waders and vests [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: waders and vests

04-09-2002, 11:08 PM

I need to get some waders and a vest. Should I buy neoprene or Gore-tex waders? As for vests, I was looking at the Simm's Guide Vest. I think they call it a mid-length vest. Are shorter vests better? Also, I noticed some vests have a rod holder and then a velcro loop up on the chest to hold the upper part of the rod so you can go hands free, but the Simms vest doesn't have the velcro loop on the chest. Am I right in assuming that most people put their rod in the rod holder and hold the upper part in the crook of their arm if necessary because the velcro loop is too much of a hassle?

04-10-2002, 12:08 AM
Don't know where you fish, and this does make a heck of a difference. But, unless your really in a cold weather area, stick to a breathable wader. You can "layer" the heck out inside, strip some off as it gets warmer, etc. Gortex, and I do love the product, is $ overkill. Many of the 'other brand breathable' chest high waders are just as servicable, and a heck of a lot less expensive.

I've been using "xxxx" breathable waders, which still sell for $129 to $150 for the past several years. Only problem with 'leaks' has been the result of a blown spey cast e.g. the hook point where I'd prefer it didn't go. Nuts, easy to repair, a pit to find with 'breathable materials' :rolleyes:

If you're really in a cold area you'll probably find you need a set of 5mm neo's and a set a breathables.

04-10-2002, 06:19 AM
There are some things you can get answers for on line, some things you can't, and others you have to answer for yourself. I'm sure we'll always have comments if there is enough information to work with...

Both neo and breathables are good waders, depends on where you fish and when. Need more info, it would be really helpful if you included the parameters when you ask a question. :)

!Perhaps an equally big question is "bootfoot or stockingfoot?".

Whether a vest length is right or not depends on whether you wade deep or not, and whether you use it when not wearing waders - and something like a rod holder loop is totally up to you.

Originally posted by newbiefish

I need to get some waders and a vest. Should I buy neoprene or Gore-tex waders? As for vests, I was looking at the Simm's Guide Vest. I think they call it a mid-length vest. Are shorter vests beter? Also, I noticed some vests have a rod holder and then a velcro loop up on the chest to hold the upper part of the rod so you can go hands free, but the Simms vest doesn't have the velcro loop on the chest. Am I right in assuming that most people put their rod in the rod holder and hold the upper part in the crook of their arm if necessary because the velcro loop is too much of a hassle?

04-13-2002, 03:40 PM

I fish in the Western US. I would not consider bootfit waders--the boots are too cheap and I have size 14 feet. I have pretty much decided to go with a stocking foot breathable wader unless I get different advice. Simms claims Gore-Tex waders are the only waders that really breathe. I liked their Gore-Tex waders, but no gravel guards at those prices?

I tried on some Simms Freestone boots and they felt great, but I read some reviews that said after a couple of years the synthetic leather upper starts cracking. Simms makes some of their boots with 5.10 dot pattern sticky rubber and spikes. Has anyone tried those soles before?

Simms and Orvis(and probably others) also make a lightweight boot with a multicolored synthetic upper. Can anyone recommend those?

04-14-2002, 12:32 AM
world just get the Dan Bailies. Less than 1/2 the price of Simms, just as good, and with the difference in price you've got 1/3-1/2 half of the price of that 'other rod' you want to buy. With a good marketing campaign I could convience you that waders need to be made of stainless steel.


old man
04-14-2002, 11:38 AM
I fish in the Western part of the US also and I use a pair of light weight waders. Not breathable just light weight. At the time I got them the other kind were at too high of cost. That was about 6 years ago and now I think that I'm ready to get some of the breathable kind.

By reading all of these posts I made up my mind to get some but not the high priced kind. I'll just go down to my local cut rate sporting goods store and get some. Jim

04-14-2002, 01:15 PM
old man,

One thing I've learned in other sports, if it isn't made with Gore-Tex, it doesn't really breathe well, so save your money and stick with what you have.

old man
04-14-2002, 06:25 PM
Hodgeman has some that stretch And are breathable. Thats what I need. I need that extra to get over my belly. I could lose some weight but then I wouldn't have any fun when I went fishing.

My light weight waders are ok but in the heat of Eastern Washington in the summer it gets just a little hot. Jim :)

04-14-2002, 06:37 PM
Newbiefish I think it would pay to look at something other than the Simms as breathables are getting better and better every year.

I have owned both redingtons and orvis silver labels which are not goretex and work great. No problems with either of them in the rivers or puget sound. Never had a problem with them not breathing. Do not get me wrong, simms are really nice but from some people I respect as fisherman say dan baileys are the way to go and I will probably get those next.

Especially seeing your others posts about getting a cheaper rod and then spending 400 bucks on waders. Does not make sense in my book. Get some mid-priced waders with a lifetime warranty like the baileys and then get yourself a nice rod,reel,and line.

You will be much happier in the long run because once you get into the sport you will be wanting a better rod. Everyone always does.

Saying you are fishing the western US still leaves a lot of possibilities. What type of fishing? Saltwater,freshwater,lakes, etc. Also what type of fish? These all weigh on what type of vest you would want as well as waders and boots. Fore instance I wear heavy boots for wading in rivers cause I like the extra support when wading in fast water. For the beaches I use patagonia marlwalkers as I do not need the felt for traction and the lighter boot is nice for all the walking I do in them.


04-14-2002, 09:56 PM

I'll probably be doing mostly trout fishing in streams and rivers. What retailers carry Dan Baileys? I tried on some Orvis breathable waders($139) and the Simms Lightweight Breathable ($200) but they don't have built in gravel guards. The Patagonia SST ($375) breathables had the built in gravel guards, but I didn't like their suspender system: when you roll the waders down the suspenders flop off your shoulders. And, with all of them, they felt tight in the crotch. I tried on long sizes and loosened the suspenders all the way, but I still didn't feel totally comfortable.

I'm considering the Simms Guide Vest($149) in the dark green color, an Orvis super lightweight breathable stretchy mesh material vest with a million pockets, green color($139) , and was considering the Simms Vertical Master vest. Is it convenient to have a large fly box slide in vertically rather than horizontally?

04-14-2002, 11:40 PM
A vest is just a 'thing' to carry your things (think George Carlins monolog on "stuff"). Your waders keep you dry and comfortable, the vest is to carry your on river junk. And the bigger the vest the more "stuff" you'll carry around with you. Put my drift gear vest on a scale once and it hit 16 pounds with the lead, slinkies, et. al.

Silly idea: leave most of that suff in the car; come back and 'reload' if you have to. The waders go for the $129'ish Dan B's; work well, layer as needed.

The old bit of 'he who has the most toys when he dies wins' is an intersting thought ... but just that.

Again, just my 2 cents worth.

04-15-2002, 06:40 AM
In addition to other's great replies:

a) veritical is better for big fly boxes like steelhead boxes

b) biggest factor is comfort against the neckline and shoulders IMHO

c) I prefer pockets that can be left part open and not lose stuff

d) I don't like pockets that rub on the arms when casting

e) light weight is important for (b)

f) buy big if you wear outside (I wear over fleece but under jacket)

g) I prefer chest packs when rowing

good luck

04-17-2002, 12:37 AM

I was all set to buy a Simms Guide Vest, but then I put some fly boxes in the pockets and they hit my elbow when I made a casting motion. That made me realize the benefits of vertical pockets or something like a chest pack. The Simms Vertical Vest seemed like a good solution. I also examined a Williams and Joseph "Coastal" chest pack, and it seemed really nice. It sort of had two built in flyboxes on each shoulder strap. On the outside of each compartment were several pockets and zingers. The lid on each compartment zipped open and folded down making a little table to work on. The table had foam for hooking flys on, and there were small pockets inside for tippet material. The back of the chest pack was a pack that was large enough for rain gear or food and was set up for a hydration bladder. On the outside of the pack, there were cords for lashing down additional gear. Which way should I go? Vertical pockets or a chest pack?

Nooksack Mac
04-17-2002, 01:54 AM
Whichever vest you choose, it won't have every possible good feature, but you can add some of them yourself. (See previous thread.)
A vest that fits perfectly in the store will be too tight when you fill it with boxes and other stuff.
Rod-holding attachments aren't necessary; just stuff your rod and reel about two feet down inside your waders.
Shorty vests are useful if you're into kamikaze wading, a.k.a. pre-swimming. Regular-length vests work fine as you get older and craftier, and/or if you get into spey fishing. (As spey guru Mike Maxwell said, if you're wading more than knee-deep, you should ask yourself why.)
When fishing from a boat or float tube, it's a pleasure to fish without a vest, with gear in the tube's pockets or a boat bag.

John Desjardins
04-17-2002, 08:13 AM
Let me toss in another option here that hasn't been discussed yet, the fanny pack. The advantages are good carrying capacity with no encumberance of the arms, cool in the heat of summer, weight is carried on the hips rather than shoulders. The main disadvantage, for me at least, is that it sits low and gets wet if you go kamikaze wading. It also doesn't work with a stripping basket.

old man
04-17-2002, 12:05 PM
I've been reading all of these posts and have decieded that this newbie person can't seem to make up his own mind.

Most of what we/us have learned has been thru trial and error. I think that is the only way you learn. I didn't have this thing(computer) when I was learning ,but that was the fun of it.

I just had to get this off my chest. It seem like nobody can do things for them selves any more. Just ask a million questions and weed out the answers that you don't like.

You can all beat me up for this but I don't mind. My skin is thick. Jim :razz:

04-17-2002, 12:34 PM
Well, OM - I assume by your nickname that you have the benefit of a lot of trial and error decisions in your day. I agree, that's where the very best answers come from.

It's good to seek the advice of others, and it's good to share your opinions, I think we're all OK with the exchange but I agree with you in that it's BEST to learn through trying.

This reminds me of a consulting anecdote:

The Believability Scale

Least Believable - "experts say"
Moderately Believable - "we say"
Most Believable - "I say"

Of course we use all to our advantage, and use "expert" opinions most of all - but I think it illustrates your point!

04-17-2002, 12:48 PM
I agree with OM. Asking about gear can narrow down your choices but you should still do your own research and go out and try the stuff on first before you buy it. What OM says also applies to finding fishing spots. I will point someone in the right direction but It really annoys me when people ask a hundred questions about where to fish, what to use etc. There is nothing like finding a honey hole on your own and keeping it secret.

04-17-2002, 03:29 PM
Argue (debate) if you must but keep on posting. Many of us do not have the years of experience you all have so the dialogue is more than beneficial. Soaking up the accumulated knowledge gained through years of experience is what I desire most from this site. Thanks to all those hands who take the time to guide us newbies to our goals. Dad.......

04-17-2002, 03:38 PM
Dad...or Jim... do you want to see the new Randall "Tri-athlete". I will post a picture if you are interested in seeing it.

old man
04-17-2002, 03:55 PM
This is a good site. Lots of info. I will give it when asked or not. I'm not here to step on any toes. But some things just get under my skin. You can help out only so much. Like what Brad said you can point them in the right direction but where you go is up to you.

I have only one thing against this site. I tried to print up the pictue of that fly of Juro's. But every time I try it, it logs me out.

I'm not a computer expert. Everything that I do is ususlly a hit and a miss. Jim :)

04-17-2002, 05:59 PM
OM -

I just tried it and it printed very nicely on a color printer. So it must be something on your setup, or so I must assume.

Why don't you send me a private message with your mailing address and I will mail you this printout?

Thanks for your interest BTW

04-17-2002, 09:06 PM
Just right click on you mouse and save the picture. Then print it off with you own program. It works better that way! You can then size it to clairity..... Along with the notes as well, all of you are right, in that, you can ask the questions, but remember there are a lot of personnal opinions, that may or maynot be what you want to hear. All the gear have a nitche, and for the most part, you get what you pay for. Not saying that going expensive is the best way to go. But you will find out that by trail and error. You will get what you pay for....:hehe:

04-18-2002, 01:13 AM
Well, I wish I had asked about tippet material here before buying some. I was told at my local fly shop to get the flourocarbon spools because it lasts from season to season, so you don't have to throw it out like the regular stuff due to UV damage. The flourocarbon is expensive, but he insisted that was the way to go, so I picked out three spools. I also purchased a fly fishing magazine and when I got home and opened it up, in the advice section there was a letter asking about flourocarbon tippet material. The answer said it has a higher specific gravity than the regular stuff so it sinks more readily making it inappropriate for dry fly fishing. Great! That's what I bought it for.

04-18-2002, 08:15 AM
I think that the biggest advantage for using fluorocarbon is that it has a similar refractive index to that of water. The fish do not see it as well. We use it almost exclusively on the streams out west that get lots of pressure when dead drift nymph fishing. In fact if you want to get down deep fast I fished a rig last weekend that was 20" of amnesia butt and 8' of 4X Fluoro. It does not cast worth a crap but for the type of fishing we were doing on the Mile it seemed to work well. For dry fly fishing it is best to switch out to regular stuff. Save your fluoro for nymphing.

old man
04-18-2002, 10:41 AM
Well I just did what steeliesonafky said to do. I guess I will have to get another printer as mine printed a very funny looking picture. It worked but the picture came out all yellowish. I know a picture speaks a thousand words but this one didn't say anything.
Thanks for the help. I have another printer and I think that I will now hook it up Jim :D :D

04-18-2002, 11:03 AM
Check out the various auctions on www.VFS.com and others...
It's IMPORTANT to support your local fly gear shops but, now and then, you can find a great deal on waders/vests/gear in the auctions and classifieds... My .02

04-18-2002, 11:58 AM
I think the Penguin means www.flyshop.com . Its know as the VFS;)

04-21-2002, 06:19 AM
For the record, I ended up getting a W&J Coastal chest pack, the Simms Lightweight Stockingfoot Waders, and the Simms Guide Boots with acquastealth spiked soles which went on sale between the time I first tried them on and when I went back to buy them--30% off!.

The determing factor that swung me in favor of the chest pack was the fact that when I put anything as heavy as a rain jacket in the cargo pockets on the back of a vest, the vest pulled up into my neck. Those rear cargo pockets are completely non functional, and Simms actually suggests you can put a hydration bladder in back--what a laugh.

As soon as I got my waders and boots, I drove directly to a pond, geared up, and practiced casting at various depths in the frigid water. It's a whole different perspective from down there. I ended up getting in over my waist and raising my arm high to keep the line from hitting the water on my back cast. To my surprise my feet were very comfortable, it was my hands that froze, so the next day I went and got some half finger gloves with mittens that fold over.

Thanks for all your help.

04-28-2002, 01:21 AM
After using the Williams & Joeseph Coastal chest pack for a week now, I cannot recommend it. Some stitches are already coming undone and a piece of plastic hardware broke under normal use. It has a lifetime unconditional warranty though, so I can get it repaired. The main problem is that it doesn't have enough secure pockets, and many of the little slots I thought were pockets for things like floatant, etc. actually don't have bottoms and the stuff just falls through into the main pocket below, and most of them are too narrow for anything I can think of.

I think I am going to get a vest. I saw a really nice Orvis vest ($139) today, which had the standard two large compartments for fly boxes on the lower front--one on each side--and on the outside of those compartments were 3 velcro pockets perfect for tippet material. There were also two other pockets for additional fly boxes on the inside of the front and on the outside of the back plus many other smaller pockets.

05-09-2002, 04:13 AM
With a lot of uncertainty, I purchased a Simms Guide Vest. What a difference compared to my chest pack! Now, I actually have secure pockets for everything. I don't put a fly box in the big pocket on the lower right side to keep my elbow from banging into it when I cast, but it comes in very handy as a place to conveniently clip off excess line. What do most people do when they clip off excess line--let it fall in the river?

I also find that once the vest is loaded with gear, you can put things like a rain shell or fleece jacket in the roomy pockets on the back of the vest without the front hiking up to your neck. And, if you need even more room for gear, you can always wear a backpack over your vest and get the weight on your hips where it's more comfortable. I am very happy with the vest, and I would recommend that all beginners buy a vest and not a chest pack.

05-09-2002, 09:19 AM
Newbie - thanks for the product updates. Good data helps make informed decisions.

I wish I'd caught the last half of this thread earlier than today (Thursday) because I've heard of B&W Outfitters or some such, Bucks Bags, etc., which make chest/back pack components; I've also heard good and bad feedback based on the user's opinion. It sounds like where you bought your stuff is pretty high-end; at the same time, it's equally odd several other equipment manufacturers' names didn't come up in your search, perhaps including outside your area sources.

06-06-2002, 07:57 PM
Even with several good fly fishing shops in the Atlanta area, I must say that the majority of my purchases are actually made at Cabela's, including my waders, and there's a good reason for it, which I'll get into momentarily. I must first say that I strongly believe in supporting local shops, versus mail-order companies, as much as possible; I do make some relatively large purchases from individual retailers, such as the three reels (a pair of Tetons and a Litespeed) I picked up recently. While a retail store has the benefit of "hands-on" shopping and interaction with someone who really knows what they're talking about (in comparison to the voice at the end of the line that may or may not have a clue about what you're interested in), I have found that, at least locally, many of the store staff exhibit the snobbery that unsettles me (i.e. "No, you don't that $150 reel (which would easily handle the trout in the area); you would do much better to go with this $400 Bauer). Particularly on big ticket items (such as reels, rods, and waders), there always seems to be a lot of pressure to make a purchase when you ask a question; this is why I enjoy browsing through catalogs and magazines, and reading posts here at the forum, as there's no pressure and I can make the purchase when I'm ready, and it may not at all be the same thing recommended to me at a store. I had this sort of experience when shopping for my first pair of waders, and having gone into the local Orvis store, looking through their catalog, and speaking with several sales people in other fly shops, I was ready to purchase a pair of Orvis waders. Then I went online to Cabela's website and saw their breathable waders on sale for $119, boasting the same features as any other good pair of waders, with the exception that they didn't have a huge warranty period. So the waders I bought are stocking-foot, breathable, have neoprene suspenders, a wading belt, inside zippered-pouch, come in a mesh bag, and have gravel guards; not too bad for the price. I use these waders all the time and have really enjoyed them. Even though it might get really hot in the afternoon, I wear a pair of sweatpants and two pairs of socks, and I'm comfortable all day. The thing is, I had no pressure to make the purchase, and that's important to me. I ended up getting a pair of Hodgman wading boots, and again, it was not the recommended style, but they're very comfortable and seem to hold up well.
The only thing about my "outfit" that I'd like to change is my vest; the one I have is a full-length, and I find that not only do I tend to wade deep on many occasions (which soaks everything in the lower part of the vest), but I don't typically carry a ton of accessories. So, I might be looking into a shortie soon. Anyone got any suggestions?

06-07-2002, 07:19 PM

I have to counter the complaint on the Coastal. I have on and think it's great. Only problem is I can carry too much "stuff" and my back sweats, otherwise it is outstanding.


06-07-2002, 10:43 PM
I just picked up the Coastal pack and love it...I hate vests because they are too constricting and have never found any other pack etc. comfortable nor useful.

Like Andre, I love my Coastal as the Coastal is the exact opposite from anything else I have tried...tons of room, a backpack and plenty of movemt...dont even realize I am wearing it.

Whiskey Dick
06-08-2002, 01:36 AM
Hi Newbie, well you are going through all the options like i did but it took me 30 years and it looks like it is going to take you 6 months:D . I started off with a fishing creel bag which would hold anything, biggest problem was keeping it on you shoulder and not forgeting it when you put it down on the bank and it was uncomfortable to carry, next i went to a vest, wow what an invention it carried everything and i could find all my stuff fairly easily,sure sometimes if you put big stuff in the wrong pockets they got in the way but i worked through that one, then i went with a chest pack, a JW Outfitters Deluxe TroutPack,wow i thought this was IT and if i wanted it converts to a fannypack, what a product;) (that reminds me i have one some where used once i can sell). But you know what i use now? a Lanyard,hangs around my neck, holds tippet spools, nippers,file,thermometer,flyfloatant andsplitshot. In my shirt pocket goes the fly box and a couple of spare leaders and away i go,when not in use i tuck it inside the top of my waders, that way there is no rattling as i walk along:D . I wonder what they will come up with next ?, i will probably buy it as i always need more stuff!!:devil: tight lines,brian