Expert Review: Simms Men's G3 Guide Stockingfoot Wader
This review is my honest opinion of the waders, which I purchased with my own money in January 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the waders, which I purchased with my own money in January 2022.
The Simms G3 Guide Waders are for anglers who are tired of replacing waders yearly. These are the most dependable, comfortable, breathable, and durable waders on the market today.
About the waders
- Model: Simms G3 Guide Waders
- Size: Large 9-11
- Material: GORE-TEX
- Type: Chest/Waist
- Boot Style: Stockingfoot
- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 195lbs
- Preferred type of fishing: Fly Fishing
- Preferred fishing style(s): Nymphing
- Experience: 20+ Years
- When I bought this: January 2022
- Days tested: 60 days
- Waters I’ve used it on: Rugged terrain with brush and obstacles to climb over and work in between.
- Boots paired with waders: Simms Flyweight Wading Boots, Size 12
How they perform
What I was looking for
When hunting for waders, I was looking for a pair to use in the mild winters and hot summers to fish in the spring-fed streams and rivers of Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks while guiding and instructing students on the water. I was also looking for something durable, packable, and would handle the rugged terrain the Ozarks offer.
Why I chose this gear
There is nothing like being handed down an old vintage fly rod or fly reel. Recently, I was given my grandpa's old bamboo rod that he used for crappie fishing here in Missouri, which will forever be irreplaceable. When it comes to waders, I have found myself patching holes, throwing them away after just a few uses, and even replacing them year after year. The quality of waders has come a long way in the past couple of years, and I have been eyeing the Simms G3 Guide for a while but could never bring myself to make out the check until I did!
What I love about them
- Quality: I asked myself, “How much better can these be?” Now I know. These are the best waders I have ever worn and used in my 20+ years of fly fishing. With the even more durable and breathable GORE-TEX 3 layer upper and GORE-TEX Pro 4 layer lower, I have not found a more comfortable and durable wader on the market for the price. In addition, these are 23% more puncture resistant than the previous model. I have marched through briar patches, climbed over stumps and logs, and even fell on loose rocks without any issues. At one point, I even had a flailing hook from a student hook me in the back of the knee of the waders. That was 3 months ago, and still no leak.
- Versatility: As far as versatility, these waders can be used in large rivers, floating in drift boats, and even in smaller creeks and streams. They are breathable, allowing me to stay cool while keeping warm when needed. I would almost call this an all-season wader, as I have the room to layer up underneath these waders.
- Materials: In 2022, the biggest improvement to this specific wader was the new face fabric (outermost layer) as it increased tear strength by 7.5%, puncture resistance (i.e., thorns, briars, and barbed wire) by 23%, and pinhole-puncture resistance (ex: hooks, goat heads, and sand burs) by 84% from the previous model. With all this said, the breathability, which was a major selling factor for me, increased by 33%.
- Fit: These are pretty true to size. Stick to the sizing chart, and one will be just fine. As far as fit, these are the best-fitting waders I have ever put on. I have tried on just about every brand of waders at this price point, and the comfortableness of these waders is incomparable. As a matter of fact, the maiden voyage of these waders was in my living room on the couch watching Wild Fly Productions on YouTube. The following week was on the water.
- Literal Weight: These waders are super lightweight. I often have them packed away in a dry bag in my flycraft for use later down the river.
- Insulation: I feel like Simms made these specifically for Missouri weather—20 degrees when I hit the water and 60 degrees by the end of the day. These waders are designed for multiple temperatures and keep me warm and cool, depending on the conditions. I was super surprised how warm these waders kept me in the colder months. Underneath the waders, I wore the Simms Fleece Midlayer Bibs, which worked great for sub-20 temperatures. I found myself hot sometimes, so the base layer isn’t needed if wade fishing.
- Storage: My previous waders were the Simms Freestone which had me wishing for more storage. The G3 definitely improved on storage. Included with the waders is a waterproof pouch for my phone, inside pockets, hand warmers, and a front zip pocket. I use the Simms Dry Creek Z Sling out on the water, where I store most of my gear but the G3 gives plenty of room for a day trip on the water.
- Suspender System: This is where comfort comes in. The upgraded suspenders have a padded (FINALLY!) air-mesh lining that is super comfortable. After a long day of fishing, some waders will leave their shoulders sore from the weight and pressure of the suspenders. Not any more! These suspenders have so much better weight distribution.
- Wading Belt: The wading belt is made out of a flexible polyester elastic material, which allows for greater flexibility and mobility. I’d also like to point out the improved belt loops on the waders. I have high or low options for versatility depending on whether I use these as chest waders or fold them down for hip waders.
- Packability: These waders will fit in the Simms Dry Bag or the Simms G3 Guide Backpack. I also have the option of using the Simms Taco Bag to hold my wet waders and wading boots after a day on the water, which I really like!
- Warranty: By far the best warranty on the market for waders. Simms offers 60 days of replacement for leaks with no questions asked, and 365 days for repairs covered by Simms. Beyond the first year there is a flat rate of $60 for repairs. The full Simms warranty policy can be viewed here.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Fit: I do not want to dock much here, but it needs to be mentioned. I found these to have a tighter fit in the legs compared to the previous G3 Model and the Freestone in the same sizing. I wore a Medium King in the Freestone, and they were perfect. However, I decided to go with the Large in the G3 and lost room in the calf area. They are fine when on the water as they fit comfortably. My only issue is trying to get them off. The stockings are anatomically correct. It means they fit more around the heel and ankle, which I really like. The issue here is getting the legs past my calves when pulling them off. If I went with the Medium King I would still have that issue. If I went with an XL, I would forfeit the comfortability of the upper part of the wader. Not a huge issue as these are still the best waders I have ever owned. I do have noticeably large calves for my body type.
- Other: While the new gravel guards are tighter fitting and more secure, I have a love-hate relationship with them. They keep the gravel and debris out much more efficiently than the previous hooked model. There is an issue from time to time where my hook gets stuck in the gravel guard if I am not careful. It's just a nuisance and an inconvenience. Thankfully, I use barbless hooks.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with these waders was when my wife and I hiked over two miles together down a ridge to get to wild rainbows here in the Ozarks. It was super brushy with thorns and even a barbed-wire fence just above the creek. These waders kept me cool in the 80-degree weather and protected me from the terrain. Once down to the water, we saw a rising trout just over a log I was straddling. One cast, and BOOM, the fish was connected!
Value for the money vs. other options
I cannot compare these waders to any other waders except the Orvis Pro. The Orvis Pro is made overseas, whereas the G3 is made in Bozeman, MT. For the price I paid for these waders, the investment will last much longer than that of cheaper and less dependable models. Would I rather pay $300 a year to replace them every season? Or would I rather spend the $600 to get a pair of waders that will last years with an amazing warranty? So far, I am pleased with the value for the money and look forward to using these waders for years to come.
If dependability, comfort, and durability are the most important factors, then the Simms G3 Guide Waders are the best option. Their time-tested and improved features made them the number one waders of the IFTD 2022 Best of Show. I truly believe the 20 years of producing the Simms G3 Guide Wader has created the best waders for under $800.