This 28 inch Rainbow Trout was caught on Christmas Day on a Vancouver Island
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Simms G3 wader
The latest from Simms was one of the Hottest (read expensive) products to hit the fishing market in Spring 2003, at $650 cdn these waders aren´t cheap, so how do they stack up against the growing list of breathable waders.
The first thing you will notice true of any Simms product, is the flawless construction and quality materials used. These waders feel tough, the high quality face fabric is 20% more puncture resistant then the Guide Model. The five-ply Gore-Tex fabric wraps around the entire leg and up over the buttocks for maximum durability while hiking and sliding.
If you have ever fished for steelhead in British Columbia durability almost becomes a laughing matter, other then the mounting costs. I destroy waders, and wading boots, 6 months can be considered a long time if I´m fishing a lot. Its not like I´m going out and intentionally trying to wreck gear but the rivers I fish and the fish I pursue are rugged. My two favourite examples are 600 vertical feet within a half mile to a river that was blown out, and my local fishing hole that is about quarter mile from the road and about an hour hike in.
So 5-ply construction means something to me. It means getting back to my truck and not have to wring out my socks. Oh I´m sure I´ll put a hole in them sooner or later, 15 trips so far still dry. The 5-ply reinforced butt is a great new feature, one trip sliding down an embankment to the Kispiox River I unknowingly tore a large hole in the rear of my inexpensive breathable wader. When we returned to camp I quickly waded out into the much larger Skeena River to discover with the onslaught of icy cold water that my new waders were no longer working. The best warranty in the business doesn´t mean a thing if you are soaked for the rest of your trip. This one feature alone is worth the price, but it is only one of a number of new upgrades to be found on the G3´s. A hand warmer pocket has been added behind a large Velcro chest pocket. The inside pocket now has two Velcro tippet pockets, a large zippered pocket, and a clipper pocket. There is enough gear storage to leave the vest at home.
Making a tough wader isn´t impossible but making one as breathable as the G3´s is another thing, if you hike a lot you will love these waders, with the right layers underneath you will be bone dry and comfortable at days end in all but the steamiest of conditions. We often joke when asked if we have been out steelheading, with the reply "no but I´ve been out hiking a bunch". It seems we have to cover more water to find fewer fish these days, to cover 10kms of river through the course of a day wouldn´t be out of the norm, I really appreciate high quality breathable fabrics. So far I have been really impressed with these waders. As with all breathable waders, they do have there limitations, when the temperature climbs into the mid 70´s I will opt to leave the waders at home and wet wade. A true testament to the breath ability of these waders is that I put them on when I started writing this article, and have not heated up a bit, the waders are cool inside. When you first try on a pair of G3´s you will notice the exceptional fit, the feet are shaped to provide an almost custom fit. The leg is articulated for maximum freedom of movement. The built in Schoeller Fabric gravel guards are excellent, they eliminated all the gravel from my boots, they fit snugly over the top of my wading boots, (Patagonia Beefy Wading Boot, Simms Guide Boot) and not once did I have to chase them downstream. If money is no issue, there is no better wader on the market, however for anglers on a budget I highly recommend the Simms Lightweights, an excellent wader for half the price. The price of this wader is definitely reflected in the rating I´ve given it,
Note: after a year of use, I have run into some leakage issues on the back of the leg, these were easily fixed with aqua seal and have not posed a problem since.
*-Save your money
**-Will work in a pinch, but better available
***- Overall good quality and design, decent value
****- High quality materials and construction, years of service
*****-Cutting edge and worth it. A leader in its category