Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What To Do About Clammy Breathable Waders

Here is a guide to the care and feeding of breathable waders slightly modified, but primarily as supplied to us by Orvis. The information is also applicable to any waterproof breathable garment like a Gore-Tex rain jacket:

The outer surface of most laminated waterproof-breathable fabrics is treated with a durable water-repellent coating (DWR). This chemical treatment forces water to bead up and roll off the surface of the fabric improving the overall performance and comfort of the garment.

DWR coatings will begin to degrade after extended use and as the garment becomes soiled. The degradation will inhibit the DWR coating’s ability to bead water and cause the garment to “wet out” as the face fabric material absorbs water.

Although the garment is still waterproof, the water saturated face fabric will hinder the garments ability to breathe and produce a cold and clammy feeling for the wearer. It is important to clean your garments regularly to help avoid this situation.


Most garments can be machined washed, consult the care instruction label on the garment. Make sure to use an additive-free detergent. DO NOT USE ANY DETERGENTS THAT CONTAIN FABRIC SOFTENERS OR COLOR SAFE BLEACH.

Machine Washable Items (Stocking foot waders and jackets)

Ivory® Snow (powder)
ReviveX® Synthetic Fabric Cleaner
Nikwax® Tech Wash

Non-machine washable Items (Boot foot waders)

Granger® G-Wash Spray Cleaner

Please read and follow the instructions included with these products and the garment manufacturer’s care and cleaning directions.


Cleaning alone may not restore the DWR coating effectiveness.

For a clean garment, use a cool iron or tumble dry on low to medium heat to reactivate the coating. Please follow the garment manufacturer’s recommended instructions for drying.

To reapply a DWR coating, we recommend the following products. Please be sure to read and follow the instructions for application carefully.

ReviveX® Spray-On Water Repellent (Which we stock at Unicoi Outfitters)

With basic care and maintenance, your waterproof, breathable garment(s) should provide you years of use and enjoyment.

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