Interestingly enough, my first pair of waders made for women were Simms Headwaters Stockingfoot waders. They were well made and comfortable, and my fly fishing girlfriends had the same ones. However, they -- like all women’s waders at the time -- suffered from fit issues. Those Headwaters waders had what we called, “umpire knees” because of the significant excess room in the knee.
When I was asked to review the much newer Simms G3 Guide Waders for women, I was wondering they too would arrive with “umpire knees.” Happily, when the Simms G3 Guide Waders arrived, the knee area looked a lot more fitted than my Simms waders of yesteryear.
The first things I noticed about the SIMMS G3 Guide Waders were their no-frills, straightforward design and how strong the materials felt.
Here are the specs:
- GORE-TEX 5-layer fabric featured throughout legs for increased durability
- Women's specific cut features higher chest and patented front/back leg seam construction to minimize wear & offers improved fit
- Quick-drying micro fleece-lined hand warmer & zippered chest pockets
- Adjustable elastic suspenders with YKK non-locking buckles
- Built-in belt loop at center-back; nylon wading belt included
- 3-layer & 5-layer GORE-TEX Pro Shell Technology
- Approximate weight: 40 oz
It wasn’t long before I got to put these seemingly brawny waders to the test. The first day I wore the SIMMS G3 Guide Waders, I wanted to hit one of my favorite fishing spots. However, there was a thick wall of brush standing about 10 to 15 feet tall and 30 feet deep between me and the river. The trail that was once there had since become overgrown with brush and branches. Unfortunately, I had left my machete at home. Yet, as I pushed my way through the bushes and stout branches and through to the river that was waiting for me, I felt well-protected in my waders.
If you read the first review in the series, you learned that I have an annoying habit of falling. While this is bad for my knees, it turns out it good for testing waders. I fell three times in these brand new waders, each time landing my knees on the rocks. Though the SIMMS got scuffed and my knees turned purple, the waders held up fine.
“Nice looking waders and no more saggy-butt!” was the first comment I received when I first took these waders out on the river, which I’m fairly certain was a compliment. The SIMMS G3 Guide Waders for Women fit more like pants, but are roomy enough to add layers underneath. The stocking feet fit particularly well and conformed to the shape of my foot. It was very easy to slip on my wader boots. The chest area was roomy enough and at the same time not baggy. And, I suppose from the comment, they fit well from behind, too.
Despite the oppressive air temperatures of summer fly fishing in my neck of the woods, my favorite river stays very cold. As a result, I do not have the pleasure of wet wading and leaving my waders behind. Therefore, breathability is an important factor to consider as far as comfort goes.
The day I fished in the SIMMS G3 Guide waders, it was 100 degrees. I spent 10 hours in and out of the river chasing big browns without breaking a sweat – even with my waders worn chest high and held up by wide, sturdy suspenders that were pretty comfortable.
The SIMMS G3 Guide Waders for Women are straightforward with few bells and whistles, though the quick-drying micro fleece-lined hand warmer is a nice bonus for keeping hands toasty during winter fishing.
As far as their feasibility when nature calls, I discovered that I was able to pull the suspenders off and on my shoulders easily without unbuckling them, eliminating the need to twist my arms like a pretzel in oder to refasten them.
Unfortunately, these Simms have only one belt loop in the back. As a result, each time I unbuckled I had to make sure to refasten the belt in the back before I slipped down the waders, otherwise the belt would fall right off. More belt loops would be a welcome addition on future incarnations of these waders.
During fishing breaks, I was able to very easily convert the waders to waist highs because of the reverse suspender clips which allows for simple conversion into a belt.
There are two zippered pockets in the chest area of the waders – one on the outside and the other inside. They are roomy enough carry a fly box and keys, however the pockets are not waterproof. My toiletries and phone had to be placed in a dry bag instead. A very important task for clumsy me.
I fish year round with the temperatures ranging from the teens to the scorching 100s. A good pair of waders needs to be functional and durable in all climates and terrain. Though lacking in waterproof pockets and additional belt loops, these waders have some important features most women look for:
- Wide, comfortable suspenders with reverse clips
- Comfortable and good fit from the stockings to the chest
- Easily convert to waist high using suspenders as a belt
- Micro fleece-lined hand pockets
- Ability to slip your arms through the suspenders without unfastening them
- Durable, durable, durable
Though these waders were straightforward as far as style and do have some shortcomings which I consider fairly minor, I was very pleased with their fit, comfort and construction. Though they are certainly not inexpensive at $449, their strong and sturdy construction was impressive. I am confident that they will take considerable abuse and hold up very well.