Simms Guide Ambassador Chad Johnson and his ‘06 Simms Rivertek Jacket.
A FEW week’s back I was filling out the Simms Repair form for my G3 Guide waders, to get some new feet fitted, and stumbled over one question, “What Year Did You Buy Your Waders”.
I bought my first pair of G3s, nine long years ago. That was before minimum flow; before Dally’s Ozark Fly Fisher; before the 100-year flood; before Mountain River Fly Shop; before the iphones, Apps, Thingamabobbers, Abel Nippers & Go Pros. Heck that’s nearly 20% of my life..
The wringer they have been put through, you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, a litany of wader crime which includes getting run over, stabbed with rebar, and bounced down a scree slope at Rim, not to mention covered in floatant, salsa, gasoline, and more than one flavor of adult beverage. The Rim Shoals spill was good enough that I’m still carrying a scar from gash that should have been stitched. The only damage to the G3s was a scuff.
I related this tale to our resident Simms Guide Ambassador Chad Johnson, and he started sharing similar stories of extraordinarily long-lived and much-loved Simms gear. Mississippi and I also share a reputation for being hard on gear _ indeed its been said of both of us that “he could tear up an anvil with a rubber mallet”.
So we summoned the Levin boys, and brought in the stuff we rely on year in and year out, to keep us warm, or cool, dry, and looking good, well the last point could be a matter of opinion but better than we deserve at least. Most importantly, it lasts like nothing else we have tried, and we have tried a lot.
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2006 Rivertek Jacket (pictured above): I have as been as rough on this coat as possible a couple guide stints in Alaska and have used it for years here . I wanted a new raincoat for a while just couldn’t justify buying a new one when this one still worked so well 🙂 I finally picked up a new Simms coat and I loan this one to customers all the time. You can’t go wrong with Simms!
‘06 Rivertek Midweight Zip (at left): I am still wearing it today: it is my 2 layer over a waderwick light weight (from the same era Ed. Note). I do around 80 days a year on this piece and its still just as good as the day I bought it enough said !
Flyshop Selfie for the D.L. Windstopper Jacket
‘06 Double Layer Windstopper Jacket: This piece has attained legendary status among Simms wearers, and the clamor when it finally left the lineup was so loud they had to bring it back last winter. It was always seen as a pricey jacket in its day but I’d probably got my money out of it before the decade turned.
Fall to spring I wore or carried this pretty much daily, whether I was guiding or working in the shop or going out to dinner. It’s still warm and comfortable, and makes you feel good every time you shrug it on. I put it on for the pic and still haven’t taken it off.
‘05 Superlight Shorts: There’s no way a pair of shorts this light should take the abuse of 8 summers, indeed I reckon these have some sort of magical powers. Firstly magical in the sense that my wife always reckoned I look better than normal in those shorts, and that’s something worth paying for in itself. Secondly, these have been coated in winch grease more times than I can count and come out of the wash clean as a whistle. Fish slime, yellow mustard from river lunches, morning road coffee: nothing sticks.
Ben Levin _ 2010 Guide Boots:
These boots have been through 5 guide seasons o the White and 2 guide seasons in Alaska hiking loads and running from bears. There is lots of support in these boots and a super tough hard hull to protect my feet.
I don’t use them as much on the creeks when I’m hiking miles and miles because of their weight, and they are heavier than my other boots, but when I’m on the river working hard I love the way they keep my feet from getting beaten up.
I’ve worn the tread down flat on the soles but they still grip.
Editor’s Note: (We told Ben when he handed over the boots he could get them resoled with new Vibram too)
Gabe Levin: Simms G3 Waders ‘07:
My beloved G3 waders were given to me as a high school graduation present, and in the seven years since, they’ve hung in there like a crafty old veteran despite being rode hard and put up wet. I can’t say I’ve been kind to these old waders; actually, I feel the slightest bit of guilt when I think of all the abuse I’ve put them through.
Forced marches through briars and barbed wire, thigh deep plunges into stinking muddy marshes, left for days wadded up unwashed in the trunk of my car, and the strangest part is, despite all of this, I think my waders still like me.
I finally had Simms put some new feet on them – maybe I’ll take better care of them in the next seven years, but I doubt it.