Simms G3 Guide, River Camo Waders: Review

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Photo by Johnny Spillane

By Louis Cahill

New features and tech in the Simms G3 Guide waders make them some of the best I’ve ever used.

In thinking about how to write this review, I’ve decided that it needs to be two reviews in one. There are some big upgrades in the new G3 Guide Waders that need to be discussed on their own merits. The topic of River Camo as a fishing tool is something I will address separately. 

For about the last seven years, I have fished in my Simms G4Z waders. I have, for some time, considered them the natural end on the wader conversation. I have tested waders from every major manufacturer and found nothing that came close. If you are a regular reader, you will recognize that it has been a long time since I wrote a wader review, and that’s why. My G4Zs have never leaked or failed me in any way and I never pictured myself wearing anything else, until I got a call this summer from Gustavo Hiebaum, of Andes drifters, inviting me on a pretty special trip.

My buddy Johnny Spillane and I spent a week in Patagonia exploring an exciting new fishery. We hiked way into the Andes Mountains and explored streams that may have never been fished. At least not in a generation. We were literally cutting our way into the river with machetes. In some cases we were sight fishing to big brown trout in very shallow spring creeks. 

It’s like New Zealand in Patagonia,” Gustavo told me.

Simms had just released the River Camo G3 waders and it seemed like the perfect trip to put them to the test.

My first impression of these waders was that they were so comfortable it was like fishing in pajamas. In the literature, Simms describes the new G3 Guide Wader as 200% more breathable and 30% more durable. I forgot that as soon as I read it. It just sounded like marketing BS. Once I wore them, I realized there was a huge difference. As comfortable as my G4Zs are, they feel like body armor compared to these. I honestly forgot I was wearing them. 

As for the durability, I can’t imagine a better test than this trip. Every plant in Patagonia seems to have thorns, some as big as an inch long. We crashed and cut our way through stuff that makes our blackberry thickets at home look like flower gardens. One evening I cut nine thorns out of my left thumb alone. The waders never leaked. We hiked about twenty kilometers a day and I was not just comfortable, but my waders never showed the wear. The four layer Pro Shell Gortex is just remarkable.

The cut of the G3 Guide wader gives you a great range of motion. Perfect for climbing over boulders and logs, the freedom of motion helps you wade safely in sketchy spots. The extra breathability keeps you from sweating when hiking up river. The shoulder straps and belt are wide, comfortable and durable. The reach-through, micro-fleece pocket is cozy on chilly mornings. The waders easily convert to waist height when the afternoon gets warm.

The G3 Guide Waders are, by far, the most comfortable I have ever worn and are extremely durable. I wore relatively cheep waders for years, and replaced them every season. I finally wised up and realized that I saved money over time by buying good waders and keeping them. In my experience Simms stands behind their products and at $550, the G3 Guide Waders are a smart investment for anglers who fish more than a couple of times a year.

River Camo, What’s that all about?

Photo Johnny Spillane

I’m going to indulge myself here for just a brief moment. Prepare yourself for some honesty. I’m a little stunned at the hate some people spew about camo waders. I’m a little stunned, frankly, at the stupid rants I see every day on the internet. No doubt you will see some of them in the comments below. All I can tell you is, it’s a world of winners. Take it for what it’s worth.

Does camo work? I don’t know. How about we ask the fine men and women of the US military? They certainly seem to like it, when they put their lives on the line in combat. Or maybe it’s just a fashion statement. What about hunters? Those guys don’t know anything about sneaking up on animals. Why would fly anglers want camo?

Yes, camo works, don’t be an idiot.

Do you need camo waders in every situation? Of course not. Are camo waders going to help you if you stomp around the banks and fall into every pool? Nope. Camo can’t fix stupid. If, however, you know how to approach fish in a river, want to get into position to make the best possible presentation, and fish in places where fish are on high alert, River Camo may be a game changer.

As a photographer, I am always having to get into positions where I’m in danger of spooking fish to capture the action in a compelling way. I feel like the River Camo gives me a big advantage. It certainly gives me confidence, and confident anglers catch more fish. That’s reason enough to wear it. I see no downside wearing River Camo when I fish. I like to have every advantage and, frankly, I don’t care if you think I’m not cool.

Here’s a video of me catching a fish when I think River Camo made a difference.

In the end, River Camo is a color option in a great wader. If you are concerned about looking silly in camo, you can get them in the standard gray. If you like the idea of a little extra stealth, if you’re a Euro-nympher and need to get close to fish, or if you like to duck hunt and don’t want to buy two sets of waders, it’s a great choice. If on the other hand, you’re just a lifeless troll who hates everything, that’s why we have the comments section. Have at it.

Look for me on the river in my G3 Guide River Camo Waders…but look hard.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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8 thoughts on “Simms G3 Guide, River Camo Waders: Review

  1. Dang Louis, a little feisty! I like it. Usually it’s Mr. Picket with the short fuse.
    Good input though and thanks for the review. I’ve been wondering about them since they came out. Is it the original made in US made g3 in the Camo?

  2. Trout don’t grow LARGE by ignoring perceived threats from above. Why spook ’em when you can make yourself disappear? The fishing I do in the Upper Delaware tailwaters is more like hunting anyway. There are four element to stealth fishing that when combined, give you an advantage over those who ignore even one of them:

    1) Visual stealth
    (camo and earth colors)

    2) Motion stealth
    (S-L-O-W “heron-like”. no wake)

    3) Presentation stealth
    (fish from below; 4 wt or less; long leader)

    4) Habituation stealth
    (relax the fish with a non-threatening presence)

    If you scoff at camo, you can be sure the trout will do the same to you.

  3. I have been giving these some thought. Thanks for the positive review. I like the idea that you can order a size that will actually fit, rather than wishing our bodies fit the waders. I’m saving up for a pair.

  4. Great review, I would love buy and use a pair of these waders BUT… I fish some streams in Northern Michigan that are overrun by beavers and you spend an inordinate amount of time climbing out of bankside holes the critters are so clever at hiding. The bottom and sides are replete with sticks and branches which would remind one of punji sticks used so successfully by the VC a long time ago in a land far, far away. I know you claim to have abused these waders in Patagonia to the nth degree but I still dont think they would defeat the cursed beaver traps, I dont think kevlar and body armor would do the job either. I have no problem with spending $500-600 for a quality product (which I am sure they are) but I just dont think they would last any longer than my “cheap” waders. However if Simms would like me to field test them this year please contact me and I would be more than happy to use and abuse them. The camo sounds like a good idea, dont know why anyone would have a problem with that.

  5. Good inputs. I pretty much think the same about the river camo. But when I argue with haters I usually mention hunting! Thanks for the good read.

  6. It is the “snobby” fly fisherfolk who despise and criticize camo. These are the same people who also think the East Branch of the Delaware River starts in Downsville, NY. Elitist idiots who think they know it all, but don’t. I wear camo when fishing always and glad to see this product come out. A bit pricey, but I’m sure we will see that come down a bit after the newness is gone. Hopefully just in time for when my current waders wear out…lol! Thanks for the review!

  7. Hi guys! Nice forum! I have a pair of Cabela’s Light Mag neoprene waders in Realtree Camo with 1800gm Thinsulate insulation. These baby’s have lasted me 10 years and no leaking whatsoever BUT they are HOT in the Spring and Summer even when I just wear shorts underneath plus they have cleated soles. I use a wading staff to help me with balance as I am now 55 years old. So I took the plunge and just ordered a pair of Simms g3 guide stocking foot waders in the standard color, got me some Korkers wading boots to go with them, they have interchangeable soles so I can put the cleated ones on to hike down to my spots, then pop them off and put the felts on. Felt is the ONLY way to go here in NC and I tell you now I don’t slip on slimy rocks any more and don’t have to wade so gingerly . I say all this to say I ordered a pair of special knee/shin guards to totally preserve my $500+ Simms. They are specially made for fishing, light and comfortable and I HIGHLY recommend to anybody to get a pair. These come from Europe but I’ve seen tactical neoprene guards will work also. Last year I slipped on a rock and busted my shin up! So tight lines gentlemen!

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