Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vision: Ikon Zip Waders

Vision Fly Fishing

Vision Fly Fishing is a European fly fishing company based out of Finland.  They offer a wide range of fly fishing equipment including waders, fly lines, single and double hand rods and even outerwear.  In America Vision products are just starting to make a showing.  If, however,  you pick up a copy of Trout and Salmon magazine (published in Scotland)  you will see Vision equipment, adds, and reviews throughout.  Vision is one of those companies that is at the front end of development.  They seem to always have one foot planted in the traditions of fly fishing and the other foot stepping toward the next innovation.  As you can see from the Vision add posted above, this is not your grandfathers fly fishing company.  The staff at Vision take the development of their equipment serious, but have not fallen captive to the same old colors, fonts, and "frozen in time approach" to making and selling fly fishing gear.  In the U.S. the full range of Vision products are available exclusively through Steelhead Anglers.  Steelhead Anglers was founded by Jack Cook.  Jack is a wealth of information when it comes to all things having to do with Scandinavian approaches to fishing and is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the full line of Vision products.  

The Review

The first thing you notice about the Ikon Zip waders is of course the large zipper running down the front.  In Europe zippers on waders are nothing new and in the U.S. the design benefits of using zippers on waders has only recently started to take hold.

The inclusion of a zipper on waders has many advantages.  First, being able to unzip the wader makes putting the waders on incredibly easy.  There is no real difference between putting on a regular pair of pants and zippered waders.  All of the extra length and bulk from the upper part of the waders is open and you literally just step in and then zip them up.  The ease of entering and exiting the waders also stresses the seams less, which can lengthen the life of the waders.  Second, when taking the waders off or just unzipping them to relieve the bladder the zipper could not be anymore convenient.  Third, the zipper allows you to help regulate temperature.  On a hot day you can unzip the waders part way to let in some fresh air and for winter fishing I have found it helpful to partly unzip the waders when walking upstream against a strong current to keep from building up a sweat. 

In addition to the zipper the Vision Ikon Zip waders feature six layers of F3.5 waterproof breathable material on the lower leg and three layers of F3.5 on the upper sections.  By varying the number of layers of material to high and low stress points Vision has created a durable yet extremely lightweight pair of waders.  The Ikon Zips are avaliable in size XS-XXL with the additional regular, long, short, and king sizing.  The waders also have a water resistant front pocket on the outside and a zippered inside pocket for keeping your car keys and cell phone.

The neoprene feet are contoured for both left and right feet and have built in gravel guards and lace hooks.  The gravel guards work great and at the end of a long day fishing a fine gravel and sandy stretch of river my wading boots were completely free of debris.   

The Ikon Zips have elastic suspenders with fully adjustable buckles and quick release clips on the front.  They also have small attachment rings just below the quick release clips, which can be used to attach a Vision chest pack or any number of accessories.  The clips are small and if you decide not to use them they will not get in your way.

The waders also come with an elastic wading belt with a quick release clip.  I found the elastic belt a nice touch and it can be cinched down tight enough to keep water out without binding.  I did, however, find the belt loops on the waders a bit lacking.  There are two thin loops on either side of the zipper and when putting the waders on the belt kept wanting to slip one of the loops.  A third loop on the back of the waders would be a nice addition to help keep the belt in place when entering or exiting the waders.

The cut of the Ikon Zips is great! One reason I found these waders to be so nice is that they are not too baggy.  The legs have plenty of room to wear layers for winter fishing and yet they do not have so much material that the legs rub against each other.

The other day I wore a thick military base layer with a pair of heavy fleece pants over top and the waders fit just right.  The F3.5 material did a nice job keeping sweat from building up and at the end of day I was warm and dry.

In Sum

After wading with Ikon Zips I don't think I can go back to un-zippered waders.  The Ikon's fit great and they have all the right features and more that one would come to expect from a top of the line wader.  The 6/3 layering of F3.5 material makes for a light durable wader.  Additionally, the cut of the wader was just about perfect.  If you are in the market for a new set of waders, then without hesitation I recommend the Ikon Zips.  Now I just need to figure out a use for my old set of waders.  If you live in the U.S. the Ikon Zip waders are available from Steelhead Angler.  The Ikon Zip waders retail for: $389.  You can contact Jack at: jack@steelheadanglers.com or by phone at: 425 922-5413.

A big thanks to Vision Fly Fishing and Steelhead Angler for sponsoring this review.  I was not compensated in any other way for this blog post.

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  1. Another nice review. Thanks for sharing. Chris Monroe

  2. How does the fit compare to the Orvis Pro Guide Waders? Bill3802@gmail.com

  3. I have worn the Pro Guides for many years and I have always found them to be on the baggy side. The Ikons have a slightly more trim fit that keeps the legs from rubbing when walking.

  4. I fished with a guide in Washington state that had the same pair on. Nice looking pair of waders. Justin

  5. I've been using Vision products for quite a while and found them good value. Here in Finland, they are one of the most popular brands. Their rods/reels/line are too great value and fun to use.

  6. Hey,
    Thanks for the comment. I have only used the waders from Vision, but they are my far and away the best pair I have ever tried. I'm hoping to review a Vision rod this spring/summer.

  7. I've just brought a pair on the strength of your review, thanks.

  8. Glad to hear it. You will not be disappointed