Simms Headwaters Chest Waders

Headwaters Chest Waders

Headwaters Chest Waders

I have not worn waders since about 1984 and those were Uniroyal thigh waders, so things have changed a bit for me. I needed to get a pair of waders for a trip to the Welsh Dee in November 2010 for a spot of Grayling fishing. So what to buy. A very famous angler recommended I get breathables and simply layer up beneath then I would have waders for all seasons- you can always take layers off. I did a bit research but the ones I fancied were the Simms Freestone waders. These were on special offer at Glasgow Angling Centre at the time with a pair of boots for ( if I recall £250).

I went to look and while the Freestone’s looked OK I was much more taken with the Headwaters which were about £50 more (but no boot offer). However GAC agreed to do the same deal on the boots and I got the lot for about £300 or so.

The two models are effectively much the same but the Headwaters are made from Goretex, while the Freestones from a cheaper Eastern material called Toray. No doubt, no less effective but the Goretex brand is one I have learned to trust over the years in other outdoor uses and the waders seemed tougher and better made looking.

I have not been disappointed. These are comfortable, tough, very flexible waders and I love them. I have worn them right through winter with my Guideline under suit and at times a few additional layers and they have kept me dry and warm. They are tough enough to cope with clambering on river banks, snagging on barbed wire fences and general fishing abuse.

They come with a repair kit (Glue and a patch) and a nylon wading belt- suitable for hooking a wading stick on to. They have a hand warmer pocket and a velcro top pocket ideal for stuffing cuttings of line into for safe disposal. They can be folded down as waist waders as the braces double as a belt using the clever use of opposite buckle types on the braces.[ad code=3 align=center]

In use I have found with suitable underclothes they are great in winter- plenty of layers of synthetics is the thing, and my Guideline thermal fleece. Never been cold. In winter even with all this gear on you stay warm without any issues of condensation forming due to heat build up. In Summer, in normal dry mild weather again they are fine, I don’t wear any sort of undersuit, just combats and heavy socks, and again I am dry and comfortable all day. On one occassion I spent the whole day hiking the hills and fishing in them on a pretty warm, sunny  day and when I removed them it was damp up the legs. The condensation when it does form is primarily in the neoprene foot area, understandable as its where the sweat pools and the material (neoprene) is not breathable. So a little damp but then when you are warm anyway its hardly an issue and you dry out once out of the waders and in fresh air normally clothed. I don’t consider this a flaw- just the nature of breathables. I would not recommend wearing any less under them- like shorts, I think you would be in for an uncomfortable day of chaffing if you did!

Update 2013

After three winters of occassional wear and two full summers plus the early part of the 2013 season, the waders are still going strong. While I have “nicked” them occasionally with hooks and clambered over fences ( normal and barbed wire) and done much walking and fishing in them to date I have no leaks or serious issues. I do give them a reproofing every 6 months or so which helps. I still tend to get a damp right leg if I have been in them a while- but after a recent outing where I walked in water no more than 6″ deep and still had a damp right leg afterwards, then another outing where I had them on all day and was regularly in water thigh deep but minimal walking and was bone dry, I have to say I still think this is condensation build up- why the right is worse than the left I have no idea!

I have given them a rub over with alchohol to see if I can spot any pinpricks that might leak but none are apparent. All the more surprising as I have snagged them on barbed wire and hooked them with flies. I have no hesitation in saying I would buy Simms again. First class.

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One of my best tackle purchases and highly recommended.

As I say they came with a pair of Simms Freestone boots which you can also read about.


Useful Links

Glasgow Angling Centre
Simms Headwaters waders at Fishtec

One Comment

  1. Waders On | the unfamous flythe unfamous fly
    September 9, 2013 @ 19:03

    […] Simms Headwaters Chest Waders […]


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