High End Breathable Waders...Which to buy?


a.k.a. Griswald
I am trying to decide between Simms Classic Guides or Patagonia Watermasters. Any one have experience they would like to share? Both are from first class outfits in my opinion and the costs are about the same...

On the outside of those I have also considered Simms Lightweight waders. Is there any feedback about the Simms Lightweight waders? They are about $135 to $150 less than the two listed above. Any feedback would be welcomed. BTW I try to take very good care of my waders, and rain coats, and I fish about 25-30 days a year. The reason for this purchase...I am going to AK in August for Coho and big Rainbows on a week long flyfishing drift down a river t.b.d.
The bottom line here is that I will spend what I need to, but always like to research all the options first.

Thanks in advance for everyone's help and input. :thumb:


AKA Joe Willauer
I have fished out of Simms Guide models (old style) and i have a pair of g3's but the wader i have found most durable and comfortable is the orvis pro guide II. I am not a huge orvis fan, but this is far and above the most quality product they produce (though they do have some good dog beds). I put alot of days in waders, and these things are durable and comfortable. My second choice would be the G3's though.


Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!!!
At the high end I have found the Simms to be the finest for design, comfort, durability, and freedom from manufacturing defects, hands down. The Simms Guide Classics and now also the G3s are simply the benchmark in waders. Can't go wrong with either model.

I don't think you could go wrong with either. As patagonia is rolling out a new version this month or next there are often good deals on ebay or in some of the shops. Why pay 330 for something with an ironclad return policy when you could get for 200+? I would choose them based on fit, particularly the bootie. Ideally you want one that fits like a large sock but without a lot of extra material in the heel or toe. Also you'll find that breathables work great in winter if you have enough room for extra thick fleece pants (I got some at Outdoor Empor that are almost too hot to wear if your not in the water fishing).
My Patagonias have been ridden hard and put up wet for 3 years. I have developed a small intermittent leak in the left knee and I called Patagonia to discuss it, and the gal told me to wait till after march 1st to return them so when they give me a new pair the'll have the new model in stock! I wouldn't return them if I could stop the leak myself but I can't seem keep it from reappearing so back they go.
I have the simms classic guide waders and love them. However, I saw the new Orvis proguide II waders at a show and was really impressed. They have the handwarmer pockets and built-in gravel guards that I wish the Simms had for a fair amount less $$. Worth looking into.


Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I like both Patagonia and Simms Waders, especially the better ones, the Pro Guide models. This year I am experimenting with the Patagomia waders since I like the design of the roll down tops and the roomier cut for my big fat ass.

I will say that I feel the "built-in gravel guards" that so many companies, including Patagonia, are coming out with are a design flaw. They put too much stitching in too vulnerable a location. I would appreciate it if they did not do this. I guess the masses require these but I dont. The damned masses always win.

I have a pair of neoprene gravel guards that are seven years old and going strong. they take all of ten seconds to put on or take off using the velcro strips built into them. They cost about five bucks originally and have eclipsed several pairs of waders doing long seasons of hiking etc.


a.k.a. Griswald
Thanks to everyone who is giving such great info...Now it looks like I am leaning to Simms. Now it is either the Classic Guides, or the Light Weights? :confused:


Piscatorial predilection
If you are set on Simms, go with the Guide series, the Light Weights are just that light weight in performance and durability. I had some and speak from my own experence.

I now have a pair of Cabellas GT's and really like them, they are tough! They also have the built in gravel guards which I didn't like much at first, but I like 'em now, they stay where they are supposed to with out any clips or hooks needed to hold them in place. My three boys got 'em for me as a Fathers Day gift, I think they run about $275.

Anyway, whatever brand you get, pay the extra and buy the Guide or heavy duty series, you will be glad you did.

I also have a pair of Cabela's GT waders with the beer gut pouch. Like them a bunch. If had the cash would have purchased Simms. At first I did not like the built in gravel guards but have really warmed up to them. I guess I am one of those "damn masses".
An interesting question to say the least. Personally, I chose the Orvis pro Guide because of their reputation. In reality, breathable waders inevitably mean leakable waders. I have had Simms, Hodgman, and Orvis, and no matter how well you treat them, somewhere down the line they will leak, most notably in the crotch area. It's just the nature of the fabric. I am most satisfied with my Orvis because they have great features, and the fit is outstanding. The Simms I had were baggy and not as comfortable to wear. Sorry this does not help with your decision, but I had to add my 2 cents worth.

I vote for Simms. I have had a pair of Lightweights alomost 5 years and they are holding up just fine. Admitedly, I don't spend that many days in them as I only fish about 60-90 days per year.

In the end there are really only 2 types of waders...those that leak and those that are going to leak

My vote is for the Simms as well. I have the lightweights going on 2 years and no issues to speak of. My buddy has them as well going on 4 years. So if you can’t justify shelling out 3 or 4 hundo for a pair of waders get the lightweights. The front legs are reinforced with extra gore-tex and trust me it comes in handy trampling through the blackberry bushes in the summer. Regardless if you have the G3’s or even the freestones customer service will be just as good.

Good luck!


Active Member
You might take a look at Dan Bailey waders. Whenever this sort of discussion comes up on a bulletin board the general concensus seems to be that Bailey's waders rank right up there with Simms for durability. I have had a couple of pairs (one boot foot, one stocking foot) for three or four years and they continue to give good service with nary a leak. Being a product reviewer, I get to try quite a number of different waders so it's true I may not give any one pair the concentrated wear that some of you do, but I'm still impressed with the durability that these have shown.


Active Member
Preston- aside from your comments about waders, i think the more interesting part of your post was the part about being a "product reviewer".........now if only i might find myself in the same position ;) :rofl:

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