I’ve been wearing a Simms ProDry Jacket and Bib for about a full year now. I’ve also been answering individual email enquiries about this relatively new Simms Gore-Tex rain and storm-wear, so in the interest of efficiency, here is a composite of my correspondence with folks who are on the hunt for storm-wear to keep the weather out and the warmth in.
Pricy - but the best rainwear I have ever used.
Lightweight – yeah, none of the Gore-Tex gear we wear these days is as heavy as the old Helly Hansen rubber coats and pants we grew up with. But the ProDry material is genuinely lighter than other Gore-Tex jackets I have worn.
Waterproof versus Water-resistant? This innovative ProDry material may not be waterproof, but as near as I can determine, it is. It really is. Simms makes other great rain wear that keeps the majority of rain off and out. Our wind-driven bucket-after-bucket rainfall here in the Pacific Northwest has a way of finding every nook and cranny, sneaking down our necks if we drop a hood, creeping up a sleeve when we make a cast or wipe hail off the end of our nose.
Day-long endurance sessions in the nastiest, wind-driven downpours have failed to breech these ProDry jackets and bibs. That’s an honest statement of fact.
Bibs. Zippers up the outside seam of the legs go up and up and up, making it comfortable to pull the bib on and off over Muck boots. A button and Velcro closure at the ankle seem like overkill, and I often use only the Velcro closure. The legs are long and a person could probably get away with ankle boots instead of taller, mid-calf boots like I usually wear. The suspenders are wide, light, and comfortable because they stay put where they are supposed to rest on shoulders. The zipper in front goes from chest-top to crotch, making it easy to, um, well, you know, dump the coffee. The zippers are sturdy, rust proof (I’m sure the brand is significant, but all I know is that they are top notch). Velcro closure pockets on each thigh are really nice. Not too shallow or deep, wide or narrow, long or short. Just right to carry the gear that I want easy access to. The knees are designed to flex and I can move around in the bib getting into and out of boats easily. The butt of these bibs keeps water out even when sitting on a rope boat seat or drenched foam seat for hours. Standing or seated, these ProDry Bibs are comfortable, and are extra-layer thick where high-wear areas require, like seat and knees.
Jacket. This is the most comfortable raincoat ever. That is saying a lot considering the design work Simms has incorporated into their other fine rain jackets. It is almost embarrassing to single this jacket out as being any more of anything, but I think it is. There are little design perks that I won’t go into (like the glasses cleaner patch in one of the pockets) and judging by other Simms gear I have worn or carried gear in, the ProDry jacket probably has features that I haven’ even discovered yet. The hood seems just right, at least for me it is, because it is easy to wear over a ball cap and never ever seems to droop low in front. The hood slips up and down as the squalls roll through so I can use it – or not – from moment to moment; it also is stowable if I don’t want the option of periodic use. The front of the jacket zips up high, covering both neck and mouth, to just about nose height. This is really nice to keep wind and driving rain out, and it is fuzzy warm comfy too. Cuffs are adjustable and waterproof, but this feature has not seemed particularly important. There is a clear round window on the left sleeve to allow peeking at a wristwatch. Just make sure your watch stays on the top of your wrist or you will still need to push the cuff up to read the time. There are two zippered chest-front pockets that are especially nice because they don’t stick out like many jacket-front pockets do. While it is tempting to overload front pockets, the contents often get in my way when casting. These low profile pockets carry just enough gear, and I have those front-of-thigh bellows pockets for bulkier items. Fleece lined side pockets are just right to keep hands warm and stash a few light items. This ProDry Jacket does not absorb water in the exterior fabric, as is the case with many Gore-Tex coats as they start the gradual process of loosing their water beading power. A full season of wear gone by, and my ProDry jackets finds them repelling hard rain relentlessly, and since there was essentially zero surface absorption in the outer shell of the fabric, the cuffs and hem is dry as can be after hanging overnight.
Not designed for wading. The ProDry bib and jacket are really designed for boat wear. We fish with boots under bibs and with the jacket over waders, but always from boats. The jacket would be fine for use over waders if someone is wade-fishing, but the jacket is long enough that you should stay no more than crotch-deep.
There you have it. Great Simms rain and storm wear for the toughest conditions.
Jay Nicholas, November 2012