Review: Simms Guide Waders

After years of frustration with low-cost, second-rate waders, I finally decided to bite the green bullet and splurge for a pair of locally-made Simms waders. I’d been reluctant because I’m pretty rough on fishing gear, and Simms waders aren’t cheap. Whether it’s barbed-wire fence or a thorny tree, I invariably end up with a tear when navigating to that perfect casting spot. Fortunately, Simms Classic Guide Waders are made with an extremely durable five-layer Gore-Tex that is well-suited to demanding situations. While wearing them, I took a nasty fall on a slick rock and tore up my hand, but the knee area of my waders, which took the brunt of the blow, showed no damage whatsoever. Scrapes with broken tree branches and splintered fenceposts produced similar results. And if for some reason I were to put a hole in them, there’s a compact repair kit included that can be used easily in the field.

The Guide Waders are easy to slip into, with a great feel that hugs to your body rather than suffocating you or making you look like the local plumber in wide-cut overalls (still, bear in mind the fly-fisher’s invariable fashion concession: even Jennifer Lopez wouldn’t look good in waders). The chest pocket is great for a small fly box or a digital camera. Overall, the waders are extremely breathable and that makes the hike from car to stream much more tolerable. The only drawback I found is the lack of built-in cuffs; however, this problem is easily solved with a pair of Simms gravel guards (purchased separately). Also, if you plan on using the Guide Waders in the cooler months, I would suggest a pair of fleece pants underneath; this will make your fishing adventure a little warmer and more pleasurable.