Cheap Neoprene Foulie Bibs

Introduction: Cheap Neoprene Foulie Bibs

About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific I…

Get a $25 pair of neoprene waders from a "Building 19" surplus store and cut the feet off.
Go fishing

If you've been a commercial fisherman you'll know what's good about these garments and why you'd want one. They've got the benefits of traditional gear, plus a bit of insulation and flotation. Safety note: you'll still need a life vest to keep your unconscious head up with these)

Here's Erich Brandeau sporting the new fall look.

Step 1: Quicker Than Explaining the Problems With Gore-tex

I really wanted a pair of these while canoeing to Alaska in the rain while my skin came off. So after I got back I patched a pair together from scrap neoprene. As soon as I was done I found the cheap waders and realized there was an easier way. Now you, gentle reader, can reap the benefits.

Traditional foulweather gear consists of waterproof bib overalls, jacket, and hat, with greasy wool underneath. This garb allows you to easily control airflow and shed layers. When you're standing up (working hard) you get good chimney effect ventilation up the legs. You can wear this stuff day after day without getting rashes and saltwater sores. The reasons go on and on.
Ask a fisherman or fireman why they dress funny, and they'll give you a good long lecture if they think you're worth it.

Here's another good source of durable neoprene:
My survival suit which I got out of a marina dumpster. You can't actually do anything while wearing one of these, which is why in disasters people never put them on. In a disaster people are even busier than usual. What you're supposed to do is put the thing on halfway and tie the arms around your waist. Then deal with the disaster, then accidentally fall into the cold water and wait for someone to add your rescue to their list of things to do.

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    Ricardo Furioso
    Ricardo Furioso

    8 months ago

    RIP Building 19. Loved it while it lasted. If it were a person, Tim, it would be you.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Building #19, and all the fractional Buildings #19 are stores which carry surplus, junk, overstocks and samples of every type of merchandise known to man.  In past years I have seen wedding gowns, windows from a famous Boston skyscraper, wooden phone booths (how I tried to talk my Mom into letting me buy one!), baby garb and food from everywhere.  My best purchase from there was a complete set of solid oak kitchen cabinets for $39 each.  No one who saw the finished kitchen believed that the cabinets cost well under $500, total.

    One warning, though.  In general the merchandise that the B-19 sells is not organized in any way, the stores are filthy (they give you wipes to clean off at the register), and the best buys go to those who visit on a weekly or daily basis.  Don't laugh, there are many people who make a stop at B-19 to get their free morning coffee and see what new stuff has been put out that day.

    BTW, the name of the store came from its original location in the Hingham Shipyard.  The building came numbered from its days during WWII, and the two guys (Harry and Jerry) who started the place didn't have the money to buy a sign with a better name.

    Now you know all the basics about Building #19. Thanks for showing me the cool bibs.  I cannot imagine anyone laughing at your garb, but then again, my Dad was a fisherman.


    14 years ago

    so is building 19 in the east coast? their website is kind of vague. i hope they have online buying because i live in California.


    Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

    Looks like they are exclusive to New England area-the website reminds me of a similar store we have called Ollie's here in PA-in fact they share the motto "Good Stuff Cheap".