The problem

Rain is normally not a big problem as it is easy to cover against precipitation from top. But sometimes in autumn the vegetation is very wet for longer times. As we have a lot of higher ground vegetation in Lapland trousers get soaking wet. This itself is not a big problem as trousers do not touch the skin a lot to take out heat, but if they are soaking wet they make the socks wet over time. The socks then transmit the water into the shoe and that is a catastrophe. Shoes always should be as dry as possible because:

  • They dry very bad and are very difficult to dry (without burning them).
  • Wet feet start hurting more easily and injuries can occur, these get inflammatory much more easily if they are constant wet.
  • The feet can get very cold.
  • Wet shoes develop a huge amount of bacteria and mold/mushrooms.
  • In wet shoes the grip and fit is normally worse.

Waterproof trousers?

One solution is taking waterproof trousers but that comes with several disadvantages:

  • You sweat more.
  • They are normally not so robust.
  • They are much more expensive.
  • Sparks and heat damage them easily.
  • The availability is worse.
  • It is harder to find long or short fits.
  • You find much less camouflage patterns.

Impregnation sprays?

Often impregnated sprays are adverted for that purpose, but from my experience they are pretty useless until you do not take very toxic stuff. No matter how expensive they are the effect is hardly visible or durable.

Wax it!

One thing which helps reducing the amount of moisture the trousers suck from vegetation is by waxing the lower part of them. The goal is, that the fibers are filled up with wax so that they can not fill up so much with water anymore.

Just take a white candle which is meant for indoor use. They are often pure paraffin wax, the ones for outdoor often contain also other substances. This is a cheap solution, don’t buy the expensive “outdoor” waxes. They are basically just paraffin wax with a little bit of bee wax which is harder then paraffin. Melt the candle at around 60°C. Take a brush and brush the lower part of your trousers with the wax. Try to spread it equally and not too much. Rubbing the wax in, which is the adverted way, takes much longer and it is much harder to get reasonable amounts into the fabric. As busy wilderness people, we do not have the time for that. Put the trousers for a few minutes into the oven at 60°C, or use a hairdryer, that the wax spreads nicely and soaks in.


  • Under waxed trousers you sweat more, in summer it is not ideal. Don’t make the complete trousers.
  • The trousers do not get waterproof by that, they just do not transmit so much moisture so fast.
  • Only do this with cotton or poly-cotton trousers. Only polyester fibers do not fill up.
  • The wax is easily washed out.
  • Also without washing the wax gets washed out from usage in the wetness or mechanical wear.
  • You can use candle wax also to wax skis or make your own perfect fire starters.
  • Waxed trousers can feel waxy when they get warm 🙂
Categories: tips and tricks