Review: Skwala Backeddy Wader

The best Skwala waders yet?
skwala backeddy waders
Photo: Skwala Fishing

I’ve made no bones about my feelings for Skwala Fishing. I think they make fantastic gear, and I believe they’re pushing the innovation envelope in the right directions, especially for waders. The Skwala Backeddy waders are the third wader from the Bozeman-based brand, and this one was purpose-built to be a go-everywhere, do-everything wader. The Carbon waders are a minimalist, ultralight option, and the RS waders are the company’s bomber offering. The Backeddy builds on the best of both the Carbon and RS, resulting in what is my personal favorite wader from Skwala.

I love the side-dump pockets, a feature Skwala imported from their popular Sol Tactical Hoody, and Skwala executed the knee pads to near-perfection. The improved magnetic suspender release system makes getting in and out of the waders a breeze, and there’s enough storage room in the chest pocket for half a fly shop.

The Backeddy would be better with fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, but that’s my only real complaint. Overall, Skwala built an exceptional piece of gear that truly adds functionality and differentiation to their product line, instead of redecorating an existing piece in an effort to bolster sales.

What Works

Magnetic Suspender Release System
In theory, a magnetic suspender release system is a great idea. No fidgeting with buckles or clasps, just slide two magnets and call it a day. In practice, it hasn’t quite been that seamless. The magnets usually came undone at inopportune times, or were too tough to release with one hand that they became more of a hindrance than a help.

That’s all changed on the Backeddy waders. In the five months I’ve had these waders, the straps haven’t come loose when I didn’t want them to. They’re simple to secure and release, with a design that’s reminiscent of tongue-and-groove flooring.

Getting in and out of the Backeddy waders feels quicker than taking off a pair of zip-front waders. The magnetic release system is that quick and easy.

Skwala opted for a massive front chest pocket that’s accessed via two zippers, along with a shallower zippered pocket directly above the chest pocket. The idea behind that shallow pocket is to keep things you need quickly — wallet, keys, fishing license, wing sauce — handy, without losing them to the bottomless depths of that cavernous chest pocket.

I’m only half joking when I say that the chest pocket is large enough to store half a fly shop. It’s bigger than any chest pocket on any other wader I’ve used.

skwala backeddy waders
Photo: Skwala Fishing

As if that wasn’t enough, Skwala stuck two side-dump pockets on the Backeddy. These pockets are roomy enough for a water bottle, a couple fly boxes, a protein shake, or half a fried chicken. They have some stretch, too, so you can really stuff them full, which is nice if you don’t want to haul your chest/sling/hip pack or vest to the water.

Kidding aside, I’d be surprised if you run out of room while wearing the Backeddy waders.

Knee Pads
I had the chance to see an early prototype of the Backeddy waders, and the knee pads instantly grabbed my attention. To be honest, I wasn’t sold on the concept. For starters, adding knee pads means adding additional seams, which is just another potential failure point. Second, the other waders I’ve worn with knee pads always felt too tight in the legs, as if the knee pads were stretching too tight across my kneecaps. That inhibited my freedom of movement and comfort in those waders, two design qualities that Skwala prides itself on.

After five months of testing, I can comfortably say that’s not an issue with the Backeddy waders. There’s enough room in the knee that your freedom of movement won’t be inhibited. Better yet, the knee pads are comfortable and function as intended. Whether you’re kneeling to make a cast or release a fish, these knee pads are a feature you never knew you needed.

skwala backeddy waders
Photo: Skwala Fishing

Fit, Comfort, and Durability
These waders fit and function as you’d expect from a Skwala product. There’s an emphasis on freedom-of-movement in everything Skwala makes, and the Backeddy are no exception. Whether I’ve been high-stepping over logs, post-holing through snow, or running downriver to help net a fish, the Backeddys were up for the job without getting in the way.

The Backeddy waders feature the standard Skwala low-profile shoulder yoke system that’s quite comfortable. It’s light and not any bigger than it needs to be, reducing the discomfort of straps that are too big and bulky.

As far as durability goes — I’ve had these waders for five months, as of this writing. They’ve endured plenty of abuse and have yet to show any serious signs of wear. I have every reason to expect they’ll last a long time because the Backeddys use the same face fabric as the RS waders. I’ve had the RS waders since a few months before their release, and I’ve logged close to 100 days in them without any problems arising.

What Doesn’t Work

No Fleece Pockets
Remember that big chest pocket I raved about? As much as I love it, that’s also where you’ll find this wader’s biggest drawback.

Skwala opted to not line that pocket with fleece, which is something you miss if you fish during the colder months of the year. Fleece-lined handwarmer pockets have become a staple on many waders, but Skwala has good reason for not adding fleece to that big front pocket.

Skwala CEO Kevin Sloan told me, “That’s a big pocket, we wanted it to be able to ‘shake dry’ if you will. Fleece pockets don’t. Fleece is a detriment if it gets wet.”

In addition to fleece being a detriment if it gets wet, Sloan also told me the team at Skwala wanted to keep as much breathability and flexibility in the chest as possible. Adding additional layers of glue and material would have inhibited both features, so it’s a tradeoff Sloan and the team felt comfortable making.

Given everything else the Backeddys get right, the lack of fleece is certainly no dealbreaker. Even without the fleece, the big pass-through pocket keeps your hands out of the wind and away from the worst of the cold. Plus, on those really cold days on the water, you’re going to need to depend on more than fleece lining in your wader pocket to keep your hands warm. I personally think the tradeoff of a huge pocket is worth not having it fleece-lined, but that’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself.

Final Word

Back in January I interviewed Sloan and Skwala Chief Marketing Officer Rich Hohne on my podcast. We talked all things waders, including the design process Skwala uses to come up with products. Something that stood out to me was when Sloan mentioned that Skwala doesn’t start their product design process with a certain price point in mind. Instead, they focus on solving a problem.

With its Backeddy waders, Skwala solved the problem for the angler who needs more functionality than what the Carbon offers, but either doesn’t need the RS, or doesn’t want to spend the money on it. The Backeddy also offers more storage room than the RS, especially with the side-dump pockets. Add in Skwala’s standard fit, comfort, and functionality, and you have my favorite wader yet from this company.



One thing that does not impress me about Skwala is that they are made overseas but yet the company charges made in USA prices. As a consumer, I am tired of being taken advantage or buy this business model. If your having them made overseas then pass that on to the consumer.