The 5 Best Wading Staffs in 2023 – Buyers Guide

If you’re looking for the best wading staff for fly fishing, our Wading Staff Buyers Guide is here to help! To find out the difference between the types of wading staffs on the market right now. To find out which one is right for you and how to choose the best wading stick, read on. We’ve checked them out, and here you’ll find the best wading staff reviews.   

For more fly fishing goodness we’ve written out a ton of educational content that aims to make you a better fly fisher today. If it’s gear your interested in then check out our rod reviews or fly fishing accessories.  

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest OverallOrvis Sure Step Folding Wading Staff
  • Lightweight Aluminium
  • Convenient Tether
  • Easy Grip Handle
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest ValueFishPond Lost Trail Wading Staff
  • Cheaper
  • Comes with Pouch
  • Durable
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest BudgetHammers Collapsible Wading Staff
  • Very Affordable
  • Contoured Grip
  • Secured Wrist Strap
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest CollapsibleFolstaf Original Folding Staff
  • Easy to Use
  • Cork Flotation Grip
  • Lightweight
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest MultipurposeThe Folding Wading Staff by Creative Angler
  • Strong and Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable Price
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Detailed Wading Staff for Fly Fishing Reviews

Orvis Sure Step Folding Wading Staff Review – Best Overall

Orvis Sure Step Folding Wading Staff

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Specs

  • Material: Leather
  • Handle Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Dimensions: 13.82 x 6.38 x 3.15 inches

Pros

  • Made of lightweight aluminum
  • Convenient Tether
  • Decent Length
  • Handy to store in sheath
  • Easy to unfold and collapse

Cons

  • Time-consuming to put together
  • Elastic cords can become stretched after a few uses

Here are some of the customer reviews on Amazon.

The Orvis Sure Step is our overall best wading staff out there right now: a great all-round wading staff, strong yet lightweight and easy to fold and unfold.

FishPond Lost Trail Wading Staff Review – Best Value

FishPond Lost Trail Wading Staff

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Specs

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Button closure
  • Durable aluminum tubing
  • Locking button

Pros

  • Lightweight aluminum
  • Cheaper than other brands
  • Stranded Metal Cable
  • Comes With Pouch

Cons

  • Bulky, 16″ folded
  • Pouch will only attach to wading belts

For an in-depth analysis, be sure to check out the video review here.

The FishPond Lost Trail Wading Staff has everything you could want from a wading staff, and it comes in at under $100.

Hammers Collapsible Wading Staff Review – Best Budget

Hammers Collapsible Wading Staff

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Specs

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Shaft Material: Aluminum
  • Extended Length: 12 inches
  • Item Weight: 2.2 Pounds

Pros

  • Very Affordable
  • Folds up to handy size 12 inches
  • Contoured Grip
  • Stands up to heavy weight loads

Cons

  • Case is not good quality
  • Staff can be a little stiff to pull apart

Here are some of the customer reviews on Amazon.

You’re looking for a wading staff, but you only have a small budget? Don’t worry – the Hammers Collapsible Wading Staff is a great wading staff with a lower price tag.

Folstaf Original Folding Review – Best Collapsible

Folstaf Original Folding

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Specs

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Shaft Material: Aluminum
  • Extended Length: 41 Inches
  • Weight: 15 Ounces

Pros

  • Really Easy to Use
  • Clever Cork Flotation Grip
  • Small, lightweight and handy
  • Comes in a choice of lengths

Cons

  • Not ideal for newbies
  • Pricey for anglers on a budget

If you’re looking for the best collapsible staff, you can’t go wrong with the Folstaf Original Folding Wading Staff. Folstaf wading staffs are classics – they were one of the first companies to produce and sell some of the best wading staffs and they are recognised as being sturdy and reliable.

For an in-depth analysis, be sure to check out the video review here.

The Folding Wading Staff by Creative Angler Review – Best Multipurpose

The Folding Wading Staff by Creative Angler

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Specs

  • Material Aluminum: Aluminum
  • Shaft Material: Aluminum:
  • Extended Length: 140 Centimeters
  • Weight: 0.34 Kilograms

Pros

  • Strong and Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Quick and simple to put together
  • Multi Purpose wading staff
  • Affordable Price

Cons

  • Can’t adjust height
  • May be too long for shorter people to use comfortably at 55″

Folding Wading Staff with Neoprene Case and Camera attachment. Top grade ultralight aluminum material. Camera seat attachment. Lanyard included for easy attachment. Foam handle for a comfortable grip.

Here are some of the customer reviews on Amazon.

Why use a fly fishing wading staff?

Before we get stuck in with our Wading Staff Buyers Guide, let’s go over why you should even be using a wading staff in the first place. Whenever you’re wading in fast-flowing water, having three legs instead of one is much sturdier and safer.

Even if you’re only in up to your knees, the force of the water can be extremely strong, and that’s without considering unseen obstacles or slippery surfaces under your feet.

If you can’t see the riverbed, every step can be a potential danger. There might be a sudden drop, an algae-covered rock that will send you into the river and can fill your fishing waders to the brim. The riverbed can be treacherous at times.

You can use a wading staff to probe the water and see just how shallow or deep it is. This way, you won’t get out of your depths. You can always make sure that you have two points securely on the riverbed before you lift afoot, so you’re never left balancing on just one wading boot while you search for a safe place to step.

When you have a wading staff you can rely on, you’re much less likely to have an injury or even risk your life while out fishing. You’ll be better able to enjoy your hobby and get to deeper depths, taking your passion for fly fishing further with a secure wading staff to depend upon.

The Different Types of Wading Staffs on the market

There are three main categories of wading staffs on the market – static wading staffs, collapsible wading staffs and folding wading staffs. Static wading staffs can’t be folded, adjusted or collapsed and are fixed at the full length, all the time. These aren’t used as often any more.

Foldable wading staffs are pretty popular these days. They can fold down to a really small and practical size, making them easier to carry with you or clip onto your belt. One drawback with most foldable wading staffs is that you can’t adjust the height to suit you.

Folding wading staffs can sometimes come apart underwater, forcing you to pull the lower part of the staff out of the riverbed and re-assemble. Some of the better brands have found ways to prevent this happening, but it’s still fairly common with cheaper models.

Collapsible wading staffs are the other popular option. Instead of folding up into sections, collapsible wading staffs retract and draw back inside themselves. Whilst they normally don’t fold as small and tend to be slightly heavier, there’s no risk of them coming apart underwater. They are just as sturdy as a static wading staff and allow you to adjust the height to get the perfect size for you.

best wading staff how to choose

How to choose the best wading staff for you

There are a few factors to consider when choosing the best wading stick for you. Firstly and realistically, how far will your budget stretch? Can you afford to spend a little more on a wading stick that will last for years and years? Or do you just need a functional and affordable wading staff for fly fishing right now?

There’s a big price range for wading staffs, starting at just over $20 and reaching to anywhere between $100-200 for the big brand names like a Folstaf or Simms wading staff. These more expensive wading staffs do tend to last longer. But if you can’t afford a top model just now, don’t worry. The budget wading staffs still do the job of keeping you safe in the water.

Another thing to look for when choosing a fly fishing wading staff is the weight and size of the staff. You’ll be carrying your wading staff all day, across terrain and in the water. You don’t want an unwieldy, heavy stick which will weigh you down and get in your way.

This is one of the main reasons why people don’t go for static sticks any more. If you have to duck under trees or climb through undergrowth to get to the water, a big, heavy staff will be a hindrance. It can also get tangled in your lines or get in your way when you’re hauling in a fish! Most modern sticks are made from aluminium and they are impressively light.

You’ll need to choose between a folding staff and a collapsible staff 4 too. Consider whether you want a staff which assembles automatically or if you’re happy to put it together yourself. Will you keep it assembled all the time, or just use it in deeper or more dangerous areas of the river?

The material the handle and the tip of the stick is a good point to look at too – do you want a rubber handle for a firm grip? If the tip of your stick is metal, it can clink against the rocks of the riverbed and potentially scare off your catch. Look closely at these options before you buy! Now, let’s get onto the wading staff reviews!

Final Words

You really can’t go wrong with any of the wading staffs on this list. Depending on your needs, budget and preferences, these wading staff reviews should help you narrow down which one is the perfect choice for you.

Whether you’re looking for the best collapsible staff or you’re debating whether to go for a Simms wading staff or a Folstaff wading staff, all of the listed wading staffs have received excellent reviews. They are durable, sturdy and lightweight and most importantly, they will keep you safe!

You’ll get more out of fly fishing with a wading staff to keep you from injury – get to the best fishing spots without risking a tumble or slip in fast-flowing waters.

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AUTHOR

Ben Kepka

Hey, I'm Ben, a fly fisherman for over 20 years and also an aspiring blogger. I've been into fly fishing since my graduation from spin fishing when I was 12 years old. I started flyfisherpro.com to help introduce as many people into this amazing sport. Tight lines everyone! You can read more on our about page here.

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4 thoughts on “The 5 Best Wading Staffs in 2023 – Buyers Guide”

  1. I completely disagree with your dismissal of one piece wading staffs. Telescopic and folding staffs can collapse – and they fail when you need to rely on them, in my view both types are dangerous. You seem to regard folding sticks coming apart as merely inconvenient rather than potentially lethal.
    Far from being a hindrance on the bank one piece wading staffs can beat down vegetation and securely take your weight when getting in and out – you can have complete confidence in a one piece staff.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for the review… One of the major concerns I have about wading-staffs is the tendency to come apart when traversing through mud, sand, or stuck between rocks…. It is the number-1 complaint I see in most reviews (on retail websites). I wish you would have addressed this matter in your review of each staff… I’m seeking one that will not come apart. Secondly, I would like to know how the staff performs when you truly have to put some weight on it -as when you are falling and need to put your real weight on the staff for support. As a person whose used hiking staffs for more than 20-yrs I am very cautious about staffs to depend on…. Interestingly, I see no one doing reviews on this most critical factor – most reviews seem to suggest that because the staff ‘snaps in place’ is the most important factor, when to me it is the most detrimental factor – i.e. breaking points; which brings up the question of “which material (aluminum, carbon, or other) holds up best under weight stress”? I find these reviews ‘too simple’ and not critical enough to fully address the matter of safety the staffs are allegedly supposed to provide.

    Reply
  3. How do you feel about one piece wooden wading staffs? I have tried the multi-piece units you mention, but find they get stuck in the mud / rocks and come apart when they are most needed….

    They require that you be aware of their location, but they never sink, come apart and are durable. Thoughts?

    Reply

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