Initial Gear Review: Patagonia Rio Gallegos Waders (Watch slide show for wader features)

I recently purchased the Patagonia Rio Gallegos wader. I was a die hard Simms waders guy, never thought I would buy another brand,  but I decided to give another brand a shot. The Rio Gallegos is Patagonias “Highest Performing Wader”. They retail at $499.00. I costly investment, but one I feel is where money should be spent. If you fish as much, or more, than I do, a good pair of waders is a necessity.

In comparison with Simms, the Rio Gallegos is Comparable to the Simms G3 Guide wader. The G3 is the same price as the Rio Gallegos. Simms has a superb reputation. Couple that with the Gore-Tex technology on nearly all there waders, they are a tough to beat.

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Simms G3

Let me start off by giving you my experience with the G3 wader, which I currently own and use year round. The G3 is an excellent wader, I rate it 4 out 5 overall. The wader sheds water flawlessly. They are tough, I fallen with these waders several times, even on rocks. I hike from fishing spot to fishing spot regularly. They have held up tremendously the past 4 years I have had them. The G3 has a 5-layers Gore-Tex shell fabric. This makes them extremely durable. The front pocket is fleece lined for warming, has storm shields, which zipper shut and has an interior pocket that holds tools and comes with am accordion zinger to hold pliers or nippers. These waders are offered in several sizes, including king sizes, as well as custom shop sizes. I would like to note that the pair I own are not the current model being offered, which were updated in 2014. Overall the features are the same on the 2012 model I own and the 2014 model currently offered. The G3 does have it’s downfalls, however. The G3 doesn’t have a large enough bootie, in my opinion. However, Simms does do custom bootie sizes if requested. The bootie on a Medium wader, which is what I wear, is for a size 9-11 shoe. I wear a 10.5 shoe, however, the smallish booties do not allow for good sock layering in cold weather. When wearing bulkier socks, the small bootie restricts blood flow to the foot, which in turn will cause cold feet….fast. The other downfall of the G3 wader, and all of Simms waders, for that matter, is the neoprene gravel guard. The gravel guard is easily ripped during a few outings. A more durable Material is in order I think. Also, the G3 is a little on the small side. You can layer up pretty well in these waders, but the length of the inseam is on the short side, and the legs and torso fit very snug when wearing a sweatshirt or jacket underneath. Also bulkier leggings in winter, take up a good deal of room in the leg of the wader. That’s why I gave the G3 a 4 out 5. I’ll do a pro-con comparison list at the end. Simms offers a “Useful-Life” guarantee. They will repair the wader for no charge-all the way up to $65 plus Shipping. This all depends on the damage, the age of the wader and the cause of the damage. A manufacturing issue is free of charge for repair. Evaluators will check the wader over and make that determination.

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Patagonia Rio Gallegos

Now for the Patagonia wader. The Rio Gallegos, initially, is a great wader. The Rio Gallegos has Patagonia’s H2No technology. Which is waterproof, obviously, and puncture resistant. I have not worn these in the field yet, but steelhead season is quickly approaching, so I will post an official review after several outings with these waders. The Rio Gallegos is loaded with features. Overall, the wader is more generous in sizing, I would say on the larger size compared to the Simms. Something I think will be great for layering in winter months. Patagonia also offers they’re waders in a Regular, Short, and Tall which affect the girth and inseam. A regular has a 32″ inseam, Tall with a 34″ inseam and Short with a 30″ inseam. You can also opt. for the large bootie for the medium waders (12-13) and a medium bootie on the large waders (9-11). The options for the Patagonias are great and do not affect the price of the wader. I purchased the Medium with Large bootie for myself. Simms does custom sizes, at a price ranging from $50-$150, depending on the job.

The Rio Gallegos feels solid. The material feels extremely durable to the touch. The booties are extremely comfortable and anatomically more realistic than the G3. The grid-lined bootie makes wearing these extremely pleasing. The bootie is also merino lined for added warmth. The gravel guard is something I wished Simms would go to. The gravel guard is made of the wader material and, I feel, will offer more durability. The Outer front pouch is fleece lined for warming your hands. The interior pocket is a water proof gear pocket. There are also two interior pockets about where a jeans pocket would be located. The straps are great. The straps extend down the interior of the wader and allow the wader to be easily converted to a hip wader in shallower streams. The downfall of this strap design is the loss of the buckle. Something I like on the G3. You have to put the waders on a little differently than I am accustomed to. There are also two removable knee pads on the interior. A great feature when trying to sneak up on finicky trout in shallow clear streams. Patagonia also boasts a pretty stellar warranty. They will replace their product is does perform to your standards or you are not satisfied with your purchase, they will replace, repair or refund you the cost. However, if it is damaged due to wear and tear, the product will be repaired, “At a reasonable cost” Overall all the waders are a great purchase and also give them a tentative 4 out 5, without testing them on the water.

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Patagonia Rio Gallegos Pros and Cons.

Pros:

  • Gravel Guard made of wader material
  • Booties available in variety of size ranges
  • Merino Lined bootie
  • Two interior storage pockets
  • Removable knee pads
  • Waders available in 3 fits, short, regular, and tall
  • Wader straps help to easily convert to hip wader
  • water proof interior pocket
  • hand warming fleece-lined outer pouch
  • Gear loops integrate inside wader
  • larger fit allows for comfortable layering
  • anatomically fit bootie
  • Generous inseam
  • Costly investment at $499.00, but worth it.
  • Warranty

Cons:

  • Straps lack buckle
  • Fleece-line pouch lacks zippers to prevent getting fleece wet
  • interior pocket lacks accordion zinger for tools
  •  interior pocket is not removable.

Simms G3 Guide Wader

Pros:

  • Fleece lined outer pocket with waterproof zipper system
  • Interior pocket removable
  • Accordion zinger on inner pocket
  • Gore-tex 5 layer shell fabric
  • Tool holder tabs on outside of wader
  • Buckle suspender system
  • Waders available in several fits
  • Costly investment at $499.00, but worth it.
  • Warranty

Cons

  • Fit small (booties and wader’s themselves)
  • Booties available in larger custom sizes, but at a price
  • Neoprene gravel guards get torn easily
  • interior pocket not waterproof, however a waterproof pocket can be purchased for $29.95

G3 vs. Rio Gallegos Bootie and gravel guards

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