How to Fix A Leak In a Pair of Breathable Waders

It’s not hard to puncture breathable waders. While they are great at keeping you both cool and dry, thorns, barbed wire and other sharp objects can easily penetrate the Gore-Tex …

It’s not hard to puncture breathable waders. While they are great at keeping you both cool and dry, thorns, barbed wire and other sharp objects can easily penetrate the Gore-Tex or Toray material that breathable waders are made from.

But fear not. Finding and fixing a leak in breathable waders is actually a five-minute job and very straightforward.

To illustrate, here below is how I fixed a leak in my Simms G4Z breathable waders recently.

To do this, all you need is a tube of Aquaseal glue and a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a small spray bottle – for example the kind you use to spray cleaner on eyeglasses.

See also: Simms Waders Reviewed – our take on the best models

How to find and fix a leak in breathable waders the easy way

Spray the waders with rubbing alcohol

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You can buy rubbing alcohol from a drug store, Walmart, Amazon or anywhere that stocks basic household chemicals.

Find any black spots and mark the location

Spray and identify holes 1

Put some rubbing alcohol in the sprayer and spray the whole waders one leg at a time both front and back. This is where the magic happens – areas where there are leaks will show up easily as circular wet patches (see above) where the rubbing alcohol concentrates and remains even as it evaporates off the surrounding leak-free areas.

Mark all such spots with an X using a permanent marker with the cross of the X right on the centre of the circle – the specific location of the leak.

Seal the leaks with Aquaseal

IMG 4672 scaled

When the waders have dried (all the rubbing alcohol has evaporated off) use your finger to get a small amount of Aquaseal from the tube and dab it on the surface of the waders where you’ve marked a leak. Let the Aquaseal dry for at least 12 hours before turning the waders inside out again so the external surface is to the outside. And you are done! Your waders should be like new again.

Fixing Gore-Tex Waders the Easy Way: Video Tutorial

For those who prefer video instructions, we’ve recorded this little video for you that goes through these same steps.

Gore-Tex Wader Repair FAQs

What kind of glue can you use for wader repair?

We recommend you only use Aquaseal for repairing Gore-Tex or Toray (breathable) waders. It is a flexible and strong glue that allows the fabric to bend so it won’t make your waders stiff at all.

How many times can you repair waders with Aquaseal?

Many times! Before I upgraded to the G4Z model, I had a pair of Simms Guide G3 waders that didn’t have quite as many layers at the front so were more prone to puncture. I ended up fixing at least 50 pin prick leaks over the 10 or so years I had them and they still worked fine. I only upgraded to shift to a zippered wader model.

Are there other ways to find leaks in Gore-Tex and Toray (breathable) waders?

There are suggestions you can fill them with water and look for leaks, but most leaks are so tiny that’s not realistic, even if you thought it was a good idea to use all that water filling them up. The method above works so well and is so easy, there is really no need for an alternative.

What about repairing neoprene waders?

Although I have never tried it, I don’t think this method will work with neoprene waders. Most of the info I have seen relating to neoprene waders suggests looking for leaks in the way you would for a bike tire: Inflate them with air pump and look for escaping bubbles. You can use Aquaseal for repairing neoprene waders, in fact it is the preferred choice of glue for these too!

What about wader seams

Leaks in seams can often be found by direct inspection. Aquaseal can also be used to reseal seams.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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