Person fishing in Simms Backcountry flyweight fly fishing waders lifestyle
Photo/Zach Burton

Backcountry x Simms Collab: Flyweight Fishing Waders Review

Backcountry partnered with Simms to launch a fly fishing collection for anglers who push boundaries and are constantly on the move.

While you’re probably familiar with Backcountry as an outdoor gear retailer, you may not know that they also offer a diverse selection of fly fishing gear, apparel, and accessories.

Backcountry chose to partner with legendary fishing outfitter Simms to create an exclusive line of fly fishing gear for anglers. The Flyweight collaboration is another step from Backcountry in staking a larger claim in the fly fishing industry.

We had a chance to put the men’s and women’s Backcountry x Simms Flyweight Stockingfoot Waders to the test over several weeks this spring.

In short: A few GearJunkie staff have tested these waders this spring and are impressed so far. At $500, they are targeted toward anglers who want a comfortable, lightweight, and stretchy wader to cover a lot of water, or who want a packable pair for traveling. They are best suited for wading in spring, summer, and fall temps.

See the Men’s WadersSee the Women’s Waders

Simms-backcountry-fly-fishing-waders-lifestyle
Photo/Zach Burton

Who Are the Backcountry x Simms Flyweight Waders For?

Those who want a wader for fishing on cool to hot days. These waders will shine while fishing cold streams in the spring, summer, and through early fall. My favorite days on the water are warm with ample sunshine. However, I find that these are also the trickiest ones to dress for.

If it’s hot, a full-on pair of waders are overkill, but often trout streams are too chilly to wet wade. I swore off hip-waders long ago because they are bulky and don’t offer enough coverage. Well, I think I found what I’ve been looking for with these Flyweight waders.

The Backcountry x Simms Flyweight Stockingfoot Waders are a good option for the angler who is looking for a “pant-plus.” Ending at the middle of the torso, they have more coverage than a typical pant or hip wader. However, they’re less bulky and overall less restrictive.

The breathable GORE-TEX helps prevent sweat and makes a really hot day more comfortable. And the suspenders fold down at the waist to help cool off.

People who move a lot while fishing. With the wader’s comfy, stretchy fabric and slim-fit cut, I actually forget I have them on at times. The stretchy fabric makes crossing a river or sneaking up on the next honey hole a whole lot easier.

I can tell Simms and Backcountry designed these to be lightweight, and they shaved ounces where it made sense. At 36 ounces (men’s small), they are lighter than Simm’s previous high-end waders. However, they’re a little heavier than the ultralight options from Orvis and Patagonia.

Folks who travel (and want to bring their waders). These waders pack down smaller than most, as they have less fabric and fewer features. I have yet to fly with them, but I’ve packed them on several road trips and they stuff into a duffel bag easily. I’m looking forward to flying with these out West and to Alaska.

I am curious how they would work on a backpacking trip. When rolled up tightly, they are about the size of two Nalgene bottles. Using a compression sack, I could get these into a pack at an even smaller size if I really needed waders on a backcountry trip.

People who like a pop of color. I really love the color. Most waders come in various shades of gray, tan, and brown. For me, the Atlantic Deep color was a refreshing update to the wader color palette.

Person holding trout in Simms Backcountry flyweight fly fishing waders lifestyle
Photo/Jake Sieve

Backcountry x Simms Flyweight Stockingfoot Wader: Review & Highlights

Let’s start from the bottom of these waders/pants. The stocking feet are plush, and the new Hex Air gravel guards are a different material than what we’ve seen from Simms in the past. They are less bulky, so they pack down smaller for travel — plus they hold less water while fishing.

Next is the four-layer GORE-TEX PRO on the lower portion of the waders (gray color). The lower half of waders can get thrashed by brush or scuffed from kneeling, so the added layer here should help them last longer.

Then, there’s a three-layer Stretch GORE-TEX (greenish color) from the knees up. This is the same waterproof fabric used in lightweight rain jackets. We appreciated the breathability and stretch of the GORE-TEX while hiking and fly fishing.

Person casting a fly fishing rod in Simms Backcountry flyweight fly fishing waders lifestyle
Photo/Zach Burton

At the thigh, there are two stretchy pockets similar to the water bottle pouches on the sides of backpacks. They have small holes near the bottom to help drain if you wade too deep. These are the only pockets featured, and they’re big enough to stow a large fly box and a few small items in each pocket.

The wading belt sits a little higher than most to accommodate the pockets and adds a secure fit. There is a button and zipper at the top of the waders that allows for additional space when adding layers.

Last are the suspenders, which are stretchy and comfortable. To save weight, and maybe cost, only one of the shoulder straps detaches, and they are a bit thinner than normal Simms waders.

It’s worth noting that Simms released its new Flyweight collection this spring that has a similar wader. This Backcountry collab is a spinoff of that line.

We haven’t tested those yet to compare, but a quick glance notes some similarities like the fabrics used, gravel guards, and overall lightweight construction. Other differences include the pockets, 5.11 HexGrid organization system, chest height and fit, and color.

Simms-backcountry-fly-fishing-waders-lifestyle
Photo/Zach Burton

Drawbacks & Other Considerations

The mesh pockets are a great way to save weight, but the design has potential drawbacks. There isn’t a way to close the pockets and while we haven’t lost anything yet, it does give us an eerie feeling.

Time will tell if the pockets hold up to bushwhacking. This is a first-look review and we haven’t had any issues yet, but we will update if these come to fruition.

Adjusting the suspenders is a little tricky until you get the fit right. The piece on the suspenders that allows you to adjust the strap doesn’t slide easily, especially while wearing them. It takes a little tweaking to dial in the fit, but we haven’t needed to mess with it again since then.

These waders are priced at $500. While this price tag is in line with other high-quality waders, it is more expensive than the other lightweight options on the market.

Simms-backcountry-fly-fishing-waders-lifestyle
Photo/Zach Burton

Backcountry x Simms Flyweight Fishing Collection

Backcountry’s partnership with Simms isn’t limited to these waders. The offering includes several other essential pieces of fly fishing gear and apparel for backcountry fly fishing adventures.

Backcountry and Simms co-designed the Flyweight Lightweight Technical Shell Jacket using GORE-TEX’s PACLITE PLUS waterproof fabric. Rounding out the lineup is the Flyweight Z Sling Pack, Tote, and Tech Trucker Cap.

See the Men’s WadersSee the Women’s Waders

Simms-backcountry-fly-fishing-waders-lifestyle
Photo/Zach Burton
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Jake Ferguson
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Jake finds joy in exploring new places. He loves the challenge of bouldering, the mental trance of fly fishing, and moving across the water on a SUP or packraft. He joined GearJunkie in 2014 and found that working in the outdoor industry is the perfect fit. It has led to amazing adventures and connections with wonderful people. He's happy to call MN home.