Here’s a quick review about the waders from Taimen and why I chose this one to go with me to New Zealand.
The River II Classic Waders from Taimen are made out of 3 to 5 layer of – who would have thought it – waterproof and breathable material. This means that certain areas such as the legs have 5 layers and are thus more resistant against abrasion whereas the upper parts around the waist and hip are softer with only 3 layers. The waders are produced in Japan and Korea. Taimen declares that the waders are waterproof to up to 20’000 but unfortunately they don’t let us know 20’000 what. Raindrops? Litres? Fish? I assume it is 20’000mm/cm2 which would be the usual measure unit. The breathability is 14’000 again with no measure unit and I have no clue what it could be. However, probably it’s just an unimportant high number to convince people to buy. The waders have built in gravel guards, profiled socks of “resistant neoprene made by 3M”. Whoever this is. I guess the neoprene socks are about 5mm thick. At the top of the waders is an internal and an external pocket. Whereas the outer one has a YKK zipper which is water-resistant (but not proof!), the inner one is closed by velcro. To wear the waders there are two elastic braces with YKK clips which are meant to be positioned so that on one side the female and on the other side the male of the clip is at the top of the brace. This allows you to wear the waders as well as hip waders while being still tightened with the braces around your waist.
The described 2 D-rings for attachments which are advertised on the website of Taimen I’ve never found.
I bought this waders when I have already been planning to go to New Zealand. Given that I’m travelling as a backpacker volume and weight were my biggest concerns followed straight after by the price. Unfortunately the service of Taimen wasn’t able to answer the simple question of the weight of the waders but the price and the fact that it’s the wader with the least add-ons – such as hand warmers and more pockets – convinced me to give it a try.
The waders weigh without the waist belt 900 grams which is in my opinion quite good and the price of EUR 149.- is reasonable. Furthermore the waders can be packed quite small thus I can fit them inclusive some fishing gear into my waist pack. Therefore the waders can be packed to approximately 3 litres which is awesome for backpacking. Despite this, the size chart which is on the website of Taimen is very accurate and thus extremely helpful. The feet are ergonomically formed and fit nicely. The waders do breath, but given that they don’t breath under water you’ll be a bit wet because of your sweat especially around the feet because the neoprene obviously doesn’t let humidity through at all. So far so good.
Even though the 5 layers around the legs are useful especially when you have to bushwalk a lot, I was disappointed about the existence of a seam between the legs. I can already predict that this will be the weak point of the waders because there’s the largest abrasion. Additionally, between the legs is only 3 layer material. Thus it’s not built to last. But until now after 1 year it still does quite a good job. Another point are the missing guides around the waist for the belt. (This issue is fixed in the new Orhon waders of Taimen as far as I’ve seen).
Actually the only thing that broke apart yet was the sowing of the seam of the gravel guards at the bottom which is exposed to abrasion due to repeatedly hitting boots together while walking. This is fortunately not a big problem because it has nothing to do with the waterproofness but it shows that they are not perfect at all.
The other option to buy would have been the Redington Sonic-Pro ultra packable waders which weigh about 700 grams but come without gravel guards, only 4 layers and are more expensive. Thus as I mentioned above I chose the Taimen waders although I didn’t knew exactly how much they weigh and was in the end surprised positively.
Would I buy it again? Yes. The waders were light enough and compact in packing size so I took them with me to New Zealand. In addition the price was alright because I didn’t know how long they will last. Although I had some minor issues such as the broken sowing and the usual damage that sums up over a year while for example approaching a trout like this:
But be aware of the weakness of the material between the legs and the construction – they’re not built to last.