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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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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