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  1. Default Waders - Comparing Brands

    Hey everyone! I just got my first fly rod and am looking to get some waders. I've read over some posts here already about the topic, but was hoping for some more insight on my specific situation. I plan on fishing in relatively accessible rivers with minor brush (California mountains, home), and might be moving to the Great Lakes or New England area this summer (for school).

    I'm young, so I don't have too much money to spend. I could probably afford $250 for waders and $100 for boots (piggybacking on a recent birthday), especially in the light that I won't have to pay that much again next year if I get quality stuff.

    I'm comparing two main lines, and am hoping for more than just opinions on which is probably better (I know everyone has their favorite). There are the higher end Orvis waders (either the Silver Label or Sonic Seam) or the low end Simms (the Freestone waders). Everyone says that Simms is the best hands down, but are low end Simms better than mid to high end Orvis?

    Thanks in advance for all the advice, I appreciate when others help me learn about things like this rather than just telling me what to buy.

  2. Default Re: Waders - Comparing Brands

    I should also add that one of the reasons I liked the Sonic Seam ones is because I'm likely to fly a lot in my future and will want to bring my equipment almost every time. I don't know how much weight or size is an issue for air travel, since I've never seen some waders packed up for travel.

    Thanks again!

  3. Default Re: Waders - Comparing Brands

    dont think you could go wrong with Simms. for 60 bux you get complete customization *necessary for my size 15's.

  4. Default Re: Waders - Comparing Brands

    Quote Originally Posted by h dot verseman View Post
    dont think you could go wrong with Simms. for 60 bux you get complete customization *necessary for my size 15's.
    So you would prefer the bottom of Simms' line over the mid to top of Orvis' line? Or are you just saying that the bottom of Simms' line is still pretty good?

    I bet that all the stuff they make is good, but how does their cheaper stuff compare to the better line (comparatively) of a different brand?

  5. Default Re: Waders - Comparing Brands

    I've never used any Orvis products to this point, but I have had many items made by Simms, including some warm layering shirts *rivertek*, their headwaters chest/hip pack, and their bottom series waders.

    I've never had a problem with any of them. Personally, I'd rather trust my hard earned dollars to a company that specializes in fly fishing gear, versus a company who has to worry about non fishing clothing, luggage, hunting, dog supplies, etc etc etc.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Northern California
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Waders - Comparing Brands

    I won't comment on Orvis waders or the new sonic technology.

    The main selling point for mid-priced Simms waders (Headwaters model) is that one gets a Gore Tex membrane. It is hard to beat the reliability of Gore products. The Headwaters costs a bit more than your $250 max, but for $50 more, it is good to know that one is getting the better membrane.

    Last edited by MoscaPescador; 03-10-2011 at 10:24 AM. Reason: added hyperlink

  7. Default Re: Waders - Comparing Brands

    Mosca, I double check Simms website, I wasn't aware they had a pair for 199.99, I thought the headwaters was their lower price waders, which I have.

    With customization it came to just under 400 with customization.

    Sorry for the wrong endorsement accoustic, I cannot speak of their Freestones personally. However, my friend who has a newborn picked up the Freestones a month or two back as he was on a stricter budget, and he has been out twice with them thus far. I'll try and get a better review on them in a week or two, when we will be fishing more frequently.

    He finds them much more comfortable than his previous waders though. He had Cabelas waders.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    South Texas

    Default Re: Waders - Comparing Brands

    I'm a big fan of Simms, but I've only had their Guide grade stuff with Gore-Tex.

    If I was going to buy another brand, it would likely be LL Bean. They've got a solid reputation for durability and value, as well as customer service.

    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

  9. Default Re: Waders - Comparing Brands

    Thanks for all the info, I really appreciate it. One question - how much of an issue is packability/portability for waders in general? The Orvis ones seem to stress that it's a great feature, but I don't have experience in this. It's very likely that I'll want to fly with waders several times a year. It'll be a long time before I can afford two pairs.

    Also, I've asked a similar question, comparing cheap Simms and expensive Orvis, on a different site, and I found both there and here that people tend to not be fans of Orvis at all. Well, not so much as not liking Orvis, but mentioning that Simms are great. I appreciate the advice, but can someone explain why Orvis isnt a good choice? I feel like I've seen plenty of reasons why Simms is great, and it's clear that everyone thinks theyre the best, but I don't know why Orvis is bad. I'm not trying to defend them, so don't get me wrong, I'm trying to learn more.

    I completely understand the idea that Simms does just fly fishing gear and that's better than going for a brand that puts out a lot of "lifestyle" products. But Cabelas and LL Bean do this too, and it seems that Orvis is much more specialized to fly equipment than either of those two. Thanks!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Bennington, VT

    Default Re: Waders - Comparing Brands

    I've had Orvis waders for years and have not had one problem with them. I also have a couple pair of Cabelas waist highs (I love waist highs!) that have been problem free. I fish more than 100 days per year, so they all get a lot of wear.

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