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Thread: breathable waders in cold weather

  1. #1
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    Default breathable waders in cold weather

    there is no doubt breathables are much more comfortable to wear than neoprene, but my issue is staying warm. right now in Michigan it is about 16 degrees. you alaskans may laugh at that, but it is cold, for sure. winter steelheading is around the corner, and i would like to get some advice on layering under the breathables for warmth. figure alaskans know how to stay warm better than most, so thats why im asking here.

    as of now, ive learned layering is the way to go. i have underarmour and plenty of non-cotton garments. is there something that cant be beat for waders though? im open to suggestions. thanks, adam

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Feet first...

    for me. That's been my weak spot.

    Two things have helped:
    1. goretex socks, which used to be carried by Cabelas. Worn over your socks, they allow sweat vapor () out...resulting in drier, warmer feet throughout the day.

    2. Integral Designs vapor barrier socks. don't look like much coming out of the package and I haven't had these out in cold cold weather yet, but the 2 20 or so degree outings were promising. Worn over a liner sock, the keep your insulating sock from getting wet with sweat - and so far it's been effective.

    Good luck this year!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    for me. That's been my weak spot.

    Two things have helped:
    1. goretex socks, which used to be carried by Cabelas. Worn over your socks, they allow sweat vapor () out...resulting in drier, warmer feet throughout the day.

    2. Integral Designs vapor barrier socks. don't look like much coming out of the package and I haven't had these out in cold cold weather yet, but the 2 20 or so degree outings were promising. Worn over a liner sock, the keep your insulating sock from getting wet with sweat - and so far it's been effective.

    Good luck this year!
    Do you find yourself running a different wading boot just for winter time, something maybe .5 bigger to fit the extra layers?
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Good point but the water's always cold here...

    so I wore thick socks + neoprene bootie when I bought the boots. If I lived in a place with warmer water, thick socks might be too warm.

    The padding is nice for hiking too. Liner sock is added for coldest temps.

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    I've steelhead fished on the salmon river in NY state in the winter so i've got a half arsed idea of your winter conditions and here's what i would do. Forget about the breathables and just get yourself a good pair of insulated boot foot 5MM neoprenes, you'll stay warm and comfy with them and no need for all the layers, best of all you should be able to keep your feet warm with not too many pairs of socks. I personally like LL Bean waders because of their great warranty, if your ever unhappy just return for a replacement or your money back.

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    Patagonia makes this stuff called capilene. It's basically like a kickass microfleece. I use it next to my skin under waders and drysuits for diving. Remember that fleece keeps you warm by lofting with air. Wool works pretty well.

    The more non-cotton airspace you have, the warmer you will be.
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    Your feet need to breathe, if they are packed tight you will get cold. A good pair of capilene or smart wool socks will do wonders, they both will wick the moisture to the outside of the material keeping your feet dry. Boots need to be big enough that you can layer socks as needed.

    For the rest of your body, you are in the same boat. Capilene and Polypropilene come in three different thicknesses. You can layer them as you feel needed as your base layer and then topping it off with some 200 or 300 fleece. All of these materials are breathable and designed to wick the moisture from your skin and to the outter most layer. For your upper body a great jacket to have is a primaloft down jacket. These jackets are a compression style down jacket that are not bulky, very compressable and SUPER warm.

    If you layer your legs correctly you will be just as warm as you would with neoprene waders but twice as comfortable.

    I raced cross country snowmobiles for years and have tested and used just about every thing out there for cold weather and this method has proven itself over 2000 miles of wild alaska wilderness in the most extreme conditions imaginable.
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    Member liv2fish87's Avatar
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    Default when i fish the river in the winter

    i always rock the long johns and fleece pants with 2 pairs of wool socks. then i wear a hoodie and a liner plus my arcteryx shell to stay dry. But i wouldnt be caught dead in neoprenes.... to hell with that idea.

    Ps dont forget a hat. and neck scarfs are always a treat.
    Go Fish

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    I tried duck hunting in neoprenes one winter which made me colder than anything else. Layering with synthetics is pretty key. I usually wear long johns, fleece pants and snowpants under my waders and two pairs of wool socks. Fishing this winter should be nice because I have waders that don't leak
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    i want to get away from my neo's if possible. i got a pretty good idea of what i need now. a buddy recommended this stuff called polartec200 ecwcs bibs. i ordered a pair last night. i guess its a military issue thing, and the legs are cut off high so you can still wear boots. sounds perfect for waders.

    i got the smartwool socks, the underarmour base layers, and the good fleece and wool. i think i may be set. im gonna hopefully get the time off to test it january 1st. thanks for all the advice. if you have any other suggestions, keep em coming! thanks adam

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    Default Bear Suit!

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Gibbs View Post
    i want to get away from my neo's if possible. i got a pretty good idea of what i need now. a buddy recommended this stuff called polartec200 ecwcs bibs. i ordered a pair last night. i guess its a military issue thing, and the legs are cut off high so you can still wear boots. sounds perfect for waders.

    i got the smartwool socks, the underarmour base layers, and the good fleece and wool. i think i may be set. im gonna hopefully get the time off to test it january 1st. thanks for all the advice. if you have any other suggestions, keep em coming! thanks adam
    We call that the Bear suit. I have worn the bibs under waders and they work well. Plus they are really comfortable for just wearing in the tent and around camp when you are out.

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    Member Skookumchuck's Avatar
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    I'd just get some bootfoot neoprene waders with insulated boots for the winter.

    Why are you against neoprene? They only suck if you have to hike a bunch in them. WAY warmer feet, no matter how many layers of socks you have.....No cool factor though....lol

    I don't really buy into all of the new fancy synthetics (especially the $$). For breathables, I just use long-jons and/or fleece pants to stay warm. Double socks and disposable foot warmers if the water is really cold. If you get a leak, you'll freeze though.

    Neoprene stays warm when wet.
    Nice Marmot.

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    What about the Hot Hands warmers? I was in REI a bit ago and they had some just for the soles of the feet. Keep the feet warm and you can stay quite a while...

    George

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    Member Skookumchuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Riddle View Post
    What about the Hot Hands warmers? I was in REI a bit ago and they had some just for the soles of the feet. Keep the feet warm and you can stay quite a while...

    George
    The foot warmers work great....If you don't have any leaks. Too much moisture kills them. They've never worked that good for me with breathables. the booties are too tight for any air circulation and they tend to absorb mosture. Never last more than a coupla hours. Maybe some of those $25 socks would help. They work great with my bootfoot neoprenes though.

    The Hot Hands won't work well for feet...they need too much oxygen. Not enough circulation in your boots.

    I'm not anti-breathables at all, I've just never had warm feet with them in cold weather...no matter how many socks I used. I save mine for the summer.
    Nice Marmot.

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    Alaska water temps are almost always cold. I wear Simms G3 waders with Simms powerstretch fleece pants under for all conditions. For cold weather fishing I'll add thermal underwear as needed, and I don't need as much as you may think. Usually a mid-weight capilene is good enough for cold day comfort. When standing in the water my feet may get a little cold. I always wear Smartwool socks and could use a little more on some days. Liners don't do it for me. In fact they make me colder. I usually just make sure I move my feet instead of standing stationary for long periods. That's good enough. When there's a good pod of fish sitting in front of me my feet never cross my mind!

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    for me, it really depends upon how much hiking you're going to be doing... even if it's 10 degrees, you'll get sweaty hiking in neopreme waders, and then when you stop to fish you freeze your arse off! So I always go with breatheables myself - I wear some really good breathable pants underneath (like fleece) and it always keeps my legs warm. Your feet are a whole different story, and it's a problem no matter which type of waders you're wearing. i agree with many of the above posts, that really really really good socks are the key to enjoying yourself in frigid conditions. You would be wise to spend your money on the best socks you can find, however, no socks will keep your feet warm forever in freezing water. You need to occasionally step out of the water to give your feet a little break.
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    Member Wyatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markw3 View Post
    You need to occasionally step out of the water to give your feet a little break.
    That's the key no matter how good of gear you're wearing. Also stay hydrated and fed! Why pack it on your back when you can carry it in your colon!

  18. #18

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    I typically just wear a pair of fleece pants and the extreme heavy (red) smart wool socks. If I need more I'll add a pair of the old poly pro bottoms, the old brown ones. I will carry an extra pair of socks in my pack, if there's hiking involved in any amount, your feet WILL sweat...once they get cold you're done. Changing your socks will help greatly. Liners also dont do much for me though I've heard great things about gortex socks I've never tried them

    If you're still getting cold, get rid of the underarmor. I learned that in MN this last fall. Thought the stuff rocked, till I took it off and went back to my marino wool. Over priced and over rated but if it works for ya I definatly wont nock it. It does help cut the wind where my marino wool doesnt so it has some benefit. Just keep that in mind.

    Lastly dont forget that your body is going to rob the extremities first, (feet/hands) when the core starts getting cold. Put on a warm hat and maybe a better top and your feet might stay warmer longer. I also get out for a bit here and there to help warm up if it's terribly cold.

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