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How To Store And Preserve Waders – Fly Fishing

Fly fishing waders are expensive garments that keep you dry while you’re in the river. If you invest in a good pair of waders, you’ll want them to last a long time. Storing waders properly after use is one of the best ways to extend the life of them.

Improperly stored waders can degrade quickly, and before you know it – they’ll have lots of leaks. It is good to take care of your fly fishing gear, especially if you want it to last for awhile. Storing waders inside in a dry environment will add years to their life. Keeping them clean is also a good idea.

This article will cover the best ways to store your waders, so they will keep you dry for a long time. There is nothing worse than having to buy something twice because you didn’t take care of it. I will also cover other tips that will add longevity to your waders. Things like cleaning, proper fit, and maintenance repairs are all crucial for a proper lifespan.

Dry Your Waders Out

As soon as I’m done fishing, I will bring my waders inside and hang them up to dry. By drying your waders after every use, you will preserve the integrity of the material. It allows it to stay intact without the fibers breaking down prematurely.

There is nothing worse for a pair of waders than leaving them wet in your car. This can cause the material to break down, and it can even cause mold. Not to mention, your waders will become super stinky after a short time.

By simply drying your waders out after every use, you will be protecting your investment for years to come.

Keep Waders Clean

Leaving your waders dirty can degrade the material over time. Grit and sand can work its way into the seams and will eventually cause leaks. After you’re done fishing, give your waders a good spray down with a hose, or wipe them down with a sponge. This will preserve the quality of them a lot better.

This isn’t to say that leaving your waders dirty once will ruin them. It is just a bad habit over the long term. Keep the fabric clean and fresh, and it will really extend the life of them.

Do Not Wear Jeans Under Waders

Wearing jeans under your waders will seriously degrade the material. As the denim rubs on the inside of them, it will weaken the material and cause leaks. It can even void your warranty with certain wader companies. Simms can tell if you’ve been wearing jeans under your waders when you send them back!

For the best under wader garment, I like long johns or any soft thermal material. It is much easier on waders – and it is way more comfortable, as well.

Not only is wearing jeans bad for waders, but it’s super uncomfortable and unpleasant. There is nothing worse than wearing jeans under your waders on a warm day.

Do Not Bushwhack In Waders

One of the worst things for waders is when they are taken on extreme hiking trails down to the river. Bushwhacking in your waders can cause so many leaks to happen, it just isn’t worth it! Usually, it will cause multiple pinhole leaks that are hard to find and repair, or it may just rip your waders with a large gash.

If you know that there is gnarly terrain on the way to the river. Just put your waders in a backpack and put them on at the river.

Even though so many people do it, I think bushwhacking in your waders is the #1 way to ruin them. One thorny bush or barbed wire fence can pretty much destroy a pair of waders.

Make Sure To Get A Good Wader Fit

One of the worst things to do is get a pair of waders that is too small. If the waders are too tight, you will really stress the seams which will lead to a much shorter wader lifespan. In order for waders to last a long time, you need to have enough room and bagginess.

This is why it’s best to go to your local fly shop and try waders on. You can get a proper fit with enough room to move around in them. Tight waders will not last long. I usually see them rip after a year or less.

Remember, it’s not a fashion show. Waders look goofy anyways, so might as well get a pair with some room to move around.

Repair Waders When Needed

When leaks arise, it is best to fix them right away with Aquaseal. By not performing regular maintenance, these leaks can get out of control. Pinholes will get larger and rips will get worse.

By doing minor repairs as needed, the waders will stay in good shape without getting too wrecked. The good news is that Aquaseal isn’t that expensive, and a tube can last for awhile. I like to put my Aquaseal in the freezer so it doesn’t go bad. Simply apply a thin layer to the damaged area and let it dry for 24 hours. I like to do the repairs on the inside of waders so it isn’t visible.

This preventive maintenance can go a long way for preserving wader life.

Be As Gentle As You Can

A lot of fisherman treat their waders like body armor. They bash through thick brush, kneel down on rocks, and hop over barbed wire fences. The fact is that waders are just a garment that keeps you dry. Abusing them will just mean that you’ll have to buy another pair soon.

By treating your waders like a clothing item, it will keep them in service for years to come. They are not an unbreakable shield, they’re just a tool to repel water.

With that being said, brands like Simms offer Gore-Tex waders which stand up better to abuse out on the river. If you invest in the G3 or G4 Gore-Tex waders, you can be a little rougher on them. Just take into account the quality of each wader model. Simms owners can worry less about damage than someone with a pair of cheap Frogg Toggs.