Apologies for interrupting my regularly scheduling blogging format but I’m going to switch things up with a product review! Earlier this Fall I discovered that a Pacific Northwest company, Dryft Fishing, uses the software my team at work builds – WooCommerce! I was stoked that a small local-ish business uses Woo, and I also remembered that my Patagonia River Gallegos waders had just sprung a leak in the bootie, so I decided to give the Dryft Adrenaline wader a try.
I’ve been wearing the waders for over a month now, so wanted to take some time to share some thoughts on how they have performed thus far. Full disclosure – I paid retail for this set of waders, and have received no incentive to write this review. Just wanting to share my experience in case it might help another angler out.
Ordering & Shipping
The Dryft website was very easy to navigate, and using the detailed sizing chart on the product page, I went with a size XL Short wader. The shipping was free, and the waders arrived at my home here in Oregon within 5 days of purchase! Nice!
The Daily Driver: 100+ Mile Review
Since their arrival, the Dryft waders have been in use almost daily. There are some days where I fish from the bank and don’t put on waders at all, but I would say I have easily put in 45 days with the Dryft waders in the water. My “typical” days for this period were pretty short trips to the water, maybe 30 minutes to an hour ( lunch break fishing is the name of the game most days for me ), and during which I probably hike just shy of 2 miles. So sprinkle in a couple of longer weekend days on the water, and I think its safe to say I’ve traveled over 100 miles in the new waders.
👍 Things I Love So Far
And there is quite a bit to love about these waders! But here are some of the real stand-out features I’ve really enjoyed so far with the Adrenaline waders.
The first thing I really enjoy about these waders is they simply do not look like waders! The color scheme used in the design is like no other popular wader that is on the market – Dryft has boldly turned away the standard all shades of khaki and have delivered a fresh look with striking accent colors. Becky even thought I wasn’t wearing my waders one day while walking down to the river because with a coat on over the top – it almost looks like I’m wearing a pair of charcoal colored chinos.
The XL Short sizing for me has resulted in what is quite possibly the best fit I have ever had in a pair of waders. The legs have enough room for mobility while scrambling up trails and maneuvering in and out of streams, and the chest area is a comfy yet secure fit for me, just enough room for all my wintertime layers but no added bulk.
The neoprene wading belt that is included with the waders adjusts easily due to its velcro construction. Really one of the nicer “stock” wading belts that I have used!
🛠 Build Quality
The materials used in the waders definitely feel quality to me. The lower section is much thicker then some similar-priced waders I have used in the past from Redington and Patagonia – so the quality feels quite high for a $300 set of waders. Granted the material isn’t quite as stout as what I was used to with the Rio Gallegos, neither was the price tag 😉
The one feature of the build that I absolutely adore is the large buckles on both shoulder straps. OMG, game changer for me:
These buckles are solid, not at all flimsy like ones on cheaper packs – but the utility of this subtle design feature is what I absolutely adore. I’m a bit ashamed to admit how many times I had put a boot on a wadered foot in my Rio Gallegos to then discover that my leg was not in the right hole for the shoulder straps… which would result in me having to untie a boot, laugh at myself, and start over.
With the strap buckles, such situations are much more easy to fix. Oddly enough I also have found it quite enjoyable to “snap” my waders onto my shoulders. It kind of reminds me of ratcheting down that last ski-boot buckle before headed up to make some turns. That satisfying *click* is a nice reminder that I’m about to go do something fun.
But possibly my favorite feature of the double buckles is how you can clasp them together to hang the waders from anything to dry out. This is not only super handy for stream-side on river trips, but it makes for easy hanging around the house too.
💖 The Little Things
Beyond that, there are just lots of little features that really surprised me for the price-point of the waders. The inclusion of a wader repair kit is such a nice touch… and not just a simple repair kit, but some ample sized patches that could be used to mend up an altercation with barbed wire, or a zealous puppy ( been there for both of those before ).
There are also just a few little subtle design features that I enjoy. You know little things like the contrasting color of the zippers… that beautiful blue up front, and the contrast of the bright orange for the side hand pouch area. Also the Dryft logo texture on the boot sole bottoms – while I’m not sure if they serve a major function in traction, it looks cool, its a nice touch, and I appreciate the attention to the little details like this that make these waders feel like they can compete against the higher price point offerings.
😒 Things I’m Meh About
This side of the list isn’t very long after the first 100 miles with the Adrenaline waders, which I think again is a testament to the value delivered by the Dryft folks. And interestingly enough, all of my gripes have to do with the construction and material used in the gravel guards.
I do think it is worth noting that I think I’m exceptionally hard on this part of waders. Maybe I walk oddly and scuff the cuffs of my waders more than others, or perhaps I just charge through underbrush with too much gusto, but here is what my Gallego’s cuffs look like after a few years of heavy travel.
The Dryft waders utilize a neoprene type material for the gravel guards, which when I saw it described in their marketing video, I was a bit unsure of. After spending some time with the new style material, I’m still not 100% certain it is the best material for the job.
🥶 Frozen Guards
The first thing I encountered with the material that seems problematic to me is how it performs in freezing temps. We camped at the Metolius over the Haloween weekend, and out of habit I kept my waders outside over night ( so I could sneak out while the family was still sleeping and fish ), and had to wrangle a frozen set of gravel guards the next morning.
It seems this thick neoprene material really likes to absorb water, and during colder times of the year, even the dry “high desert” climates won’t fully dry it up and it is really difficult to work with when frozen. A quick splash of hot water fixed it up, but it seems like this could be a problem on overnight river trips outside of summer time.
Again I mentioned earlier that I seem to be especially hard on the inner cuff of gravel guards, and I just noticed the other day that I’m already noticing some of the material starting to fail after the 100 mile mark.
The size of the front “kangaroo” pocket is notably smaller then what I was used to on the Rio Gallegos. On my former waders the front pass-through/side zippered pockets were a warm refuge on the coldest of days… the adrenaline waders for me just don’t seem to have a large enough space for my digits to seek safety from the biting winds of wintertime fishing. I find myself using my jacket pocket instead.
The small pocket problem also seems apparent to me in the inner “flip-out” pocket. This storage area seems suited for a small fly box and a phone at most to me. Honestly I haven’t used it at all yet because it just doesn’t seem very accessible to me.
I have been on a bit of a simplistic approach to fishing lately where I prefer to operate solely out of my wader pockets and not bring a pack along… so this has probably led me to be a bit more critical of this area. I’m still able to bring along a fly box, some tippet and basic tools with the pockets, but I do miss some things the Gallegos offer in this space like the “drop-in” pockets on the inside of the waders.
➕ Definitely Would Recommend
Even with those few shortcomings in mind, I’m still overall extremely pleased with the purchase of the Adrenaline wader. I haven’t had to interact with Dryft yet from a customer service standpoint, but a friend of mine owned some Dryft waders in the past and had multiple positive experiences with them around warranty issues. That is a bit of added confidence to me when making this purchase knowing that the company stands behind their product.
Even warranty aside, I keep coming back to all of the intuitive design features and thought that went into the construction of this gear, it really feels like it delivers a great deal of value for the price point. I plan on checking back in and revising this post as I continue to adventure with my adrenaline waders – so will share more feedback on the longer-term durability of them as I keep on fishing.