Gear Review: The Swiftcurrent Expedition Zip-Front Waders from Patagonia

Last year Patagonia released what they regarded as their most innovative waders to date. Announced at the International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Denver, the Swiftcurrent Expedition Zip-Front Waders generated quite a buzz. Not only did Patagonia seem to feel like they dropped the mic with their all-time best waders, but they also got a good bit of attention for the attractive redesign.

Let’s be honest right out of the gate: Patagonia has had some ups and downs over the years with wader design. While they’ve always made some the best waders out there, many have complained about small annoyances. A decade ago, there was just too much excess material. More recently, the latest redesign of the Rio Gallegos waders had chest pockets on the regular chest waders that often caught the ends of oar handles or handles of Spey rods. It was as if Patagonia was always just short of wader perfection. Well, those days are over. With the Swiftcurrent Expedition Zip-Front Waders, Patagonia has reached the greatness that has been decades in the making.

Patagonia is unquestionably obsessed with innovation, durability, and performance, and this shows in the Swiftcurrent waders. Let’s break down several aspects:

  • Fit
    All wader companies are constantly challenged with getting dialed with fit. Patagonia waders have improved over time when it comes to fit, but really seems like they’ve now got a system. No excess material and a design that considered the movements of anglers, we now likely have their best fitting waders ever. Additionally, the men’s waders alone are available in 19 different sizes, so you are more likely to find the perfect pair.
  • Durability
    The “buy nice or buy twice” ethic is a reason so many anglers are attracted to Patagonia. And as we’ve seen from recent product rollouts, Patagonia seeks to make some of the toughest gear out there so that your gear will last longer. This is evident in the Swiftcurrent waders. Among features touted by Patagonia, these waders have Patagonia’s H2No® Performance Standard fabric which is described as “the most durable, puncture-resistant and comfortable waterproof/breathable materials Patagonia has ever made.” And at every opportunity, Patagonia made choice to enhance durability — from the tough YKK® front zipper to noticeably heavy duty gravel guards that help keep out rocks, pebbles, and debris that can compromise the lifespan of waders.
  • Performance
    It is very obvious that these waders are designed by anglers. If you ever notice, when many anglers try on waders, they immediately test wader shortcomings. Squatting, bending, and sitting are ways that anglers see how waders might truly fit when worn on the water. Is there an athletic and anatomical fit that allows for the movement needs of anglers throughout any given day in a wide range of situations? What’s evident with the Swiftcurrent line is that years and years of considerations for the needs of anglers have made their way into this design. These waders are reinforced with material where they need to be, they have a little more room where you likely need it, and they’ve thought of just about everything when it comes to pocket placement and size, daisy chain location, breathability, and more.
  • Environmental Impact
    Patagonia is well-known as one of the most environmentally conscious companies out there. With these waders, Patagonia has cut down on use of petroleum-based materials, and nearly 70% of the materials in these waders are from recycled materials.

The Patagonia Swiftcurrent Expedition Zip-Front Waders come in attractive Forge Grey that ought to look less worn over time and cost $749. To learn more about the Swiftcurrent Expedition Zip-Front Waders from Patagonia, please click here.

– Tim Harden

Disclosure: Patagonia is in a professional relationship with the The Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.