This is also a category of product that is often overlooked and ultimately replaced with another water repellent jacket hanging in one’s closet. And I get it, I mean how much do I really need a wading jacket that I’m only going to wear fishing right? While it’s an easy argument to make, the reality of the situation is that you’ll never fully understand how valuable a fishing jacket can be until you spend a fowl weather day on the water in one.
Simms Fishing Product was kind enough to send me one of their new (and about to be released) 2018 G3 Guide Tactical Jackets back in September. Coming to market November 15, 2017, the new 2018 G3 Guide Tactical Jacket is a new approach to constructing the best fitting and performing wading jacket on the market. For the last couple of months I’ve been putting the new 2018 G3 Guide Tactical Jacket to use on our home waters of Colorado, as well as up British Columbia. After countless days on the water, all I can say is kudos to Simms for taking the traditional wading jacket in a new direction, with added purpose and function.
Fit - anyone that has owned/worn a “wading jacket” understands that these coats are unique first and foremost in the cut of the jacket. Designed to be worn over your chest high waders, these coats are a bit shorter than a traditional rain/fishing jacket to allow for deeper wading without submerging your jacket and the contents of any lower pockets. The previous version of the Simms G3 Jacket was a bit longer than the new 2018 G3 Guide Tactical Jacket, making the new version much more ideal of the demands associated with wade fishing.
Mobility - let’s face it, the motions and movements associated with fly casting and fly fishing demand a jacket that is designed with these needs in mind. The new 2018 Simms G3 Guide Tactical Jacket has two main point of improvement as it pertains to casting/fishing while wearing this jacket. First, Simms used a new Watertight Shingle Cuff on the G3 Guide Tactical, making for much better movement through the arms of the jacket, all while ensuring that there is a watertight closure at the cuff to keep your arm dry. On numerous occasions I did need to submerge my arm in the water, and I will say that I was thoroughly impressed with how little water made it past the cuff of the jacket. The second improvement to the new 2018 G3 Guide Tactical Jacket is the 4-Point Adjustable Tuck-Away Storm Hood. With most every jacket that I have worn, in order to raise the hood one must first unzip the neck of the jacket. This was always cumbersome when you’re running in a boat, or in the midst of an intense downpour. This new hood design allows for the angler to easily raise and lower the hood of the jacket while leaving the neck zipper alone. While not a game-changing design feature, I will say that it was very nice to be able to raise my hood while hauling ass up and down a river in a jet boat.
The Simms 4-Point Adjustable, Tuck-Away Storm Hood and Watertight Shingle Cuff
Pockets & Storage - previous editions of the traditional wading jacket usually included large, billowy pockets for maximum storage. While this pocket design was great for the guy looking to ditch his pack or vest, it was particularly problematic for anglers wishing to use their sling-packs. Simms took this feedback into account when designing the new G3 Guide Tactical Jacket, and instead created a jacket incorporating 4 Zippered Chest Pockets, 1 Zippered Sleeve Pocket, 2 Zippered Hand Pockets, 1 Internal Zippered Pocket, 1 Stretch Mesh Pocket, 1 Fly Patch and 2 Integrated Retractors. The 4 Zippered Chest Pockets were slimmed down and flush with the jacket's outer, but can still easily accommodate more than enough fishing gear. I was personally disappointed that the integrated retractors stayed on the new G3 Guide Tactical Jacket, but this design wasn’t anything a pair of scissors couldn’t solve in a few seconds.
Season’s & Use - as I noted previously in my review, the new 2018 Simms G3 Guide Tactical Jacket is a wading jacket, meaning it has a shorter cut than a traditional rain coat. While this is an ideal design for wade fishing, it is not so ideal for wearing when not in chest high waders. The shorter cut of this jacket leaves a noticeable gap near your waist, ultimately leaving you exposed to rain/snow. As such, I am going to deem that this coat is an ideal 4-Season wading jacket, great trout fishing, steelhead fishing, or any angling pursuit where you will find yourself wading deep in less than ideal conditions.
All in all Simms put it best when they said “Re-inventing a legend isn’t easy, but it was a welcome task for the Simms team.” I personally don’t think that they could have done a better job of redesigning the iconic G3 Guide Jacket, and I feel confident that the new 2018 Simms G3 Guide Tactical Jacket should and will remain a staple jacket in the Simms outerwear arsenal.