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chrome-magnon man
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I've used both Gore-Tex and "Fake-Tex" waders since 1999 and I've generally had good results with both. While the Fake-Tex doesn't breathe nearly as well as Gore-Tex, using a layering system underneath makes this pretty much a non-issue. I've found that both Gore and Fake give me damp feet (neoprene doesn't breathe) but I solved this problem with a pair of Gore-Tex oversocks.

What have been your experiences with breathables?
 

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I've been in them since '97 and can't imagine using anything else. I remember the very first time using them how amazed I was at the comfort. Their durability has been very impressive as well- even with bushwacking through the occaisional Devil's Club! I've had times where I have felt a devils club thorn penetrate the waders and stick me. I later removed the thorn and checked the location for a pin-hole leak when wading and found nothing! I probably should wear a pair of neoprenes again for a couple days just to remind myself -if I only had neoprenes anymore!

On that first trip two of us were wearing new breathables while the other used his old neoprenes. I still remember him struggling to pull them on in the mornings and joking with my other friend who had breathables (when able to be heard by the one in neos) about how comfortable these new waders were except that my feet get all sweaty in the neoprene foot sections.

I have a pair of Simms guide bootfoots that I wear in cold water. Winter water temps here are usually in the 34-37F range and occasionally right at the freezing mark. These waders work great in this cold water. I've heard people say that neoprenes are still best for cold water, perhaps that is true for float-tubing, but for wading the breathables can't be beat.

What sort of goretex socks do you use Dana? I might have to give these a try.

pescaphile
 

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chrome-magnon man
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Discussion Starter #3
Gore-Tex socks

I picked up a pair of the Rocky Gore-Tex socks (free plug) last year at Mountain Equipment Coop (another free plug) here in Vancouver and haven't looked back. They are very expensive ($86 CDN I think) but they are great. I wear a pair of wicking socks next to the skin, then the Gore-Tex socks over those, then into my waders. The wicking socks pull the moisture away from my feet, the Gore-Tex socks distribute it to the neoprene bootie then keep it out, so your feet stay dry although the inside of your bootie is still damp at the end of the day--turn your waders inside out over night and that problem is solved by morning.

I've also heard good things about the fake-tex versions of these socks (one is called Seal Skinz I think and someone told me they are good and about 1/2 the price of the Gore-Tex versions) so you might want to investigate them as well.
 

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Seal Skinz work quite well; use them in the

winter when 'layering' is necessary. "Other thread" not withstanding, I've used the same set of Dan B's for several years summer and winter (original cost was about $100). Until of late, zero maint. other than an occational run through the washing machine and Woolite. Haven't had my 3 or 5 mm neo's on in years; Lord only knows if the rubber is even 'ok.'

Given the choice, it's breathables all the way.
fae
 

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Getting wet...

Getting wet is not a big thing with breathables. When I slip and get wet, a not uncommon event, it is not necessary to leave the river, strip down, dry off, change clothes, etc. I just keep fishing and at the end of the day I and my clothes are dry, except for the neoprene boot area.

It's magic.

Mr. Gore should be knighted!
 

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I have, in the past, made certain unfavourable comments about Bear Blackwater breathable waders. I bought a pair about eighteen months ago and found from the outset that they were prone to a slow steady seep. Not a leek, but just enough water ozmossing (I know it's not a word) through the material, that after an hour or two standing in cold water it became quite uncomfortable. I returned them to the factory once and got them back with fifteen or sixteen neatly applied patched affixed to the inside. Unfortunately they did little to stop the river from seeping in. Last month I wrote a letter outlining my complete dissatisfaction with the waders to the people at Bear. To my surprise I was told to bring the waders to their warehouse for exchange. The new waders seem to be of a different material and I have worn them on about twenty outings without problem. Anyone considering new waders should take a look at the Bare Blackwaters.
 

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Gotta love them breathables

I have both Gore-tex and fake-tex and they both work great. I'll never go back to neos. The inside of the booties do get a bit damp but I also wear a wicking layer underneath and it doesn't pose a problem. I have a pair of boot foot (fake-tex) that I use when the weather gets very cold. To my dismay, the boot met up with some barbed wire last season. Well guess who won? Sure wasn't the boot. Now for the life of me I cant find anything to patch the hole. Seems like the rubber for the boot is just too darned slick. Everything that I've tried has lasted no more than a day. I'm sure the fact that the hole is right on the top of the boot where the foot flexes doesn't help. Short of chopping the boots off and putting on new ones, I'm at a loss........suggestions anyone.
 

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Barry,
You might try a rubber patch with an adhesive called Sta-bond. Sta-bond is a two-part adhesive often used for repairing inflatable boats. You need to rough up the rubber with coarse sandpaper prior to applying the cement to ensure a good bond.

Contact cement like barge ought to work too.

pescaphile
 

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Coednakedspey
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Layering

Layering is the one thing I think many people take for granted on the topic of Breathable waders. Regardless of how good your breathable waders are, they are still only as good as your layering pieces. Jeans, sweat pants, or other non or poor breathable materials will ruin your breathable waders breathability. High quality and properly placed layering pieces, will compliment a good pair of breathables, and make a poor quality breathable wader, or even a non breathable wader a little more comfortable in delaying the sweat build up department. I would expect to spend around $35-65 CDN on a good pair of long johns (IE Polypropolene or Polyester) that fit tight to your skin as your base layer. For Winter fishing, you want to add on top of your base layer a good pair high quality 100 series or 200 series (depending on how cold the conditions are that you are fishing in and the hiking you will do) fleece pants for around $45-80 CDN. Then a good pair of Wool socks to wear under your neoprene stocking foot. In this case I spent the $$$ on the Merino Wool socks by Simms for about $30 CDN. Wool is a quality material in that it still insulates your feet when wet. You can of course be real hardcore and go with Dana's option which will take you to the next level, but the bottom line is it appears as though your layering pieces alone, if you're serious about having a pair of breathable waders, should add up to around an extra $100-200 CDN, or more! When you start going on extended trips you obviously want some back up layering pieces, etc.

This of course isn't including your "uppers" such as a good polyester shirt and a good quality fleece for colder weather which you also wear under your chest high breathables. Your layering pieces eventually total the same price as your waders in all eventuality!

I wore a pair of neoprenes. I then purchased a pair of Simms Guidweights a year and a half ago. Worth the $$$. Haven't tried any other pairs of fake-tex or other breathable waders made from Gore-tex, so I can't compare. Have heard some horror stories from some, so I went with the one with the consisten reputation.
 

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No need to "beam Scotty up"

he knows his cold weather stuff. (One Candian to another... born in Winnipeg. 10-15 'below zero' was "balmy winter weather.")
fae
 

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Coednakedspey
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Hey Freddy,
And I'm a Winter person too. My niche is amongst the winter snow flakes and a cold clear low Winter Steelhead river with my two hander and a small sparse weighted fly fished on a floating line and long leader hung down and then swung in the small seem 25 feet out. I learned and found the meaning of good layering pieces this way. And they sure contribute to the overall feeling of the Steelheading expierience.
We had one day like that this past year, in MARCH. March 7th to be exact. It was damn cold out all of a sudden, and the snow fell like crazy. My layering pieces made me that day and didn't break me.

I'll do September, October, and November. I'll do March and April, but I can't miss December, January or February as tough as they are for the Winter Steelheader they are my monthes....stayed tuned for an email with a picture for you to relate to Fred.

Scott K
 

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Traditional Scottish Approach

For what is amusingly called spring fishing for Salmon in Scotland I would not be without my 5mm Neoprene’s. None of this layering up nonsense just a pair of Brora Tweed plus fours a tee shirt and shirt under a tweed waistcoat, with a Gore-Tex waterproof over the top of the chest waders, very deep wading is not advised in the spring. After a morning of wading in water running in the low 30s jump in the climate controlled Range Rover and back down the track, running along side the river to the fishing hut. By lunchtime Sam the gillie has the wood-burning stove blazing away, the heat has melted the snow from the roof and the windows are steamed up. It is a simple matter to slip of the waders and slide on a pair of loose fitting shoes, whilst the circulation starts to return to my hands, I never manage to fish in gloves, especially when there are kelts on the go. By this time the pan of scotch broth that was bubbling nicely on the hob is ready to serve with some crispy bread warmed in the oven. A glass of Glen Deveron or a Spey side Malt if you insist. All too soon Sam is back to tell you lunchtime has finished and you peer through the opened door of the hut to see that the threatened snow has started and the icy blast of wind from the snow covered Cairngorm Mountains sneaks in. Ah well you are here to fish not sit in a warm hut drinking and listening to tales of years gone by. Two minutes later and your back in the Neoprene’s wondering whether it should be a 2” or 3” Willie Gunn.
 

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I'm with Willie

When you are float tubing with ice on the water, or standing waist deep in low 30's water and the wind is blowing , screw the layering and breathables.
I'll take good wicking clothes under my 5 mil neoprenes!
 
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I used to feel the same way. It took a lot of convincing by others to give the breathables a try in the dead of winter. I'm here to tell you that they are far warmer than neoprenes because you stay dry. You can wear wicking underwear, but when it wicks to a non-breathable barrier you will eventually get damp. And damp is cold in the winter. I have 5.5mm Streamline custom built bootfoots that I paid a lot of money for and they don't get worn any more. I actually stay drier and warmer in my Simms Guide model breathables.
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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Yeah I still have neoprenes...somewhere in the basement.:devil:

Scott is dead on taht if you layer right there is no need to wear neos.

Used some orvis breathables that lasted a couple years but they started leaking this year so I upgraded to the simms G3.

Could not be happier and if you layer right I stay much warmer in the winter than I did with my neoprenes. My internal body temp always runs pretty warm and doing any kind of hiking in neoprenes was the worst. Even in the dead of winter with a couple layers of fleece and wicking tights I still get really hot in breathables.

Was actually fishing in the puget sound yesterday with just shorts under the waders and did not get cold after a couple hours of fishing. They seem to be able to hold heat great and get rid of any moisture. The sound is always cold and I had no problems staying warm.

-sean
 

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Have any of these previous postings been with regards to breathable bootfoot waders? I would like to find a quality pair of bootfoot breathable waders which would provide the necessary insulation during the winter months found in the Great Lakes area. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I know the possibilities are somewhat limited seeing that I'm looking for bootfoot waders.
 

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Well, the good news on bootfoot breathables is

several folks actually make them. Just ordered (stocking foots) from Cabela's and they list three different 'grades' of these. Price ranges from $160 to $190 bucks plus shipping.

I've also seen them in other catalogs, so not pushing Mr. 'C's,' just happen to have their book on my desk as I read your post. I suspect that several of the board spons. also carry them in stock. Given a choice, use one of them.

fae
 

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bootfoots

Gary,
I use a pair of Simms guideweight bootfoots when it is cold. These are wonderful for keeping your feet warm and slip on in a flash. They've got an excellent boot and are superior cold-water waders. Sometimes winter water temps here are right at the freezing mark and these do the trick. Neoprenes, 5mm bootfoots or otherwise, aren't as good as these.

Unfortunately, Simms no longer makes them. They have a new lightweight version but I have no idea hat they're like. However, Simms in general makes a great product so I'd think the new versions are good. I have seen some of their guide bootfoots on ebay lately, but I've no idea of they're still there or not.

I've always heard good reports about the Dan Bailey breathables and I think they offer a bootfoot model. You might want to check them out.

pescaphile
 

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I have Bare Blackwater breathables. My first set leaked after using a couple of times. After much complaining to Bare they finally had me send them in and they said they couldn't be repaired and gave me a new set which has held up for two years now. They work just fine in cold water and weather with the proper layering.
 
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