USIA manufacturers boot foot bag waders. We don’t make a whole lot of breathable waders. In a recent blog post, I outlined some of the reasons why we at USIA believe our bag waders are superior to breathables (more on that later). And although our customers are supremely impressed and satisfied with our product, some people might still be reluctant to pull the trigger on a pair of bag waders. It seems ‘breathable’ has become an industry buzzword, synonymous with overall comfort. But bag waders do not have to be uncomfortably hot and clammy. They don’t have to make you sweat buckets if you know how to choose the proper base layer. Even in warm weather, the right undergarment choice can make the difference between feeling like you’re walking around in a sauna or feeling cool and refreshed on your hike into the backcountry.
First Rule of Dressing Yourself
Capt. Kujo likes to say the first rule of “dressing yourself” is that cotton is forbidden. You might have heard the old saying, Cotton Kills. Well, there is a good reason for that. Never wear cotton next to your skin in an environmentally closed system. Fact is you will sweat; it is your job to scientifically direct moisture in that system. That starts by identifying fabrics that moisture likes and dislikes. Moisture loves cotton and hates fleeces. So wear fleece next to your skin and moisture will wick away from you as it will be attracted to the “urethane coating” of your USIA waders. If you wear cotton against your skin, it will soak up sweat and stay there, giving you that moist and clammy feeling.
Many different manufacturers make and sell some very high-tech, modern fabric blend base layer undergarments that will work wonderfully, giving you both comfort and protection from too much humidity. We hate to toot the horn of any competitor, but Patagonia seems to excel quite nicely in this category. They offer four undergarment thicknesses, ranging from thin products to be worn in the hot summer months all the way to much denser material to be worn during your more hard-core wintertime outdoor activities.
One more word on breathables from Captain Kujo:
“What a crock! The fact is breathable don’t breathe when submerged. How many ‘breathable’ diving dry suits are out there? None. Why? Because breathable fabric was made for raincoats and that’s about all it’s good for. W.L. Gore has milked you guys out of millions with bogus 20th century technology. There is a reason for your ‘breathable’ waders not lasting more than a year (and a year is 365 days). You should be talking a season, then define that: 30 days? 60 days? How many days do you actually wear them in a year?”
We hope this helps you maximize your dry days in your USIA waders.