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Thread: Wading Jackets - Simms vs Patagonia

  1. #1
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Wading Jackets - Simms vs Patagonia

    Interested in personal experiences with Patagonia's Stretch SST Jacket - in heavy/steady rain.

    I am planning to replace my faithful Cabelas Gore Tex, which served well since Fall, 2000 when I started fly fishing. The only problem with it was moisture accumulation inside the jacket after heavy hiking even during cold weather steelhead fishing in Sept/Oct.

    Simms has been bombproof in the wader department, so I figured on replacing the jacket with Simms Guide model. My only reservation is that the breathability of this Patagonia Stretch material might offer a useful advantage while retaining waterproof protection, comparable to Simms. The two jackets are approx $25 apart.

    Would appreciate any comments re: either jacket in heavy cold/wet conditions from forum members.

    Thank you in advance.

    6XLeech

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    I've had a Simms Guide jacket for the last 4 or 5 years and it's performed perfectly. It's seen it's share of all-day hard rain and hasn't leaked even one drop. The model I have is now called the Classic Guide. If I lost my Simms coat I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one. I'm a very satisfied Simms customer. I haven't seen the Patagonia jacket you mentioned.

    The best feature of my Simms coat, aside from not leaking, is the elastic neoprene inner cuffs. I can reach into the water and my under layer clothing doesn't get wet. At the end of the day that feature makes a big comfort difference over the other coats I've had. Great hood, too. Big enough to not feel confined and a visor to keep the water from dripping onto my face.

  3. #3
    Member AK Tubes's Avatar
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    I'd lean towards Simms. I've had both and they were both great jackets. I just personally like the layout and ergonomics of the Simms Jacket. I, too, am a big fan of the neoprene cuffs. I haven't found a jacket that will "breath" enough when all zipped up during heavy activity though. But then again, I could find a way to sweat in a freezer.

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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Yes I agree, Simms guide jacket isthe way to go....K

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    I have had the simms guide jacket for six years and I still love it. It is tough as nails and always keeps me dry. Not only do wear fishing but I wear it gold panning and riding my atv. The only time I get wet is on the atv and that comes from the neck but I going 40 in the driving rain.
    Dave

  6. #6

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    The only thing that is going to be more breathable is something that uses gore -tex XCR...which will be a bit more expensive....I realize that the neoprene cuff feature is nice, but that is going to eliminate another area to vent during heavy hiking.....I personally just use a gore-tex xcr hiking jacket since they are so much cheaper...and tend to breathe much better w/o all of the bulk from the features and pockets on "wading" jackets...i use a wading vest over this coat.

  7. #7
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default What I use.

    I have an old Filson Tin Field Jack that I use. It nice and short, Is reasonably breathable, tough as nails so I never worry about plowing through the brush. It folds up and fits right in my back pocket on my vest. Its not all fancy, but it works and at the end of the day it has never failed me. But Im grew up on the Gallatin and Madison so Im a firm Simms fan if you had to choose.

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    Simms all the way!!!

    The crew that did some of the Patagonia designs was set up in Bozeman. When Patagonia went all "corporate" and closed them down (too far from the control center) some of the best designers went to work for Simms and Arcteryx. (This isnt rumor: I know this because I live in Bozeman, know the designers and most of the Simms management team and do some consulting for Simms myself).

    Quality and Design:

    The Simms jacket is designed by the best extreme garment designers around. These guys/ladies are in demand by all of the "wanna be" garment companies and they choose to work for the best (Simms and Arcteryx).

    I've personally seen how Simms deals with thier contract manufacturers, the quality and production information they provide, the hands-on attention that they invest in the factories. Top notch.

    Corporate Culture:

    The guy who owns Simms lives in Bozeman and is totally dedicated to improving the performance of fly fishing garments. The company wins numerous design and innovation awards at the FIA show.

    Simms continues to grow their wader manufacturing operation IN BOZEMAN. It would be way easier for them to follow the Patagnia/etc. route and import everything. They're doing it the hard way, its very hard to find people to work in a wader shop in this stupid tourist town, but they do it and treat their employees very well. Patagonia shut down their wader operation in Dillon, MT to cut costs (one assumes). I think their waders are made in the same Chinese or Hong Kong factory that everyone else's are made in.

    Simms is a great company with great products. My daughter borrowed a Simms fishing jacket and some of their new kids waders for a trip we took to POW a month ago. We sat through several nasty downpours (including one when we were out on a skiff getting absolutely slashed, fun) and she was as dry as a bone. I had on an Arcteryx jacket and the Simms pack lite gore tex pants and stayed completely dry.

    Yes, I'm biased. Every Patagonia garment that I've bought has worked very well. I've had some of their fleece for over 15 years and still use it all the time. I just think Simms does it right in their designs, quality control and the way they treat their people and would rather buy their products.

    Sermon over.

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    Why has simms moved thier jacket factory to china? They used to be made in Canada and USA. I am now needing a new jacket but refuse to pay top dollar for something made in China. No excuse, just greed! Tell that to your friends at simms.

  10. #10
    Member Akonthefly's Avatar
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    I can only speak as a user. I have the Simms Rivertek jacket and love it. breathes very well and keeps the water out. My wife has a Patagonia she loves it, it also breaths well and keeps her dry. Both are good products She chose hers because of fit and function I chose mine for the same reason (and i have other simms products that always work for me). Try them both on and see what you like the best. Good luck on your choice.

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    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default Im a little biased too.

    Everything I own is Simms, waders (G3) and a the vest too, have had them for as long as I could afford them, I just use my Filson Jacket cuz I happen to like it. Im from Bozeman, and I support American Made with Ameican material. In fact I am willing to pay way more for American made, particularly if it is superior quality like Simms. Go Simms you wont be disappointed. IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akflyfisher View Post
    Why has simms moved thier jacket factory to china? They used to be made in Canada and USA. I am now needing a new jacket but refuse to pay top dollar for something made in China. No excuse, just greed! Tell that to your friends at simms.
    You're welcome to your opinion. Check all of your clothing, motors, shoes, boots, etc. and see where its made before casting too much judgement on them. I support Simms because they make everything they can in their particular market in the US, pay their people well, provide excellent benefits, etc.. I paid top dollar for a Canadian made GoreTex jacket: ArcTeryx. I isn't lined but its tough as nails and works great. The China/US/Canada thing played into my decision and I was happy to pay extra.

    Greed? Get real. The reality of the market (Cabelas, mom and pop fishing shops, Sportsman's Whorehouse, etc.) is that a company has to have a "full line" to get support for any of their line. Simms imports clothing and GoreTex gear to support their wader line. The result is that there's actually a whole bunch of people making waders in the US. Quite a few other people make components that are shipped to China to be sewn into their jackets. Beats the alternative as far as I'm concerned.

    Simms prices reflect the quality of the materials, quality checks and extra features (hidding retractors are a real bugger to make, hand warmer pockets, etc.) of their products. Their incoming inspection (done in the US at their factory, not at a shipping location by some contractor like the others do) is by far the toughest in the industry.

    As far as I know Simms never made real production runs of their GoreTex jackets in Canada and the USA. They never owned a jacket factory, but (along with Patagonia and others) may have contracted sample production to a factory in the US. Good luck finding any GoreTex-type jacket made in the US (does anyone know of one? I'd like to know).

    Another fact: Simms regularly wins design innovation awards for products they make in the US. Right after the Fly Fishing Industry Association Show various trolls from Cabelas, Bass Pro, Patagonia, Orvis, etc. copy Simms new products and have them made in China.

  13. #13
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default Im wrong...

    I just bought the G3 vest from Simms at my local fly shop for my fathers bday gift. I didn't even look at the "made in label" till I got home. Im heart broken, its made in china. Don't get me wrong, its nice, but Im torn... do I take it back? I try and support made in USA as much as possible especially when I am paying 150+ for a fishing vest. So what do I do?

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    Let simms know that you want USA on top dollar items! Take it back.

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    When I purchased my simms guide jacket in 2001 they were made in Canada! When I received my my pac lite jacket it was made in USA. The only china simms product I have is my vest. Not the only north america product simms has is thier waders and socks. Give me a break. Simms is like any other company out there, greed! They should also realize doing business with china is not helping our enviroment either. I guess if it does not effect Bozeman who cares.
    I do think they make the best product and that is why I am so frustrated. I want to buy but then again, I cannot support china. They will kill us all some day!

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    Quote Originally Posted by byrd_hntr View Post
    I just bought the G3 vest from Simms at my local fly shop for my fathers bday gift. I didn't even look at the "made in label" till I got home. Im heart broken, its made in china. Don't get me wrong, its nice, but Im torn... do I take it back? I try and support made in USA as much as possible especially when I am paying 150+ for a fishing vest. So what do I do?

    Like akflyfisher wrote, if it bugs you take it back. Then...go try to find a nice one that's made in the USA and let all of us know the brand and where to buy it. I really like Simms and the way they do things, but I'd also rather buy a US/Canadian (heck even Mexican) made product. You might also ask how much of the raw materials are made here or over there, that makes a big difference to me.

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    I like my Sage vest. I like it as a vest. I tried several on and compared pocket access and other features. Then I bought the one I liked best. It makes me smile every time I wear it. If it happens to have been made in China? They did a darn fine job. I bought it.

    As for Simms. I'd buy another Guide jacket without hesitation. As long as it's made to the same specs with the same quality, I'm good with it. I haven't found anything better. I haven't found anything that even comes close.

    If you ever get the opportunity to deal with Simms customer service? You'll be a loyal customer, too. The folks I dealt with spoke Montana english.

  18. #18
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Thanks to all.

    Thanks to all for sharing their experience and perspective.
    From a strictly functional stanpoint, I decided to give the Patagonia a try - mainly due to the lighter weight for summer wading/hiking upstream. I can always wear another layer when Fall gets here. The acid test may come on Kodiak in September.

    The sentiment that Simms makes a bulletproof, completely practical product is obviously widely shared by many. I've found my Classic Guide waders to be several layers tougher than my shins on sharp rocks and pointy lumber along streams and through the brush. I'll be sticking with Simms waders for sure - just no reason to change.

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    A lot of the made in the USA stuff actually comes from territories like Saipan. Labor's cheap and they can exploit the workers but it's still technically property of the US. I wouldn't worry too much about labels and worry more about quality.

  20. #20
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default Not to sound like a total smart *****

    But if we don't care where our stuff is made then when are F-16 going to start being made in China too? It has to end somewhere. I took the vest back and got a Filson strap vest. It was actually a little cheaper, says made in USA and I called Filson and in English the kind lady told me they import their cotton for the vest from Mexico. But the vest was made in Seattle, Washington. That is good enough for me. And I actually like it a little better, its got a very simple design and the pocket layout is simple. I like it.

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