The beautiful spring weather can make the hard weather days out in the field a distance memory. But the reality is, there will be a reminder sent in the form of a late season snowstorm, or cold front bearing with it heavy rain and blistering winds. It is an all-to-familiar story for the flyfisher living and working in alpine environments.
On my personal Instagram and Facebook pages I recently posted a short review on the Simms G4 Pro Jacket. In some respects, it was a very hard review because its G4 Pro predecessor was just so damn good. It had been through everything over the last five years and I had become so familiar with the pockets, where I put different fly boxes, tools and leaders. It was a jacket that had become a part of me out on the field. And in all honestly, it is as good today, as it was the day I put it on for the first time way back when.
So why the new Simms G4 Pro Jacket?
Maybe being a sucker for new kit, it was in fact an essential piece of kit I lacked in my kit before hiking into the backcountry of Tasmania early this year with Gus Lapin. I had arrived in Tassie, snowstorms forecast and my trusty G4 was at home in the Snowy Mountains. But Mike and Jules at the essential Flyfisher came to my rescue in my time of ‘rookie-like moment’ despair.
So, what’s different and sets it apart form it predecessor and its competitors?
My first response to these questions came immediately after putting the jacket on and allowing my hands to make reference of the pocket configurations and what I would describe as the meticulous design attributes Simms put into all their gear.
The new Gore-Tex fabric is softer, more conforming to my body and lighter! It actually filled my head with a little bit of doubt knowing that I was about to walk into weather that was ripping off Antarctica… and that it did!
I also noted the amazing attention to detail in the watertight, rear compartment storage system and the internal cuff sealing design on the sleeves of the jacket. Both big pluses in my opinion, as I am not a fly vest wearer.
At no stage had the weather, or lake water get in through the cuffs of my sleeves. I would normally acknowledge that the first bit of moisture to come into any jacket is down the sleeves through the cuffs when casting and handling fish whilst keeping them wet, but not this jacket. That to me was a big plus and really does set this jacket apart from anything Simms have previously created, or its competitors. The internal cuff design is the very best design in the market, full-stop!
Turning back to my insecurities regarding the new Gore-Tex lighter fabric. Well that was a personally humbling experience and one that I really appreciated. Pushing through miles of heavy brush, carrying a 15kg pack, heavy snow, rain, snow and then even sunshine… nothing got in, my body was breathing preventing from me generating sweat and not a micro mark of fabric pulling, or being compromised of my abuse was to be seen. It was still as tough as anything I have worn previously but the properties we really want in a jacket to exhibit stood taller than anything I have experienced.
The Simms G4 Pro Jacket, for the reasons highlighted above, is a very special bit of kit and has somehow markedly improved on the faultless foundations of the previous G4 Pro. But in Simms forward thinking, one last little attention to detail was added and I feel could be easily overlooked, but I found striking in my first impressions that were later confirmed when out in the field. And that is the strip of orange in the hood design that really does act as a wonderful safety, visual feature when you are stepping out into the tough stuff.
As a professional in the outdoor industry, my mind is actively wired to safety management and risk mitigation, even when I am just out with my mates. Something as simple as designing a purpose driven, fly fishing jacket with a soft orange flare of colour in the hood design, contrasting to a grey sky and the stones of a freestone river screams responsibility and attention to detail. Something understated, but I really admire about this jacket.
So why would you drop some seriously dollars on a jacket you may wear only a handful of times, or like me, frequently in a year?
The simple answer is repeatedly described by the angler who is still standing out there in the elements when everyone else is going home.
You never regret spending a few extra dollars when the thing just works.
The Simms G4 Pro Jacket is one that will leave a legacy on technical flyfishing apparel in ways others can only ever dream of but will never be able to manufacture.
It’s a ripper of a jacket!
Matt Tripet – Snowy Mountains Australia