Mar 12, 2014

Wader Comparison - G3 Guide Vs. Sonic Pro

G3 Guide Vs. Sonic Pro
Waders! Love them or Hate them. I personally view waders as an expendable item. They have a given life span. So no matter how much money you choose to spend on waders the ultimate fate of them is always the same. But all cost aside there is some very important aspects to consider when buying waders that will help determine the given life expectancy you may get out of them such as proper fit and amount of use.

FIT - Today's breathable waders don't have much stretch in them. A proper fitting wader will be baggy in the legs. If you buy them to fit like your clothes then you'll most likely end up with seam leaks. To test this try bending down on one knee. If your waders are stretched to do this than they are too small. Follow the wader sizing chart of the brand you're buying. Most new buyers think that the charts are wrong because of how baggy the waders are on them. Trust me...follow the chart!

USE - Use is a pretty big factor in how many years you might get from a wader. I know many anglers that can wear out a pair of waders in a year...maybe even quicker. But we're talking anglers that fish maybe 100 days a year or maybe more. But maybe you're the angler that gets to fish one week a year. You might get 10 years out of a pair of waders if you take care of them and no mishaps occur.

My view of value
$700 over 10 years = not a bad investment for great waders
$700 over 1 year = Kind of hard to swallow!

And let's not forget that mishaps occur -
No wader is indestructible. The demise of a wader can come from snag on barbwire, scaling basalt rock cliffs, bushwhacking, trail blazing, thorn bushes and whatever else your endeavor may include. Fortunately many minor issues can easily be repaired with a tube of aquaseal. But tears, seam leaks, and neoprene bootie problems tend to render waders destructed!

Features to consider -

  • Gravel Guards - MUST HAVE, and almost all waders today have gravel guards. I remember my first pair of waders did not have them. Big mistake! I actually gave up those waders before they leaked.
  • Wading Belt - Another must have for nothing else but to wade safely. I like Stretch wading belts. They give and stretch for all day comfort. I also like waders that have built in belt loops
  • Stretch Shoulder straps - I like these for the same reasons as the belts.
  • Front hand warmer pocket - I like this feature
  • Internal tool and tippet pouch - I can take it or leave it...sometimes they are nice when all you want to carry is some tippet and nippers but most the time I have a pack to carry that stuff
  • Zipper front - Talk to anybody that wears zipper waders and they will tell you that they never want to go back. But the zipper is pure luxury. They don't make a wader last any longer, just easier to get in and out of as well as stream side relief. 
Two waders we offer today fit all these requirements and I currently use and test both. They are the Simms G3 Guide Waders and the Redington Sonic Pro Waders. Both have the features I like and both have performed well for me.

Let me break down the main differences between these two waders.

Simms G3 Guide Waders - $499.95
  • Made with breathable Gore-Tex Pro Shell
  • Made in USA
  • Warranty - Yes and I suggest reading the Simms Warranty Guide for more information
  • 19 factory stock sizes and other sizes and features can be custom ordered for a proper fit.
  • Sewn Seams
  • Breathable yes but not gore-tex
  • Imported
  • Warranty - Yes - one year and I suggest reading the Redington Warranty Guide for more information
  • 12 stock sizes - No custom sizes available
  • Welded seams

Summary

Fitting - Luckily I fit into a Large King size in either brand of waders but as you can see Simms offers many more sizes and this may be a determining factor for you. Also Simms has the custom shop that can tailor your needs. A distinct advantage of Made in USA. 

Origin 

I like to support Made in USA. But in the case of waders it's not the same as a fly rod or fly reel. I said earlier "waders are expendable", so its not like they hold their value or you will hand them down one day to your offspring. Spend 100 days a year in your waders and trust me, no one wants your waders! 

Breathable

I honestly can't tell the difference. I hear the claims and those claims can be proven with machines but if it's hot then your hot, if its cold then your cold. I think the more important fact is to learn how to layer properly under your waders. If you hike long distances to fish you might find it worth packing waders in and/or out for true comfort. Here is a trick for doing this that will keep you from having to pack another pair of shoes. Buy the Simms Guard Socks. Pack them in and when your ready to get out of your waders, slip on the guard socks and back into your wading boots. No need for another pair of shoes. Now you only need to pack your waders out and you can experience true breath-ability. 

Seams

I don't know how much this matters. They both have good claims to why theirs is better. I think you pretty much either have a seam leak right from the beginning or they develop due to improper fit or the fatal mishap occurs like doing the splits in the middle of the stream. Again mishaps do occur!

Warranty

Tough call with this one. Both brands are good to honor their stated warranty. Simms will certainly evaluate your waders and in most cases they get repaired in a timely manner. Redington warrantly says they will repair or replace but I've yet to see a repair done. Usually they are replaced if they meet the qualifications. I think for the long term Simms can keep your original waders in use with the ability to repair in a USA facility even though down the road it may cost you a small fee. 

Wrap this up

Both Simms G3 Guide and Redington Sonic Pro wader have performed flawlessly for me. Nothing bad I can say about either one. They both have all the features I like in a wader. With so many variables that will dictate the life of your wader I can't even say what the better value is. Hopefully the information provided here can help you determine what the best value is for you. 

Gorge Fly Shop 
Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"


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