Waders: Neoprene v. Breathable - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 09-18-2004, 12:53 AM
Macker Macker is offline
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Waders: Neoprene v. Breathable

Starting out at this, and I am ready to invest in a pair of chest waders. Question is, what things should I look for? I live in the PNW, we get some cold waters. Thoughts on Neoprene 3MM or 5MM versus Brethable waders would be appreciated. I am looking at something to go for most of the year round.


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Old 09-18-2004, 01:36 AM
Join Date: Oct 2002
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Good evening,
Macker, I have to say I started out with a pair of neo's, 3mm, but found them to be BLOODY hot during our summers here above the 45th. So I switched to a pair of "Breathers" when, on a rather long hike through the woods, first day of a 3 day excursion, I tore a significant hole in the right foot of my neo's! Thats right no repair kit or super gooo. I made the best of casting from the shore, and made some bone chilling crossing's, brrrrrrrrrr!
So for your first pair, breathers would be my choice! And you can adjust the clothing under to your own comfort zone.

Oh, the neo's? They act as my back-up pair now, stashed in the back of the pick-up, just in case

And I remain..........dry

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Old 09-24-2004, 04:45 PM
Nooksack Mac Nooksack Mac is offline
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Here's one guy's perspective: (Note: I'm a thin-blooded Southerner who needs extra insulation year-round). I do the great majority of my fishing in cold rivers or cool lakes and saltwater, year-round. At least two-thirds of the time, I'm wearing 5 mm neoprenes, which, worn over thermal underdrawers and heavy wool trousers, keep even me comfortable in mid-winter steelhead streams. For spring/early summer streams and float-tubing, I switch to 3.5 mm neoprenes. (Both neoprenes are Cabela's, inexpensive but entirely adequate.) For summer-mild streams, I enjoy the light weight and comfort of breathable stockingfoot waders.
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Old 09-24-2004, 05:49 PM
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Willie Gunn Willie Gunn is offline
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I need both. Neoprenes for winter autumn breathables in the summer
Willie Gunn
Quot homines tot sententiae

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Old 09-27-2004, 01:15 PM
tony j tony j is offline
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I like breathable waders but there are durability issues with them. I'm on my third pair of up-market breathables in just two seasons and I fish less than others here I'm sure. The warranty I have with these waders does, at least, mean they are replaced free of charge each time so - at this rate anyway - I'll never have to buy another pair of waders!!
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Old 09-28-2004, 02:50 AM
raph65 raph65 is offline
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I fish in Sweden and i have bought G3 for the summer and when it gets really cold i also have a pair of neoprenes. PS I hate neoprenes but in the winter you have to keep warm.
Enjoy each day as it is a blessing to be alive.
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Old 11-15-2004, 12:55 PM
tbeeson tbeeson is offline
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I agree about neo's being warm in the summer. I fish cold streams in Arkansas. The water is 55 deg or so, but the air is 90 plus. You can certainly get a nice sauna with 3-5mm neoprenes. I'm bucking for a new pair of breathables for next summer.

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Old 11-15-2004, 02:54 PM
peter-s-c peter-s-c is offline
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Normally I wear breathables and when October & November come around, I pack on the lohnjohns and the insulated pants under the waders, but even this is not enough when standing still for long periods of time in close to freezing water. When it gets that bad, I shift to 5mm neoprene (Bare). Two issues: I should've bought bootfoot, not stocking foot. There's no substitute for bootfoot waders if you're gonna fish in the snowy months. Secondly, 5mm neoprene gives a body a workout when you're moving around. These aren't hiking waders. You can easily work up an almighty sweat on your upper half while your legs and feet are getting cold. When I strip off at the end of the day, everything is wet from sweat. 5mm are also a workout to climb around in as they don't give too easily. I'm in the market for a pair of bootfoot 3mm.

Anybody who wants to buy a lightly used, size medium 5mm neoprene Bare stockingfoot deluxe wader that's never leaked and has been well looked after, PM me.

Last edited by peter-s-c; 11-15-2004 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 11-15-2004, 03:00 PM
Rimouskois Rimouskois is offline
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I do not own neoprene waders but I can't imagine I ever will either. I boil in breathables even in May just after iceout and the water is only 5-8 C though the air can be a lot warmer. I am partial to walking the most ridiculous long routes through the woods though. It seems to me that what you do on land should be at least as important in your choice as to where and when and for how long you go into the water.
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Old 11-15-2004, 03:42 PM
Moonlight Moonlight is offline
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For the PNW....

I recomend that you buy your self a pair of breathable waders. I have been breathable for about 10 years. If its really cold I just wear another layer of some high tech pile clothing under the waders. I must admit that an average day of fishing for me includes from 3 to 12 miles of trail hiking so neoprenes is totaly useless for me. The breathables are widely accepted as the perfered choice by the vast majority of anglers here in the PNW.
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Old 11-16-2004, 11:22 AM
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pescaphile pescaphile is offline
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I wouldn't even consider neoprenes anymore. Breathables are superior waders.

I use bootfoots in the winter and the water can often be in the mid-30s. If you need more warth, simply wear more clothing underneath them. It doesn't matter whether you have your insulation under the wader or rely on the wader to provide some insulation itself (neoprene). Water pressure can compress your clothing so try to wear something that wont be so affected.
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Old 11-16-2004, 12:27 PM
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JDJones JDJones is offline
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Staying warm

I started out float tubing with Seal Dries! I could only fish occasionally, so whenever I could get out, I did. That sometimes meant some pretty cold water and windy days. You don't move around much in a float tube so you learn to wear expedition undies if you want to stay warm under those conditions.
Waders evolved. Neoprenes were a blessing. Not only were they warm, ,they flexed and stretched. All was well until I took up stream fishing. Mountain streams stay cold well into the summer. I found there were days that, even with 2mm chest highs, I was wishing I had left them at home and wet waded. And you look pretty silly walking around in (even lightweight) long johns, which you must wear under neo's to wick away the persperation, and carring your waders. 100 degree air temp and 55 degree water is a hard combo to work with.
I put off going to breathables until they evolved to the point that they would not tear whenever you walked through the brambles..... And now I'll never go back to neoprenes. Even though I now live in the PNW and my river stays cold all year long. You can wear these things over anything from fleece to Levi's, dress pants, walking shorts. You can wear them all day long. Hike in them. Drive in them even.
You can always pack on more fleece and stay warm. But you can't work in cold water, warm weather and stay cool,,,,without breathables.
So,,,unless you sit in a boat all day in frigid weather, there is no question about it. Breathable waders, and a breathable rain coat. Two of the best investmates you can make.
I fish because the voices in my head tell me to

Last edited by JDJones; 11-16-2004 at 12:31 PM. Reason: puntuation
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Old 12-11-2004, 03:03 PM
Bob Pauli Bob Pauli is offline
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Neoprene vs. Breathable

What is neoprene?
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Old 12-11-2004, 03:15 PM
Paxton Paxton is offline
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you can alway dress warmer, but you can't cool down in neopremes. Just wear some wool socks, I wear fleece pants under the breathables in the spring.....works like a charm!
PS" plus...that is what the thermous of hot chocolate is for :-)
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Old 12-12-2004, 02:48 AM
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Luv2flyfish Luv2flyfish is offline
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Year Round Breathables for me.

Thats from Winter Fishing in Washington to August on the Henry's Fork.....pretty much everywhere in between. Throw down the extra cash and go Breathable. You can thank us later.
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