Chest waders for packrafting

Just wondered if any of you regularly use chest waders while packrafting in cold water places, for both sitting in the packraft and all those periodic bits of wading when you need to drag the boat past an obstacle, or line it down stream past some dubious rapids. Keeping the backside and legs dry while paddling, and keeping the clothes underneath mud-free and dry, seems to make chest waders a viable option. But I have no experience with them (too warm to need them here in Australia). But if I ever get around to packrafting in places like the Brooks Range in Alaska, I thought it might be a good idea. I’m talking about lighter weight breathable Gore-Tex as opposed to heavy neoprene waders. What do most of you cold-weather packrafters wear on the lower body to battle cold waters and/or freezing paddle splash?

Kevin Casey
Remote River Man

The best solution that I found is similar in functionality and cost to chest waders but much lighter and relatively dry when you take an inadvertent swim.

Yep. I use goretex waders with a light neoprene top over them, but my oackrafting is mostly getting out if rivers I’ve been flyfishing in, so I already have the waders with me . By the by, before anyone starts in the idea of drowning in waders, they don’t fill up with water when you go over the top, and the bottoms dint fill with air and turn you upside down!!
Andrew A

Andrew, I have taken a swim in my neopren waders whilst fishing in NZ (slipped crossing a river) and it was not a fun experience as they are quite restrictive to swim in but a PFD would have helped greatly. I wear my old Thorne chest waders (with a sock foot and reef walkers) in the raft when fishing flat water in the cooler season, basically to stay warm and dry and where there is no chance of swimming, it works well but they are heavy to carry in with all the other gear, I am thinking of a Gortex upgrade. I wear a three season full wet suite with booties in the snowies when white water paddling, plenty warm enough even in 5-6 degree water, the suite actually adds a great level of floatation in addition to the PFD. My big concern with waders would be when you get sucked into a hole or other nasty bit of water with downward suction, could get ugly as it could act like a sea anchor.