anystripe

Locating / Reapairing Leaks in Waders

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Another topic that has probably been beat to death over the years, but the wader thread had me thinking.

 

What are you doing to locate the exact spot of the leak and what are you using to seal it? Some of those seam or pinhole leaks are tough to find the exact spot.

 

I've always just used Aqua Seal. Always seems temporary at best. Just seeing everyone else's fixes.

 

 

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The black tenacious tape that is included with the water repair kit tube is good. Also my friend has loon uv wader repair stuff. Kind of like aqua seal but you put a uv light to it and it dries in seconds. Seems legit, I’m getting some of that myself. 
 

to locate leaks he sprayed some alcohol on my waders. It would show black spots where there are leaks. My waders were wet so it didn’t work well at the time. 

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Go into a dark room and hold a small flashlight inside the waders. The light will shine thru even the smallest holes .

Mark those spots with a marker then seal.

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If they are stocking foot turn them inside out fill them with water.  Boot foot I would just fill them up. 

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If you still can't find the leak with the flashlight method then it's usually the tape seam. One way to figure out where the leak in the seam is to fill your bath tub with water. Reverse the wader inside out and fill it with water and red water soluble dye. Dunk the waders in feet first and lay it gently flat with the opening side up. If there is a leak the red dye should seep out and that is the area that needs to be resealed.

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Assuming the leak is 90% likely in the leg or feet - this method works great. And I would try the light thing first. Maybe the alcohol method. The filling with water method is about even with this for amount of work to do to find the leak. 
 

(I just did this again recently as I thought my patch had reopened. Turned out to be something else. )
 

If you have an air mattress air pump or preferably the outgoing air from a shopvac (wet/dry vac), those will work.
 

Do one leg at a time. Spray wherever there could be a leak with soapy water. Bunch up the material and hold it tight around the air pump output nozzle or the hose. It’s a not perfect balloon type thing and you won’t pop the seams because you’re only using your hand to be the choke point. Look for bubbling of the soapy water as air escape the leak spot. (Seams, punctures, works for both. And leaky seams can be hard to diagnose otherwise.)
 

For anywhere above the legs, I actually put the waders on and wader belt cinched tight enough where I could still get the shop vac hose stuffed in blowing air in. Had the wife & kids spray soapy water & look for leaks in the butt & crotch seams. 

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Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, anystripe said:

They're boot foot. LL Bean TEKs.

 

I'll give the alcohol method a try today.

Turn the waders inside out first, before you spray w/ alcohol. Don’t think it was mentioned in this thread yet.

Edited by phishallways

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Posted (edited)

If you have a leak anywhere around the seam of your TEKs(inparticular if relatively new)--see orange hatched area--I would honestly do visual check, try the flashlight, but then just go ahead and put seamsealer on the all of those seams in green. Just use a popsicle stick or a gloved finger. Doesn't have to be wide or thick. I have had leaks up there one one leg of the four superseam Beans I've had. Doing this fixed that...the seams on the four superseams I've had have all been really really good, no leaks except for these initial ones. I chalk them up to a flaw in manufacturing. 

 

Having said that, some have posted pictures of their Double LL's seams delaminating. That's a different issue I think.

 

The yellow squiggly line is where I have gotten like a dozen leaks. If you have a leak down there you should be able to find a worn through point in crease in the shell fabric. You might be able to see the white inner layer through the hole. You can confirm with a flashlight. I'll post how I fix that later. You have to be more careful down there than with the seams because being sloppy down there can make it hard to find and fix leaks later. Also I have an idea that you can just treat like half of the seam in one go and it prevents more leaks from forming and less time doing repair. 

 

If you have wet socks, pull out the soles and check the padding of the boot sole. If it's soaked you have a crack down in sole or along edge. If it's not wet, you have a crack in the top of the boot somewhere. You have to dry the boot, then go around gently flexing/squeezing boot looking for water to come out of a crack. I've been using the 3M Fastcure along with a nylon patch to prevent the patch being stretched and weakened or even cracking.    

 

 

TEKs.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by TopStriperAngler

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Posted (edited)

Oh one other thing wanted to mention: these are damp waders they don't breathe once the DWR(durable water repellent) coating wears off which seems to happen almost immediately. If the shell material gets saturated(water no longer beading up on it) then water vapor cannot pass through. So really if you are getting condensation and dampness that's normal, as far as I understand this thing. 

 

To me, used to it. A leak involves a big wet spot on my jeans. Or the inside of the boot is soaked. 

 

Dampness or even wetness in the shape of the crease in a pant leg is condensation, in my experience. 

 

Any thoughts out there on this issue?

Edited by TopStriperAngler

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Like everyone else who fished waders I also had to deal with leaks. I tried all the above mentioned methods, except the alcohol method, never heard of that one. The only thing worse than a wader leak is a wader leak the following night after you "thought" you fixed it and you now have to deal with another night of being cold and clammy. This method has never failed me in identifying the hole area in minutes if not seconds and was born out of frustration and necessity after failure using the above mentioned methods. Only tool needed is a Sharpie pen and pair of cotton sweatpants. Just stand in the water during daytime wearing the leaking waders over the cotton sweatpants and within seconds you will feel the cold spot. The cotton absorbs water like a sponge which makes it perfect for this need. Simply mark the waders with the Sharpie while wearing them as soon as you feel the leak, it will appear as a small wet spot on the sweatpants. I've never "not found the leak" using this method.

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Best waders are 70$. 1-2 seasons throw away. I've paid lots of money over many years for every make and model. They all leaked and made me real mad so I went a different route. Duck hunting is different and I need expensive dry warm waders. Just my way is all. 

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If I make it through one season with a pair of waders, I have my wife bake a cake so we can celebrate! Lol...... Really, when I get a leak in my waders I use the dark room, strong flashlight system and that seems to work every time. I then mark the leak(s) with a Sharpie. SC's remedy sounds interesting though. I have to try that this time around.

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