How many days do you spend on the water? Personally, if I had my druthers, my life would include equal parts fly fishing, biking, and skiing. But, as a wife, mother, day-dreamer, and adventure-seeker, I’d probably categorize myself as a weekend warrior and lunch-time/after-hours go-getter in those three activities. As such, I get on the water at least a half dozen times a month in the winter and a couple dozen days per month in spring through autumn.
This winter though, I was intent on spending more time on the water because I had the opportunity to put the Simms Women’s G3 Guide Z Waders to the test.
Pros: First and foremost, the fit and construction are amazing. I’ve stepped into a lot of waders that I immediately knew were not made for women, but the G3 is another story. The 3-layer upper and 4-layer lower construction worked with my body, not against. On the construction side, I am a huge fan of the waterproof side zipper for easy on/off and for convertible wear when I’m not wading too deep. I also found it easy to change my strap length and appreciate the option to criss-cross or uncross for fine-tuning the fit when layering.
On the material front, the G3 also does away with the old school, spook-the-fish loud fabric (cue loud swishing fabric sound), and brings a much quieter, insanely more comfortable option to the market with Gore-Tex Pro Shell dependability. While wearing the G3, I can actually hold a conversation while walking to the river access without the swish-swash-swish-swash from materials rubbing together!
In addition to a much appreciated fleece-lined, zipper-equipped chest pocket, the flip-out Tippet Tender is also a great feature. I particularly liked this for those spontaneous, pack-free moments (i.e., a quick river session before picking the kids up at daycare). I can keep the Tippet Tender stocked with go-to flies and accessories to get on the water faster or, unzip and pull it out for the days I have a full pack.
Overall, I find the the G3 to be a solid performing wader. I’ve waded partially-frozen rivers, crawled over questionable rocks and boulders, and had dogs and toddlers jump all over me while wearing the G3…and it survived without incident. And, with over a dozen days on the Rio Grande and Arkansas River since the start of the new year, the seams have proven to be solid, the waterproofing is unwavering and the all-day comfort is second to none.
Cons: The G3 is burly. As such, it’s a little heavier compared to other waders I have tested (weighing in at 41 ounces). In addition to weight, while these can roll up and fit into a duffel or larger backpack easily, packing into a smaller fishing pack for backcountry use is more difficult. If ultralight and ultra-packable are your game, consider a different model. Also, based on the size guide, while my body “technically” fits into a small, my foot fits into a medium (size 9 shoe). Since I wanted a more fitted wader, I went with the smaller size. The booty is a little tight, but not uncomfortable by any means.
Where I took them: Winter wading on the Rio Grande in southern Colorado and Arkansas River outside Salida, Colo.