Cermele: Find Gore-Tex Pin Holes with Alcohol

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of hanging out at Simms headquarters in Bozeman, Montana. I have to admit that getting a behind-the-scenes look at their operation, particularly the wader-making process, was very impressive. But of all the neat stuff I saw, a simple technique employed by Simms' repair department was perhaps the most interesting, because I am hell on waders and pin hole leaks are my arch nemesis.

Find pin holes in your Gore-Tex with rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.
Find pin holes in your Gore-Tex with rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.Joe Cermele

When a pair of well-worn waders reaches Simms, the first thing that happens is they're turned inside out and sprayed liberally with rubbing alcohol. And I do mean liberally. Apparently, as the Gore-Tex material breathes and air passes through, any pin holes will darken like the little dot in the photo. Simply smear a little AquaSeal over the dark spot (you can do it before the alcohol dries) and you're good to go.

Now, this only works on Gore-Tex material, and Simms is the only company to use it in waders. But if your trusty old Gore-Tex jacket or rain pants from another brand are getting a little leaky, flip them inside out and hit them with some alcohol. You'll find those dirty pin holes in a jiffy. - JC