Fishing for Facts
Information on stuff I have used and what I like and didn't like about it.

Looking good: the 3XDry fishing shirt
I bought a couple of fishing shirts treated with 3XDRY® and brought them to Hawaii for a two week torture test. I was wearing them on the East Coast, but only for a day trip of fishing here and there and so far they performed as advertised, which is quick drying and stain resistant.

3XDRY® is a treatment, not a textile like cotton, wool, nylon or Gore-Tex. The treatment does not affect the appearance, feel or the air permeability features of the fabric. The outside is water, dirt and stain repellent while on the inside any moisture is quickly Photobucketabsorbed and distributed over a large surface area, accelerating the evaporation process. It also minimizes sweat marks. I can attest to the stain repellent part after dropping a huge gob of ketchup, mustard and relish from a Costco hot dog on the front of the shirt, where it easily slid off leaving no stain.

I brought a tan and a light blue long sleeve shirt. I favored the light blue shirt for most of the trip mainly because of the color. In fisherman’s lore, you should try to blend in with the environment so I figured light blue would blend with the sea and sky on the flats.

I wore this shirt for fishing on just about every day of the trip. I would normally be in water up to my waist wading across the flats but would end up getting soaked up to the armpits in salt water when I crossed deep sand channels. When I returned home I would soak it in a bucket of fresh water then wring it out and let it air dry on a hanger in the shower. The shirt was usually dry and ready to wear in a little more than an hour. Pretty good stuff. And on some days I would fish in the morning AND in the afternoon and the shirt was always ready to go. During very light rain showers the water would bead off the surface of the shirt but if I got soaked, it would rapidly dry as I continued to fish.

I also brought along a pair of tan convertible slacks treated with 3XDRY® and they performed just as well as the shirt. If I stood around in the parking lot swapping lies with the other fishermen the pants would be almost dry by the time I got into the car for the drive home.

Care instructions: Normal wash - Wash resistance is approximately at 50 washings. No fabric softener or dryer sheets. In order to guarantee the optimal function of 3XDRY® over a longer period of time, the product should be ironed or tumble dried after washing so the finish can be regenerated. 3XDRY® finishing is patented by Schoeller Technologies AG.

Simms roll-top lumbar pack
You don’t need a ton of gear when you fish on the Hawaii flats but I do need to keep some gear dry, like my video and still camera, extra flies, a light jacket, a bottle of water and extra leader spools so I brought a Simms Dry Creek roll-top lumbar pack to the islands to haul all my junk around.

Understand this about the pack. It’s water-resistant NOT waterproof. If you submerge the pack for a length of time it will fill with water! However if you dunk it for a few seconds or get washed over by a large wave stuff inside will remain dry. Just don’t overfill it. The roll top should be able to fold over itself several times if you want a water-resistant seal. Once over won’t keep your stuff inside dry.

For what I needed the pack to do while in the islands it worked fine. What was inside the main compartment stayed dry. However all the outside pockets were another matter. There are two wing pockets on the waist belt and just looking at them you know they Photobucketwill leak so don’t put anything in them that needs to stay dry. The large water-resistant zippered front pouch also leaks. If you’re wading and water laps up around the front zipper compartment chances are whatever is inside will be soaked. Keep extra pre-tied leaders or other miscellaneous junk you don’t mind getting wet in this compartment but don’t put your wallet, phone, compact digicam or paper ID cards in.

The main compartment comes with a padded foam insert that has four small side pockets sewn in. This is good to hold leader spools and small fly boxes. The main compartment will hold only one of the following: a digicam with a medium-sized zoom lens, a small videocam, a 12 oz bottle of water (including the smaller items mentioned before). You can also toss in your cellphone or PDA, but I would put everything in a couple of plastic bags or a soft protective case like those sold by Aquapac. I found that if you remove the insert you could fold a light jacket to fit inside and use this as a cushion for your equipment. I would also carry a small hand towel to wipe salt water off my hands before touching any unprotected electronic gear. One major tip: don’t overload the pack! If it’s too heavy it will drag down over your butt and you’ll have to cinch it up really tight to keep it from sagging.

So for two weeks I used this pack on the flats. Steve T. also had one and both of us were sometimes temporarily in chest deep water but stuff stayed reasonably dry. Sometimes it was damp inside when I got home, but it was probably water that came in on my hand when I opened the bag to get stuff out. A daily rinse of fresh water and a wipe down with a clean cloth and the bag was good to go. If there was a sticking point it would be the waist strap system. Despite two buckles, the strap would loosen up over time and the bag would ride loose on my hip. I fixed this problem by tying the loose end in a knot so it wouldn’t slip.

Reviving your breathable gear
NOTE: This article deals specifically with Gore-Tex fabric. Always follow your manufacturer's recommendations before, during and after washing your garments!

Modern breathable fabrics do two things very well--keep water out while allowing liquid released by your body (perspiration) to evaporate. However if your garment starts to develop patches that looks like wet or damp spots that do not bead water this is called 'wet out'. This means the outer fabric layered over the Gore-Tex material has been saturated with water and the water repellent treatment on the outer fabric is depleted.

This treatment is a chemical called DWR (Durable Water Resistant) that is applied to the outer fabric layer during the manufacturing process (think sandwich...outer fabric, Gore-Tex, inner fabric). It penetrates the fibers and causes water to bead up and roll off instead of being absorbed. With it's depleted, you think your wader or jacket is leaking--you get a cold, wet or damp feeling on your skin.

This chemical treatment is not permanent. Under normal use, dirt, insect repellent (DEET), grease and oils will shorten its lifespan. However you can restore it.

Nothing beats a good wash to get all that gunk off the outside layer. Waders with neoprene boots should be washed by hand in cold water using a powdered or liquid detergent (check the manufacturer's label for specific instructions) that had no fabric softener. If you need to remove stains use a pre-wash treatment such as Shout or Spray 'n Wash. Do not use bleach. Do not dry clean. Do not iron.

For wading jackets, rain jackets, shirts, pants, hats or gloves, machine wash in warm water using a powdered or liquid detergent (check the manufacturer's label for specific instructions) that has no fabric softeners. Do not use bleach. If you need to remove stains use a pre-wash treatment such as Shout or Spray 'n Wash.

Always check the manufacturer's cleaning instructions for specific treatment instructions. The information is usually printed on a tag somewhere on your garment. Sometimes it's printed on the back of the main tag while other times it's on a separate tag attached next to the main tag. I've even seen the instructions placed in some strange places, like near the bottom hem of a jacket or inside a pocket.

After washing, use a clothes dryer set on warm. The heat from the dryer will reactivate the treatment. If you don't have a dryer, an iron set on warm will also reactivate the treatment but put a towel or cloth between the garment and the iron to avoid possible scorching. And if you want to have the piece dry-cleaned, tell the company to use a clear distilled solvent rinse and spray repellent. Again, you should follow the manufacturer's instructions for dry-cleaning because some Goretex or other breathable fabrics do not recommend dry cleaning.

However sometimes washing is not enough and you will still have those 'wet out' areas. In this situation you can further restore the depleted areas by applying a spray-on treatment used for outdoor fabrics.

There are two types of treatments that do a good job. The first is Goretex ReviveX ($8 to $12). A five ounce bottle will do about two garments. Wash, spray on when wet, tumble dry in a clothes dryer set on medium. DO NOT AIR DRY (hang on a clothes line or in your shower stall). The other is a product called NIKWAX TX-Direct ($12 to $14). I use this on my waders and it works well. Just place the clean item on a flat, clean surface, spray on evenly, wait two minutes then wipe off excess with a damp cloth. There are also wash-in treatments but some manufacturers do not recommend them because it can affect the garment's breathability. I bought a bottle at REI, but I'm sure other specialty sporting goods stores or online shops carry the products.

Other Gore-Yex products: XCR (Extended Comfort Range) which is 25-30 percent more breathable than regular Gore-tex; PACLITE is a very light fabric made for clothing you'll need only occasionally (light rain shell); WINDSTOPPER is a soft shell fabric that is not waterproof but will stop the wind from blowing through; WINDSTOPPER N2S (Next 2 Skin) has a wicking layer to move moisture off your body quickly.