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Wader questions

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  • Wader questions

    I need to replace my waders.I have been fishing long enough to have been through several pairs. I remember Rangers (when a seam gave out it was inches of separation), Scott Bulletproof (leaked water, not lead), Cabela's neoprenes (the first ones were the best), Dan Bailey (they lasted until the feet wore out after a few years), Orvis (not as good as the price might suggest), Frog Toggs (bought them on sale-did not last a year), Hodgmans (seam leaks, can't get it to stop), and most recently Simms Freestone (more expensive than most, but the best performers by design and experience). The Simms are 4 years old, and have needed repair over the last two years. I took some streamers in the rear during high winds and good fishing-and ever since have not been able to catch up with slow leaks. They look like I was standing too near a shotgun blast (numerous dots of aquaseal and UV wader repair inside and out). I also gained some weight during ownership, and may have stretched some of the fabric beyond breathable. The dampness is turning to wet, and as winter approaches something must be done.
    My questions:

    What waders do you use? I figure to buy either Freestones again, Headwaters, or G-3's. Anyone trying the Soul River or Tributary ones? Other brands that have proven reliable for you?

    How long do your waders last you? I fish 70 to 100 days a year, so my current ones are around 400 days old. Float tube and wading are my favorites, but I have been using the pontoon more since the leaks started.

    Do the Gortex ones really outlast other options (the cost is almost double, but I figure that $100 dollars a year is a likely wader cost- will they last 5 or more)?

    How do you make yours last? I hang mine on a hook, inside out first, then out for drying.

    When you patch, what do you use? Someone suggested the spray on stuff as advertised on TV (FlexSeal?).

    How much leakage do you put up with? The younger me would continue to keep waders until both socks would soak during a trip. With one dry foot, I kept using them. The current ones still keep my feet dry, but I look like I have peed a bit while fishing.I hope it just looks like- cold water around your waste is a different sensation and odorless..... When I am done fishing stripping by the roadside to change is not something I enjoy, and travelling damp is worse.

    Do you think it makes a difference who you buy from? Direct from Simms/manufacturer, or through a dealer?

    I would like to read of your successes or failures with waders to help me make an informed purchase prior to the season's change (icy weather leaks are much less comfortable).

  • #2
    I've had good luck with Redington Sonic Pro HDZ (summer fishing) and Patagonia Rio Gallegos zipper (winter).


    • #3
      I've got just over 4 years on my Redington Stockingfoot SonicDry Breathable Waders w/Zip Front. Best waders I have every owned. The ergonomic neoprene booties make ingress/egress so much easier. Not one far, but I don't stream wade.
      I like Phamily, Phriends, Phly-Phishing, and Phood......wouldn't you know it, I live in Philomath, Oregon!


      • #4
        I almost exclusively stream wade (both summer and winter), through brush, over tree falls, stumbling these days more often than I care to admit to get top the spots I want. I have had the same Simms G4 waders going on 4 season now, before that I had a pair that lasted probably 6+. Had to repair the odd pinhole leak (aqua seal, easy as pie) and one significant tear (patch that came with) - stay bone dry and warm (Reddington fleece underlayer). You pay a little more, but I think they are about as sturdy as they come. Not a recommendation, just stating my experience.



        • #5
          I second Simms. I'm hard on everything. These meet and beat my standards.


          • #6
            I don't like the super strong "guide models"...very durable but too stiff. I've worn the mid-price Orvis sonic seam waders for years now. They are lighter weight and more form fitting for easier walking and wading.

            You can get short, long and stout fits and easy conversion from chest high to waist high. I haven't worn the newst ones, they are called Ultralight convertible.

            My $0.02, S
            The Catchin' Ninny


            • #7
              You can't go wrong with Simms. Spring for G3s or G4s, you won't regret it. Here's my Simms story. About 7 or 8 years ago I had finally worn out a pair of Freestone equivalents and went and bought a new pair of Freestones. They immediately leaked. Sent them back, they replaced them for free. Those leaked too after only a couple trips. I called Simms, really unhappy because I was leaving for a several day trip in about a week and the young guy on the phone told me that the Freestones were being made overseas and they were currently having a lot of quality issues. However the G3s and up are made in Bozeman at the facility there. After I b*tched a minute or so about how the Freestones were leaving me in the lurch, he said, "Hang on a minute, let me talk to my boss". After a couple minute he came back on and told me to send back the Freestones, then charged me a minimum difference to upgrade to a pair of G3's at what I am pretty sure was their cost and then shipped them overnight no charge. I beat the crap out of those G3s for 4 years and a couple years ago when I sent them back for the second pinhole repair, they replaced them with new ones at a greatly reduced price against retail. Those are my current pair. After 2 years I had one pinhole last fall and when I sent then back for repair they not only fixed the pinhole but put on new booties, all for the minimum 50 buck fee to fix pinholes. I am a customer for life....
              Last edited by DonT; 08-19-2019, 02:35 PM.


              • #8
                Good to hear of your experiences. Nobody mentioned Seal-Dry ......


                • #9
                  All wader makes should come with a complimentary tube of Aqua Seal!

                  (Sorry. That's all I got).



                  • #10
                    Aqua seal is great stuff.
                    Seal Dry was an early wader company- almost like thicker latex. I can't find them on line at all.


                    • #11
                      I've had one pair after another of Simms Freestones for as long as I can remember. If Simms still makes them when my current pair wears out past the point of Aqua Seal repair, I'll buy yet one more pair.

                      - JR


                      • #12
                        Thank you all for responding. Redington, Patagonia, Orvis and Simms are the brands recommended by you folks.
                        In my hunt for new waders I spent some time dunking my current ones in the tub, trying to locate a leak. It is not easy to hold waders wrapped tightly at the top (to keep air in) while submerging the suspected areas in the tub looking for bubbles. There is leakage from the top, so bubbles can be heard coming from there. My dog seemed interested until I offered to see if he had any leaks ("Do you want to take a bath?"). Anyway- that venture has proven unsuccessful after some varied strategies and attempts. Now my old waders are clean, but no additional areas have been sealed.
                        Parallel to this procedure I have been periodically on-line, and found that at least one Montana fly shop is selling Simms and Patagonia waders at a considerable discount- apparently reducing their stock as winter approaches.. We have been aware of this happening seasonally, as my brother has purchased 2 pairs on our fall trips to Yellowstone (one for him, one for his son). The shop did not have Freestones available in my size, but did have Headwaters and G-3's. After a several minute talk with Simms, I decided to buy the G-3's figuring that the warranty and repair policy will get me through many years of wade fishing staying dry. The extra layer of Gortex going up to the seat area should make them more durable for float tube and pontoon fishing. They were redesigned a few years back, and are reported not to be as stiff as they once were. These models are made in the USA, and may seem more affordable in the near future considering tariffs, etc.
                        Last edited by dragginfly; 09-05-2019, 08:45 AM.


                        • #13

                          The easiest way to locate a leak is take flashlight (the brighter, the better) to it (on the inside) in a dark room. Pinholes will light right, you don't have a wet mess to clean up.

                          rant\ Honestly, I'm surprised with some of the responses & that anyone would think to try to get their waders replaced for free after several years of use. You DO realize that's why they cost so much, right? How many would think to take back a pair of Nike running shoes that have been abused for a year? probably no one. ok, /rant


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the search tactic, I will try the flashlight- I plan to have these as a back-up, and it would be nice if they did not leak. The fellow at Simms did say they would look at fixing the old ones ($60 standard fee and I provide shipping both ways)- and that the amount of usage I got out of them was substantial. I do get out more than most, and do not feel like these waders owe me. They have quite a few miles on them nautical and overland.


                            • Clarkman
                              Clarkman commented
                              Editing a comment
                              oh that wasn't directed right at you, just the direction some of the posts have gone...

                          • #15
                            A little rubbing alcohol on the inside will also highlite pinholes very nicly