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Simms or L.L. Bean waders?

Question:
I am looking to buy a new pair of breathable waders and am considering Simms guide model and L.L. Beans Gore/Kevlar model. My question is which do you think is the smarter buy? I am not concerned about the price, but I am not able to try L.L. Bean on at a retail/fishing store. Any information would be much appreciated.

Thank you,
TJ

Answer:
TJ,

Some of the products I've tested have been easier to distinguish good and bad than others. Choosing between Simm's Guide Model waders and L.L. Bean's Gore-Tex/Kevlar waders is tough.

Both the Simms Guide Model and the L.L. Bean Gore-Tex/Kevlar waders are excellent products. They are both excellent companies as far as customer support is concerned. They both have many sizes to choose from, the fit for me on each was excellent. They are both similarly priced (L.L. Bean is less than $20 more). Since I can't speak for durability (I've only used each pair for less than six months, no problems with either pair) I'm left with only subtle differences. The Simms are slightly more comfortable, the L.L. Bean's are a little stiff from the knee down. But the L.L. Bean's have built-in gravel guards. I know it is easy to add gravel guards to the Simm's, and probably less than the $20 price difference. My biggest concern is the feet. On several pair of neoprene waders I've owned over the years the feet always started to leak. I have no idea which is better long term, gore-tex or neoprene feet. Time will tell.

Since they are so evenly matched I consider them both to be a smart buy. I guess if I had to choose, I'd give a very slight edge to Bean's Kevlar waders, because of the built-in gravel guards and because gore-tex feet can be more easily protected with a cheap pair of neoprene socks. I think with either pair I'd protect the feet with extra neoprene socks, however with the Simm's, two layers of neoprene socks may cause a sizing problem depending on how much room you have in your wading boots.

If you've been wearing neoprene waders, which ever brand of breathables you choose, Simm's or L.L. Bean, you will be pleasantly surprised by how comfortable they are.

Scott Clayton
GearReview.com



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