Wearing Neoprene Waders in the Summer: Stay Cool & Calm

September 17, 2021

Your big fishing trip is coming up and you’ve done a little bit of research to find out the best waders for you. You chose neoprene but turns out it’s a hot summer day and  you are only now reading about “breathable waders”.

Well, not to worry because we will tell you all about wearing neoprene waders in the summer.

What to Wear and What to Avoid

On this trip, you might be going hiking and hunting too along with fishing. And you don’t want to keep changing into different attire for each occasion. So, you are most likely to put on your waders before leaving and stay in them for the rest of the day.

This will leave you spending many hours in your waders. How do you manage to be comfortable if you are wearing neoprene waders in the summer? Well, let’s talk about that and a few other things that you should know before you head out fishing.

Here’s the first thing to know. No matter what kind of weather you are dealing with, the temperature of the water depends on the nature of the place. So, it might be very cold.

But if it is summertime, you are still going to sweat a little, if not a lot. So, if you also have hiking and walking around scheduled into your day, you will feel hot as hell in neoprene waders.

The only way you can make this trip enjoyable is if you figure out what to wear under the waders so that the sweat coming out of your body has a way to escape this heat trap.

Why is it a heat trap? Well, because waders made of neoprene are not the most breathable ones. The whole idea of neoprene is to keep you dry, yes, but also warm while you are out in the winter.

Now, wearing neoprene waders in the summer is a topic of discussion if you already bought them and want to keep wearing them long after the mercury stopped dropping.

Since you have these waders on the outside of your body, you need to wear materials under your waders that will absorb moisture and keep you as cool as they possibly can. For this reason, waders made of polyester are preferred for wading in hot weather.

You can also try nylon, wool and bamboo.

And when it comes to what not to wear under your waders, stay away from cotton.

You think it will keep you cool but if you happen to get wet, which is a possibility with waders made of any material depending on how you maintain them, you want to wear materials that don’t like getting wet as much as cotton does.

With cotton, you will end up feeling damp and soggy and no one wants that.

How to Wear Neoprene Waders

Wearing Neoprene Waders

The reason why neoprene waders are so popular is because they are a reliable choice when you are going underwater. They are also cheaper than waders made of breathable fabrics and are excellent when the water is very cold.

These waders have also been deemed the standard in the industry because neoprene is good when it comes to locking water outside the wader.

The downside is that they are hot, heavy and make you sweat. They are also not too great if the water is warm or if you have too much footwork ahead. They don’t allow moisture to pass through the waders.

And when it is locked in, you will sweat inside the wader which isn’t exactly great if you are trying to stay dry.

One saving grace is that a lot of modern neoprene waders come with insulation which promises to keep your legs from getting heated. This is important when you have other activities like hiking or hunting planned along with fishing in the summer.

About Waterproofing

Like breathable waders, the neoprene ones are also made in waterproof models. In fact, waders made of the latter are excellent for waterproofing which makes them such a coveted choice.

It shows military discipline when it comes to not letting moisture in or out of the waders. Naturally, it will keep the water out but also trap the sweat in.

Breathable waders, in contrast, come with tiny little pores (almost microscopic) which are a perfect channel to let the sweat escape but not let the larger water molecules in. This makes them a drier choice when compared to neoprene waders.

However, both models are prone to leaks over time. Luckily, you can locate and patch them easily for neoprene waders.

How to Handle Summers in Waders

This depends on whether it is pleasantly warm or scorchingly hot. So, if you already have neoprene waders, you must concentrate on what to wear underneath them to make sure wearing neoprene waders in the summer does not turn your trip into a punishment. 

  • Lightweight pants or shorts will keep you dry and cool. If you have zip-off pants, you’ve really nailed it.
  • A good wading jacket or a rain jacket is good in case the forecast of a sunny day turns on you.
  • Investing in a lightweight fishing skirt that can suck moisture out is also not out of line.
  • A sun hat of course even if you’ve got sunscreen is a good purchase when going into the water in the summer. And if you are anticipating bugs, get one of those hats with a net.
  • You want to go bare feet when it is hot outside. So, look for wading shoes or sandals that can be worn on the boat and off. There are plenty of choices in the market for both men and women.

Fabrics for Your Upper Body

Man Fly Fishing in Santa Hat

Now, you must remember that you will be sweating between the shoulder blades and you need to be ready to handle that.

Otherwise, the top half of your body will be dripping in sweat especially if you have a pair of chest waders.

There was a time when heavy fabrics such as linen and denim were the only options. Luckily, there is a lot of choice when it comes to fly fishing apparel. You have the likes of rayon, polyester and bamboo to pick from.

Go for something that is not too heavy and can absorb moisture on a warm day. All three examples above check those boxes. Also, try to find a shirt or t-shirt which has a hood and long sleeves because it will protect you from the sun.

Some companies that manufacture fishing apparel might seem pricey but they are worth the investment.

Fabrics for Socks and Undergarments

It doesn’t matter what kind of waders you have, you need to find a good pair (or two) of lightweight and tall socks.

If you are going to wear pants under your waders, you want to tuck them in, keeping the socks out.

This is because your pants are likely to ride up after a few hours and your shin will be exposed inside the waders. That’s one of the most uncomfortable things to experience when in the water.

Some waders come with neoprene boots that are very thin.

These look like socks but that doesn’t mean you can skip them. If you go into the water without socks and just neoprene boots, you will come back with what is called perma-stink.

Yes, it has to do with bad odor and that is the next most uncomfortable experience. So, hopefully, you remembered to buy the booties with space for socks in mind.

Then there is the question of undergarments. You want to be comfortable but the same logic for socks applies here too. Otherwise, when you tend to sweat it will get extremely uncomfortable.

We want to say that’s the third most uncomfortable experience but this is one with the capacity to escalate to the number one place really quickly.

Bottom line is, if you are wearing neoprene wader in the summer, wear breathable undergarments because you will sweat and it’s the rest of the clothing that has to make up for it.

Wrapping Up

Fly fisherman stands on the river

Make no mistake, buying neoprene waders for a fishing trip in the summer is a mistake. But you won’t be sent to the chair for this one.

The big problem with wearing neoprene waders in the summer is that they are not breathable at all. This means that the sweat gets trapped underneath the wader, right?

All you have to do, as you now know, is find the right materials that will absorb the sweat and make it a pleasant experience for you on the inside while the neoprene takes care of keeping the outside water where it belongs.

This means you will be looking at long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts that are made of materials like nylon, wool, bamboo, rayon, polyester.

You can wear shorts or pants inside the waders but keep them lightweight because neoprene really isn’t.

Despite the discomfort you might feel, always wear socks.

So, pick a few pairs of tall socks and tuck your pants into them to keep the whole operation inside the waders tight.

And that’s it. Doesn’t matter if you got the wrong waders for the season, you’re all good to go. Enjoy your trip, and if you want to learn more check out our article on the best waders for hot weather.

Happy Hunting!

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