I recently had a chance to test-fish Cloudveil’s new Crystal Creek wading pant and 8x Gripper rubber boots. The pants are designed for shallow wading, and the non-felt boots comply with Trout Unlimited’s plea (along with many state game departments) to not wear felt-bottomed shoes, so you don’t inadvertently carry invasive species such as didymo or rock snot to other, uninfected waters.
I liked the pants, though I have to admit that I used them on New York’s Beaverkill and at times was thinking I should be wearing Cloudveil’s chest-high 8X waders instead. Frankly, I came real close to wading over my waist on more than a few occasions. But they were comfortable, kept me dry, had some good pockets, and having a zipper on a wading pant is very cool concept. My bad on wading too deep.
With Vibram ‘Idrogrip’ soles, a “breakthrough compound that significantly improves grip on slick surfaces,” the boots worked surprisingly well on the pea-gravel and small rocks common in the Beaverkill. I don’t know about using rubber-bottom shoes on really slippery bottoms, like the kind found on my favorite stream, the Neversink, or the upstate New York Salmon River. I’ll stay away from felt – or, at the least, designate a felt pair solely for use on the Neversink, another pair for the Salmon, and so on. But rubber soles, even first-rate ones like these, make me nervous on slippery rocks, and I’m thinking either studded boots or Corkers might be a better option. But, I’ll do some more testing before I make up my mind on this one.
Cloudveil is an up and comer in the fishing world, having gotten its roots in skiing and hiking and then taken that technology and brought it to fishing. Check them out at cloudveil.com. They have really solid, hi-tech gear.
Oh, and the pants? $375. Shoes – $150. Pretty pricey on the pants, but they’re sturdy, and should last a long time. Use them for what they’re designed for, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. – Jay Cassell