Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gear Review: Redington Sonic-Pro Waders


The greater Yellowstone region is an ideal test kitchen for fishing waders.

On any given day, you might find yourself hopping scree and boulders in Teton Canyon, sliding down a snowy bank into the Box Canyon on the Henry's Fork, or bushwhacking thick willow stands along the South Fork of the Snake.

I place some hefty demands on my waders here 100+ days each year, so they need to be bombproof.  Thus, I was happy to test drive Redington's Sonic-Pro waders.



Historically, the problems I've had with other waders involved leaks in one of two locations: 1) the stitching along the seams, and 2) perforations along the lower leg.  I've taken these waders out on about 40 field outings so far and it has become clear Redington put a lot of thought into addressing these two issues, among others.

Seams
Enter the "sonic seam" technology, which Redington recently licensed from Orvis. This technology replaces the old "poke and stitch" system with seams welded by ultrasonic waves.  The basic concept here is "no holes = no leaks" and "no stitches = less bulk and weight."

Redington indicates these seams are longer-wearing and more comfortable than traditional stitched seams.

I agree - stitched seams get rubbed, stretched and stressed and they will eventually leak.  I think this new technology is a major breakthrough.

One of the other advantages of the welded flat seams is better articulation in the legs, which means more comfort and better mobility.  The waders fit like a good pair of jeans - which is crucial while hopping in and out of drift boats or over logs and boulders.

Construction/Durability
The Sonic-Pros are constructed from 100% nylon water repellent-coated fabrics - three layers on top and four layers along the lower leg and seat portions. 

The overall construction is pretty bomber.  The stocking feet are made from solid high-density neoprene and all welded seams are double-taped.

These waders come with a one-year warranty from Redington.

Gear Placement and Storage
A D-ring hemostat holder at the suspender attachment points is a handy bonus feature.  I keep my hemos on the left clip since I cast with my right hand, but you can use the right clip if you're a southpaw.

Storage options include two fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, an external water resistant YKK zip pocket and one internal flip-out zippered tool pocket, which has a mesh tippet pouch.  

The Flip-Out Tool Pocket and Hemostat Clip in Action
That's enough storage to cover just about any day trip - although you may need to transfer some flies to a smaller fly box.  With these waders, I can usually leave my sling pack at home. 

Wading Safety and Comfort
A 2" stretch belt is included with the standard and zip-front models and the waders come equipped with built-in gravel guards - which feature an anti-fouling lace hook connection to your boots.     

Despite the emphasis on water-resistant materials and layering, the Sonic-Pros are actually quite breathable and comfortable.  One field test in October included a "wadered up" 14-mile hike through a torrential storm in the Yellowstone backcountry.  The Sonic-Pros remained comfortable after 12 hours of wading and hiking in inclement weather.
 
Summary
Overall, I find these waders highly durable, comfortable, and a good value ($279.95 for the standard stocking foot model).  I have abused them heavily in some of the harshest terrain the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have to offer and they've held up quite well.

Still no leaks. 

For more info, head over to the Redington website.

2 comments:

  1. Great gear review Brent! Definitely think I'll go seamless on the next waders I purchase.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Shane.

      I think in a few years all waders will be made with the sonic seam process.

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