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Breathable waders for cold weather

Discussion in 'Boats, Blinds, & Gadgets Forum' started by darkvibe, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. darkvibe

    darkvibe Senior Refuge Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    New York
    I'd like any input from anyone who uses breathables in cold weather, especially if you have also used 5mm neoprene and can compare the two for warmth and durability. In the late season I might be hunting in temperatures from 15 to 30 degrees. Possibly a little colder on occasion.

    Currently I wear cabelas 5mm neoprene with 1600 gram insulation in the boots. I'm cold blooded and they are still relatively warm. I HATE them getting swampy inside from not letting moisture out. My early season breathable waders are much better.

    So.... Are they as warm as 5mm neoprene? I am seeing some with 60g and 120g insulation in the uppers and 1200 in the boots or 1600 in the boots for one brand.

    Brands to look at or avoid? Looking around online and am seeing drake, banded and frogg toggs. Cabelas are my usual go-to but they don't have any with very much insulation. Haven't been impressed with drake or banded quality although I have never had their waders. banded are the only ones with 1600g of boot insulation. How are frogg toggs like the link below?
    jjseman likes this.
  2. smashdn

    smashdn Elite Refuge Member

    Aug 13, 2004
    Palmyra, KY
    I have the macks 5mm cat daddy waders and I wear a pair of lacrosse swampfox convertible waders.

    The macks have 1200 in the boot I think and the lacrosse have 600 grams. I notice no difference in foot warmth when wearing them.

    Where breathables shine is if you are walking in to a spot. They are lighter and easier to walk in. They give you more mobility and you aren't constantly tugging the seams and causing leak points like you do with neoprenes. I wear them more often than not when I hunt. You do need to layer clothing under them to stay warm. I always wear a pair of the cabelas wader pants as the last layer. You will still sweat and can get wet in them if you overlayer or really get to sweating.

    The neoprenes I wear when I might be busting ice, hunting from the boat or standing in water. The neoprene will keep you warm while standing in water, the water pressure squeezes the warmed air out of the breathables and your legs will get cold eventually.

    As far as brands, I think it is crapshoot. Some people swear by a certain brand and get 7-10 years out of a pair, others get less than 7 hunts before they are toast. I have had my best luck wearing the breathables when I walk and the neos when I don't and neither pair really takes a full season's worth of abuse. Use shoe goo to fix the leaks when they appear.
    Fowler267, jjseman and darkvibe like this.
  3. chuam

    chuam Elite Refuge Member

    Oct 27, 2006
    I've worn my breathables down to -12. The key is layering. A good base layer, fleece wader pants and I've been good. If I'm going to be standing in water then I'll wear another base layer. You won't get wet and swampy in the breathables (which will keep you warmer in the long run).

    I have the Orvis Sonicseam waders, pricey but the lace up boots make them great to hike in and keep your foot from being pulled out. I had to send a set back due to the boot having a defect and they shipped me a new set.
    darkvibe and warrenwaterfowler like this.
  4. DHC

    DHC Elite Refuge Member

    Jan 21, 2008
    I've worn both, and hands down breathables are the way to go. I've been wearing Banded's for two years now down to temps in the single digits and zero complaints. Wear a good base layer, a pair of fleece wader pants and you're good. You couldn't pay me enough to go back to neoprene's
    darkvibe and JFG like this.
  5. Native NV Ducker

    Native NV Ducker Mod-Duck Hunters Forum, Classifieds, and 2 others Moderator Flyway Manager

    Dec 14, 2003
    Sula, MT
    I got chaum beat. Have worn my Cabela's breathables in -20 temps. When I got back to the truck, and finally got out of em, they just stood against the fender.
    What he says about layering is the key.

    Somewhat related, but NOTHING will keep you warm if you are just sitting there, not moving. Circulation slows down, and you get cold. Fact. Problem with neo's is it traps ALL the water vapor, so when you chill down, it gets bad. I don't think, for a minute, breathables let ALL the vapor escape, but in my experience (I have used neo's) breathables are the better way to go.

    I have worn up to 4 layers. Fluffy is best, to trap warm air.
    chuam, darkvibe and JFG like this.
  6. Okie Fowler

    Okie Fowler Senior Refuge Member

    Oct 1, 2008
    Muldrow, Oklahoma
    I have a pair of the Frogg Toggs Grand Refuge waders...just bought them this year. Like the others said, I prefer breathable waders over the neoprene. So far, the waders have held up well, even through busting ice.

    As already mentioned, layering is the key to staying warm in the breathables. When it's 40-50 degrees I wear a mid-weight wool bottom, 30-40 degrees I switch to a Sitka Core heavyweight bottom, anything colder I go to a heavyweight fleece wader pant (will try the Sitka Gradients I bought this year too). For socks, I wear two pairs of various weight wool.

    I really like the Frogg Toggs over the Cabela's breathables I've owned previously. The whole wader design allows for layering clothing, from the boot to the chest. Very comfortable to walk in and squat down in. Got mine from Roger's Sporting Goods on sale.
    darkvibe likes this.
  7. nick b

    nick b Senior Refuge Member

    May 17, 2015
    I have a pair of Cabelas breathables (600g) that I wear through November and a pair of Academy hybrids (neoprene legs, breathable top) that I wear once it gets cold. Best of both worlds. The hybrids are definitely lighter than full on neoprenes and keep your legs warm. I do mostly hunt from a layout boat though so I don't have to fight the cold quite as much as sitting/standing in the water.

    NOLUCK Senior Refuge Member

    Jun 28, 2003
    I also have the Cabelas 600g breathables and Cabelas ultimate's. I have not worn the neoprene pair for 3 years. I wear the breathable's all season and here in northern Ohio my season can range from mid 70's to -0's. I have the breathables with a zipper and boy am I going to miss them. I wear them 40-50 days a season and mine are 4 years old so they hold up well.
  9. lax

    lax Elite Refuge Member

    Jun 1, 2003
    West Coast,Wisc
    I wear breathables till we are iced out here. A good set of wader pants and wool wader socks go a long way.
  10. Gude

    Gude Elite Refuge Member

    Oct 16, 2007
    Banded Insulated Breathables. I have both the insulated and uninsulated.
    I'll never, ever go back to neoprenes unless they stop making these waders. More comfortable than most uninsulated breathables as they not nearly as baggy and they breath infinitely better than neoprenes.

    Stood in nut deep water for 5 days last January with just a pair of flanel lined pants underneath - temps from 5-20 most of the week.

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