The waders I've been using are the Orvis Pro Guide (or is it Guide Pro) model that was discontinued around the end of 2012. I bought them as closeouts in February of 2013. I have probably fished in them 80-100 times (max) and it just seemed amazing to have 6 or more leaks per leg. Some of the toughest leaks are where the wader leg is sewn to the neopene bootie, and I've had no luck at all repairing these waders. It's pretty well understood that when waders start to leak at the top of the bootie, they are very tough to fix or use.
I figured I had a handful of options:
- I could try to find someone local to fix the waders.
- I could try to have Orvis fix the waders.
- I could continue the losing battle of fixing them myself.
- I could get new Orvis waders.
- I could buy other new waders.
I think it's worth noting that most wader companies have changed their construction techniques in the past few years. My older waders used much more stitching, with glue to seal the stitches. Those stitches tend to be areas where leaks occur most often. The newer waders have much less stitching, if any. Everything is multi-layered and glued together. Allegedly, this reduces leaks, but we will see.
So, I looked around locally and didn't find anyone who advertised that they repaired waders.
Orvis wanted my waders for 4-6 weeks, during trout season, to try to repair them. The idea of giving them up for most of the rest of the summer made no sense, especially because I assumed they'd have new leaks by the fall. Although, we are getting close to wet wading season, so perhaps I didn't need them for the next few weeks.
I'm not going to fix them. I think that is simply established at this point.
So, I found myself thinking about new waders. I have an opportunity to purchase one of the major wader brands at a nice discount. My thought for a couple years was that my next waders would be that other brand. But, Orvis truly does have amazing customer service, and they came through again.
As I talked to the Orvis support rep, I told him that 4-6 weeks was simply too much time. I told him that perhaps it was time to take advantage of a discount and switch to another brand. Suddenly, he had an upgrade option for me. For an upgrade fee (it depended on the model I wanted), I could upgrade to the latest Orvis wader models. When I considered what I paid for these waders originally (on close-out) and that I'd gotten 2 year of use, and I realized my total cash outlay would be less than the current price of a new pair of waders, I took that option.
I am not really into zippered waders; I simply don't see the need. So, I chose the Silver Sonic Guide Wader. I did tell the customer support rep that if these guys leak anything like the last waders, they will be my last Orvis waders. He told me he's heard of very few issues with the newer models leaking, and he was confident I'd be very happy. I hope he's right.
To prove that I wasn't scamming them (I might have sold the waders years ago, I suppose), I had to cut an Orvis label out of the waders. I also makes the current waders a lot less useful going forward. As soon as they had the label in VA, they'd send the new waders.
I was planning to go to the post office today to send in the label, when I got an e-mail from UPS telling me that a package from Orvis would be arriving today. So, I guess they shipped them right away.
Now, if I'm really, really lucky, the rain will back off some this week, and I can go fishing with dry feet this coming weekend. I'll post a review after I've had them on the water a few times.