Waders, making them last!

I remember the very first pair of waders I ever had, black rubber thigh waders, I thought they were great, the amount of extra places I could now fish opened up so much more of the river. No longer was I bound by the constraints of the wellington boot, that lasted all of five hours when I proceeded to introduce my new waders to barbed wire, the nemesis of any wader, no matter what they cost you. Since then I really couldn’t count the amount of waders I have went through during my fishing lifetime, pvc, neoprene and the very best of the breathables have failed in one way or another.

If you are doing any amount of wading and fish more than a few days a season you just had to accept that you are going to have soggy socks at some stage during your season. Whether its brushing past a wind bush, catching up on a bramble, sliding down rocks or over stretching a seam, your waders are going to leak one way or another! The seams are always the weak point, the slightest of stress on the seam and you will have water seeping in. If your waders are too tight or even too loose you will inevitably end up with issues and its something I have seen time and time again at the shop.

Over the last few years I have tried multiple brands, they all end up the same and I have come to the conclusion that on average your waders are going to cost approximately £150 a season. Break that down however you want, buy entry level waders each year and simply bin them once they develop the inevitable leaks or you can invest a bit more money in a higher end wader and get a few seasons out of them. The advantage of a more expensive pair is usually a better ‘fit’ but again every single customer is shaped differently so we all place wear on our waders in different ways.

So up until now I have been using all usual methods of prolonging the lifespan of my waders, tubes of aquasure/stormsure to try patch up a seam or a pinhole and even a neoprene sock over the bootie to stop it wearing. This year I vowed I would get a full season out of my waders with no leaks and began taking preventative measures to make sure the usual spots did not give in. So for the last few months I have been experimenting with numerous products, combining them and seeing how they reacted and what finish they would provide to finally arrive at a process that I am confident in.

Seams were the biggest issue, but with three different applications I was able to firstly penetrate the seam with an extremely thin solution to ensure it was 100% waterproof, followed by two further coats to really give the seams some strength. The last coat completely covers up the edge of the tape making sure there is nothing for you clothing to catch on and rub the seam open. The seams are by no means breathable but they are most certainly watertight!

Preventing the sock from wearing out, it works, but it does require a wiggle to get your boots on.

Preventing the sock from wearing out, it works, but it does require a wiggle to get your boots on.

Fixing holes, punctures and tears also involved multiple stages and again different products. Initially a flexible bonding solution is used to “weld” the area shut followed by the seam sealing solution to really penetrate the fabric and ensure it is indeed 100% watertight. A further two coats of the reinforcing solution is then added to the area. For larger rips in a patch of wader fabric is also bonded to add another level of reassurance.

Over the years I have encountered issues with the booties of stocking foot waders. Some of the best waders I owned were let down by the neoprene socks wearing out at the heel. Hands up who has punctured their booties when putting on or taking their waders off! Again with a multi stage process I reinforced the soles and heal of my booties to make sure they would withstand the constant wear and tear inside the boot and also withstand a misplaced step on to gravel when putting on and taking off your waders. An end to the problem but it does make putting your boots on a we bit more tricky with the friction of the rubber.

I am happy now to be able to offer a sealing & repair service not only just for your waders but this also takes care of seams and punctures in jackets, waterproof trousers & packs. Each repair takes around two days to complete due to treatment times and what is requested, but get in touch via the form below and I would be happy to help with any questions. All sealing is with a clear product, colours only for illustration purposes.