Monday, January 25, 2010
Now for all you new readers (I think there at least three of you out there) my "Things That Don't Suck" posts highlight gear that I've bought myself, used hard and found to be - for lack of a better term - not shitty. And bought at regular retail, btw. I'm neither important, influential nor well-known enough to have such things sent to me for review, damn the bad luck.
*** in the interest of full disclosure, the GLX travel rod I reviewed last year actually wasn't purchased, it was a loaner. And I cried when I dropped it in the mail...***
So, rest assured dear readers, when you see the "Things That Don't Suck" stamp of approval you can be certain that the item in question, well, doesn't suck. At least for me. Not yet, anyway. And really, how much more honest can you get than that?
Which brings me to today's item: My Cabela's SuperMag 1600 waders. (I know the picture sucks, but it's the only one I had...)
I just concluded my third season of wearing these things, and I have to say that may have been the best $169 (they're around $200 now, but still worth every penny) I ever spent on a waterfowl-related item.
*** in the interests of full disclosure, I did attend a Cabela's-sponsored turkey hunt last year but they didn't give me any waders, the bastards...***
I'm hard, very hard, on waders. I'm also poor, very poor. Which means I've always bought cheap, very cheap waders. And if there's a more potent formula for sudden, shocking and acute discomfort than icewater, leaky waders and balls, I'm not aware of it.
Generally the waders I could afford wouldn't make it through a single season without major surgery, and I don't think I ever had a pair make it more than two seasons before I had to trash them. And even when they did manage to keep me dry during a hunt, I was still freezing. Dry, but freezing.
Finally, in the wake of a particularly cold and miserable duck season four years ago, I decided it might be cheaper in the long run - or at least as cheap and a helluva lot more comfortable - to buy a decent pair of waders every four or five years instead of a cheap pair of waders every year.
So that's what I did. I gathered my pennies, performed my due diligence via the online duck hunting chatrooms and boards and ordered a pair of the SuperMag 1600s.
And despite having a name that sounds better suited to a vacuum-assisted penile enhancement device (TRY THE SUPERMAG 1600! GUARANTEED TO ADD FOUR INCHES OR YOUR MONEY BACK!) these waders have been superlatively awesome. They are simply the warmest, toughest waders I've ever worn (I know, I know, I've always worn junk, but the point holds...).
And when I say I'm tough on waders, I don't mean I sometimes snag them hopping out of the boat on to the hunt-club dock. I mean I get out of my truck at the parking area with the rest of the schlubs, put on my waders and then walk through a half-mile or so of sandplum thickets, prickly pear, barbed wire fences, cedar thickets and other assorted sharp and pokey brush. I then break ice, sit in two feet of frozen muck for a few hours and then I get up and walk back to to the truck. That kind of hard.
In three years of doing this numerous times per season I've had a grand total of no leaks, rips, tears or holes. And not once have I ever been cold wearing these things. And again, I rarely hunt out of an above-water blind or a boat. I'm usually just sitting on my ass in the water. I originally planned on these things lasting four years, and if they did I figured I'd be ahead.
But after three seasons of hard use they still look pretty much perfect. So unless they literally fall apart next season it looks like they might start actually saving me money.
So here's my conclusion on the Cabela's Super Mag 1600 waders: No, they won't give you four extra inches, but they definitely don't suck.