Orvis Encounter Waders and Access Wading Boots Review

November 9, 2015

by Jed Doane
Orvis Encounter Waders and Access Wading Boots Review

Wet wading is enjoyable in the summer months, sure. But as the leaves fall, the brown trout spawn and the fishing gets good, you’ll want to invest in wading gear that keeps you warm, dry and happy on the river.

Orvis Encounter Waders

Orvis Encounter Waders Starting at: $157.17

The Orvis Encounter Waders come in at an entry-level price point, covering all the essentials without tacking on many bells and whistles. Four-layer nylon fabric, stockingfoot design, a wading belt and elastic shoulder straps (that double as a wading belt) round out a sturdy but lightweight design that fit our 6’2”, 165lb tester well in size Medium Long. There are two simple pockets: a combination handwarmer/mesh zip chest pocket and an inner nylon pocket, also on the chest. The mesh pocket was useful for small fly boxes, and we used the inner pocket for a point-and-shoot camera.

Over a few months of testing, it’s clear that good waders don’t have to come at prohibitive cost. Orvis used their unparalleled wader-building knowhow and made the perfect wader for those on a budget, utilizing the same fit as their top-of-the-line Silver Sonic Waders.

In warmer conditions, a pair of shorts underneath the waders sufficed and we had no issues with sweating. In colder conditions and at night, long underwear kept our tester comfortable while tossing mouse patterns across the river. We trudged through mud, brush and countless rivers, and have been thoroughly impressed with the durability. At $169, it doesn’t get better.

Access Wading Boots

Orvis Access Wading Boots Starting at: $166.47 Wading boots are another essential piece in any angler’s gear closet. We tested Orvis’ new Access wading boots, which Orvis touts as “the best wading boots we’ve ever made.” After months of testing, Active Junky has a new favorite pair of fishing boots. Integration with the stockingfoot waders was excellent—testers noted that new buyers shouldn’t size up, as the sizing is adjusted to account for neoprene wader socks and booties. Like the Safe Passage Sling Pack, The Access boot is very well thought-out.

The rubber Vibram sole is grippy on wet river rocks and can accept additional metal studs if needed. Orvis doesn’t offer a felt sole on its flagship Access boot, likely in part to reduce the transportation of invasive species that felt soles can instigate. The inner lining of the boot is smooth and minimizes seams to reduce wear on wader booties. Our testers found that they dried easily overnight. The boots ooze durability, from the rubber lining on outer sides and toe to the tough mesh used in the upper portion. Active Junky testers remarked that they couldn’t have been more comfortable on long approaches and tough conditions.

Bottom Line: The Encounter Waders and Access Boots are new Active Junky favorites—favorites we’ll be relying on all winter long. We’ve been impressed with their value as well as their performance, and we recommend them to anglers of any level.


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