November 19, 2013

More Knee Protection

In the past I have written about the importance of keeping a low profile. It is not required in all tenkara situations, but sometimes it makes all the difference. One such scenario is when the water in low and clear and when there is not a lot of streamside vegetation for you to blend in with. But getting on your knees can hurt, besides damaging your waders.

Low and clear.

Over the years I have used a few different types on knee protection. Some worked pretty well and others not so much. When I started I used knee pads from a local home improvement store. These worked OK for a while but they kept sliding down when I'd walk. Also they didn't work so well when I would "walk" on my knees.

Then I got a pair of Black Hawk combat knee pads. These worked better, but still they would migrate over the course of a few hours. Next I tried neoprene wader gaiters from Little Presents. I like these a lot. This is the wader gaiter worn by Dr. Ishigaki. They protect my waders really well, but they have very little knee padding. So even though they are better than no knee protect at all, they are not all that comfortable when kneeling on rocks.

Black Hawk combat knee pads

Dr. Ishigaki from

Recently I got a pair of Rothco knee/shin guards. They strap on easily and because they have a shin component they don't seem to fall down like ordinary knee pads do. The knee pad portion is thick and works well protecting your knees from stream bed rocks. They cover most of your lower leg, but they don't cover quite as well as the Little Present wader gaiters do. However, one thing that is better about them is that they are readily available, while the Little Presents are not always (Chris Stewart usually has the Little Presents Wader-Gaiter at Tenkara Bum).

So I have been using these over the past few months while I've been crawling and "kneeing" my way around my small streams. I won't need to use them much more this season, as the snow is starting to fly and the small streams are closing up. But I'll be using them more next season for sure. They sure save my knees!!

Update August 1, 2014: Chris Stewart of Tenkara Bum now offers the Rothco Knee/Shin Guards at his store.

1 comment:

  1. Tom, I have my old Orvis knee pads from the 90's. I got them to do the same things I do in Tenkara now. I really like your article and as I get older, it pertains even more. I do not wear them on open streams, only when I am fishing headwaters with lots of stealth and rock/bedrock steep valley.