Caring For Neoprene Chest Waders

I’m a waterfowl hunter. Because duck and goose hunting typically occurs during relatively cold times of year, my chest wader of choice is a neoprene wader. Neoprene is really the only good option for cold water wading and is the choice of most hunters and fishermen who often fish in cold water. Neoprene waders will last you a long time if you take a few steps to take care of them when they are not in use.

There are some very basic things the sportsman should do to take care of their chest waders. Never leave your waders out in the sun. Sunshine is the enemy of the neoprene chest wader. They will crack and dry much faster with exposure to direct sunlight. When you return from your hunting or fishing trip, rinse any mud and dirt from your waders. Dedicate a cool, dry place in your garage or shed where you can hang your waders upside-down. This serves the purpose of facilitating the drying process and also allows your chest waders to maintain a straight position. Folding or pinching any part of the waders for a prolonged period of time will create weaknesses in the fabric. These locations will likely be the first places to leak in the future. To help drying and to keep a nice round shape to your waders, try stuffing newspaper down as far as the boot.

One last note about your storage area. I learned the hard way during a recent snow goose hunt in North Dakota that you really should hang your waders in a way that keeps mice from crawling in to the boots. My son stuffed his foot into his pair before we headed out into a flooded field and was a bit dismayed when he discovered a fairly nasty mouse nest in the bottom of one.

There are good neoprene repair kits available, but if you take these basic steps to maintain your waders you should not need the services of a repair kit too often.

Enjoy your time outdoors!