Simms G3 Guide Wader Review

May 28, 2018
Simms G3 Guide Wader
Simms G3 Guide Wader Simms-G3_Mens-02 Simms-G3_Mens-03 Wader-05

The Good

  • Good Durability
  • Wide range of sizes
  • Made in USA
  • Good use of secondary features

The Bad

  • Modest breathability
  • Limited versatility
  • Expensive
The Simms G3 Guide wader proved capable of handling rugged use (and abuse) in a variety of situations, prompting our team to dub them perfect for daily wear. The G3 Guides are a bit heavy, though, compared to the other models in this test — more than twice the weight of the Patagonia Middle Forks, and nearly 35 percent heavier than the Orvis Ultralights. They are also substantially less breathable than those other models, due in large part to their heavier materials used over the waterproof-breathable membrane. But weight and breathability aside, the G3 Guides earned our team’s respect for their functionality, durability, and feature-rich design.

The Simms G3 Guide waders proved that they are, first and foremost, aptly named. They have the durability and functionality to serve anglers like guides who are on the water on a daily basis. The G3 Guide also offers one of the most precise fits we found in a wader, thanks to the huge range of sizes offered by Simms. With 25 sizes for men, and another 10 women-specific sizes, Simms overs a wider, more varied size profile than any other wader producer. But in this year when weight and packability are trending, Simms choose to focus on functionality and fit above all else. For the hard-core daily user, that’s a good thing, but for summer anglers and those who travel, the G3 Guides don’t match up to the competition. We also tested the Women’s specific version.


With a total of 35 sizes (25 men’s and 10 women’s), Simms offers the best range of fit options for anglers. We found we could get a good fit for skinny pre-teens to burly, barrel-chested guides (i.e., the guys who don’t have six-pack abs — they have beer keg bellies). The size range is impressive enough, but Simms designers also ensured that each size was well matched to the anglers wearing them. The cut through the thighs and seat tend to be just generous enough for good mobility without having to suffer from “saggy butt syndrome”. The legs taper well to prevent excess drag in fast water, and the neoprene booties are somewhat slim cut to minimize buckling and folding in wading boots.


The Simms G3 Guide employees 3-layer Gore-Tex ProShell material in the chest area, but a heavier, more durable 4-layer ProShell below the waist. That does make the waders highly durable — especially compared to all other models in this season’s test — but that heavier fabric also noticeably reduces breathability. Testers wearing the G3s would regularly report ‘soggy socks’ faster and more frequently than when they wore other models. That soggy sock condition was a direct result of excessive sweat moisture in the legs — too much in too short a time to allow it to vaporize and ‘breathe’ out through the wader shell.


With multiple pockets, a fly-drying patch, and even anti-microbial treatment on the neoprene booties — a wonderful addition that our team vigorously tested! — the Simms G3 Guide proved to be a feature-rich wader. The guides and other on-the-water professionals on our test team proclaimed them extremely well designed for daily use. A pass-through hand-warmer pocket was praised by everyone during cold springtime usage. And the the flip-out pocket with its tippet sleeve and tough retractor pad was deemed the “most useful feature we never knew we needed.”

The anti-microbial treatment on the neoprene booties also earned high praise, especially from spouses and camp-mates who were exposed to the sweaty used waders on a regular basis. Though the Simms G3s did get sweatier than others in the test (see breathability section above), they weren’t nearly as stinky after a few weeks of hard use as those other waders were.


With a stout 4-layer construction featuring Gore-Tex ProShell through the lower two-thirds of the waders, the G3 Guide stood up to rugged use better than any of its competitors in this test. While wearing the Simms waders, our testers scrambled over sharp riprap rocks, pushed through tangles of scrub alder, devil’s club, and even blackberry briars. We crawled over boat gunnels, and under logs. In weeks of hard use, the waders showed no signs of wear or abuse. We envision years of use from these stout waders.


Every tester who wore them said the G3 Guide waders were well made and suitable for daily use by river professionals. But they also all added that they weren’t as ideally designed for wading cold streams during hot weather, and they were not really suitable for travel. But for cool to moderate weather on local rivers, it’s hard to beat them.

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