Is it time to rethink your breathable waders?
Breathable waders are common for fishing, hunting, clamming, trapping, and a host of other activities around and in the water. You might even own a pair. They can be fantastic. They can keep you cool on those sunnier days. But don’t you ever notice they are not perfectly dry?
The Old Days
Back in the day, old timers used bag waders made from thick rubber and cumbersome attached rubber boots. They were waterproof and simple to repair but were a safety hazard because of their weight and bulk. Then along came Neoprene. It is quite robust and can endure a lot of abuse, but you must take care to dry them out completely after each use otherwise mold and mildew and other factors arise. Using neoprene you start to build up sweat, and that sweat is cooled which makes you feel a little cool and clammy underneath in colder temperatures. Not fun.
Over the years, breathables have increased in popularity. Breathables are constructed from a permeable material which allows dampness to escape through the wader even while in the water. Fishermen love them because they are very light and can be worn in the hot summer without causing a perspiration issue. In addition, they can be worn in the winter with a set of sweat pants or fleece wader pants that will help keep moisture away from you and protect you from the cold water.
The Trouble with Breathables
Waders made from breathable material, while comfortable and cool, are too disposable. Breathable chest waders are very easily damaged when rubbing against thorns or rocks and extra care is required to keep them free of leaks.
Care has to be taken when putting on breathable waders so you don’t pull the stitching. This will also cause leaks. Breathable chest waders also leak when the pores become blocked by silt from the water, creating an overall cold, wet, and uncomfortable sporting experience.
Times Are Changin’
The materials used now being constructed in dry suits are much lighter and stronger than ever. Now that they are so light, flexible, and tough, many fishermen are thinking it might be time to go back to a bag wader. These waders are 100% dry. If you find a damp area, you have a hole and you can find it and fix it. Want to keep sweat from bothering you in a bag wader? Many different comfortable undergarment options are available, even for summertime use. Modern fabrics are a wonderful thing, and today thin and durable sportswear that will held keep the humidity levels down inside your waders is available. Patagonia Capilene or Silkweight undergarments are just two examples.
The bottom line: Breathables, though comfy and cool, are easily damaged, highly disposable, and not 100 percent waterproof. The only waders that will keep you completely dry while not compromising with flexibility and weight are bag wader constructed from 100% waterproof fabrics.