I had stumbled across Dryft S14 Adrenaline waders while surfing Facebook a while back, and told myself that when it was time to buy new waders I would have to check them out. Their products have style if you are in to that kind of thing, and the prices seem a little too good to be true.
Needless to say I have been researching waders for a couple months now. My cheap pair of breathable waders from Outdoor World were never perfect (from day one the outer layer let water into the waders, but the inner layer was solid), but had kept me dry for a couple seasons. They finally sprung a leak in the crotchal region early this spring and finally got to the point where I was ready to invest. I have to say that money was a strong motivating factor. I had no desire to buy new waders, there are plenty of other things I would rather be buying from my wishlist at the moment.
I looked at all the usual suspects because if I was going to spend the money, I wanted something that was going to last. I also had a few features that were on my list for an ideal wader. My top end budget was $400, but I was really trying to keep it to $300-$350 or less if possible.
Feature wise I was looking for a good amount of pockets / storage options, 5 layer construction, and hand warmer pockets. Reputation and warranty for piece of mind was of utmost importance as well.
I had my search narrowed down to Simms G3 Guides, Orvis Silver Sonic Guides and Patagonia Gallegos on the higher end. On the low to mid range I was looking at Redington Sonic Pro’s and Orvis Silver Sonic Convertibles, as well as the Dryft S14 Adrenaline’s and some other lower end Simms.
From this list I started hitting review websites hard to try and pick a winner. I knew I couldn’t really go wrong with the three big names; Simms G3, Pategonia Gallegos, and Orvis Silver Sonic Guides. However, these were all at the upper bounds of my budget, all of them almost double the price of the Redington Sonic Pro’s (which were on sale for $199) and the Dryft S14 Adrenaline’s for $219.
I have to say here that I was heavily biased towards the Dryft S14 Adrenaline waders. When faced with a choice between the premium brand (both quality and price) and a younger company that is trying to compete in the premium market, I will typically lean towards the up and comer. My fondness of companies like Allen Fly Fishing, Mystic Rods, and Taylor Reels, has never bit me. I love the customer service and innovative products at reasonable prices of all those companies. So although I was looking for a concrete reason NOT to buy the Dryft Fishing S14 waders, it was almost a foregone conclusion. I picked the Dryft S14 Adrenaline waders because they checked off all my desired features for far less money. The Redington’s were my next choice because of the $199 sale, but I had read enough reviews calling them “uncomfortable” to turn me off to them.
I have to say my biggest hang up was that I couldn’t really find any reviews for the waders outside of the Dryft Fishing website (which of course were all glowing). This always makes me uneasy, and is the biggest reason I am choosing to review these waders. I am sure there are lots of people out there who are seeing these great looking, reasonably priced waders, but are afraid to take the plunge on an unknown company. Hopefully after getting on the water with them I will be able to put some of those worries to rest.
The sales/social media team for Dryft Fishing was great. I asked some questions about the differences between the S14 and the Primo (a zipper front) models, as well as about sizing. I got responses to my questions very quickly and Nick was very pleasant to deal with. Shipping was free and went USPS Priority, so I had the waders in just a couple of days.
Dryft S14 Adrenaline Waders: Initial Impression
I am very impressed with the initial quality of these waders. They look great, and are super comfortable in the feet. At 6’2 and 250lbs the XL size was perfect for me. I fell basically into the middle of the measurements for this size, which made ordering easy for me. The waders come right up to my armpits, which is higher than my old pair, but will be nice for some deeper wading.
The straps, buckles and wading belt are all very nice and easy to adjust for a good snug fit. The wading belt is somewhat flexible and uses a clip to connect, but has a Velcro tightening strap to make quick and easy adjustments. The top of the waders can also be adjusted to help keep water out should you take a spill.
These waders are 5 layers of waterproof material from the seat down and then 3 layers for the top. The thicker bottom seems very sturdy and durable. These are designed by people that fish in the Pacific Northwest. It is my impression that they do a lot of bushwhacking out there so durability would be a big plus.
The stitching looks very sharp and precise, so I don’t see any issues with quality. The seems are on the outside of the leg, which helps protect them from rubbing each other (if on the inside like many waders), but may be less desirable for those that are constantly going through sharp brush or climbing rocks. Dryft Fishing lists this as a plus not a negative, so for now I will defer to their expertise. One thing I do notice when it comes to the seems is that there are a couple smaller seems that run perpendicular to the main seems that run down the leg. They are fairly low ( below the knee) and maybe I’ve just never noticed them on other waders, but just something I noticed. Here is a picture of it for reference.
Overall, I am very happy with this purchase so far. I will be getting them on the water over the next week or two and will add some more thoughts at that time.
UPDATE: On the Water with the Dryft S14 Adrenaline Waders
Now that I’ve had my waders in the water a few times, I wan to give you a quick update. The best part about these waders is the comfort! The neoprene boots are way better than your average cheaper pair of waders. They work well with my Korker’s boots (which are admittedly too small). I was definitely going to replace my boots for a larger size, but the extra comfort I’m getting wit these waders is going to allow me to wait until fall when extra layers are required.
The Dryft S14 Adrenaline waders are probably not the best hot weather waders out there. Keep in mind that they are designed by serious steelheaders in the Pacific Northwest, so they are sturdy and made for cold weather. That being said even on a 95 degree day here in Michigan I was comfortable enough to stay on the water for a few hours, so I can’t knock the breath-ability either. I wouldn’t rate this as a con by any means (it will be a pro come winter), but if you are looking for a light pair of summer waders, these might not be for you.
I can’t speak to the long term durability of these waders yet, that will require another update. But the initial quality is top notch. They have definitely lived up to the hype to this point, and I look forward to continue putting them through some abuse.
Here is the description from dryftfishing.com website:
The 2015 DRYFT S14 Adrenaline series wader dropped Spring 2015 with a completely redesigned lower for more abrasion resistance and durability, plus a few choice upgrades. More pockets, a new durable all five-layer lower design from the waist down, added D rings for all your fancy tools, rubber soles for added grip and durability (and because they look pretty sweet), and more make this well rounded wader even better.
Made with one clear mission in mind; To blur the lines between design and performance at an affordable price. The DRYFT S14 fishing wader features high tech, breathable five-layer and three-layer 100% waterproof DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coated fabric. The DRYFT S14 waders meet your on the water demands, and excel at keeping you dry and comfortable all day with the extra features you’d expect of much more expensive fishing waders.
Fit and Features
The DRYFT S14 waders start with loads of storage pockets and adjustable straps, belt, and upper drawstring to customize the fit to your body. A heavy duty five-layer lower protects the parts of the wader that get the most abuse; the legs, knees, and seat. Contoured and flexible knees give freedom of movement allowing you to walk, run, crouch, wade, stumble, and crawl easily without restricted movement. The strong and durable five-layer lower from the waist down includes a single vertical seam design with seams running up the outside of the legs to eliminate seam abrasion when walking.
What about staying dry?
Breathable, 20,000mm DWR coated waterproof polyester fabric combined with NoLeak™ taped seams bring the waterproofing to the next level. To top it off, seam ends and edges are double taped a second time to keep the water where the fish are.
Finally, DRYFT S14 Adrenaline waders are value priced to save you some coin and leave enough skrilla in your pocket to buy gas, beer, and tackle or flies.
– 100% waterproof high-grade breathable 5 layer and 3 layer DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coated fabric technology.
– Durable full five-layer lower from the waist down including legs, knees and seat.
– Single vertical seam design on the outside of the legs eliminates abrasion from walking.
– Adjustable shoulder straps with Duraflex® buckles.
– Inside flip-out double zippered pocket.
– Outer pocket with Steelhead Blue YKK® water resistant zipper.
– Mesh pocket on flip out pocket.
– D rings on the front to hang all your crap from.
– Hanging loop.
– Rubber DRYFT tread on soles.
– Fleece lined hand warming pocket helps keep your hands toasty.
– Adjustable Comfortflex™ Wading belt with Duraflex® buckle secures tightly and safely. Three belt loops keep your belt securely in place for safe wading.
– NoLeak™ taped seams for ultimate protection against leaks.
– DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating.
– High density 4.0MM ergonomically shaped neoprene sock feet.
– YKK® Water Resistant Zippers.
– Adjustable upper sizing with internal drawstring.
– Gravel Guards with boot lace hook.
– Mesh carrying bag.