Why My Redington Sonic Pro Waders Make Me Cool

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Photo by Louis Cahill

OK, this is a gear review, but first I’ve got a little something to get off my chest. There are fly fishers out there who are always on the lookout for a way to distinguish themselves as cooler than everyone else. If you’ve read much of my rambling you know that this makes me crazy. One of the latest fads is the “too cool for waders” crowd. I don’t know how this got started but I hear it more and more. Some how the idea got out that “real fly fishers” don’t wear waders. I had a kid working in a fly shop in Wyoming this summer tell me he doesn’t even own waders. “Waders are for tourist”. I sarcastically replied, ” well, you must be one tough SOB if you wet wade all winter out here!” Call me a tourist if you like, but I fish every month, hell every week, of the year and for most of the year I’m pretty happy to be warm and dry doing it. Get over yourself and buy a pair of waders hipster. If you feel like a tourist put on a damn Radiohead tee shirt or something.

Now that’s out of my system, on with the gear review. I have always had a fairly pragmatic view of waders. A view based in the belief that all waders eventually leak and they can leak for $600 or for $200. For years I wore Orvis silver labels, until Orvis willfully ruined the design. Say what you will about Orvis and their dog beds, they have great customer service. Still, I can’t stand their new waders. So a few years ago I started wearing Redington waders and I’ve been very happy with them. They are well made, the fit is comfortable and they hold up extremely well. Tough waders are important to me because I spend so much time crawling around on my knees shooting photos. I used to cut up my old waders and use patches and Aquaseal to reinforce the knees of my new ones, but with the Redingtons I haven’t found the need.

The coolest thing about being a fly fishing photographer is that generous folks once in a while give you gear and Redington recently sent me a new pair of Sonic Pro Zip Front Waders. Thanks guys! I would likely not have splurged on the zip fronts if I had bought them. That would have been a mistake. At $350 they are a bargain. OMG! I love these waders. First of all, you can feel the quality of them. Especially in the zippers, which are fully waterproof. The zipper pockets are handy and the fit is nice. I know Redington has a lot to say about the sonic weld technology, but I’ll leave it at this. They don’t leak and I don’t really care why, I just like being warm and dry. What surprised me is how much I like the zipper front. I always thought zip front was a gimmick but it’s not. It’s really cool. They are so easy to get on and off and of course it’s great when the morning coffee catches up with you. I used to really put off taking a leak on the river but now I don’t even have to take my chest pack off. An even better benefit is climate control. I was out on a local tailwater the other day when the weather surprised us. It got unusually warm and I was over dressed. The fish were eating on the surface and I really didn’t want to take the time to strip off a layer. I unzipped my waders and was quite comfortable without missing the hatch. Call me a tourist, but I think that’s pretty cool.

Photo by Louis Cahill

Most folks realize, but I should say that Redington is a client of mine. However, I would not praise there products here if I didn’t really like them. I promise not to do that.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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29 thoughts on “Why My Redington Sonic Pro Waders Make Me Cool

  1. “I used to cut up my old waders and use patches and Aquaseal to reinforce the knees”

    Damn nice tip! I know, not part of the review really but this is gold for us still using xyz waders.

  2. Wow. Hipsters actually say things like that?

    Down here in Atlanta, it gets mighty warm during the summer; high 90’s to 100. Wearing my waders during this season is uncomfortable; sticky, sweaty, and hot, so I tend wet wade during this period.

    I’m not trying to look like I’m cool. I’m just trying to be comfortable.

    I just can’t believe people would actually risk hypothermia in the winter just to look “cool”.

  3. Great review. I finally “upgraded” to some nice Simms Gore-Tex waders a few years ago after years of going the “ultra cheap” route for so long, and I am so glad that I did. (I used to think “waders are waders, right?”) On top of that, I have a pair of Redington Sonic Pros (non-zip) on the way from the recent photo contest. I couldn’t be more stoked to know that I am set as far as waders go for a LONG time (possibly even for life, given the reputations and customer service policies of both Simms and Redington), and I plan to get full use out of them. And you know what? I like looking cool. My fly fishing experience is just that – my experience. I like gear that is comfortable, effective, and appropriate for what I am doing. If others think I look silly or like a poser, I just don’t really care.

    • … and I live in Wyoming. Above 7,000 feet. Even in August the water is cold. I wear waders most of the time, unless it is a bright sunny day and I am in skinny water. 😉

      • Good trout water is always cold. I wear waders in the south during summer if I’m fishing tailwaters. It’s just practical. Oh, and I will never wet wade the Denver S Platte again! Not after picking up a MRSA infection in my leg last summer. I don’t care how hot it is.

    • You know, there is a lot to be said for having a spare pair of waders. I always have a backup. If your on a steelhead trip and tear your waders your screwed. I seriously think Kent has like 30 pairs.

  4. The “kid” who doesnt wear waders sounds like the old story of the 3 cowboys talking about how tough they are…to make a long story short the last one is just sitting there stirring the fire with his johnson. I’ve been to wyoming in august….the water is still cold. Kid sounded dumb enough to be tough. LOL

      • Hahahaha. Being from Wyoming, yes, that is how we do it. Great product review. I have been looking at the SIMMS G4Z because of the zip-front, but just can’t bring myself to spend $700. Maybe if you’re a full-time guide or independently wealthy, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. As for wet wading, I was doing it last October in a pretty well-known Wyoming waterway. Not because I didn’t have my waders in the Jeep a few hundred yards away, but because I saw a 5 lb. cutthroat sipping on top just out of casting range. That day it was blue jeans and Justin boots. Anyone that lives in Wyoming and says that they don’t own waders just isn’t really fly fishing. I’d venture to guess they also live in Jackson Hole and talk about the “gnarly pow-pow” most days 😉

  5. I got the Sonic Pro Zips, too. Love them. Been in below freezing weather & been in 25°C weather with them. Comfortable as hell at either end of the temperature spectrum.

    And lots easier to take a piss, too…

  6. ha guess im a tourist! a majority of my fishing is done on the Animas in Durango, CO. talk about freezing water. you can drive less then an hour to see where the river begins near 10,000 feet. unless its above 80 and the middle of the summer il be wearing waders. thanks for the review though. been looking for a new pair of waders for a while. iv always used neopreme and in those things id rather fish in the winter just so my balls dont sweat off!

  7. Redington makes great products, I have 3 of there Rods, to bad they don’t have a made in the USA sticker on them, I’d really love them.

  8. Pingback: Pack Your Gear in Half The Space | Gink and Gasoline, The Blog home of Kent Klewein and Louis Cahill-Fly Fishing photography, video, tips and news.

  9. So Louis, I am curious how the sonic pro zippered waders fared over the long haul. Any complaints? I just bought a pair on clearance for a great price.

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