Many of you might remember when Tim Romano and I went through a twisted phase of testing gear in unusual ways for Field & Stream—like the “motorcycle reel test.”
One of the tests I wanted to do was to put waders on rodeo cowboys. I wanted to see if waders could last on a saddle bronc for eight seconds without busting a seam. Never got around to that one, but a few weeks ago I did the next best thing—I took my pair of Simms Waypoint Rain Pants ($150) on a five-day elk hunting trip on horseback in the Zirkel Wilderness in Colorado.
I wasn’t really planning a gear test, and I threw the pants in my pack almost as a last-minute afterthought. I figured I might use them one morning if it snowed, and I was hunkered down in a ground blind, and didn’t want to get my lower half soaked.
As it turned out, it did snow (at 8,700 feet), a lot, and not only did I wear them in the ground blinds, I wore them on horseback, climbing in and out of the saddle, trotting through snowy meadows, and riding up and down narrow, brushy trails.
I have to say, I was deeply grateful I had them, and ultimately impressed with how they held up in tough conditions with no wear and tear. Using three layers—long johns, fleece pants, and then the rain pants, I remained relatively warm and bone dry.
No, I did not shoot an elk. But I did gain new appreciation for the rain pants I keep stashed in my dory.
I still think I want to put waders on saddle bronc riders someday. Anyone up for the challenge?