Review: Patagonia Spring River Waders for Women
By Emily Roley
I started fly fishing back in the year 1992 when I was 13. I was a teenager with a babysitting income and purchasing gear was out of question so I gratefully took whatever second hands my father passed down to me. I remember the extra fabric in the waders folded around me like elephant skin and I had to layer thick, wool socks to try and fill the extra room in the men’s size 10 boot. But I fell in love with the sport, despite the oversized gear.
As an adult woman, with a slightly better income, I have a myriad of options for gear designed specifically for women and I recently acquired Patagonia’s Spring River waders. I must admit that I am smitten with them. The cut and seam construction follow my contour without clinging, specifically through the thighs and hips. I am an angler who enjoys scrambling over obstacles to get the perfect cast and I have found that I have enough room to stretch and crawl without constriction. The gravel guards are made from the same fabric as the waders instead of transitioning to neoprene, this gives the waders a uniform fit and feel all the way down to the boot, which partially accounts for the legroom and comfort.
These waders are crafted with an in-wader suspension system that unclips at the back, which makes a riverside bathroom break easier without having to remove pack or jacket. It takes a little practice to figure this out but it is a super use full feature. The best part of the suspension system is that you can slide the top of the wader down, transitioning these chest waders into pant waders and back again as the weather shifts. In this northern New Mexico region we often see dramatic shifts in weather and I greatly appreciate the ability to transition my gear with such ease.
The upper cut of the wader is contoured, hitting above the breastbone for full coverage. If I had to have a negative critique it would be that this high profile brings the fabric high under the armpits, which feels bulky and can be irritating. The front, fleece lined hand pocket is a lifesaver and I will never purchase another wader that does not have this feature. Lastly, the 100% waterproof pocket on the chest interior is very well designed as I can flip the pocket out and store my phone for quick, picture taking access without the worry of it getting wet when I bend down to net a fish.
In one sentence I feel entirely spoiled in these waders, not having to sacrifice fit or performance while on or off the water. I have learned a lot from age 13 to 37, one lesson being that having the perfect gear is not a necessity in this sport but it certainly is a pleasure.