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The first waders I ever owned were a pair of Tidewe waders. My husband (then boyfriend), Mark, bought them for me after the first time he took me duck hunting. I remember that day all too well—it was my first ever waterfowl hunt and, ill-prepared, I had borrowed a pair of his waders. Needless to say, what fits a 6-foot 175-pound man doesn’t work quite so well on a 5-foot-5 130-pound woman. So before our next trip out in the jon boat, he got me my own pair: a set of RealTree Tidewe waders.
Since that first hunt with Mark, I have worn the duck hunting waders a handful of times, swapping them in and out with others I’ve added to my collection. Is Tidewe a good brand, and are Tidewe waders actually good? That’s a question I hear asked a lot in the hunting groups I’m part of—and something I wondered for myself the first time I ever slipped into a pair. Here’s my honest review of the women’s Tidewe waders, and whether or not they’re worth buying.
What I Like About Tidewe Waders
In my opinion, there are two things waders must be: warm and waterproof. The Tidewe waders nail both of these things. Made with 600g insulation and a neoprene shell, the waders kept me comfy and dry while hunting in frigid December temperatures with a harsh wind coming off the bay. (As someone who is always cold, that’s saying a lot.) The double-stitched seams prevent any water from getting in while the material of the waders themselves allows enough breathability that you don’t feel suffocated or swampy when you work up a sweat lugging gear around.
The boots also fit true to size and were comfortable for trekking through the marsh where we hunt. They’re roomy enough that I could double up on wool socks and still have room to move around. Even better, the thick tread provides plenty of traction for scrambling over rocky beaches and getting in and out of the boat without slipping. Another feature I like is the plethora of pockets for stashing all your things, including the fleece-lined hand warmer pockets. These were a game-changer for holding Hot Hands and keeping my fingers from going numb while we waited in the blind.
What I Don’t Like About Tidewe Waders
Here’s the thing: Like most “women’s” hunting gear, the women’s Tidewe waders are actually just the men’s waders in smaller sizes. A.k.a. they aren’t made to fit a woman’s body. As a result, I found the waders to fit a little awkwardly (read: baggy) in the chest, groin, and hips. For as functional as they are, they aren’t exactly flattering—which isn’t a concern when you’re out in the blind but it can affect comfort.
The waders are also way too tall for my 5-foot-5 frame. Even when the adjustable straps are tightened all the way, the waders still droop down slightly and there’s a bunch of extra material. Fortunately, the added belt that comes with the waders helps with that and keeps the waders from being too baggy or letting in too much cold air.
Are Tidewe Waders Good?
For an introductory pair of waders for duck hunting, I give Tidewe waders a thumbs up. Available in women’s sizes 5 to 10 (and in men’s sizes 5 to 14), they are comfortable, waterproof, warm, and breathable. I can wear them for the whole day in the coldest, wettest conditions and feel well-protected from the elements.
That said, given the lower price of around $100, you likely get what you pay for. I’ve only owned these for a couple of seasons—and have worn them a handful of times in rotation with my other waders—so I’m not sure yet how well they’ll hold up over time. They’re also not cut specifically for a female body, which can make the fit a little cumbersome, and they definitely run on the tall side.
However, if you’re looking for affordable waders, these will get the job done for a fraction of the price of higher-end brands.