Orvis waders are designed and built to handle heavy use in the toughest environments, but they will begin to wear over time. To help keep your waders in service for as long as possible, there are a few basic things to consider. How you care for your waders after fishing and in between trips can make a big impact on their ability to keep you dry.
Changing In and Out of Your Waders
When changing in and out of your waders, use a changing mat such as our Wader Mudroom to avoid direct contact between the ground and the neoprene booties. Once you step into your waders, put your boots on as soon as possible, and, above all, avoid walking around without boots, as stepping on sharp rocks/gravel, etc., can damage the neoprene. Small bits of debris can also cling to the bottom of the neoprene, continuing to cause damage even after you put your boots on.
Rinsing Your Waders
Give your waders a quick rinse with fresh water to remove any mud or debris before drying and storage. Mud and dirt can work their way into the fabric, preventing the breathable membrane from doing its job. A quick rinse off with the hose can keep this from happening. Rinsing is especially necessary if you have been fishing in saltwater environments, as the salt can cause damage to the wader fabric and hardware over time.
Drying Your Waders
Once your waders have been rinsed, let them dry fully—inside and out—before storing them. Storing waders without allowing them to dry will promote the growth of bacteria and mold and could cause them to fail prematurely. Once the outside is dry, make sure to turn them inside out and allow the inside to dry as well.
Where you dry your waders is equally important. Although they are common places to store waders, a basement or garage is not always the best place to dry them out. Choose somewhere that has good airflow, but make sure it is out of direct sunlight as prolonged UV exposure can damage wader fabrics.
Storing Your Waders
Store your waders in a cool, dry place, away from moisture and direct sunlight. Waders can be rolled for storage but should not be folded. Folding can cause creases that may eventually lead to weak spots that fail over time.
Bootfoot waders should be stored with the boots resting on the ground in order to reduce stress on the weld joint between the bootfoot and the wader material.
Preventing Bacteria and Mold Growth
Bacteria and mold growth are both serious issues that if left unchecked can cause permanent, unrepairable damage to waders and reduce their lifespan. There is no way to prevent your waders from encountering bacteria or mold, since they naturally occur on our skin and in the environments in which we use our waders, but you can maintain your waders to prevent their spread and growth. Periodically cleaning your waders using the instructions detailed in this guide and following our recommendations for drying and storage will help prevent your waders from becoming damaged by bacteria and mold.