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Which pants for crabbing are best?

Whether you participate in crabbing recreationally or professionally, a good pair of crabbing pants is a must. The best pants for crabbing will protect your legs from rocks, coral and the crabs’ pinchers. They’ll also have some level of waterproofing and, in many cases, deep pockets. If you plan on venturing a little farther out in the water during your crabbing excursion, you might need waders or specialty fishing pants. If that’s the case, the Simms Tributary Waders are the top choice because they are durable and won’t hinder your mobility. 

What to know before you buy pants for crabbing


There are three main types of pants for crabbing: fishing pants, bibs and waders. When it comes to waders, these are the three most common options:

  • Chest waders: These go up to your chest and have straps that fit over your shoulders, much like overalls. They’re best for those who plan to go deep in the water.
  • Waist-high waders: Secured with a belt loop or suspenders, waist-high waders look more like pants than bibs or chest waders do. These are a great option if you stay in water that never goes above the waist. Additionally, since they don’t cover your stomach or chest, they’re a good way to stay cool in hot weather.
  • Hip waders: Hip waders are quite similar to waist-high waders, but they sit a little lower on the hips. They’re best for crabbing or fishing in shallow waters. Plus, they’re easy to wear and are lightweight.

Besides waders, bibs are another type of apparel that many crabbers prefer. Bibs look similar to chest waders, but they’re a little bit different. Unlike waders, bibs don’t usually come with built-in footwear. They are also often equipped with a zipper, which makes them easy to put on and take off. Additionally, bibs are often heavier than waders and not usually as waterproof.

Bootfoot vs. stockingfoot waders

Many types of waders come with some type of built-in footwear, such as boots. Before getting a pair for crabbing, consider whether you want this feature or if you’d prefer to wear your own boots.

Bootfoot waders are essentially entire pants that also completely cover your feet. With them, you’ll only need to wear the appropriate socks while crabbing or fishing. Since they provide so much coverage, this is a solid option if you need more protection from the elements or sharp objects in the water. The downside of bootfoot waders is that the boot section is not usually adjustable, so you’ll have to find the right fit in advance.

The other most common option is stockingfoot waders. These waders do not cover your feet, so you’ll need to purchase separate boots. However, these can be a great choice if you want more control over the fit and tightness of your footwear. Whichever type you choose, make sure they fit well and can keep the water out.


When choosing pants for crabbing or any similar activity, size is definitely a factor to consider. If you don’t already know your measurements, you’ll need to measure the following:

  • Inseam in inches
  • Width at the chest, waist and hips
  • Shoe size (for bootfoot waders)

Most manufacturers will include a sizing chart with their products. The standard sizes range from small to extra-large. Waders are not usually elastic or flexible, so make sure to take your measurements before purchasing a pair. 

What to look for in quality pants for crabbing


Crabbing pants, waders and bibs should consist of breathable, durable material. These articles of clothing should be thick enough to protect you from sharp or painful objects but thin enough to let heat and water escape your body. This is especially important in hotter climates.

The most common materials to look for include rubber, neoprene, Gore-tex and treated canvas. Some waders and pants for crabbing contain other materials, such as polyester, that have been coated with a waterproofing treatment.

Insulation and moisture-wicking

Besides being breathable and waterproof, pants for crabbing should also be able to wick the sweat and other moisture from your body. That way, it won’t cool and dry in place, which can leave you susceptible to a chill. Whether they’re waders or not, any clothes you wear for crabbing should also offer thermal insulation. If you’re crabbing casually and the temperature of the air and water are both warm, insulation isn’t as much of a concern.

A good insulation option is to wear an insulating, moisture-wicking base layer under the waders, bibs or pants. Even in warmer weather, a thin layer of insulation can help keep you comfortable while crabbing.

How much you can expect to spend on pants for crabbing

For recreational use, a pair of crabbing pants, waders or bibs can cost between $40-$180. If you’re crabbing professionally, a higher-quality, multi-layered pair of pants can cost several hundred dollars.

Pants for crabbing FAQ

What else should I consider before going crabbing?

A. Think about when and where you’re going crabbing. The width, depth and temperature of the water make a big difference in the type of clothes you wear. Additionally, think about how often you plan on going crabbing. Waders and other crabbing apparel can last a long time if they are high quality.

How can I take care of my crabbing pants or waders?

A. First, let them fully air dry after you’re done using them. To avoid negatively impacting the structural integrity of your crabbing pants or waders, don’t leave them in direct sunlight. Some pants for crabbing are machine washable, but they’ll generally hold up better if you hand-wash them in a large tub. Always check the specific guidelines before cleaning them.

What are the best pants for crabbing to buy?

Top pants for crabbing

Simms Tributary Waders

Simms Tributary Waders

What you need to know: Keep water out with these stockingfoot waders that are ideal for deep-water crabbing and fishing.

What you’ll love: These waders come up to the chest and are durable enough to protect the wearer in rocky terrain and from angry crabs. They are comfortable, fit well and have a large stomach pocket for easy storage.

What you should consider: The elastic belt does help provide a secure fit, but it’s a good idea to choose the right size before purchase.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top pants for crabbing for the money

Tidewe Neoprene Waders

Tidewe Neoprene Waders

What you need to know: Made with neoprene and other sturdy, waterproof materials, these chest waders are great for crabbing, fishing and hunting.

What you’ll love: With built-in, slip-resistant boots, these waders are designed for both protection and comfort. They’re fairly flexible and have double-stitching for added durability. Plus, they feature a special pocket for those who need to warm up their hands.

What you should consider: These waders are hand-wash only, and the boots aren’t very well insulated.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Grundens Men’s Neptune Commercial Fishing Bib Pants

Grundens Men’s Neptune Commercial Fishing Bib Pants

What you need to know: Waterproof, adjustable and durable, these crabbing and fishing bibs are a great, versatile option.

What you’ll love: These bibs are medium-weight and have a lot of convenient storage. They’re good for layering, so they’re useful in both warm and cold temperatures. The fabric is slightly stretchy as well, which allows for easy mobility in the water.

What you should consider: They run a little long in the leg.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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