With the upcoming winter steelhead run primed to hit the Coast Mountain waters in the coming weeks, we figured it was time to test the new Rio Gallegos Waders from Patagonia.
We were not disappointed.
If you spend any time steelheading, you are familiar with the bushwhacking, hiking, scrambling and the seemingly endless hours of foul weather wading. You also know that your gear’s durability is paramount.
That’s where the Rio Gallegos excel. These things are nearly bullet proof. And the quality of the details, from seams, to the front pocket zipper and stitching and fasteners in the buckles, you won’t find higher quality fit and finish in a wader.
These waders are comfy. Really comfy. Ergonomically designed, they even convert from full chest waders to hip waders very easily (a nice feature on those long hikes to your secret spot) without having to remove your jacket.
Patagonia streamlined the fit this season, which helps avoid snags and punctures while bushwhacking, and the articulated knees really keep you comfortable when scrambling over logs, rocks or gunwales—and while kneeling to release fish. And don’t worry, there’s ample space to layer up for those cold weather missions.
Possibly the best feature is Patagonia’s SSC (single seam construction) seaming that eliminates seams from the highest wear points on the inside of legs. Because as any steelheader will attest, those phantom pinhole leaks along the seam can be impossible to find or repair, and they’ll quickly turn an awesome adventure into a soggy, frigid and, well, all-around crappy day.
Waders are an investment, and if cared for properly they can give you many years of good reliable service (my last pair of Patagonia waders lasted over 10 years). So if you’re looking for an extremely durable, innovative and comfortable wader, the Rio Gallegos should be high on your list. —Brian Peech
Our highest-performing, most durable, feature-rich waterproof/breathable waders have been updated with a more trim upper-body fit that still layers easily; new interior daisy chains for tools and drop-in pockets for organization; and more streamlined, anatomically fit booties with a poly-grid lining and gravel guards with a flat-panel construction that reduces wear.
The toughest days on the water are often the most instructive: They make us focus on the subtle details, reduce the variables and simplify our approach. We applied that same thinking to the toughest, most puncture-resistant waders we know how to make—and we made them even better.
Our Rio Gallegos Waders are still built from our tested-and-proven 4-layer H2No® Performance Standard fabric package using Single Seam Construction to route critical seams away from areas of high wear, but now we’ve streamlined the entire feature set for a new level of comfort, performance and durability. We removed two inches of fabric from the hip, waist and chest for an improved fit that still easily accepts layers for long, cold sessions. We re-patterned the crotch so it’s no problem to swing a leg over gunwales, and we brought more articulation to the leg for moments when fishing brings you to your knees—like keeping a fish wet during the photograph and release.
If you fish in and out of boats, you’ll appreciate the new flat-panel gravel guards: They drain water more quickly than before, in addition to better resisting abrasion and wear while hiking or wading. Our improved booties have a more anatomical, sock-like fit and are made from a denser 4mm neoprene that resists compaction better over the long haul; with a poly-grid lining for added comfort. Our innovative internal suspension system allows easy conversion to waist height and quick relief without having to remove your jacket.
Outside, there’s a reach-through handwarmer pocket and large chest pocket with water-resistant horizontal zip for easy access to tippet spools, nippers and floatant. Interior gear storage includes a waterproof, flip-out welded TPU pocket, two new drop-in stretch pockets and two internal daisy chains for tools. Other fishing-friendly features: center-back hanger loop for easy drying; stretch wading belt with low-profile buckle; removable knee pads; and a raised Fitz Roy Trout logo. Field repair kit included.
- H2No® Performance Standard polyester microfiber shell with a proprietary waterproof/breathable barrier and C6 DWR (durable water repellent) finish; highly durable and puncture-resistant fabric has no multiple layers or added weight
- Waist-mounted EZ-Lock suspenders allow easy conversion from chest to waist height for venting or quick relief without having to remove jacket; full elastic belt
- Innovative SSC (single seam construction) seaming completely eliminates seams from highest wear points on inside of legs
- Interior organization: welded TPU-waterproof zippered pocket flips out for easy access; two drop-in stretch pockets; two internal daisy chains for tools; center-back hanger loop for easy drying
- Exterior organization: reach-through handwarmer pocket; large chest pocket with horizontal water-resistant zipper; laser-cut Hypalon® utility keeper on suspenders allows easy access to tools, nippers
- Articulated legs; removable foam knee pads
- Anatomically fit left and right booties have a lower volume, more sock-like fit and are poly-grid-lined for added comfort; resilient 4mm neoprene resists compaction for greater durability
- H2No® Performance Standard shell. Upper: 4-layer, 5.8-oz 100% polyester microfiber high-density taffeta. Lower: 4-layer, 9.1-oz 100% polyester microfiber high-density double-weave taffeta. All with a waterproof/breathable barrier and C6 DWR (durable water repellent) finish
- 1,219 g (43 oz)