Review: Skwala Carbon waders | Hatch magazine

In my previous reviews of Skwala gear, I’ve made no effort to hide how much I love what this company is doing. They are new, as of 2022, with only a few products. But a number of the items they have on the market are head and shoulders above most of their competition, and I especially like what that means for anglers. When one company sets the bar that high, the rest will try to be top dog. For us anglers, this means we end up with better gear.

However, as far as the Skwala Carbon waders are concerned, there is little to improve. These are a lightweight chair that absolutely makes it possible to convert from chest to hip. Skwala spent a ton of time designing seams and fabric patterns to allow for maximum freedom of movement. The material of the water itself is durable, breathable and extremely comfortable. Priced at $499, the Carbon Carbon might be the best mid-priced wader I’ve ever used.

What Works


No, these drifters won’t convert the most ardent worm-dunker into the gospel of fishing just a single dry fly. Jokes aside, the Skwala Carbon waders are built around a unique suspension system that allows them to easily convert from a chest to a wader.

Many other water manufacturers have tried this before, with varying degrees of success. I think the Skwala iteration is important, though, because of how easy it is to get through.

skwala carbon waders

Photo: Spencer Durrant

Two magnetic clips hold the front blades in place, while a third holds the back blade. Just pull the mudguard to release the clip and you won’t be sweating buckets in the midday summer heat. Conversely, if you need the extra warmth of a bodysuit, the magnetic system makes converting it to cover the chest a simple process.

Shoulder pick / Azet

Something you’ll immediately notice about Carbonate is the lack of buckles. Skwala intentionally left the buttons off this model to reduce bulk and weight, as well as make the transition from chest to hip smoother.

The buttonless shoulder pick distributes the weight evenly and keeps the sling straps in place when you wear the carbon as a mushroom. They’re designed to slide right over your shoulders when you put on or take off the cleats, which negates the need for buckles.

Fit and comfort

Something I’ve noticed about Carbon Carbon is how comfortable they are. Whether I’m walking up and down the river, or rowing my boat, I don’t notice or feel like I’m wearing waders. To me, this is the mark of an extremely well-built device. Carbon travelers don’t get in the way of anything you need to do as an angler. That was the goal of the team at Skwala, who emphasize freedom of movement in all their gear.

You’ll also notice the built-in drains on the gravel guards. These prevent water from pooling in the creases when you get in and out of the water, which is a nice feature if you fish from boats. Gravel protectors are also a very abrasion-resistant material, with the idea of ​​reducing wear and tear in the area where water usually gets holes.

skwala carbon waders

Photo: Spencer Durrant

Additionally, the fit of the vaders is fantastic. Ordering based on the size guide on the Skwala website resulted in a perfect fit.


For years, the bar for quality uder material has been GORE-TEX. With all due respect to companies that have done amazing things with GORE-TEX, it’s not the only option for creating a durable, breathable, waterproof material.

These waders are slim and purposely designed not to carry the weight of an all-season hiker. However, Skwala’s proprietary four-layer laminated material feels stable, which experience has shown is a pretty good indicator that something will be.

Only time will tell anglers how durable Skwala’s material is compared to the gold standard of GORE-TEX, but if early returns are any indication, I think many anglers will be happy with how long extend carbonate of carbon.

Reactions on water

I spent a week in northern Idaho fishing with two of my friends. Both were wearing a set of carbon waders, and both had nothing but praise after using them. Whether we were hiking another stretch of river, or jumping in and out of the truck frequently, my friends noted the carbon’s comfort and fit as its main selling points.

What doesn’t work


Skwala had a tough job when they decided to design a large convertible vader. Too many pockets on a wanderer’s chest make the conversion process clumsy and ineffective.

The Carbon wader has a single zippered chest pocket that is large enough for fly boxes, floatant, tip and suction. But there’s no pass-through pocket, likely due to a desire to keep the carbon as sleek and low-profile as possible.

I would like to see some sort of pass pocket on a future carbon vader if possible.

The last word

The Carbon Guide might be the best moderately priced wader I’ve ever used. It’s incredibly lightweight and converting from chest to hip is a simple and easy process. I love the simple, minimalist design and how well built these waders are. They are designed for anglers on the go and most importantly, they don’t get in the way of walking, hiking or boating.

At $499, the Skwala Carbon wader is a great value and I certainly expect it to become a favorite among anglers as Skwala continues to bring customers back to its technical innovations and grow its brand.


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