if you are in search of the best value wading jacket, it’s time to call off your search!
Simms is a name well-recognized for producing the best-quality wading gear. This wading jacket is also not behind. The Toray fabric used in constructing this jacket is a unique blend of other superior fabrics, i.e., nylon, polyester, and a few synthetic fibers. This material makes this wading jacket highly resistant to water and quite breathable as well.
It will keep you completely dry during rainy days. A further plus point about this product is that all the seams are double-taped for enhanced protection against water. Thanks to the adjustable waistline cord, you can tightly secure the jacket around your waist to prevent the risk of water entering inside in case of splatter. It is the most popular choice for the rainy season due to its aforementioned features.
The three-layered material used to build this jacket plays a vital role in keeping you warm in extreme weather conditions. Since wading jackets are mostly worn for fly fishing in winter, this is one of the durable wading jackets if withstanding cold weather is an essential feature for you as it provides excellent wind resistance as well. You can expect this jacket to protect you against invading winds even if the wind speed is greater than 40 mph.
But this does not make the jacket unsuitable for summer as it can keep you extremely cool even in 37-degree weather! Hence, you can wear it all year long so it’s a great investment! This wading jacket is also the best saltwater wading jacket thanks to its excellent quality and features.
Besides, the Simms Freestone wading jacket also comes with large spacious pockets, two near the chest and two by the waist. The above two pockets can be used to keep your valuables safe, while the ones near the waist can also be used for the purpose of keeping your hands warm. The pockets are secured with a micro-brushed tricot liner and drain holes.
- Thanks to the high-quality fabric, this jacket is quite breathable.
- Fully insulated and keeps you warm on chilly days.
- Comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can get it changed if it does not fulfill your expectations.
- Offers high water resistance.
- Very much on the expensive side.
4. Frogg Toggs Men’s Li Guide Wading Jacket – Best Wading Jacket For The Money
- Material: 100% Polyester.
- Closure Type: Zipper.
- Hood: Removable
- Waterproof: Yes
Just like the other wading jackets, this one also comes with hand-warming pockets and rich storage space. Plus, it is the best fly fishing wading jacket under $100.It’s a great option within this price range, so you may want to give it a bit more thought!
Here we are with yet another Frogg Toggs wading jacket. Constructed from Frogg Toggs’s signature material, this wading jacket offers excellent breathability. Its porous membrane allows sweat to escape while preventing the water from entering. Hence, it is really comfortable.
It is also relatively lightweight, making it easy to wear, store, and carry. The hood of this jacket is perfectly vented yet waterproof to keep your hair dry and free from moisture.
The waterproofness of this jacket is also next to none. Not only is its structure resistant to water, but even the zippers are made from water-resistant material. The pockets are covered with flaps that keep the water out in case of splatter, so the safety of your belongings is ensured at all times.
- It is highly waterproof.
- The design of the jacket is quite stylish.
- It is not too expensive.
- The zipper could have been smoother.
5. Rivers West Kokanee Waterproof Windproof Fishing Jacket – Best Windproof Wading Jacket
- Material: 600 Denier woven oxford shell.
- Storage: Fleece-lined pockets.
- Interior: Taffeta lines.
- Sealed cuffs: Yes.
- Water resistance: Yes.
- Windproof: Yes.
Overall, this is the best wading jacket for windy and chilly seasons as it will keep you warm and dry without an inch of compromise on performance. With its remarkable features, this is a great option for wading jackets under $150.
For fishing anglers who do not wish to compromise on the quality yet have a restricted budget, this wading jacket by Rivers West is the best you can get.
Made from 600 Denier woven oxford shell, this fishing jacket is quite robust on the outside. One may assume this sturdiness would cause it to be comparatively less comfortable but instead, it is entirely opposite. Even though it has a rugged appearance on the outer, it is very comfortable from the inside. Thanks to the Taffeta-lined interior, the jacket is very comfy and can be worn for long hours without feeling a tinge of uneasiness.
Next up is its durability, which is quite commendable as well. But it does not come as a surprise considering the high-quality materials used in the construction of this wading jacket. And, of course, its rugged exterior prevents it from damage and makes it last for years to come.
The breathability of this jacket is also next to none. It won’t make you feel suffocated while keeping the water out at the same time. Due to the presence of a waterproof membrane, the River West wading jacket has impressive resistance against water.
Not to forget – the jacket comes with a hood and neoprene cuffs. The hood is a lifesaver during rain as it prevents your vision from obscuring and keeps the water from falling on your face. The neoprene cuffs cinch the jacket around the wrists to make sure not even a single water finds its way inside while your hand is in contact with water.
The zippered pockets lined with fleece serve the purpose of a hand warmer while also allowing the angler to store some of the accessories and belongings securely.
- Extremely durable due to its tough outer layer.
- It can keep the hands’ warm thanks to the fleece-lined pockets.
- Offers excellent features at a reasonable price.
- No solid way of securing the hood.
6. Compass 360 Men Regular Wading Jacket – Best Breathable Wading Jacket
- Material: High-quality polyester.
- Waterproof: Yes.
- Pockets: Yes.
- Insulation: Excellent.
The jacket is quite durable and breathable, the availability of ample storage space is another great feature of this jacket. This is the best you can get at this price, so grab this one of the best breathable wading jackets for money before it runs out of stock!
Is style as vital to you as the performance? If so, this Compass 360 wading jacket is what you need to get your hands on. It looks great and stylish, but it also has a number of features that make it one of the best options on the market.
Constructed from HydroPore 3.0 microporous technology, the breathability of this wading jacket is outstanding. Even though it is also 100% waterproof, you do not have to worry about the sweat not being able to escape as in the preceding jacket. You will stay as dry as sand throughout your excursion.
As it is made from high-quality polyester, it is also very sturdy and tough. It will last for years even if you wear it very frequently. Hence, this wading jacket is the most breathable option, but it is also quite durable.
- Highly durable as it has a tough exterior.
- The breathability is maximum thanks to the HydroPore technology.
- The wrist cuffs are superefficient in preventing the water from getting inside via the sleeves.
- It has value for money.
- The presence of spacious pockets makes storing valuables conveniently.
- Not as lightweight as its predecessors.
7. Frogg Toggs Java Hell Bender Wading Jacket – Best Waterproof Wading Jacket
- Material: Polyester.
- Storage: 2 chest pockets.
- Technology: Dripore 2.
- D-rings: Yes.
- Water Resistant: Yes.
The best waterproof fishing jacket by Frogg Toggs at a reasonable price! Extremely lightweight option with large pockets to keep your fishing accessories. Plus the jacket is quite comfortable.
If the most crucial feature of a wading jacket for you is its waterproofness, this Frogg Toggs hell-bender wading jacket is perfect. It is the best waterproof fishing jacket for rain. Frogg Toggs is a popular name in the industry, known for producing some of the best fly fishing gear.
The Frogg Toggs Java Hell Bender wading jacket is another great option under $100 after the Compass 360 Hells Gate wading jacket. This one is made from 2-layered fabric, which is unusual since most wading jackets are constructed with 3 layers. However, this doesn’t obstruct its functionality or performance in any way. Instead, it contributes to its lightweight nature, making the jacket one of the most comfortable options.
The hood and cuffs of the jacket are adjustable. While the hood is super effective in protecting your hair and head against moisture, we cannot say the same for the cuffs. They do not seal the wrists well enough to prevent the water from coming in 100%. Plus, the quality of the zippers is not as good as you’d expect. Therefore, it might not be suitable to wear this jacket for fly fishing on a cold day.
The jacket comes with large chest pockets and a D ring at the back. You can use this space to store and hang fishing accessories without having to carry a bag which is a great plus. Conclusively, this is the best waterproof fishing jacket by Frogg Toggs at a reasonable price!
- It offers excellent water resistance.
- It is lightweight and thus comfortable to put on.
- The presence of chest pockets and D rings makes storing things easier.
- The cuffs do not clinch the wrists securely.
8. BASSDASH Valor Waterproof Fishing Jacket – Best Insulated Wading Jacket
- Material: 3 layered ripstop plaid fabric.
- Water Resistance: Yes.
- Wind Resistance: Yes.
- Storage Space: Plenty.
The jacket has great storage space with several pockets present externally as well as internally. The insulated jacket protects against wind and rain. And external pockets are closed with a storm flap that prevents the water from getting inside during rain.
Do you feel extra cold in winter? Then it must be a struggle to stay warm while fly fishing. So if good insulation is what you are after, look no further! This fishing jacket by BASSDASH will protect you against winter harshness with its several commendable features.
For starters, it has pit zips beneath the arms. This enables a regulated temperature inside the jacket and helps breathability. A high stand collar and an adjustable hem make it impossible for the cold winds to seep through. Plus, the presence of handwarmer pockets will help you keep warm throughout the trip.
Made from a unique 3-layered ripstop plaid fabric, the water-resistance of this jacket is uncompromised. It keeps the angler dry at all times. The sleeves are attached with adjustable neoprene cuffs that can be tightened around to prevent the water from getting inside and making your arms wet. The D-rings at the back is a great addition as they can be used to carry a fishing net and other accessories.
- As it is made from top-grade materials, it is highly durable.
- It is highly waterproof and can be considered the best rain jacket
- It is versatile and can be used for hiking and hunting as well.
- You may experience difficulty in finding the perfect fit.
9. Compass 360 Hells Gate Wading Jacket – Best Wading Jacket Under $100
- Material: Polyester.
- D-rings: Yes.
- Water Resistant: Yes.
- Design: Unisex.
Best lightweight wading jacket under $150. It is unisex and comes with a breathable hood to enable abundant ventilation. And, the material of this jacket won’t wrinkle so you won’t have to iron it every time before putting it on, which is a great plus point!
The Compass 360 Hells Gate wading jacket comes in three sizes small, medium, and large, to fit almost everyone. Built with top-notch polyester, this jacket is very comfortable and breathable. It allows ample ventilation to keep the body cool during summers and provides excellent insulation on cold days, keeping the angler warm even after spending long hours in the water. The handwarmer pockets are a big plus as well!
The two chest pockets serve as a great place for storage for your valuables and fishing accessories. The D rings next to the chest pockets allow the angler to attach fishing tools to the jacket. Thus, eliminating the need to carry a pouch or bag.
This wading jacket also has adjustable cuffs that can be tightened to keep the water when you are supposed to dip your hand in the water. However, the cuffs are not as efficient in stopping the water as the Simms Freestone wading jacket.
- The hand-warming pockets are lifesaving in harsh weather conditions.
- The jacket is very breathable because of the lightweight polyester fabric.
- It has a gender-neutral design, so it is also the best women’s wading jacket.
- Very reasonable if compared to its quality and durability.
- Vague sizing, so some might have trouble finding the perfect fit.
10. Frogg Toggs Pilot 3 Guide Rain Jacket – Best Rain Fishing Jacket
- Material: Synthetic fibers.
- Pockets: Several.
- Technology: Dripore Gen 2
- Waterproof: Yes
- Windproof: Yes
Easy on and off, extremely lightweight, wading jacket for rain. Plus it has spacious pockets and allows non-restrictive movement in the water. The jacket is on the expensive side but you can give it a shot if the quality is what you are after.
Frogg Toggs is a name that you can trust when it comes to buying equipment for fly fishing. This wading jacket also holds up to the company’s excellent reputation. This jacket seems to have been built while keeping the customer’s comfort in mind.
It offers excellent breathability and waterproofness. Along with this, it also keeps you warm and protects against cold weather. Constructed from the Dripore 2 Gen technology, the jacket keeps you warm while also allowing the sweat beads to escape so you do not feel like being trapped in the heat.
As it is a drop shoulder, it allows a great deal of movement. All the seams of this rain jacket are tightly sealed to keep the water out at all times. The numerous storage pockets are great for keeping your valuables and accessories safe.
- Spacious pockets for storing multiple accessories.
- Allows non-restrictive movement due to its off-shoulder design.
- Lightweight, so it is easy to carry.
- Will keep you dry even in the rain.
- Very much on the expensive side.
Buying Guide – Best Fly Fishing Jackets
Here are all the factors that you need to consider before purchasing a wading jacket:
As the market for wading jackets is supersaturated, it might be difficult to find the most suitable option for you if you do not have a specific budget in mind. Decide on an amount that you are willing to invest in your wading jacket as that will narrow down your options and make the choice easier! Alternatively, you can also use the best cheap waders for fly fishing.
Your comfort will be greatly compromised if the jacket is unable to let moisture escape from the inside. Hence, look for wading jackets that offer maximum breathability.
3. Water Resistance
Since you will be spending a significant amount of time in the water, it is vital for you to stay dry to maintain your comfort level. So always go for waterproof fishing jackets if you want your trip to be enjoyable.
4. Wind Resistance
You don’t want the cold winds invading you while you are already inches deep in water. Some of the best fishing jackets offer great resistance against the wind so try to go for them if you have plans of fishing during the winter.5. Mobility
If you are to cover rough terrain during your excursion, it is best to get a fishing jacket that lacks weight. A lightweight fishing jacket will allow you to move freely and non-restrictively.
Wading jackets come in a variety of materials. In order to ensure you get the best fly fishing jacket, always go for the material that suits your fishing conditions the best. For instance, don’t buy fleece-lined jackets if you don’t plan on going fishing in the cold season.
7. Storage Space
Wearing a vest above your wading jacket can get quite uncomfortable. Therefore, prioritize the wading jackets that have ample storage space so you can keep your belongings and accessories in those pockets.
To get additional storage space use any fly fishing pack on top of your wading jacket such as:
- Best fly fishing backpack
- Best fly fishing vest
- Best fly Fishing hip pack
- Best fly fishing chest pack
- Best fly fishing sling pack
8. Sealed Cuffs
Only the best waterproof jackets offer this feature. As fly fishing will have you submerging your hands in the water several times, it is best to get a wading jacket that has sealable cuffs so the water does not get inside!
Now that we are done with the reviews and you know what factors and features you need to look for, let’s move on to the next part. In this section, we will be addressing some frequently asked questions about wading jackets. Let’s have a look:
Q: Why should I wear a wading jacket?
Answer: The purpose of the best wading jacket is to keep the upper half of your body dry while you are wading in the water. You should wear them if you don’t like the idea of getting soaked while fishing or hunting. Additionally, they are great for storing your stuff and they eliminate the need to carry a bag!
Q: What can cause a wading jacket to get wet from the inside?
Answer: There can be several reasons behind your wading jacket getting wet if the brand claimed it to be waterproof. Here is everything that could be wrong:
A tear or cut on the exterior:
Fly fishing is a tough sport, especially for beginners. We won’t be surprised if you got a cut on your jacket while fishing. This could increase the porosity of the jacket, allowing the water inside.
If the cuffs of your wading jacket are not cinched around tightly, water is bound to find its way inside as soon as you dip your hands in the water. So make sure the cuffs are always perfectly sealed before you immerse your hands in the stream.
If none of the elements mentioned above seem to be the cause of the wading jacket getting wet internally, it might be due to the less breathability of the jacket. You can invest in the best waterproof wading jacket but you will still end up getting wet if the jacket is incapable of proper ventilation.
Q: Is buying an expensive wading jacket worth it?
Answer: The best wading jackets for money are usually a combination of the best features. Therefore, it is recommended to look at the features of a wading jacket rather than its price! If it has all the excellent features, then buying an expensive wading jacket will definitely be worth it!
For instance the Orvis Men’s Ultralight wading jacket and the Simms Men Freestone wading jacket. Both these jackets possess some exceptional features such as great waterproofness, high breathability, and comfortable to wear. If you decide to spend on an expensive wading jacket, these two might be your best options.
To sum everything up, wading jackets are a crucial investment for a fun fly fishing trip. And since they can be expensive, it is important to purchase one after doing plenty of research. Once again, we would recommend getting the Simms Challenger Waterproof Fishing Rain Coat as it is an all-rounder. And the best fishing jacket for rain as well. It is a combination of some of the best features which makes it worth the investment. But still, the choice is all yours!
If you have read this article till the end, you are now ready to buy the best fly fishing jacket for yourself as long as you keep the aforementioned points in mind. Scroll back up to the list of 10 best wading jackets and choose the one you like the most. Happy shopping!