You’ve probably read or heard recommendations to dry your waders out in between uses, possibly to avoid mildew damage. You might be wondering why this is important? The main reason is to avoid mildew growing on the inside which can damage the fabric and seam tape. Some amount of condensation will always be present on the inside of waterproof breathable waders, simply because of how the fabric functions. The material used on breathable waders works in this way; there are thousands of tiny holes, that are too small for moisture (water) to fit through but are big enough for vapor or air to move through. This allows air to flow through, hence making them breathable, but keeps water from passing through. Because the human body naturally passes moisture out through the skin, a bit of condensation build up throughout the legs, feet, knees and on the ankles is normal. This is just a function of moisture escaping the body and being left on the inside of the breathable membrane as the warm air escapes out through the fabric and leaves moisture behind. If you’re interested we have more information about condensation here.
The bottom line is that it pay to dry your waders to avoid mildew damage. Mildew is not only gross, but it actually damages waterproof breathable fabrics and seam tape making them more likely to wear out and need to be replaced faster. So just hang your waders up to dry in a warm well ventilated area, allow them to dry out completely between uses, and you’ll be ready for your next trip with dry and warm waders. We’ll leave you with these example photos below of what to avoid! The black spots throughout is all black mildew, doing it’s best to damage and ruin these waders.