Gear Rx: How to Fix Leaky Waders

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Published Nov 17, 2022 3:00 PM

While a pair of leaky waders may not necessarily be that annoying while fly fishing during the summer, leaky waders can become a real danger during duck hunting or steelhead fishing. Leaky waders pose a high risk of making your day more miserable and can even lead to hypothermia if left unaddressed in cold conditions. 

Some may opt to buy a new pair, and depending on the damage, that may be the best option. However, a small leak on a pair of waders is an easy fix that can save money and keep your trip going according to plan. That way, you can save your waders and continue hunting through the weekend while staying warm and dry. 

Remember that the best way to prevent leaks in your waders is knowing how to avoid them. Not all waders have the same level of durability, but no matter the brand, they benefit from proper storage and cleaning after use. Keeping waders clean promotes longevity and prevents the materials from prematurely breaking down. 

How to Repair a Small Puncture 

Small, pinhole punctures are a common wader repair. While they are common, they can be challenging to locate. 

Materials needed: 

How to repair pinhole punctures:

  1. Make sure the waders are clean and dry. 
  1. Turn the waders inside out.
  1. Spray a fine mist of isopropyl alcohol on the suspected area of the leak. 
    • Small, dark spots should appear where the hole is located. 
  1. Draw a circle around the identified leak at least ¼ inch away from the hole. 
  1. Allow isopropyl alcohol to dry. 
  1. Apply Aquaseal FD to the circled area using the brush provided. 
  2. Let the Aquaseal dry and cure for full waterproof capabilities (24 hours). 

Any waterproof urethane adhesive will work for this repair. For best results, follow the instructions provided on the sealant.

How to repair rips and tears 

Rips and tears are equally easy to repair, depending on their size. Most small rips are repairable with a patch. If you are dealing with a large repair area, we recommend contacting the wader company for further instructions or to see if they perform repairs on their products. 

Materials needed: 

How to repair small rips and tears: 

  1. Clean and dry the waders. 
  1. Turn the waders inside out. 
  1. Trim the provided repair patch that came with the waders to be the appropriate size. 
  1. Apply Aquaseal around the tear and push the edges together. 
  1. Once the Aquaseal adhesive feels tacky, apply a patch to the area. 
  1. Press the patch firmly, starting from the middle and working your way out. Make sure no air bubbles are present underneath the patch. 
  2. Allow Aquaseal and patch adhesive to cure and dry for about 24 hours.

To perform this repair using Tenacious Tape, apply adhesive to the inside of the waders and tape to the outside. We prefer performing this type of repair with a patch provided by the wader company to match the type of fabric and provide a better bond. Most companies offer aftermarket patches for sale if a patch kit does not come with your waders. 

FAQ

Q: Can you fix a leak in the wader stocking feet?

Yes, stocking feet can be repaired using a patch for larger holes or by generously applying Aquaseal FD to the hole area. Always give the adhesive enough time to cure to ensure waterproofing. 

Q: Why do my waders keep leaking?

Pinhole leaks or leaks in the stocking feet are common areas to find wader leaks. These leaks can be caused by studs in boots, long toenails, folding or creasing wader materials, improper storage, and infrequent cleaning. 

Q: Can neoprene be patched?

Yes, neoprene can be patched with the right repair materials. Gear Aid sells a very effective iron-on neoprene patch that utilizes Tenacious Tape. It is quick and straightforward to use. All you need to do is to cut the patch to size and use your household iron to bond the adhesive to the neoprene. 

Q: How long should a pair of waders last?

A pair of mid-range waders with moderate use should last at least 3-4 seasons. If you use waders far more or far less, expect different time frames. Remember that waders can have a long life if well maintained and by performing repairs. 





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