Everybody and their mother knows I can give fly fishing waders a good swift kick in the
crotch pants. As gear goes, waders are what I am toughest on, and as a result I generally don’t scrimp when it comes to them. The last full-time use pair, Simms Guides, have just about had it. And while I’m all for pushing the limits I’ve been going through enough Aquaseal nowadays that I figured I might as well ante up. I bought the pot of Gore-tex – a pair of Cloudveil 8X Pro Shells.
I’ve had these waders out just one full day – in other words the jury is still deliberating. But that day was warm (at least by spring in the Rocky Mountains standards), and the water cold. The terrain was intermediate, and I took a few spills (go figure). My guess was it’s as good a time as any to set forth some uninformed opinion. [side note: click any picture to see a large view]
Looks aren’t everything, but they sure help
If the Cloudveil 8X Pros were made of recycled sandwich bags and held together with Elmer’s Glue, you’d still think they were designed by Donatella Versace. These suckers look goooooood. The color is called vetiver, which is another way of saying gray, green, beige and none of the above, simultaneously. The material, with the exception of the lower legs, is lightweight ripstop fabric and silky to the touch. Shoulder straps and belt (a integrated job) are made of stretch elastic, and colored to match the rest. All the zippers, stitching, and related unimportant stuff is carefully crafted. Just looking at it screams ‘refined’ owner.
Nevertheless, John Gierach wisely noted that if you want to be thought the expert, one tactic is to wear beat up gear. Unfortunately, that was before digital SLRs and Flickr existed, and now you have to look your best even if the photos of you sitting on the bank trying to untangle your three fly rig are the closest thing to respect you’re ever gonna get. These waders do that for you in spades. I’m just happy when there are some grass stains on the knees – while I spent some time scrambling around rocks trying to net a friend’s fish in a tough spot, those knees are still pristine. Bummer.