It's rare that I've felt inspired enough by a product to sit down and write a review... Writing reviews takes time, and time is money, so if I'm not getting paid fair for my efforts I'm not going to waste my time unless it's to share something that I'm excited about, or that helps our followers and the fly fishing community - such as sharing free fishing reports, fly patterns, or techniques. Also, those of you who know me probably know how much I enjoy being with my little family, and anything that takes away from that better provide me with a way to pay the bills.
That being said, a few months ago I was presented with an opportunity from Simms to try out a guide exclusive edition of their G4 chest wader at a great price, and after some consideration I decided to take the plunge and give them another chance. I bought my first pair of Simms waders a little over 7 years ago, and after years and years of wearing cheap Cabelas brand waders, the version of G3 Guide Pant Simms was making at the time was a massive upgrade. That upgrade came at an upgraded price, but you get what you pay for.
My gripes with the Simms waders at the time were 2 things - one they've addressed, and one they haven't. The first thing I didn't appreciate about Simms waders was that it was like pulling teeth to get my size 13 ski-boot of a foot in and out of them, especially after they got wet. The area around the gravel guards was so tight that at the young age of 27 I still needed an assist from a fishing buddy to get out of my waders. When you spend over 200 days a year on the water it gets more than a little obnoxious to need a crowbar to get out of your waders every time.
The second complaint is the neoprene gravel guards that they put on them. It's not that Simms uses a poor quality neoprene, because they don't. It has more to do with the fact that neoprene in general falls apart anywhere it gets wet and there's friction from movement such as walking. Every pair of stockingfoot waders I've EVER owned has fallen apart at the neoprene booty before anywhere else. And, in the case of Simms, the gravel guard falls apart, as well. Between those gravel guards, and the pain and agony of trying to get out of my waders, I switched to the Orvis Silver Sonic Convertible chest waders.
The Silver Sonic waders were effortless to get in and out of, and the gravel guards are made out of a durable nylon shell. The Silver Sonics are, however, still far from perfect. The neoprene they use for the booty feels thinner and cheaper than the Simms brand, and is less form fitting to my foot. Both pairs of Silver Sonic waders I own are so baggy in the foot that they bunched up at my toes and made wearing wading boots an uncomfortable experience no matter how I put the boots on. Also, both pairs seemed to have a very small leek in the right foot the first day I had them on the water. After talking to a bunch of people who own Silver Sonics, I found out that I wasn't they only person with those complaints. Leaks aren't a huge deal because both Simms and Orvis stand behind their products with excellent warranties, so I stuck with Orvis for the last 4 and a half seasons, and still plan on owning a pair of Orvis for several reasons, one of which I'll discuss in this post.
While Simms still has those neoprene gravel guards, they've addressed the area around the ankles, and they're now substantially easier to get in and out of. To be sure that It wasn't because I have a guide exclusive version of the G4's, I asked around and it appears that they've addressed it with all of their new G4 waders, so YAY! Simms are made with such extreme care, and with such quality materials that it's evident the moment you try them on, and when I noticed they had addressed the tightness around the ankle, it didn't take much to instantly get excited about them again! So why still own a pair of Orvis waders?
Because the same qualities that make Simms the best wader on the market, sometimes, works against them. Simms makes their high-end guide waders with multiple layers of Gore-Tex - a material so bomb proof it feels like you're putting on a suit of armor every time you go fishing. Having a suit of armor on is fantastic if you're walking through the willows, where an occasional stick or thorn bush comes out of nowhere and tries to put a hole in your shin, but what if you want to wear your waders rather than pack them into a place where you have to hike such as Cheesman Canyon? It's late June, and the weather is warm enough to where you don't want to hike a long distance in armor, but the water itself is cold enough you know you'll be glad you brought something to protect you. The lighter and less durable Orvis waders still come in handy for just showing up in your gear, and hiking to the fishing spot without losing 10 lbs in water weight...
Addressing the black color of the new waders, I've got a few comments and questions from anglers about how hot they'll be... And, honestly, those comments and concerns are unwarranted. I've just been reminding people that the water coming from the bottom of those dams is frigid cold, and I'm still standing in the water most of the time. Considering that I've been guiding and fishing the South Platte in February and March, I've actually really appreciated having a slightly warmer wader. However, they are just SLIGHTLY warmer, and by the time July rolls around, i'll go back to wet wading in 80-90 degree heat, so I'm not worried about getting hot. And as an added bonus, the black color, aesthetically, looks a lot sharper than any wader I've ever owned.
Again, Simms hasn't paid me to write this review, so why do it, especially when I said that I'll probably still own a pair of Orvis waders? Because I immensely respect any company that tries to improve on an existing great product. Simms already sold what was considered the best wader on the market, and they haven't rested on their laurels. The fact that their higher-end waders are still made here in the States demands respect, also. If I had to rate the G4 wader out of 10, I'd give it a 9.5, giving them a little room for improvement, which we know they're always striving for.
Thanks for following our page! We plan to keep you posted and let you know if there's any new developments, either positive or negative, worth talking about. Tight lines!
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