Avoid back pain and damage from wearing waders

When wrote my post yesterday about my new hip pack which has replaced my fly-fishing vest to help keep back pain under control, I forgot to mention something else my bad back Doctor, (the back is bad, definitely not the Doctor), advised.

He recommends, and remember he is a nutter fisherman like us, that when you are walking to and from the river or or stream, or from pool to pool, or wading in less than waist deep water, unclip your wader straps, and roll the waders down to your wader belt.

He advises that this is especially important if you use neoprene chest waders as the weight can really exert some nasty force on you neck and back muscles and joints. Neoprene waders, wet from wading, even if you are not much more than thigh deep, hold a lot of water and get heavy, bad news for your back as that weight is pulling down  on the wader’s straps when you leave the water.

But he also advises unhooking light chest-waders as well as most waders do restrict bending motion and it is this lack of full motion that leads to back pain.

Got to be worth a go – especially if you are a lot younger than this old fart, and before real damage is done.

Belt Up When Wading

In your book “Fishing Smarter for Trout”, chapter on Night Fishing , page 125, You mention wearing a tight belt around the outside of your waders. Why? The book that spawned the question : Fishing Smarter for Trout

My First answer:

Wearing a belt round waders helps stop water running into your waders when you first fall in, in a river. If you do get washed away after you fall in the air trapped in the waders will greatly help to keep you afloat. Then you can concentrate on getting and keeping your feet facing downstream, and moving yourself as quickly as possible to shore by moving across the flow, (never try to go up against the flow).

The next question:

Thanks for your reply, it created quite a good discussion and questions at work regarding the use of a belt with waders for safety reasons. We agree with your idea of using a belt if one is wearing PVC type waders. But if the fisherman were wearing the Neoprene type, would he still need to use a belt? I was under the impression that these Neoprene waders float no matter what, possibly a wrong assumption.

Next answer:

Your comments about PVC or Gortex type waders are spot on – you should always wear a belt with these waders. In fact the better quality waders of this type come with a belt built in.
Neoprene does float, but its ability to support the body depends on the amount of clothes the dunkee is wearing. In any event it is not the floatation that is usually the most pressing issue – but safety from getting knocked about on rocks, trees, etc. Waders full of water make movement in the water very difficult indeed. It is imperative that you try and keep your feet pointing downstream, to avoid being hit in the head on rocks, tree trunks, etc. Anything that hinders this is not good. Secondly when you get back to the shallows trying to climb out of the river with waders full of water is very difficult. You can minimise all these problems by wearing a belt.