L.L.Bean Women’s Emerger Breathable Super Seam Waders, Stocking-Foot ReviewMay 22, 2018
- Durability is promising
- Trim-fitting bootie
- Accommodates bulky midlayer insulation
- Handwarmer pocket
- Not offered in lengths
- Baggy fit
- Adequate breathability
These waders offer performance-oriented construction at an affordable price.
L.L.Bean revised its women’s fit with the Emerger waders, and the improvement is obvious: Although these waders still offer a baggier fit than the Simms, Orvis, Patagonia and Redington models we tested, they’re far from sack-like. The legs, in particular, display some thoughtful tailoring, with the one central seam placed along the outer leg and darts at the knees to reduce bulk while preserving full freedom of movement. There’s plenty of room for bulky fleece tights, but it’s not an accordion of fabric.
The booties are also trim and appropriately foot-hugging, with sticky, patterned soles that keep the neoprene from sliding around in wading boots.
Our chief complaint was with the bib, which is sized for very long torsos. It covered our 5’0” tester from waist to chin—and in fact, the shoulder straps can’t become short enough to keep the bib from sagging (they offer a limited range of adjustability). Although large-chested anglers enjoyed the bib’s ample coverage, smaller testers wished for more effective ways to snug up the chest opening (there’s a cinch cord, but it only tightens under one arm).
The four-layer fabric construction aims promises durability more than breathability, yet testers remained perfectly comfortable in mild weather conditions. When temperatures rose, we opted to roll down the bulky, full-coverage bib for better ventilation. After a half-day on Colorado’s Yampa River, we noticed that our leggings were slightly damp—but that’s to be expected from most waders.
With seams running along the outer leg—and nothing along the inseam, back or front—the Emerger does an impressive job of hiding its stitching from abrasion zones. Anglers who wear waders while rowing should consider this model, since there are no seams to sit on. Four-layer construction protects against abrasion from outside the waders as well as the inside.
The L.L.Bean may cost $60 more than the Cabela’s, but it offers a significant step up in features. The open-ended handwarmer pocket is fleece-lined on one side, so it offers a bit of coziness on fall days when soaked hands soon feel icy. There’s a zippered chest pocket as well as a waterproof inner pocket that’s removable (it attaches to the bib with a strip of Velcro).
The wide, comfortable wading belt doesn’t buckle in the front, so it dovetails comfortably with other front-buckle accessories (like a hip pack). And opposing buckles on the shoulder straps become an ersatz belt that secures the bib when it’s rolled down in hot weather or low water.
The Emerger is light enough for sultry weather, yet roomy enough for the bulky layers that anglers want for steelheading and other cold-weather pursuits. It’s affordable enough for beginners, yet rich with features that continuing anglers might prefer—thus it’s an impressively versatile option that can appeal to a range of enthusiasts.Continue Reading
Kelly Bastone- Faculty
Mountain-dweller Kelly Bastone became a writer so she could stop asking the boss for permission to take a powder morning, enjoy extra-long lunch breaks to fish or mountain bike, and clock out early when the hatch is on.