How to pee with your waders on

by | Dec 9, 2018 | 26 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 just 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 most 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.)

 

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

 

 

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 600 articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers
Your support is greatly appreciated

– Explore These Post Tags –

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.

More from this Category

Why do we miss trout on a nymph?

Why do we miss trout on a nymph?

Late hook sets are a problem, as is guessing about whether we should set the hook in the first place. But I believe, more times than not, when we miss a trout, the fish actually misses the fly. However, that doesn’t let us off the hook either. It’s probably still our fault. And here’s why . . .

Loss of contact, refusals and bad drifts. All of these things and more add into missing trout on nymphs. So how do we improve the hookup ratio?

Fishing Light

Fishing Light

You’ve probably been wading upstream on a favorite trout stream and seen another angler’s lost tackle. Maybe the whole mess was in the streamside trees, with split shot and bobber attached, or a misguided F13 Rapala with rusted hooks. Maybe you’ve snagged a pile of monofilament stuck in waterlogged branches and lodged against a rock. And when you’ve seen all that mess, maybe you were stunned by how heavy the tackle was. Are you with me? . . .

Be a Mobile Angler

Be a Mobile Angler

Wading is not just what happens between locations. And it’s not only about moving across the stream from one pocket to the next. Instead, wading happens continuously.

Many anglers wade to a spot in the river and set up, calf, knee or waist deep, seemingly relieved to have arrived safely. Then they proceed to fish far too much water without moving their feet again. When the fish don’t respond, these anglers finally pick up their feet. Maybe they grab a wading staff and begrudgingly take the steps necessary to reach new water and repeat the process.

This method of start and stop, of arriving and relocating, is a poor choice. Instead, the strategy of constant motion is what wins out . . .

Beyond Euro Nymphing

Beyond Euro Nymphing

Euro nymphing is an elegant, tight line solution. But don’t limit yourself. Why not use the tight line tools (leaders and tactics) for more than just euro nymphing?

Use it for fishing a tight-line style of indicators. Use it for dry dropper or even straight dries. And use it for streamers, both big and small.

Refining these tactics is the natural progression of anglers who fish hard, are thoughtful about the tactics and don’t like limitations. I know many good fly fishers who have all come out the other side with the same set of tools. Because fishing a contact system like the Mono Rig eventually teaches you all that is possible . . .

New Structure | Old Structure

New Structure | Old Structure

One of my favorite places in the world is a deeply shaded valley that runs north and south between two towering mountains of mixed hardwoods. The forest floor has enough conifers mixed in to block much of the sunlight, even in the winter. The ferns of spring grow tall, and thick moss is spread throughout. The ground remains soft enough here that all large trees eventually surrender to the valley. When they can no longer support their weight in the soft spongy ground, they fall over, leaving a broken forest of deep greens and the dark-chocolate browns of wet, dead bark. It’s gorgeous.

Fallen timber also dictates the course of this cold water stream. The fresh tree falls force the creek to bend away from the hillside. Rolling water carves away the earth and lays bare the rocks — these stones of time, as Maclean puts it. And when water cuts into a neighboring channel, previously dry for centuries, new river banks are undercut and fresh roots exposed . . .

Light Dry Dropper in the Flow

Light Dry Dropper in the Flow

. . .The flow of the fly line through the air is finesse and freedom. Contrasted with nymphing, streamer fishing, or any other method that adds weight to the system, casting the weightless dry fly with a fly line is poetry.

The cast is unaffected because the small soft hackle on a twelve-inch tether simply isn’t heavy enough to steal any provided slack from the dry. It’s an elegant addition that keeps the art of dry fly fishing intact . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

26 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
  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
  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
  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

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Pin It on Pinterest