Let’s go with belt first. I have always use it but I didn’t really know in the beginning why but use it anyway. Then I found out by accident why you really need it. I was wading in heavy rapid when I slipped and river took me for few meters. I was able to grab from rock and get myself up. Belt hold water not to go inside of waders and that probably safe me from bigger accident. I remember thinking that I need to get wading stick right after I got back in shore. It would be helpful now and then. I still don’t have one and it is about 16 years from that accident. (I’m not stupid, I’m just really thinking if I need one.)
Last summer I saw what will really happen if you don’t have good belt on your waders. My friend have waders which have kind of tensioners on sides. They look all right and idea is about same but they were not working like a good belt. We were fishing in Varzina and he was fishing about 100 meter from me. I was up on the hill watching and following what he is doing when I saw like a slow-motion movie that he slipped from stone and fell to river. I started to look downstream that I could see where he is coming back on surface and started to run already.(stream was really fast and heavy on that place) He stand up on same place where he fell off. For our luck there was some still water where he dive. But his waders were quite full of water because tensioners didn’t hold like a belt.
From that we come to sizing. There is lot of manufactures who are making fishing gears but only few had understand that you need to have right sizing or change to modify your waders. My friend is big, I mean BIG. He is not really fatty but just big, about 195 cm and 140 kg. He just be professional hammer thrower when younger so you understand that he is massive. His foot size is something like 16.
I instead have belly and man boobs. ( I have had them already 35 years so they come along). Down from belly button I’m size L, my feets and butt are shape like an athletic but up from belly button…. well I have some extra. (which is helping in winter time to keep me warm). So upper part of me is size XL (western, if I get something from Indonesia then it is XXXL). So before I found ( I was willing to use money) these waders which I had now, I had waders which were with too long leg and kind of okay upper part. That was problem because my waders made extra loose in water so wading was heavier but also they wear out faster in some places. Satu had similar problem with legs, she is short, so legs where too long on her medium waders but also socks were too big. (size 42, when she have feet size 37). Satu had big problems with neoprene socks because there were all the time in kind of dollop.
So we found manufacture who has thinking about this and now I have waders with L but room for my belly. Satu has also her Medium but manufacture change the socks so now they fit nicely. Why this is important? You need to be comfortable when fishing, then you can concentrate fishing not issues around. My friend will probably stay with old ones because they were fitting nicely but he will get belt I hope. And belts.. I think they should be firm not ones which are stretching. During the years I have accept that quality costs but in the long run it is cheaper. Does not matter is it rod, waders, snowmobile, reel, clothes… it is all the same.
Have a nice weekend
Mika from Finland