My friends, there are two kinds of breathable waders, those that leak and those that are just about to leak – my own breathable waders (my 3rd pair, I have got to admit I do well) are now struggling however I can put up with a weird wet patch on my leg and a wet foot (actually it is hellish) however my boots are fair causing me jip.
I pretty much decided that my wading boots will not get “another couple of seasons” out of them and instead got myself an almost identical pair (looking a little less destroyed) out of my shed.
It is a long story how I got an extra pair of boots however it has to do with some extraordinary Orvis customer care.
Let’s talk about Orvis shall we. I bought my Orvis boots at the start of the 2007 season, a pair of Henrys Fork II Premium Wading Boot – I was pretty annoyed as the last boots I bought from another company fell apart pretty quick so decided it was time I bought a top of the range pair. Naturally I turned to Orvis as they are known as being a good reputable company with good customer service. The customer service part was one of the deciding factors – I had read on various forums about their policy particularly to do with waders. We all know the problems of waders leaking after just a season and sometimes even less for that matter – when other companies expect you to jump though hoops too get them fixed Orvis simply send you a new pair. I do expect this to be within reason though – I mean if it was like ten years later than I reckon natural wear and tear is not permissible as a fault. A rule of thumb I think for breathable waders would be 5 years normal fishing – normal fishing being a few times a week with good care being taken of them between sessions. For boots I reckon 3 years – considering they are in water and spend most of the season wet I think they should start looking tatty after a year and a half and probably giving up the ghost during the third year.
Boy – they were good. The only drawback was the outer layer seemed to be peeling off causing them to not look as good but still functioning just fine. I was a wee bit concerned about the rubber toe section as after the skin came away it looked like it might follow suit as well – I knew it would take a while for that to happen though so was not overly concerned – there was fish to be caught…
All well and good until one fateful day during the first season when the felt sole fell of…I knew it had fallen off as I put my foot down on a boulder and slid around a half metre into a deep hole. It would have been a pure comedy moment if someone had been around with a camera but as it was I just flapped around a bit – got myself to shore and inspected the damage – the whole felt sole had come away.
I went home and wrote up my report for the day – thinking about what I was going to do about it – I paid good money for those boots. I was considering buying more felt and sticking them on myself but I would have to buy studs, I was then thinking of contacting Orvis to see what they could do but because of bad experiences with companies in the past I reckoned all in all it was going to be a pain in the ass trying to sort it out.
Well, within a few hours of that post going live James Hathaway from Orvis US got in contact offering to replace the boots. We exchanged a few emails; the boots got diverted to Canada by accident but eventually ended up on my doorstep.
Now, a cynic might say Mr. Hathaway was just worried about a bit of negative press on the net however I now know otherwise. Yea fair enough, he contacted me first but you know, I reckon if I had contacted Orvis the exact same thing would have happened – new boots. I have now heard similar stories from other people about Orvis, not just about boots but waders, rods and reels as well. In this day and age tackle manufacturers have got to take that little extra step to get the punters to buy the products – it does not have to be the fastest this or a techno gizmo that will help you catch more fish,, good old fashioned customer service will win the day every time
Now you know how much I moan about tackle manufacturers, but I hope you think of my words the next time you are in the market for a bit of new kit as well – that kind of customer service deserves business.
Problem is the original boots still have no felt soles on them which I found slightly problematic last night as I slipped all over the rocks – I have been experimenting with bits of carpet however the damn stuff keeps coming off. I decided to coat the entire bottom of the boot with some waterproof Evostik – I could not find the stuff that comes in the metal tin (it gets you high) and had to make do with the plastic tube. Anyway, I had actually done this before however I reckon I had missed out sections – so this time got myself a pair of rubber gloves and really coated every mm of the sole..
Oh yea, I am looking forward to trying these bad boys out – I may be getting a chance to try them out tommorow!
However, that does not solve the issue with my breathable waders proper – they now leave me with a wet foot and weird wet patches on my legs. They have already been sent away to Diver Dave and I reckon the mould that grew on the inside did not do them any good – damn my shed with its leaky roof !
Anyway, I could possibly get another season out of them if I play my cards right!