For 2016 Patagonia has redesigned and improved their line of waders and boots. In this review I will be focusing on the Rio Gallegos wader. Even though these are new waders I was able to get my hands on a pair of these babies in December and have been able to put a fair amount of days on the water with them. These waders were used bank angling, so they have received more use than just floating down the river.
The first thing that I noticed about them was the change in fit from the previous years model. They are a much slimmer fit , meaning less bagginess and excess material. They are by no means a slim fit wader, but slimmer than they were. The second thing I noticed was how comfortable the booties are. Patagonia uses a poly-grid lining for increased comfort. These really seemed to mold to my feet after just a few uses, and are honestly the “comfiest” booties on the market.
Aside from fit and comfort, Patagonia has integrated some really cool features that I found functional as well as useful. The shoulder straps are stretchy and have a quick release buckle that is easy to use allowing the whole wader to drop down in a matter of seconds. This feature is great for changing layers and for easier “relief”. Inside the wader there are 3 pockets; one waterproof and 2 stretch pockets with daisy loops above them for hanging tools. The waterproof pocket is big enough for a big fancy smartphone or even a camera, and the two stretch pockets can hold anything from extra sink tips to large fly boxes and the all important flask of your favorite whiskey or scotch. The redesigned outer pocket is no longer mesh but a solid piece with a water resistant zipper; a welcome change especially if you wade too deep. The knee area of the wader even has a pocket that includes padding for kneeling down and releasing your catch. These pads are easily removable if you are a tough guy and don’t need the added protection.
As far as construction goes, Patagonia uses a 4- layer H2NO barrier throughout the entire wader with a DWR ( durable water repellent) for elevated protection that allows for quicker drying and keeps the outer fabric from becoming bogged down with moisture so the breathable layer can do what it’s suppose to. A heavier 4 layer is used on the lower portion in the increased wear areas and a lighter 4-layer up high where durability is usually not as much of an issue. I have put the durability of these waders to the test on numerous occasions of bush whacking through the woods and sticker bushes in the dense barrier of tangles and logs that live on our Oregon coastal rivers and streams. I have took several luge trips down the steep banks on my rear end as well. I have not had any issues with wear and tear or any pinholes or leaks, which is a testament to how durable these waders are. I really like that Patagonia uses a material that is thinner and a lot less bulky than some other wader manufacturers. Its nice to have a durable wader that is easier to move in and is also durable. If you are in the market for a great pair of waders, Patagonia definitely has you covered. They also make several other models that are worth looking into including the Rio Gallegos zip front wader, Skeena wader, Rio Azul wader and the Women’s Spring River wader.