If you read this blog then you might have gathered that I am not that good at sitting still. "Stuff" really interests me and I can't help but look around the corner and wonder what else might be out there. Money no object and I struggle to see past my Simms G4 waders, but holy cow are they expensive. I recently gave mine a full MOT if you like via the outstanding Diver Dave wader repair service and I reckon that I'll be sending them off every year to get an overhaul as I want these G4 waders to last as long as possible.
I have a couple of new pairs of waders here that I am starting to test out to see how well they might work for me. One is a set of Orvis Silver Sonic convertible-top waders and the other is a pair of custom-built Bassboots waders that I am very interested to see what they will be like for the sort of fishing I tend to do - which for the most part is not that "kind" to waders and wading boots. Is there such a thing out there as the perfect pair of lightweight chest waders for what I do ?
By no means would I ever say that around the £230 mark is not a lot of money, but the simple fact is that it's the kind of money that will buy you let's say a mid-range pair of "breathable" waders. Having come across the Diver Dave wader repair service I can't help but hope that more anglers come across this service and almost start factoring in say a yearly or bi-yearly "wader MOT" into their buying process. For around £55 your waders are collected, sorted and delivered back to you, and that to me is a no-brainer if you can keep extending the life of the things.
The Greys Platinum waders did me well for a while, but they had perhaps the worst gravel guard on a set of waders that I have ever seen and when compared to my Simms G4 waders, it then made me realise how "un-breathable" the Greys actually ones were. I have worn these Orvis Silver Sonic waders a fair few times now and so far they seem to be doing great. They are cut a bit differently to my (roughly 3 times the price) Simms, but they are comfortable and incredibly lightweight to wear. They seem like some good gravel guards and I love how you can unclip a few bits and pieces and easily these chest waders into waist-waders. Time will tell, but so far so good, and they don't seem to be any less "breathable" than my Simms. I will report back.
Now if a pair of waders can be exciting, then these new Bassboots I am also just starting to try out might just fit into that category. Could these be the bombproof, lightweight waders that I have been looking for ? As with the above, time will tell, but I am very, very hopeful with these things. Nope, £240 again is hardly small change, but for that you get a bespoke pair of waders (yes, you have to measure yourself up, and no sucking that chest in or claiming a six pack !!) about which I am hearing more and more stories of anglers investing in a pair and then having them last years and years without any problems at all.
I am trying the "lightweight" material, and the waders in the hand feel lighter than my Simms - but they are categorically not breathable, and the people behind Bassboots would never for one second claim that they are. The material is incredibly light but feels far, far tougher than anything else I have ever seen on a pair of waders (I reckon it would be pretty hard to put a hole in these things, and the seams look like they might last forever the way they are sealed), but the trade off if you like if that it's not going to breathe. Is this an issue ? I don't know, because firstly how much do you as a person sweat in your waders, and secondly, how much do "breathable" waders really "breathe" anyway ? Plus of course it very much depends on what you wear underneath your waders and how far you might be walking and moving around for your fishing. Give me some proper time with them in all kinds of weather and after all kinds of distances walked, climbed and scrambled and I will be able to tell you more, but my initial feelings are that this is one serious pair of waders that might just solve a lot of problems.
My Bassboots waders have come with a tech-sock which means I can use them with wading boots like I always do with my other waders. The waders seriously fit like a glove and I have been out fishing with them twice now (without bothering the local fish population too much). The first time was say a mile there and a mile back with plenty of scrambling and wading (is the water cold or what ?) and the second time involved a rather lengthy scramble down and up some pretty high and steep cliffs. Not a bother and I like it when you almost don't know a pair of waders is there because they fit and almost "move" with you so well.
Now it's hardly as if I am some featherweight long-distance runner who doesn't sweat until they are ten miles into a marathon. I am what I am and I only have two speeds - stop and go, and go tends to be a pretty fast walking pace. I could not fault these new Bassboots waders on either occasion. Sure, there was a little bit of sweat on the inside, but then with any "breathable" pair of waders I have worn I would have expected some as well. Time will tell again how these things do over a long period of testing, but I am already a little bit excited that these things might prove to be something pretty serious............