At last year’s International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Denver we perused the isles looking for excellent new product to report on. We were super impressed by Simms’ full line of G4 gear, which included the G4 Zippered Wader. We wanted to test the product firsthand last fall, but we’d already sent a pair to Alaska with our Midwest editor Dave Karczynski. He patrolled two different Alaska fish camps, for more than two weeks, and reported that the waders had served him very well. You’ll find his full review of the G4 Zippered waders in the July/August issue of American Angler.
We also saw two other prime wader offerings at the show—Orvis’ new Pro Wader and Patagonia’s Swiftcurrent Wader. Unfortunately, we were unable to place these waders in the hands of our reviewers or wear them on the water ourselves. It’s not in our DNA to offer product reviews that we haven’t tried out firsthand, however, we wanted to make you aware of these waders in case you’re gearing up for the summer season and the time has come to be dry. We suspect that either of these waders, which offer big time improvements over earlier models, would be great to fish in. And you would be backed by two great companies if anything went wrong. —the editors
ORVIS PRO WADER
Orvis spent three years developing the Orvis Pro Waders, including field-testing them on Alaskan guides for a combined 9,000 hours of R&D. The Pros, which are offered in male and female versions, offer four-layer construction on the top of the wader, meaning belt up, and five-layer on the bottoms for durability.
Orvis also used a new seam pattern and taping method to make the waders more durable than predecessors and what they declare as the “most durable waders in the industry.”
Here’s why: Orvis partnered with fabric giant Cordura to create a new wader fabric designed for “the rigors of the toughest fishing conditions in the world.” The fabric is called, “Lighter, thinner and more flexible” than other products on the market. Other improvements include quick-draining gravel guards, numerous pockets, a fleece-lined hand warmer pocket, padded/removable knee pads, an athletic fit, and anatomical left and right booties.
While we didn’t get to wear these waders, we looked closely at them at IFTD and we are eager to wear them and see if they are as solid and dependable as we believe they will be. $498; www.orvis.com
PATAGONIA SWIFTCURRENT PACKABLE WADERS
When Covid hit and PG sent many of their workers home, they also stopped shipping samples, concentrating instead on filling orders to the public (that means you) first. So, if you got a pair of Patagonia’s Swiftcurrents, feel good wearing them and let us know what you think. Again, we just want you to be aware of these waders being available in case you are shopping for a new summer arsenal.
Regarding Patagonia waders, there were some production problems years ago that had some waders leaking when they came out of the box. This didn’t play well for Patagonia, so they put a massive amount of effort into revamping those waders and we’ve been wearing a pair of those for four or five years without any problems whatsoever. Truth is, we could fish in those waders today and feel confident that we wouldn’t get wet.
But these new Swiftcurrent Packable Waders are pretty slick. We got a really good look at them at IFTD and thought, yea, we want to fish in those. That’s because these waders are lightweight and durable and they can be worn in any season, as long as you properly insulate underneath them. That means layering when it’s cold, or waring hardly anything when it’s warm.
When speaking to the PG boys at the show they mentioned their new Yulex sock ($29) and suggested wearing it when using these waders, for added warmth and cushioning. They can also be used for wet wading this summer.
The Swiftcurrents are made with 70 percent recycled fabric, they weigh just 36 ounces (think packing into backcountry lakes and streams), and they roll up into a small stuffsack. That’s important because more so these days we’re tromping off trail to find untouched waters, trying to avoid the driftboat/raft dilemma as much as possible. We prefer our fish, whenever and wherever possible, to not have seen 20 flies rolling over their heads before we set ours in front of their eyes.
Do know, however, that these are not the Cadillac model waders. PG’s Swiftcurrent line also offers Swifcurrent Expedition waders with or without a front zipper. These are waders you could wear anywhere in the world and they would serve well on eastern and PNW steelhead and salmon waters during fall and winter. So shop well before you order so you get the model that serves you best.
You can’t go wrong with these waders, and we hope to acquire a pair and give them a more thorough test and review for you soon. $399/Packable; $499 to $699/Swiftcurrent mens and women’s; www.patagonia.com—the editors