The 9 Best Kayak Fishing Pants on the Market 2021 & What to Look For?


There are many factors that contribute to a successful day of kayak fishing.

Piloting a good craft, using the right tackle, being blessed with optimum conditions, and having a bit of luck are just a few examples.

And wearing suitable clothing should not be overlooked.

That’s why the best kayak fishing pants can make the difference between a good day out and a great one.

Take a look at what’s currently on offer in the reviews below, and keep your pins happy while yakkin’.

Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.

What to Look for in Quality Kayak Fishing Pants

Before embarking on our review of the best pants for kayak fishing on the market, let’s briefly touch on what you should be looking out for in order to find the right product for you.

Consider:

  • Size and comfort.
  • Style.
  • Materials, weatherproofing, and durability.
  • Breathability.
  • Adjustability.
  • Pockets and hardware.
  • Extra features.
  • Cost.

We’ll explore each feature in the more in-depth buyer’s guide that follows the reviews, but for now, just bear them in mind when you’re shopping for the perfect pair of fishing pants.

The 9 Best Pants for Kayak Fishing 2021

NRS Freefall Dry Pants

When it comes to kayaking gear and apparel, Northwest River Supplies are hard to beat, manufacturing top-quality boating gear and accessories since 1972.

They offer a wealth of kayak clothing options, but to kick us off, I’ve gone for the Freefall dry pants. Made with a special EclipseLT fabric, they provide unbeatable durability, all while keeping you dry with moisture-wicking technology to keep you cool.

Specifically designed to be comfortable when standing or sitting, they make for ideal kayak fishing pants, with plenty of room for layering and maneuverability.

The lengthened, gusseted crotch ensures you won’t get restricted near the family jewels, and the regular fit is relaxed and comfortable down to the feet.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Superior build quality and design.
  • Zippered hip pocket.
  • Elasticated hip band with Velcro tabs.
  • Built-in dry socks.
  • Fully adjustable.

Cons

  • Very expensive.
  • Not really suitable for summer fishing.

Takeaway

Probably one of the best kayak fishing pants for winter, this is an excellent choice for cold water boating. Stylish, contoured, and very comfortable, you’ll be fully waterproof to the waist, without ever overheating.

And if you’re looking for something warm and dry for your feet in colder weather, check out this article on the best boots for fishing.

Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants

There’s a strong possibility that these Silver Ridge convertible pants from Columbia make it on to just about any review for outdoor clothing there is – regardless of the sport.

That’s down to their versatility, made with 100% nylon, and offering a signature OMNI-Shade sun protection of UPF 50. (Don’t forget a good fishing hat, either.)

This makes them perfect for use out on the water when you’re exposed to that glowing death ball in the sky, all while providing breathable, water-resistant comfort for all-day-long fishing.

Designed with a classic fit to suit most body types, the zip-off legs are a boon if things get too hot, and the pants are packed with practical pockets for convenience.

And the partial-elasticated waist and gusset detail ensures you have added comfort and maneuverability, no matter your preferred fishing style – or if you’re simply taking the dog for a walk.

Pros

  • Great price point.
  • Very highly rated.
  • Excellent choice of colors.
  • Zippered hip pocket.
  • Lightweight design.
  • Fast-drying.
  • Versatile use.

Cons

  • None to speak of, although the belt isn’t the best.

Takeaway

Thousands of happy customers surely can’t be wrong – the Silver Ridge from Columbia are up there with the very best summer kayak fishing pants, largely thanks to their convertible design.

Still, no matter what your sport or hobby, if you’re enjoying the great outdoors, clothing doesn’t come much better than this at this price point.

Storm Defender Relaxed Fit Pants

Storm Defender Relaxed Fit Pants

Perhaps more synonymous with work clothing, Carhartt nonetheless produces some excellent products that are equally at home in the great outdoors.

Storm Defender by name and nature, if you’re looking for a weatherproof pant for kayaking in wet conditions, you’ve come to the right place.

The shell is lightweight and breathable, with a two-layer DWR membrane that ensures you stay protected without restricting your movements.

This makes them ideal for kayak fishing, with fully tapered seams, ankle to knee leg zips and storm flaps, and gusseted openings.

Double layering at the knees allows you to add pads and/or clean out debris, and drop-in cargo pockets with hook and loop closures are just right for keeping extra fishing gear to hand.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Solid, durable build quality.
  • Waterproof and breathable.
  • Excellent wind protection.
  • Elasticated waistband.
  • Draw cord and lock.
  • Deep pockets.
  • Highly versatile.

Cons

  • No fly zipper or opening.

Takeaway

If you don’t mind the fact you’ll need to pull them down to relieve yourself, these storm pants from Carhartt offer unbeatable all-round protection from the elements, as well as complete freedom of movement while you’re on your kayak.

5.11 Tactical Men's Taclite Pro Pants

I feel I might be a little biased for including these tactical pants from 5.11 – because I bought them specifically for a recent kayak fishing adventure.

And boy did they hold up well. Made with a combination of polyester and cotton, they’re incredibly comfortable, with a special, stretchy, ripstop fabric that’s extremely durable.

But perhaps their major plus-point is the gusseted design, which ensures they’re one of the best pants for freedom of movement – no matter what activity you’re involved in.

If you’re concerned about tearing or ripping pants when on the go, then this could be the perfect solution for you. And the fact that they offer no less than eight pockets, makes them ideal for stashing extra gear and tackle when you’re kayak fishing.

Pros

  • Rugged and durable construction.
  • Affordable price point.
  • Great choice of colors.
  • Knee-pad compatible.
  • Water resistant.
  • Teflon-coated to resist stains.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • Very highly rated.

Cons

  • None to speak of.

Takeaway

I took a chance on these pants for kayak fishing – as 5.11 products are more commonly synonymous with airsoft and tactical use.

But when my fishing multi-tool fit perfectly in one of the convenient pockets, and I enjoyed the nonrestrictive freedom of movement they offer, I was sold. And not only that, but they make you look and feel like a total badass.

Kokatat Hydrus 3.0 Tempest Paddling Pants

Kokatat Hydrus 3.0 Tempest Paddling Pants

Kokatat has been manufacturing paddle sports gear since 1971 and are based out of California, where they hand make the lion’s share of their top-quality products.

The Hydrus Stance is a dedicated paddling pant designed with three layers of waterproof but breathable fabric, for day-long comfort and protection when you’re out on the water.

The neoprene waistband is fully adjustable with hook and loop tabs, with built-in hydrus socks, so you’re fully waterproof up to the waist.

The addition of a printed layer on the inside contributes to a pleasant wearing experience overall, with a smart, stylish, and highly effective garment that has been specially designed for kayaking.

Pros

  • Top-quality construction.
  • Cutting-edge design and materials.
  • Gravel guard.
  • Factory sealed seams.
  • Lightweight and breathable.
  • Fully waterproof.

Cons

  • No pockets.
  • On the more expensive side.

Takeaway

Probably one of the best kayak angling pants for wet weather, the three-layered Tempest is a top-quality option for anyone who ventures out on the water in more challenging conditions. And you should check out this article on the best rain gear for fishing for more ways to keep you dry.

NRS Women's Endurance Paddling Pants

Another entry for NRS now with their Endurance paddling pants, this time designed specifically for women.

Made from a membrane and laminate Hyprotex material, you have 2.5 layers of weatherproof protection against the elements.

Fully sealed seams help keep water at bay, with a regular fit that looks and feels good on the figure. The waist enhances the comfort with a double hook and loop closure, and the same can be found on the splash-guard ankle cuffs.

Designed to be layered, the Endurance pants come into their own when the heavens open, and are versatile enough to be worn all day, or thrown on before the conditions become a bit more challenging.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Stylish fit and design.
  • Water-resistant zippered thigh pocket.
  • Reinforced seat and knees.
  • Allows heat and moisture to escape.
  • Fully adjustable, customizable fit.
  • Highly rated.

Cons

  • Reports that they run on the large side.

Takeaway

Easily the best kayak fishing pants for women, the Endurance model by NRS is a thoughtfully designed garment that’s as stylish as it is practical.

Perfect for extensive layering, you can wear this come rain or shine. Just remember to double-check the sizing before adding to cart.

Simms Challenger Fishing Bib Overalls

Simms is one of the best fishing brands in the world, and their products are a by-word for quality in the business. Here, they offer us something a little different – the Challenger waterproof bib overalls.

While you might not automatically associate them with kayak fishing, many anglers are turning to bibs when out on their craft, as they offer excellent protection from the elements, with durable, and yet breathable performance and comfort, and practical fishing features to boot.

100% waterproof, they are fully adjustable, with a heavy-duty fabric that can take just about anything you throw at it.

The Challenger bib offers premium hardware, hand warmer pockets, taped seams, fishing pliers storage with drain, and more, all designed to ensure you have a successful day out on the water.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • World-class build quality.
  • Zippered cuffs.
  • Kill switch safety hoop for motorized craft.
  • YKK zippers
  • Thigh pockets.
  • Front zipper storm flap.
  • Highly rated.

Cons

  • Not the cheapest kayak fishing pants out there.

Takeaway

It’s no surprise to find a Simms product in this review, and they do make some outstanding fishing waders and bibs that can comfortably be worn while kayaking.

The Challenger is one such garment, a great kayak fishing bib that offers practical protection no matter the weather. And for more from Simms – among others – check out this article on the best fly-fishing gifts available today.

Frogg Toggs Men's Classic Rain Suit

As popular as fishing bibs are for kayaking, so too is this rain suit from Frogg Toggs. Do a bit of research on what kayak anglers like to wear, and I’ll bet my bottom dollar this option is mentioned more than once.

And there’s a good reason for that, as it’s an affordable, versatile solution, that works well in all conditions – and for more than just kayak fishing.

Wear the pants right off the bat, and keep the top packed in storage until it’s called upon if the clouds roll in.

The four-panel cut offers a nonrestrictive, comfortable fit, with adjustable leg openings and elastic waist. And it’s also available in an excellent choice of colors – including camo – so you can be sure you’ll look as good as you feel when you’re out there.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Great price point.
  • Full-length parka cut.
  • Front zip with snap storm flap.
  • Guaranteed waterproof.
  • Super lightweight.
  • Very highly rated.

Cons

  • No pockets on the jacket or pants.

Takeaway

As an emergency rain suit, it doesn’t get much better than Frogg Toggs, and this makes for a great option for keeping your clothes dry when you’re kayak fishing.

They’re great if you’re on a budget, too, just like these awesome fishing kayaks for under $1000. However, having zero pocket options is going to be a deal-breaker for some, and this is arguably better suited for emergency rain protection, only.

NRS Guide Men's Paddling Shorts

NRS Men's Guide Shorts

Are shorts pants? For the sake of this review, we’ll say that they are. In warmer weather (with a suitably toasty water temperature), wearing long pants for kayak fishing will melt you faster than a bar of chocolate in a microwave.

These NRS Guide shorts are the perfect alternative, designed specifically for water sport use. The tough and durable fabric offers a four-way stretch for complete freedom-of-movement, protects you from the sun with UPF 50+, and packs in no less than five pockets to help keep you organized.

Made with a combination of nylon and spandex, a fully adjustable, nylon webbing belt is included, and the moisture-wicking, quick-drying material is perfect for paddling.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Rugged construction.
  • Zippered fly with waist button for comfort.
  • Highly rated.

Cons

  • A choice of colors would have been nice.

Takeaway

As far as paddling shorts go, this option from NRS is one of the best. Lightweight, durable, and quick-drying, they make for ideal summer kayaking pants, or even if you’re just lounging around the house on a hot day.

How to Choose the Best Kayak Fishing Pants

Below, you’ll find an in-depth guide for choosing the right kayak fishing pants for your needs.

An FAQ section will follow to mop up anything we might have missed.

fisherman on inflatable fishing kayak with fishing tackle

Size and Comfort

While choosing the right size might be pretty obvious when it comes to clothing and apparel, there’s actually more to it than that – particularly for our outdoor gear.

Depending on the season and conditions you’re kayaking in, you might want to consider layering your clothing.

And depending on the type of garment, this might mean going for a size larger than you normally would.

However, many good kayak fishing pants already factor this in – which means you really need to pay attention to their size and specifications.

Ill-fitting clothes are going to make you feel uncomfortable, which makes for a miserable day on the water.

Double-check your sizing, read reviews from folks who are a similar build to you, and be sure to understand how baggy a garment is going to be in relation to adding layers underneath.

Remember, you need complete freedom of movement and maximum mobility, so anything that’s restrictive in any way is going to cause you problems – especially when getting in and out of your craft.

And take a look at this article on the best fishing kayaks for larger guys and gals – if you happen to be one of those big-boned humans.

Style

There are several types of kayaking pants on the market, and the type you go for will depend on your needs and preferences.

Dedicated paddling pants have been specifically designed for use while kayaking, and while they can be the perfect solution, they might not be as versatile as other options.

Hiking, cargo, or general-purpose outdoor pants make for excellent kayak clothing, and they can be used for any number of other pursuits and activities away from the water.

Many kayak anglers also consider fishing bibs to be ideal for use for this sport, but they might be unsuitable for some.

In warmer weather and water temperatures, you can feel free to wear fishing/paddling shorts.

Waders should be avoided – particularly if you’re fishing in colder waters. If you happen to capsize, waders can easily fill up and cause all kinds of problems for the kayaker.

As a side note, you should always dress for immersion, and consider using a wetsuit underneath your kayak angling pants if the water is colder than 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

For more information, take a look at this article on what to wear when kayak fishing, and this article on kayak safety tips also has some useful advice.

Don’t, whatever you do, wear jeans. That’s as bad as bringing a banana along…

fisherman in sit-on-top kayak with multiple fishing rods

Materials, Weatherproofing, and Durability

Kayak fishing pants should be designed to take a beating. After all, you’re certainly going to put them through their paces, not to mention whatever the elements decide to throw at them.

As such, look for quality materials that can withstand the trials and tribulations of being out on the water – in all conditions.

Some pants are waterproof, others are only water-resistant, while some might not be either but are quick to dry.

They should all offer rugged durability, regardless. Look for rip-stop fabrics that prevent tears, as well as special coatings that repel dirt and grime.

And don’t overlook sun defense – wearing kayaking pants that satisfactorily protect you from UV rays is highly recommended. And go here for the best polarized fishing sunglasses to keep your peepers safe.

Either way, suit the type of material and weatherproofing to the conditions you’ll most likely be kayaking in – and most often.

Breathability

These days, any decent outdoor garment worth its salt is going to offer the best in ventilation and moisture-wicking technology.

Having an item of outdoor clothing that repels the elements without letting you overheat is a fine balancing act.

Make sure the pants you choose have this ability, otherwise you’re going to get hot, bothered, and uncomfortable, real fast – particularly when exerting yourself while paddling.

Adjustability

Choosing the right size is very important, but so too is a garment’s adjustability. Having the option to tweak the fit will help keep you comfortable – as well as protected.

Some kayak fishing pants are more suitable for this than others.

If this is something you’re keen on, look for pants with hook and loop features, with elasticated waists or cuffs.

Having suspenders or belts can also be beneficial, or, at least, being compatible with them.

There are many fishing pants out there that simply slide on over inner layers, with little or no options for adjustment.

fisherman with sit inside kayak preparing for fishing trip

Pockets and Hardware

Most anglers like to keep themselves organized, and when you’re in a kayak where space is limited, you need to make the most of it.

Whether it’s using one of the best kayak fishing tackle boxes, or even one of these practical PFDs, having a place to store extra tools, gear, and equipment is invaluable.

The same can be said for kayak pants – although not all products are blessed with pockets.

Consider how useful pockets are to you. Personally, I stand in “the more, the better,” camp. I look for deep hip pockets, at least one zippered compartment, and a utility pocket for a knife or cell phone.

However, some people prefer having no pockets at all, as you can feel restricted and loaded down if you’re carrying a lot of stuff around your legs.

This can be especially challenging getting in and out of a kayak.

Perhaps there’s a happy medium to be had? Either way, decide what’s important for you when it comes to in-pant storage.

And you should also make sure that the pants you choose have quality, long-lasting hardware. Zippers, clips, buckles, buttons – they’re all the first to fail if they’re not up to the task.

Extra Features

While they’re not necessarily trying to reinvent the wheel, some outdoor pants come with a few extra bells and whistles to entice your interest.

Accessory hoops, D-rings, or other points-of-attachment might be useful if you want to clip on tools or gear to prevent loss or damage.

Kill switch safety hoops are useful if you’re ever piloting motorized craft.

Belts are practical if you need to adjust the fit for whatever reason.

Cost

Even budget kayak fishing pants can be on the pricey side, particularly if they have been designed with the latest weatherproofing technology.

My advice is to match how much you spend with how much use you’re going to get out of it, and consider choosing a versatile outdoor pant that you can use for any number of activities.

But if you’re kayak angling more often than not, then I’d recommend spending more for a dedicated fishing pant that’s going to take a beating.

angler fishing from the kayak in the river

FAQs

What are the best pants for kayak fishing?

It depends on your needs and preferences – which is why there are plenty of options on the market. The best for me might not be the best for you.

There is no single right answer to this question – it’s up to you to find out what works – and what works in the conditions and season you’re going to be out in.

What do I wear for kayak fishing?

Glad you asked. I suggest you head over to this dedicated article for more information on kayak fishing clothing. We’ve got you covered.

How should I dress for a cold water kayak?

Good question – you should always dress for immersion, which means paying attention to the water temperature – not the air temperature.

For winter kayak fishing, you need to wear a wetsuit. Use this hypothermia table as a handy guide on what to wear depending on the temperature of the water.

Can I wear waders for kayak fishing?

You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. While there are lightweight bibs that make for excellent kayaking pants, waders tend to be on the heavy, cumbersome side, likely to restrict your movement.

And they’re definitely not suitable for kayaking in cold water, either, as fatalities have been reported from waders filling up easily and hypothermia setting in.

Do I need special pants for kayak fishing?

Not really, no. You’ll notice in the review above that none of the included products are specifically designed for fishing from a kayak.

They’re simply well-chosen garments that perfectly suit this activity.

As such, you don’t need a special kind of pant for kayak angling – just something that is going to stand up to the wears and tears of the sport.

I’d heartily recommend you get some good kayak fishing shoes, though, as they can make a real difference when you’re out on the water.

Summary

Choosing the best kayak fishing pants for you is an important cog in the wheel of successful kayak angling.

You need something that’s comfortable, offering nonrestrictive movement, protection from the elements, and the best possible breathability, so you don’t overheat.

Let me know which product you’ve gone for and why, or if there’s something I should have included in the review that you swear by.

Tight lines, y’all, and happy kayak fishing!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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