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Cuben fishing waders
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Tyler Boerner
Cuben fishing waders on 04/14/2011 13:14:58 MDT Print View

Hey all, this is my first post but I’ve been watching the site for a while now.

I was hoping to get some advice on making a pair of UL fishing waders. I’ve put together a great little fly-fishing kit that doesn’t take up too much space or weight too much, but it’s become clear I need a good pair of durable, waterproof pants for it to be perfect. So here are my thoughts on the project so far.
The design will look something like these:
Wiggy's Waders
But will be a pair of waist high pants (probably based on one of Quest outfitter’s patterns) instead of individual “hippers”. And to protect to the bottom of waders, I’ve been thinking of just using a lightweight pair of paddle shoes to slip on over top of them.

As for the material I’ve been looking at using 1.4oz Cuben Fiber, but I’ve never worked with it before so I have a few questions.

Is this the best option (1.4oz Cuben) for durable, lightweight, waterproof? Or should I look elsewhere?

The best seams for clothing? Glue/tape or sew and seal? (I have sewing experience)

Any/all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot,
Tyler b.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re on 04/14/2011 19:54:29 MDT Print View

Nice to hear from a fellow fly fisherman. What kind fly rod/reel setup do you use?

1.43oz cuben should be durable enough to last a few seasons depending on how many times you fish each year. It's pretty strong stuff. Make sure to protect the foot area though, that is where the greatest potential for a leak to develop will be. I would say just use standard felt or rubber sole boots but they aren't exactly lightweight. If I was making a pair I would bond w/ them Hysol personally. Good luck!


tyler marlow

Locale: UTAH
waders on 04/14/2011 22:41:32 MDT Print View

Not speaking with experience here so take whatever I say with a grain of salt.

I think you would have to use tape to achieve full waterproofness. Recently there was a thread in gear deals about the 3M tape (I forget the exact product number 9463pc or something) for $10 on eBay.

Then I would just use a simple pattern for a sock or something and extend the leg all the way up to your waist. Maybe you could use just one seam at the middle. Using tape might make the seam small enough that it won't be noticed underfoot.

I would also make them just as a slip on sock type without any kind of sole. You would then wear them over your socks but under your shoe. This way you would have full traction while minimizing seams that could potentially leak. Also you wouldn't have to worry about the cuben abrading. Finally, that would make them multi use as a VBL, rain chaps, or for snow/creek crossings.

I think there was a thread on this once before but I don't remember seeing the waders actually made. I believe the OP was Ike Mouser

EDIT: found that thread

Edited by like.sisyphus on 04/14/2011 22:47:19 MDT.

ziff house
(mrultralite) - F
I find on 04/15/2011 10:10:18 MDT Print View

its quite hard to get Cuben seams waterproof. its easier if you have it straight flat on a good surface, but generaly i have found it necesary to glue an extra strip over the seam with a lighter cuben. Water is a bugger, finds the smallest hole.

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
Re: I find on 04/15/2011 13:51:37 MDT Print View

I don't think Cuben is waterproof "enough" to withstand wading and soaking in water especially with a current. I think Cuben would leak pretty badly in this scenario. Not to mention it would provide little to no insulation so why wouldn't you just use bare legs and quick drying shorts? Cuben would be like wearing a garbage sack. It wouldn't be very comfortable from a sweat or skin to fabric perspective.

The fabric that Wiggys is using is probably waterproof to 200+ PSI. PU coated fabric is easy to seam seal so you won't have leaks. You could probably reduce the weight of wiggys by using 70D fabric and seam taping it. Again you have to consider what wearing a pair of unbreathable PU coated pants is going to feel like. It might make you wish that you were in bare legs and shorts.

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Integrated into boots/shoes? on 04/15/2011 14:42:39 MDT Print View

Funny you should start this topic, I too have recently been pondering how to bring waders for fly fishing without adding too much weight.

I was thinking though, instead of socks, etc. that you would carry in your pack, adding weight, and time to put them on/take them off.

How about designing a goretex/event shoe, that just has the goretex/event lining extend up to your hip? When not in use you could roll them down to the top of the boot and just hike like normal. Come to a stream crossing, or decide to do a little fishing at you lunch break, just un-strap/fold/etc. them from the top of your boot and pull them up to your crotch. They could be made loose to go over your pants and have a little shock cord draw string at the top to keep them in place, or even a little loop that would snap to you belt or belt loops of your pants/shorts?

Am I so off base with this idea? They already make waterproof goretex boots and trail runners. Would it be that difficult to just bring that liner out of the top of the boot? Of course, this idea is probably a little too involved for the average MYOG guy, but some of the more experience ones(especially with making shoes/sandals) might be able to pull it off.
Or should I just try and find a willing shoe manufacturer to pitch the idea too?

Tyler Boerner
Waders on 04/15/2011 19:17:39 MDT Print View

Hey this is some great information guys, thanks a lot!

I think before I jump in, at least with Cuben, I should research a bit more into getting water tight seams and play around with some cheaper coated nylon. I definitely like the idea of keeping the design as simple, and with as few seams as possible. It's probably a must for getting any type of longevity or extended use out of the waders.

Really I just want the waders as an option for certain situation/waters. Currently I’m 'wet wading' with just some wool socks and a pair of paddle shoes, and that works fine most of the time. But if I’m fishing particularly cold water or right up until dusk, staying dry would make the trip so much more enjoyable.

The rod I use most is actually a 12' Tenkara. I don’t know if you've ever looked into Tenkara rods, but it’s a fantastically simple and light system. No reel, line, or backing is used, just a long woven monofilament leader and tippet. Anymore, I only pack in the usual rod/reel combo if headed up to a large lake.

albert barragan
(comaone) - F

Locale: PNW
waders. on 04/15/2011 19:34:40 MDT Print View

I have so given up on waders!!! just made my tenkara purchase and last week was my first try at wader free!!! yup, I just walked right in fished and walked out, with trail runners all was well,

Zachary Zrull
(zackcentury) - F

Locale: Great Lakes
Re: Cuben fishing waders - Inspiration on 04/15/2011 20:32:33 MDT Print View

Please make them like this:

Hammer Time

Eugene Hollingsworth
(GeneH_BPL) - F
Cuben fishing waders on 04/16/2011 01:24:46 MDT Print View

Tyler - I'm not sure I speak for anyone else, but I will be looking for lightweight, but not UL, waders for BWCAW portages in cool weather. We sometimes have to wade up to our knees in some areas to pull the canoe through channels. Rocks, brush, and mud can be the order of the day. Cost is a big factor.

Tyler Sanford
(san39153) - F
Re: on 12/09/2011 15:19:08 MST Print View

If you get this figured out, let me know. Very interested.

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
Waders on 12/09/2011 19:02:58 MST Print View

I would agree with the others who have concerns about the waterproofness of cuben. Even the heavier cuben styles seem to get pinholes at creases. They are serviceable for shelters and even seem to work for groundsheets, but for waders you might want something completely watertight.

The 30d heat-sealable ripstop nylon sold by Seattle Fabrics weighs about 3oz/square yard. The 30d Kookabay inflatable sleeping pads are made from this or a similar fabric. It is airtight and watertight.