However, I have thought on this before myself, sometimes I feel it would be good to buy 2 or 3 inexpensive pair and carry a backup in the boat.
Conversely............ yesterday I spent considerable time kneeling in the rocks and other deposition at the edge of the water unhooking fish and in some cases taking pictures. The extra heavy knees and lower leg layers of Simms G-3's is probably a good thing.
I also did some traverse through the bush trying to shorten my hike. When you find yourself going through the bushes and such having the tough waders is real piece of mind as well. I've been wearing guide quality waders since they started calling them by that name. I've done it because I want that piece of mind thing going on while I'm out.
I don't know the first thing about expensive waders ... Why ?
Because I've been using Cabela's waders for over 25 years without a single issue.
Over 25 years...inexpensive waders .... no issues....
I really don't understand why people would spend twice as much or more.
Rip and Cletus, when I bit the bullet and bought my first (and still only) pair of Simms it was because I had gone through three pairs of inexpensive waders in the $100 to $175 range in four years. The first two were Hogemans and the last pair were Redingtons that had been discontinued so the warranty was null. When they started leaking within a year I decided I was sick of shopping for new waders every couple years.
So I spent probably more than $300 on three pair of wader over 5 years. My $300 Simms are down to $40 a year now over the past 8. Plus they are about as comfortable as a pair of old Levi's.
My first set of "good" waders were some Hodgemen breathables. They cost 90 bucks. They worked great, for the first 2 years, then they just started to leak in random spots. Then they started to become brittle and even the smallest thorns and pebbles would put holes in them. I have since stepped up to a pair of Simms Headwaters, ( I think, maybe freestones, I get switched ) and they were about double the Hodgemens, and they have done nothing but preformed brilliantly. They have shrugged off thorns, rocks, sticks, hooks...no leaks what so ever. Moral of the story, yes I do think good waders are work the money.
I mostly wet waded when I lived down south, but after moving to New England I went through two pairs of LL Beans that both leaked almost immediately. Before long I went for Simms G3s. I love the Simms and they're still going strong after 3 years of use.
I still remember the look on the lady cashier's face at the Natick Outdoor Store when the price scanned! I said "Yeah, staying dry is expensive." She said "I guess so!" and shook her head.
If these ever wear out, I'm going to look into the Simms with the zipper. Now those are $$$$!
I'm asking mostly because I have a new $500 gift card to Orvis and I don't really know what I want with it. ..
Orvis has invented the "no stitching" waders. The Sonic seam. I purchased the Sonic Seam Convertible when they first came out. $259 ..... but a huge size chart for a perfect fit, and no stinkin' thread stitches! They are melted together with sonic waves.
I'm pretty rough on my waders (I mentioned that fishing is my passion in life) and these waders don't leak at all. I think they will last me for a long time.
Every Orvis catalog for the last few months say "Why stop at just one?" The two best in the world products are the Helios and now the Silver Sonic.
$259 isn't too bad, Nick. A lot of waders are much higher price? And the convertible is a pretty neat thing! So easy to flip down to waist high.
Edit: After thinking about it for a while, I think you, Nick, should donate the 5 beans to this forum? Or, if you are a religious guy ...... give the money to your church! Jesus always needs a bit more money? He created the world and everybody in it ....... but for some strange reason, He can't manage money?
Or, cash in the gift card and put the money in a homeless persons hat? ...... he will tell you "thank's mister" and then he will go and buy some booze and drugs and maybe kill himself?
Or maybe take a inner-city kid fishing? You could buy him a starter fly rod and some flies with that 500? If he liked it, he could bring everybody from his block to fish there! Maybe some nice artwork on the rocks around the stream with spray paint? Soon, the "take a kid fishing" will have some real meaning? All your new friends could fill the fishing parking lots eat all the fish in your stream? They could rob the fly guys that go there, and put a little "hip hop" in that stream with their boom boxes?
I bought a pair of Allen "Madison" stocking foot, breatheable, convertable waders for my son. He is 6'4", 265#, and sometimes still wades like a bull in a china shop. The are holding up very well for him.
They were on sale at Sierra Trading Post. I believe they were on sale for $120. We just got them this spring, so I can't give a long term review yet, but seem to be pretty tough.
It's all about what we consider to be 'hard use'. When I say hard, I really mean that, I mean that unless I had them on I would be bleeding. I would only tell you to buy the more expensive guide weights if you're gonna kneel - then crawl in the rocks along shore or......bust through the brush. If you want to act like that then you better get the heavyweights.
In my opinion, YES they are worth the extra money. I have put over 150 days on my G4's since I bought them and I am pretty hard on them. I slide down banks, have had some terrible falls, scrape up against all kinds of stuff, and bushwhack through all kinds of nasty stuff. They are still going strong with no leaks.