7 Tips To Make Your Waders Last Much Longer

When you own something that keeps you comfortable and dry and isn’t exactly cheap, you want it to be in good shape for a long time. That’s what this post is for. We’ll cover how long do waders last and explain how to make your waders last longer.

How Long Should Waders Last?

The average breathable waders typically last from 3 to 5 years. You can make sure they serve you well for the longer end of that range and perhaps more by properly caring for them.

How to Care for Waders

Tip 1. Keep Them Clean

It’s important to clean your waders. They can start to smell, but even without smell, dirty waders spell trouble. Lingering dirt and oils will damage your waterproof layer and potentially the materials.

Hand washing in cold water is ideal. This will keep the waders from being beaten around and getting creases in them in the wash. If you must put your waders in the washing machine, or your waders say you can machine wash them, make sure to wash them on the gentle cycle and to remove them promptly. It’s best to put them in there by themselves or along with a towel. Regardless of the method you use, choose special detergent for membrane clothes to preserve the waterproof layer.

Tip 2. Dry Them Correctly

Waders should be hung up to dry in a well-lit but not exceptionally bright location. Make sure they have ample air flow. You don’t want them to mildew, for the sake of the smell or the life of your waterproof layer.

Don’t wear them or store them until they are completely dry inside and out.

Tip 3. Restore The Water-Repellent Finish

Did you know you could reapply the water-repellency to your waders? You can, and it’s an important aspect of how to make your waders last much longer.

After you wash and dry your waders, check the waterproofing by spraying a little water on them and seeing if it beads up and retains those beads. You don’t want the water to be absorbed into the fabric. If the water doesn’t bead, you’ve lost your waterproof barrier. If it beads but only for a brief period, then your waterproofing is weak.

You want to check the waterproofing to make sure you don’t find out the hard way: when you get wet or your waders start feeling heavy and cold.

There are spray-on and wash-in DWR treatments. That stands for direct water repellent, and it is what makes your waders waterproof. Prioritize spray-on treatments because you apply them to only the outside of the garment where they perform the best.

The waders should dry thoroughly again after you add the DWR treatment, or they may not perform. Follow the instructions on the waders and the treatment for optimal results.

Tip 4. Make Sure They Fit

This isn’t just a comfort or style issue. Waders that are too small or too large will wear out faster. If they bunch or stretch because of a poor fit, they will weaken and develop leaks in those areas. Modern waders come in a wider variety of sizes and customization features, so it is possible to find the right fit for you. Stockingfoot waders help you achieve the perfect fit for both your body and your feet.

Tip 5. Wear Thermals

What you wear under your waders matters. You want all of your skin covered under there, but you don’t want to wear jeans or cotton. Jeans have bulges and excess thickness that can stretch your waders, and cotton of all kinds retains moisture instead of pulling it away from your skin.

Your best bet is synthetic thermals. They’ll be the best fit and wick away the moisture to keep you comfortable and dry. You may assume they’ll be hot, but you can choose what you need for different seasons, temperatures, and activities.

Tip 6. Store Them Well

When considering how to take care of waders, you have to include storage in the equation.

Choose a space that is cool and out of direct light. The waders need to be stored hanging up or lying flat. This is how to keep waders from dry rotting. Don’t fold them. You’ll also need to be sure they’re good and dry, or they might grow mildew or bacteria.

When traveling, you can transport them in a breathable wader bag or another bag that provides the same protection and air flow.

Tip 7. Avoid Punctures

Waders are waterproof and abrasion resistant, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be punctured. Part of how to care for breathable waders is protecting them from punctures. Don’t put sharp objects or things that will stretch the fabric in your pockets, and protect your boots by trimming your toenails and making sure your boots fit your feet well.


High-quality waders of reliable brands can last for years, in case you take good care of them. If you implement these tips, you’ll significantly extend the life of your riding gear and keep those adventurous days on the trails free of wet body and cold feet.


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