BEST WADERS FOR ATV RIDING

Gator vs. Finntrail

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

BEST WADERS FOR ATV RIDING

Waders are the best gear for water, mud and swamp riding. They can also come in handy when riding in wet or gloomy weather. Though, with so many designs and brands, it’s pretty difficult to choose which one fits your needs. 

When it comes to choosing ATV waders, there are three main things you should consider – Type, Material and Helpful features. To help you save your time and energy, let’s compare waders with all certain benefits of each type and discover which one is more versatile. 

This is not only a Gator and Finntrail waders review but a quick guide on how to choose the best waders for ATV riding.

 

Stockingfoot vs Bootfoot

BEST WADERS FOR ATV RIDING

This is the key difference between Gator Waders and Finntrail!

For decades, waders with a built-in boot were the only choice for off-road enthusiasts. Being familiar to mud riders, they are the only type of waders produced by Gator Waders, Venom Waders, and fishing brands. 

Luckily, the powersports gear industry is developing. Eventually, conventional bootfoot waders are being replaced by more advanced waders with a separate boot, the so-called wading boots. This is what Finntrail and some professional fishing brands do.

How do stockingfoot waders work to provide a rider with greater comfort and safety? The key feature is their construction. These waders come with built-in neoprene socks which are hermetically attached to them and provide 100% waterproofness. They also have protective gaiters with elastic bands to fit tightly over footwear and prevent sand and mud ingress. 

BEST WADERS FOR ATV RIDING

NOTE: To make the most of stockingfoot waders, you need a pair of special wading boots over neoprene socks. They prevent punctures and provide both foot support and traction on slippery surfaces.  

Feature FINNTRAIL stockingfoot waders

GATOR bootfoot waders

Weight Lightweight boots in 2.4 – 4.6 lb range for maximum comfort and performance on a long trail Heavyweight rubber boots to weigh a rider down over the long term
Fit Tight fit

Easy to pull the boot out if stuck in the mud

Loose fit

A boot may slip off in the mud and cause fall-related injuries

Ankle support Strong ankle support to help prevent sprains No ankle support
Foot protection Great foot protection due to abrasion- and puncture-resistant materials Poor foot protection, since rubber is vulnerable to sharp-object penetration
Traction Excellent traction and stable grip on any kind of slippery and soft-bottomed terrains Great traction in the sand
Gearing up time Require more time and effort for big-boned riders to put on / off a separate wading boot  Faster and easier to put on / off, since there is no need to bend down to adjust an attached boot 
Sizing Larger size options.

Easy to pick up the proper size for best overall fit, since waders and boots are selected separately

Less size options.

Not easy to select the proper size to get a good overall fit, since waders and boots are a one-piece set

Product care May be washed in a washing machine on the “Membrane fabric” or “Hand wash” cycle in cold water with a special detergent.  Can not be machine-washed or dried. Only hand-washing is available.

 

Membrane vs Neoprene

BEST WADERS FOR ATV RIDING

Neoprene waders had been the industry standard for many years because of their waterproof nature. Today, with such a huge advancement in breathable fabrics technology, membrane waders are quickly leaving neoprene waders behind.

For example, see how FINNTRAIL uses a multi-layer structure for its membrane gear:

Feature Membrane waders

Neoprene waders

Waterproofness 100% waterproofness 100% waterproofness
Breathability High level of breathability. 

Allow the excess moisture (your sweat) to evaporate.

Not breathable. 

The excess moisture (your sweat) cannot evaporate.

Durability Provide long-lasting performance when extra reinforced with abrasion- and mud-resistant coatings. Perform great in the water. But tend to degrade over time. Vulnerable to abrasion and punctures. 
Temperature range Not an insulator. 

With proper thermal underwear, suitable for all four seasons in relative comfort.

Good heat insulator. 

Good for extremely cold weather. Not recommended for warm temperatures and extended dynamic activities.

Ergonomics and fit Thin, flexible, and low-bulk. Easy to tailor to any figure. Thick, bulky, and less flexible. A rider’s movements may be seriously restricted.
Weight Lightweight regardless of the weather conditions. Heavy especially when wet.

 

Finntrail waders vs Gator waders

BEST WADERS FOR ATV RIDING

We want you to be able to choose the best off-road gear. So, let’s discover what helpful features different brands develop and how they perform in the following areas. Since bootfoot waders are the only type that Gator offers, for our testing below, we take a close look at Gator bootfoot membrane waders for off-road riders and Finntrail membrane stockingfoot waders.  

NOTE: The product information is obtained from the manufacturers’ websites finntrail.com, gatorwaders.com

Feature FINNTRAIL 

GATOR WADERS

Material Depending on the design of waders, made of five- or four-layer waterproof & breathable fabric with a HARD-TEX membrane. Four-layer water-resistant & breathable polyester body and five-layer water-resistant & breathable polyester legs.
Temperature range Suitable for a wide range of temperatures. With proper thermal layering, the same garment performs well in the cold and heat. Uninsulated waders are suitable for mild temperatures. Insulated waders are suitable for arctic weather.
Type of riding All types of off-road riding: 

– hardcore mudding

– bogging

– long-term far-away adventures

– heavy-work purposes

– racing

A few types of off-road riding:

– mudding

– bogging

– ATV adventures

Ergonomics and fit Perfect tailored fit and mobility:

– anatomical cut

– articulated 3D knees

– adjustable elastic belt 

– height adjustable suspenders 

– right and left YKK buckles can be paired up for easy put on/off performance 

– top drawstrings

No-rise design:

–  extended inseam for mobility and flexibility

hook & ladder easy-strap adjustment system 

adjustable elastic belt 

Overall weight Even when paired with wading boots, stockingfoot waders are lighter, making strenuous activity or long rides much easier. Considering the weight of built-in rubber boots, waders turn into the very heavy armor of a mud warrior. 
Durability Super durable high-performance materials, reinforced with abrasion- and mud-resistant coatings to significantly expand the lifespan of each garment. Mud-tire inspired rubber boots for more durability. The seams where the rubber boots are attached to the waders material are vulnerable to ruptures and leaks over time.
Seams Advanced designs with fewer seams to reduce membrane creases.

Seams are securely glued and then taped over with heavy-duty waterproof tape.

 

Double-stitched and dual-sealed taped seams (in fishing and hunting waders).

Front zipper The most advanced waders feature durable water- and mud-resistant front zippers to quickly put waders on / off.  No off-road waders with front zippers.
Chest pocket Large chest-pocket with moisture-resistant zippers to reduce water ingress in the event of accidental immersion or light rain. Large сhest pocket with magnetic closure.
Selection of designs 12+ designs for men and 1 design for women* 

*The largest product range of off-road waders in the world for any riding types and conditions. 

Off-road waders in two designs for men and women – insulated and uninsulated.
Sets A wide range of sets.

Buying a set allows you to get all essential pieces of riding gear that match each other at a lower price. 

No sets available.
Match gear and ATV color 12 color options.

With a variety of colors and patterns, it’s easy to choose the gear that matches the color of your ATV.

12 color options.

With a variety of colors and patterns, it’s easy to choose the gear that matches the color of your ATV.

Integrated koozie No koozie for a safe ride. A slim koozie is available.
Cost Excellent cost-benefit ratio.

Great price for high quality, extended durability, comfort and performance. 

Budget-friendly and affordable for riders just starting out. 

 

Wrapping it up 

BEST WADERS FOR ATV RIDING

Although both types of waders offer certain benefits, we recommend investing in high-performance membrane stockingfoot waders. They are more versatile, practical, and suitable for ATV & UTV riding and mudding under almost every circumstance. With breathable waders and a pair of wading boots, you will get a more enjoyable and comfortable experience at an affordable price. 

Bootfoot waders certainly have their value too. With built-in rubber boots, they perform well in the sand but may slip off when stuck in the mud. Bootfoot waders with insulating lining keep you warm whenever you encounter cold weather for a long period of time. Though, they may seriously restrict your movements especially on a dynamic pace ride and make you truly exhausted by the end of a day.      

The choice, as always, is yours — you can give preference to one or another brand depending on your needs, budget, and the type of riding you do. However, if you are serious about high quality, performance, durability, and comfort — there is no better option than Finntrail membrane stockingfoot waders.

 

*All photos are obtained from the manufacturers’ social media

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