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What To Wear Under Fly Fishing Waders

When it comes to fly fishing and donning waders, many people wonder what they should wear underneath. The right choice can make a significant difference in comfort and performance. Should you go for multiple layers or opt for a specific undergarment? This article will explore the options and provide some helpful tips on what to wear under fly fishing waders. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned angler, this guide will ensure that you’re well-prepared for your next fishing adventure.

Choosing the Right Layers

When it comes to fly fishing, choosing the right layers is essential to ensure comfort and protection from the elements. The weather plays a significant role in determining the type of layers you should wear, so always consider the conditions before heading out. Additionally, it is crucial to avoid cotton as it retains moisture and can leave you feeling cold and uncomfortable. Instead, opt for synthetic materials that offer moisture-wicking properties and quick drying times.

Base Layers

The base layer is the foundation of your fly fishing attire, providing insulation and moisture management. When selecting a base layer, it is best to choose synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon. These fabrics offer excellent moisture-wicking capabilities and help keep you dry throughout your fishing adventure. Consider the weight and thickness of the base layer, as this will depend on the temperature and personal preference. Thicker base layers are suitable for colder weather, while lightweight options are perfect for milder conditions.

Insulating Layers

Insulating layers are designed to provide warmth in colder environments. A fleece or wool sweater is an excellent choice for fly fishing as it offers insulation while still being breathable. Pair your sweater with thermal pants or leggings to keep your lower body warm. Opting for a vest or gilet can also provide additional warmth without restricting your movement. These insulating layers can be easily added or removed, allowing you to adjust your clothing according to changing weather conditions throughout the day.


Proper foot comfort is crucial when fly fishing, and choosing the right socks can make a significant difference. Thin wool socks are an excellent choice as they provide warmth while still allowing breathability. Additionally, consider investing in wicking socks that draw moisture away from your skin, preventing discomfort and blisters. For added protection and comfort, consider wearing two pairs of socks. This not only provides an extra layer of insulation but also reduces friction and prevents hot spots.


Fly fishing often involves being in and out of the water, so proper footwear is essential. Neoprene booties are commonly worn under waders to provide insulation and protect your feet. These booties are lightweight, flexible, and typically come with built-in gravel guards to keep debris out. If you plan on fishing in colder conditions, insulated boots are a great option. These boots offer warmth and waterproofing, ensuring your feet stay dry and comfortable throughout your fishing trip. Consider using orthopedic inserts for added support and cushioning, especially if you have any specific foot conditions.

Pants or Trousers

Selecting the right pants or trousers for fly fishing is crucial for mobility and comfort. Quick-drying pants are highly recommended as they allow you to move freely and won’t weigh you down when wet. Look for pants made from moisture-wicking fabrics such as nylon or polyester, as these materials dry quickly and prevent discomfort. Convertible pants or shorts can be a versatile option, especially in changing weather conditions, as they allow you to adjust your clothing accordingly. Additionally, prioritize breathability to ensure airflow and prevent overheating during intense physical activity.

Shirts and Tops

Choosing the appropriate shirts and tops is essential for maintaining body temperature and managing moisture. Opt for moisture-wicking t-shirts as your base layer to keep sweat away from your skin. These shirts are designed to pull moisture to the surface, allowing it to evaporate quickly. In colder weather or for added sun protection, consider wearing long-sleeve shirts. Hoodies or sweatshirts can also provide warmth and comfort, especially during chilly mornings or evenings. Layering these garments allows you to easily adjust your clothing as needed throughout the day.

Jackets and Outer Layers

When it comes to jackets and outer layers, weather protection is key. A waterproof and windproof jacket is essential for fly fishing, as it shields you from rain, wind, and splashes. Look for jackets with taped seams or waterproofing technology to ensure complete protection from the elements. However, it is equally important to consider breathability, as you don’t want to trap moisture inside your jacket. Breathable rain jackets with ventilation features or pit zips allow airflow while keeping you dry during strenuous activities. Layering with a softshell or insulated jacket can provide additional warmth and versatility in colder conditions.


Choosing the right underwear is often overlooked but plays a significant role in overall comfort. Moisture-wicking underwear is essential for keeping you dry and preventing chafing. Look for underwear made from synthetic materials that offer excellent moisture management properties. Avoid tight-fitting undergarments that can restrict movement and impede blood circulation, as this can lead to discomfort and even health issues. For added warmth in colder conditions, consider opting for merino wool underwear, as it offers natural insulation while still being breathable.


To complete your fly fishing attire, consider a few essential accessories. Fingerless gloves are excellent for maintaining dexterity and protecting your hands from cold temperatures. Additionally, wearing a buff or neck gaiter can provide protection from the sun, wind, and biting insects. These accessories can be worn in multiple ways, offering versatility and adaptability to changing environmental conditions. Lastly, don’t forget to wear a hat or cap to shield your face and eyes from the sun and keep your head warm. Look for hats that offer UPF protection and have a wide brim for maximum coverage.

By carefully selecting and layering the right clothing for fly fishing, you can ensure comfort, protection, and optimal performance in various weather conditions. Consider the weather, choose breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics, and layer accordingly to stay comfortable and enjoy your fishing experience to the fullest.

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