One of the myriad wonderful things about dogs is that you can share outdoor adventures with them, and many breeds love to spend time around and in water. A well-trained fishing dog is a joy to behold, but even a puppy discovering its first frog can make your day. There’s just one problem: wet, muddy dogs can wreak havoc on the inside of your vehicle or your home. Although Orvis already sells the best auto-seat covers and water-trapping mats on the market, we’ve been searching for an even better solution . . . and now it’s here.
Introducing the Orvis PRO Dog Waders, made for active dogs who love rivers, lakes, and streams—and for dog owners who hate having to deal with filthy backseats and soiled furniture. Dog owners can now let their best friends splash to their hearts’ content without worrying about how bad cleanup is going to be. We’ve combined the technology of our top-of-the-line fishing waders with our vast dog-product know-how to design waders that are safe, effective, durable, and easy to use. Whether your pooch is a diehard fishing companion or just a pup who loves to splash, you’ll find the Orvis PRO Dog Waders a life-changing addition to your everyday kit.
Born of Necessity
The new waders are the brainchild of Orvis product developer Natalie Cullum, who got her start by designing and making waders better suited for women’s bodies while she was still in college. Natalie recently adopted a sweet English Springer Spaniel named Lupine, who is a constant companion. But one day last fall, after a fishing session on the Battenkill, Natalie was amazed by the amount of water, mud, and grit Lupine had managed to leave in the back seat of her truck on the ride home. “There’s got to be a better way,” she thought, and it wasn’t long before she began sketching out the first prototype. The rest of the Product Development team—Jim Kershaw, Jesse Haller, and Shawn Combs—loved the idea and got to work immediately.
The obstacles to creating waders that would work on dogs are fairly obvious: there are four legs, which means mean more seams; there must be accommodation for the tail; and then there’s the delicate issue of what came to be referred to around the office as the “pee pee-poo poo problem” (or “the 5 Ps”). Fresh off designing the award-winning Orvis PRO Wader for humans, the team was convinced that they could make the fabrics and seam technology work for dogs, and after several prototypes and a season of testing, they had proof of concept. Then it was time to add features that would make the product even more useful and effective.
Starting with the same durable, proprietary 4-layer Cordura® fabric upper and 5-layer Cordura fabric legs that give Orvis PRO Waders best-in-class abrasion and puncture resistance, the team focused on creating waders that would be easy to get on and off, allow a full range of motion for dog play, offer good traction on wet rocks, and be difficult to accidentally fill with water. Other folks from our Fly Fishing and Dog departments played roles in helping to solve design problems and suggest ways to make the waders perform even better.
The Orvis PRO Dog Wader looks much like the human version, with several notable exceptions. The most obvious is an important safety feature: to keep water from going over the top of the waders and filling them, an inflatable ring has been sewn into the top seam to serve as a personal flotation device (PFD). When the dog wades too deep, they will feel the flotation kick in, whereupon they can simply paddle back to safety. The special booties on the wader feature the same Michelin-rubber soles as on the PRO Wading Boots, but they are specially shaped to aid in swimming. Adjustable elastic suspenders clip across the dog’s back and around the tail, for maximum support and comfort.
To address “the 5 Ps,” Natalie and the team devised an ingenious system, which should only be needed in an emergency. During testing, it became apparent that house-trained dogs are smart enough to not relieve themselves inside their waders, which is a good thing. However, the belly of the waders features a strip of fabric with waterproof zippers on either side. (The same TIZIP® Masterseal waterproof zippers found on our PRO Zipper Waders.) If the dog really has to go, you simply unzip the strip, pull it forward, and secure it to the dog’s chest via a Velcro strip. When the deed is done, simply zip things back up, and the dog is ready for action.
Like Orvis’s other PRO Waders, the Dog PROs come in 16 sizes—from the XS Petite, which will outfit a small Poodle (such as Glowbug below), to the XL Long, designed for a Great Dane—to accommodate a wide variety of dog breeds, shapes, and ages. (Unfortunately, we do not have sizes for the tiniest toy breeds, as the weight of the waders is simply too constricting for these diminutive pups.) Smaller models feature a handle that allows you to simply pick up the dog to carry them or to give you something to grab onto should the dog wade too deep and start floating downstream.
One of the most ingenious features is the buckle system that allows you to integrate your wader-clad dog into your own wader system. You can attach your dog to your chest (smaller breeds only) or to your back for stream crossings or if your hands are simply too full of gear. And speaking of gear, Velcro strips along the waders’ back straps allow you to attach fly boxes, tools, or a net. Add the new Orvis Fishing Vest Dog Collar—which features a zinger, a holder for floatant, and a sheath for your hemostat—and you’ve turned your best friend into a walking gear caddy that will make your angling day even more convenient.