How to pee with your waders on

by | Dec 9, 2018 | 45 comments

This shouldn’t take too long. But knowing my propensity for long-winded descriptions of the sometimes obvious, we can probably run this into eight-hundred words. The thing is, how to take a leak streamside isn’t real obvious to most anglers. It’s the waders. No, actually it’s the suspenders. That’s where the trouble starts . . .

 

Disclaimer: this is a guys-only kind of post. Lady fishers, you do your own thing, and trust none of my advice here. Because I just don’t know.

 

That extra morning coffee you drank on the way to the river, the auxiliary ounces you used to fight off the sleepyhead before dawn, it now settles into your bladder and brings on the urge about fifteen minutes after you finally wade into the water and start fishing.

Great.

So you wade over to the bank, remove most of your gear and take a leak. Then you put everything back on. This isn’t much of a problem in the summer. In fact, if you’re wet wading, all we’re talking about here is a pants zipper. And that’s wonderful. But with waders, there’s a belt and suspenders at least. And if you have a jacket and vest or pack over top of those suspenders, now you have to remove all of it.

What if it’s raining? What if it’s cold? To get to your suspenders, you have to take off the raincoat and stand there hoodless — in the rain, in the cold — just to take a leak.

Fly fishers’ troubles — it’s a rough life.

So, you really don’t have to do all that. In fact, you don’t have to remove any layers to pee on a tree. Here’s what to do . . .

Buckle

Most all waders these days come with removable buckles at the front. Unhook them on each side, and those buckles snap into each other (male end to female end). Somebody was thinking! And now, most companies have copied it. Thanks, free market.

Unsnap the buckles from the front of your waders, and snap them together, like this.

Snapped together, the suspenders form a loop. You can keep the suspenders in front of you by allowing the buckle to ride up to your neck. This way, the suspenders don’t fall down behind your shoulders when you push down the front of your waders to have a piss.

What about zippered waders?

A few years ago, wader manufacturers started offering zippers in the front of their waders. I think every guy who sees these for the first time thinks the same thing: “Nice! Now I can just unzip and take a leak.”

Not so fast.

All of the zippered waders I’ve worn have zippers that stop around the belt line. And I don’t know about you, but my man parts are lower than that. Wader makers understand that putting a zipper all the way down into the crotch seam is inviting disaster — there’s just too much material flexing with every step and the seams will fail. So they keep the bottom of the zipper up higher.

I’ve seen guys keep their suspenders loose to facilitate pulling the waders down far enough. But when I wore zippered waders, I just did the same buckle system described above. I found it much easier.

Procedure

Let’s run through it, here.

  • Wade to the bank in 35 degrees and a driving rain.
  • Find a tree with some good evergreen boughs to block about half of the rainfall.
  • Take your belt off.
  • Leave the hood up and coat on, but unzip your jacket.
  • Unsnap the wader buckles at the front, and then snap them into each other.
  • Put the suspender loop up by your neck to keep it in front of you.
  • Pull down the front of your waders.
  • Pee.
  • Unsnap, re-buckle, zip the coat, put your belt back on and go fish.

See what I mean? Now you’re still dry, still warm, and ready to catch the next Namer, lickety-split.

The two ends of your wader buckles, snapped together. This goes in front of your neck.

Alternatives

I should mention that many Patagonia waders do not detach in the front. Instead, they feature an internal suspender system where the waders can slide down the straps. The result is similar — you can pull down the top of your waders without taking off your outer layers or vest. But I find the procedure more difficult than the one I describe above. The trouble with the system resides in the back buckle. It requires some contortions and some luck to reach behind your back through puffy layers and undo the buckle. It’s even harder to re-buckle afterward. But . . . I’ve worn Patagonia waders for years and made it work.

The EZ-P Zipper

And if you really want to make things quick, you can’t do it any better than installing a waterproof zipper right where you really need it.Take a look at  the EZ-P.

If you want a waterproof zipper like this in your waders, email Bill Anderson (bjuniata@verizon.net). He has a bunch of high quality waterproof zippers that he’ll install in your waders. Nice. And here’s a PDF with more info on the EZ-P.

Let’s call it

That’s about it for this public service announcement on peeing in the woods with your waders on. Tune in next week for your regularly scheduled Troutbitten programming.

Fish hard, friends.

(That was 810 words.)

 

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Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

 

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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45 Comments

  1. One drawback (or benefit?) is if you have tall waders and short straps, you can get a little choked up when using this technique.

    Reply
    • Dom introduced my EZ-P waterproof wader zipper to Trout Bitten readers in this article. Unfortunately, my contact information was incorrect. Like so many others, my wife and I decided to drop our land line (given in the PDF) in favor of individual smart phones. You can reach me at 814 569 8843 or email me at bjuniata@verizon.net.
      Bill Anderson

      Reply
      • Would like more info on the zipper & installation. Live in Buffalo, NY also.

        Reply
    • Like some of the other respondents I switched to waist high waders awhile ago. Not only do they make peeing a much easier process they also are much cooler in the summertime. They also prevent me from wading deeper than I should at my age (over 60)

      Reply
  2. And I thought that you had some pretty terrific ideas in past posts! This is up there on the list of all-time great flashes of human insight. Now I can drink coffee on days when I go fishing with my waders on. I, and my bladder, thank you.

    Reply
  3. At first I figured this post would include a description of a hose and siphon system, relieved to see it did not! You may not think this is helpful but I never knew the strategy of connecting the buckles, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Great suggestions. A few more …
      1. Wading pants (without suspenders) work great.
      2. A cam style wading belt that you can loosen, but still keep fastened is helpful especially if you have a water bottle, net, or staff on the belt.
      3. A short piece of cord fastened to the two suspenders buckles keeps them from sliding back.

      Reply
  4. Depends work for me. Never leave your spot.

    Reply
  5. I am quite pleased that at the age of 64 my prostate still functions mostly as it did when I was 24. So, I really don’t mind the very occasional need to pee, welcoming the opportunity as a pause in the action. Unlayering, disrobing, and unbuckling aren’t the worst things I have to do in a day on the water. But thanks for the tip, anyway.

    Reply
  6. One problem not being addressed: your bladder is bursting . . .but the trout are rising and you really want to keep fishing. NFL players solve this by simply peeing themselves. Maybe the market is ripe for a fisherman’s version of Depends? This would be a rather radical solution, but it is much better than a brakeman’s helper. Thanks for keeping it real Dom.

    Reply
    • It is possible to continue fishing while using my EZ-P (I’ve done so). Just stand in shallow water and turn your back to the road (if there is one). Zipper must be closed before wading deep (you will only do this once).

      Reply
  7. Have you seen TV ads where two NFL football players are wearing Depends Diapers for Men? They work! Just put them on before you leave the house. It would be difficult putting them on by the river. You would scare away all the trout! (8-).

    Reply
    • Yuk! No thanks…..EZ-P is too easy to use. $80 addition to your $600 waders….So worth it!

      Reply
  8. I’ve always said there are only two types of trout fishermen: Those who at one time have peed in there waders and those who lie about it.

    Reply
  9. Domenick,
    I’ve enjoyed your blog for sometime now, but wow, this post is pure gold (no pun intended). This is quite possibly the most useful bit of wisdom I’ve ever read on a fly-fishing blog.

    Thank you sir.

    Reply
  10. I almost never think of having to pee, until I’m quitting and am within 15 feet of the bank, Then I really got to go.

    Reply
  11. We need a female to give advice for the girls out here

    Reply
    • That is true.

      Reply
      • I have an EZ-P solution for the ladies… it requires the use of a “She-Wee” (look it up) see above comment. Field and water tested.

        Reply
  12. I bought some trouser type waders from LLBean that totally solve the peeing problem. Loosen the belt, pull them down a few inches and… ahhhhhhh. By the way, these waders go up to my ribcage, providing protection in water as deep as I would go in my traditional waders.

    Reply
    • I have Frog Pond waist high waders thar I bought for that very same solution.

      Reply
  13. Dom, Thanks for mentioning my EZ-P zipper. I use a guaranteed waterproof zipper. It is designed for dry suit SCUBA divers and each one is pressure tested by the manufacturer before shipping. All someone has to do is to ship their waders to me and I will permanently install the EZ-P exactly in the right place for male plumbing! Never have to take your vest, jacket, belt or wader straps off again! In fact I have been known to continue a dry fly drift while keeping my flies dry with the other hand. By the way, I have a solution for lady fly fishers as well. In addition to my EZ-P installation they need to employ a vertical urination device called a She-Wee. I call my solution the “EZ-P-She” ! email me at bjuniata@verizon.net for details.

    Reply
  14. Are you gonna have a part 2 for this for the #2, or can Bill put a zipper in the rear for that action also? Asking for a friend!!!

    Reply
    • If I install a rear zipper, you will have to go commando, ….think about it.

      Reply
  15. Waist high waders: drink all the coffee you want; I even carry a small thermos of the stuff on those chilly days. If the waders are a little big, even better. Just push em’ down and whiz away. Pull em’ back up, Urkel like, and fish on.

    Reply
  16. So I usually find that taking that 9:00 a.m. defication situation is my biggest problem.lol so, maybe someone will create a zipper in the back. I know- you can’t help me.

    Reply
  17. I spend lots of time wading to shallow water to find the water line below the pee line.

    I believe the simplest solution is wet wadding, with quick dry pants.

    Cold and polluted water requires waders. So I unhook the straps and let them pull up to my shoulders and they will stay there with you fishing vest holding them there. if they dont., I have a thermostat clipped onto each strap to give more length for the “pull down”. You keep everything on.

    Another almost perfect solution is to glue a PVC tube in the desirable area of your waders. Of course that requires a cap for the tube, and flexible sealant. Threaded tube and cover for additional ease.

    This tube system should work for the ladies too.

    Stay Dry

    Reply
  18. One other helpful tip: Find a solid tree that you can brace up against as you lean forward to pee. That keeps the last drips out of your waders.

    Reply
  19. Hey Dom, that’s a great tip! It never occurred to me to fasten the suspender ends together. I had to laugh out loud at the “model” pic. Thank goodness you had the decency not to name him. LOL!

    Reply
  20. Thanks Dom! Especially for explaining why vertical zippers are no solution for easy relief (vertical zipper doesn’t open down far enough for “man parts”). Also, note that there is an error on the PDF for my email address. Contact me at bjuniata@verizon.net or call at 814 684 5922. I’ve installed over 100 EZ-P zippers in all brands of waders with No Leaks. I usually turn waders around in two days.

    Reply
  21. Brilliant explanation, our illustrious wader suppliers should point this out as a sales pitch, after all, waders have a reputation for unplanned leaks so might as well point the way to comfort breaks! This was one of the most useful articles I have read for ages, the last was yours on wading staff which I have followed and will adopt this coming season. Thanks Dom from UK.

    Reply
  22. I have had the EZ-P Zipper installed on two pairs of waders and can say without hesitation that they work as advertised. Bill’s turnaround time is very fast, so one would not be without waders for long.

    Highly recommend!!

    Reply
  23. Brilliant. While it not as easy as for the guys, give the differences, women should check out Kula cloth.com.

    Reply
  24. When I first saw this article I immediately contacted Bill Anderson. He’s a sweetheart to deal with, fair price, excellent work/product and he turned the whole thing around quickly. His design breakthrough is to use a horizontal zipper which doesn’t get stressed and fail. It’s the best solution and it keeps you from subconsciously dehydrating yourself throughout the day.

    Reply
  25. I have an easier solution that I use. I just hang it over the top of the bib then let it hang free. It helps to lean forward.

    Reply
    • Yeah, but then the ends of the straps can easily fall behind me. That doesn’t work for most of us.

      Reply
      • No Dom, here in Wyoming we don’t find it necessary to unbuckle the suspenders. Just hang it over the top and lean forward!
        Enjoy you articles and end up taking notes too.
        Best to you, J

        Reply
  26. Thank goodness! After fishing and hunting for over 50 years, much of it in waders, I now have knowledge I can put to good use. Hopefully you’ll soon publish the sequel so I’ll learn to do number two without baring me bum to the elements.

    Reply
  27. I’m a frequent reader of Dom’s Troutbitten articles and a female fly angler! We wade to the nearest foliage, drop drawers (waders) and do our thing. Yes, it’s a pain in the arse. But, I have been known to pee-in-my-waders. Not recommended as it has no where to go! Only for desperate times. I’ve tried peeing while in a float tube-it can’t be done. The bladder just won’t allow you to empty it. So, it’s a trip to the shore and find that closest tree. Small inconveniences for the one thing I love to do the most. (Move over golf!)

    Reply
  28. Best tip ever! And if you’re alone on the river no need to wade to the bank, especially if fish are rising. If this seems too troublesome, there’s always Depends.

    Reply
  29. Wow, Domenick. That is so straight forward, why isn’t it more widely known. You’ve just made my fishing life so much easier!! Thanks.

    Reply
  30. For this reason I had to switch to Pant waders (rarely go much past 3′ of water and I’m 6’4″ tall- 36″ inseam ), and have an active bladder, probably TMI . Use my chest waders when trips get deep, and struggle to meet that urgency!

    Reply
  31. Glad you’ve addressed a subject that I think I can actually master- but I may need to practice in the back yard first!

    Reply
  32. Put an ez-p in my steelhead waders last year. It works great, won’t be without one in the future. Being part of the geezer hatch I normally have to go much more frequently than I did as a younger person, that thing is a life saver. Thanks again Bill.

    Reply

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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