Review: Patagonia Men’s Rio Gallegos Zip-Front Waders
If you have ever found yourself wading in a cold river during the colder months out of the year, you better hope that your equipment can keep up with you between spots. Fly fishing takes anglers to some of the most remote and demanding locations around the world.
Whether your fly fishing your favorite local tailwater or traveling the globe to distant and demanding locations, the Patagonia Rio Gallegos full-zip waders will keep you dry and warm while looking stylish.
Patagonia always try to incorporate a simple but very functional design in all their products, and this one is no different. There are just enough pockets in all the right places to store fly boxes, gloves, float ant, you name it. There is also a waterproof flip pouch on the chest which highly reduces the chance of dropping your cell phone or any other small electronics in the water.
Patagonia’s simple, yet effective incorporation of the EZ-lock suspenders allows the angler to quickly adjust the waders from a pair of chest to hip waders in a matter of seconds. The days of rolling your chest waders into a bulky, make shift fanny pack are over. All it takes is three easy snaps and you have a “second” pair of form fitting waders. Patagonia has also put a heavy duty YKK T-Zip zipper for easy in and out scenarios, but more importantly the inevitable bathroom break. While having both suspenders and full zip capabilities all in one might be overkill, it seems that Patagonia has treated these waders like a good fly, multiple forms in a very functional design.
Since most anglers will use these waders in cold water, the merino lined booties are also an added bonus that comes standard. Besides benefiting from the additional warmth, the booties also make the waders a lot more comfortable. Hiking countless miles through Chilean Patagonia with sore feet due to lack of padding are in the past. They also incorporated subtle knee pads making bushwhacking and crawling to very spooking fish that much more comfortable.
Durability makes waders. This used to be my main concern with Patagonia’s waders in the past, but with the Gallegos they have done everything in their power to make them bombproof. Starting with the H2No fabric, they strategically placed heavy-weight fabric in the knees, butt, and feet where the angler is subjected to more wear and tear while placing mid-weight fabrics around the waist and chest to cut down on unnecessary weight.
Seams are the first to go on waders and Patagonia has helped minimize the chances by using an innovative single seam construction, leaving only one seam up the back of the wader for less abrasion and improved durability. This is also true with the seams around the neoprene booties and gravel guards, but with these waders they use heavyweight fabric gravel guards that have a drain strip to expel water and abrasion resistant scuff guards that are more durable.
Your pair of waders are going to leak at some point during their lifetime, it’s inevitable. Patagonia is aware of this fact so they have a lifetime warranty on their waders, letting you get out and explore more places and worry less about being careful with your equipment.
The biggest issue people might have or not trust is the full zipper on the chest. Patagonia has alleviated these worries by using the industry standard in heavy duty zipper by using the YKK T-Zip fully waterproof zipper. I have used and abused this style of zipper in Alaska, Chilean Patagonia, and all of the lower 48 and after a couple of years they’re still going strong.
Design and Aesthetic ★★★★
They went with a two tone alpha green for stealthy wading and a grey groin and chest. The two chest pockets with zippers help reduce snags and items falling out in a simple and effective manner. Aesthetically, there’s nothing crazy going on with these waders but the addition of the digital camo pattern on the elastic suspenders add just enough flash to make them really stand out on the water.
They have also hidden a few multi-use components they blend just blend into to the design. They use a hypalon utility keeper that provides quick access to tools but at first glance looks like its only the brand logo.
Snags on waders also must be kept to a bare minimum. The main zipper on the chest would be an issue but they used a heavy duty button to cover the zipper handle and keep it hidden from your fly line. This is also true with the stainless shell boot hooks that secure the cuff to the boot and prevent line catch.
Lifetime warranty. That’s all I have to say. You can take these things to hell and back, send them back for free and do it all over again. While $599.00 might seem a little steep at first but they are still middle of the pack when it comes to other high end waders. When you get a pair of these you are really buying two pairs of waders in one. Being able to quickly adjust the fit to hip waders on the water when it’s 90 degrees during the summer is worth it’s weight in gold. If there are any skeptics thinking about getting a pair, I would highly recommend them to both professional guides and casual anglers alike.
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