by Bob Porter
Breathable, Zippered Waders?
My old fishing buddies in their Red Ball waders laughed at me years ago when I bought some of the first breathable Gore-Tex waders. Coming from the old school of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and a pride in not spending anything on their fly fishing gear, they were slow to adapt the new "fad". Years later they all wear breathable waders in the summer.
When Simms first introduced their Guide series of waders at over $400, everyone said "how can they expect to get that much for a pair of waders."
I've been fishing with the Guide waders for a few years now and would give up one of my best rods before I'd give up these waders. There are many good waders on the market, but never having to patch these waders in three years of fishing back country high mountain streams and trucking through the brush on nearly every trip has convinced me of the worth of buying great multi layer breathable waders.
Today after Simms blazed the trail in high end waders they are no longer alone and the high bar they set for price in not considered a barrier any more. It remains to be seen if the new $700 price point they are setting will slow people down or if they again are blazing the trail.
Simms was not the only manufacturer introducing breathable wader with zippers this year. The most notable competitor, the Sir-Francis Co introduced the Evolution wader this year (~$425) and Hodgeman introduced some for around $200 (they already have a the Hodgman Guidelite zippered wader for around $400).
Simms is the only one of those three using the famous YKK waterproof zipper (the same one that The Adventure Fly Fishing Company uses on their astounding waterproof vest) as the others are using Riri Group zippers.
Simms and Sir-Francis use the newest versions of Gore-Tex and Hodgman uses Horco-Tex.
The difference in the Simms wader is apparent immediately when you first look at them. The G4 is truly made to fit better and be more comfortable than any other wader you've ever owned. The nearly seamless legs are shaped to fit and articulate like never before. The belt is adjustable and removable and provides any easy switch from chest wader to waist wader and allows for placement of the belt to fit your waist.
The Simms wader also has zippered hand warmer pockets with quick drying microfleece lining, two therolaminated, Shoeller fabric chest pockets for fly boxes, new hourglass shaped stockingfoot for better fit, a retractor docking station, and forceps tabs.
All in all it leaves little to ask for in a great wader and I can attest to how get it fits and feels. It's hard to go wrong with a Simms wader and this one sets a new standard for others to follow.
If price is not the object then there are several good dealers on the web that carry the wader already.
Leland Fly Fishing Outfitters
The Kingfisher Fly Shop