Patagonia’s flagship waders certainly look the business but do they cut the mustard on the river bank? Allan Shephard finds out.
If I’m perfectly honest waders are not my favourite bit of kit, that said today’s lightweight breathable fabrics are a quantum leap on from the sweaty PVC waders and weighty neoprenes of yesteryear. Sooner or later all waders will leak – you try your best to put this moment off for as long as possible but barbed wire, thorns and extended use will probably be their downfall. One option is to treat them as a disposable item and buy a cheap pair. The problem with this they are really never as comfortable and you loose out on clever design features and breathability of the fabric. Leaky waders can be repaired easily provided you don’t have a large tear – these are best left to the experts to deal with.
So it was with great interest that I put on these new Patagonia waders, the promise being that they would provide comfort and durability at an upper mid range price.
As top of the range waders, Rio Gallegos have a number of features including:-
Merino wool grid lined feet – these enhance comfort and warmth and wick moisture away from your feet. I found these really comfortable over the three days I wore them. Patagonia also make wetsuits where this technology was developed.
A waterproof internal pocket – If you take a tumble even in shallow water its good to know that your mobile, car keys and camera will be kept dry. This pocket proved perfect for these items and saves carrying a separate waterproof pouch.
Front water resistant pocket and accessory station – the front pocket is perfect for fly boxes plus odds and ends, and the accessory station will take forceps, a zinger loaded with clippers and anything else you fancy.
Padded and reinforced knees for comfortable kneeling and added durability.
A clever roll down top facility for hot days. I was really impressed with this, the waders braces stay in place – you simply undo the clips and slide down the top section of the waders to the desired position and clip them back into place. If you have a long walk on a hot day this is an absolute god send.
My experience with these waders was very positive – like any well designed bit of technical clothing I completely forgot I was wearing them and soon came to terms with getting the best from their clever design features. I will certainly promote these as my first choice now for the fishing I do in both fresh and salt water. I have also been very impressed with the first class after sales service Patagonia provide – but really hope to put off using it for as long as possible!
Finally I did eventually catch a fish on my outing – not the biggest but a nice hen grilse in tricky low water conditions. She swarm off strongly after a quick photo.
These waders are discontinued. Please view all current Patagonia waders here »