Gear Review: The Patagonia Swiftcurrent Wading Pants

Rarely have I regarded new fly fishing gear as a “game changer.” It happens, but it’s rare. It was mostly curiosity that had me try out the Patagonia Swiftcurrent Wading Pants, and what has come out of the experience is a new favorite wader and attitude about waders in general. For me, these waders are a game changer.

What was first immediately noticeable about these waders was that they are very easy to take on and off. You might be thinking, “Easy?! Putting on waders isn’t hard!” I agree. But companies spend a lot of time trying to make sure they are winning the race to be easiest, and take out putting the boots on, and these waders for me were as easy to put on as getting into any other pants.

Once you have the waders and boots on, what immediately stands out is how comfortable they are. And without the extra material that comes from chest waders, it feels like simply wearing ski pants. There’s nothing pulling on your shoulders, no added heat on the chest and back from the wader material from the waist-up, and when you can just wear a sun shirt or a jacket without more wader, the comfort difference is significant. Breathable chest waders are great, but optimal breathability comes from not wearing them.

Finally there’s functionality. Despite stretch technology and the perfect fit, when it comes to chest waders, it’s inevitable that material pulls on material. I have a big truck that I have to slightly climb into. That is far easier in wader pants rather than chest waders. Additionally, I mostly fish in the Northern Rockies, where wading anglers often need to climb everything from steep embankments to boulders. For me, this type of activity was far easier in the Patagonia Swiftcurrent Wading Pants.

Another reason these waders are a game changer is that they forced me to recognize how I fish. I got a hip replacement at age 35, and ever since then, inner and outer thigh muscles aren’t as strong as I’d like them to be. When the leg that had the hip replacement is the leg that is upstream and fighting the current, wading can be challenging. That said, I’ve realized that aside from steelhead rivers in the Pacific Northwest, it is rare that I wade deeper than my waist. Essentially, I have little need for anything more that wading pants. And with the pants being more functional and comfortable, they will be my go-to on the river 95 percent of the time moving forward.

Finally, the Patagonia Swiftcurrent Wading Pants will also make a big difference in how I handle my favorite winter pursuit — wildlife photography in Yellowstone National Park. For this activity, I generally wear waterproof winter boots and ski pants. Despite being high-end boots, they aren’t the best for comfort and functionality. They’re stiff. And when trekking through deep snow, snow can occasionally, albeit rarely, come up the bottom of ski pants. This is a non-issue with wading pants. Also, when wearing wading pants, I’ll be able to cross rivers to be in better position to get the shot.

When it comes to the tech, Patagonia boasts, “100% recycled polyester microfiber H2No® Performance Standard shell with a proprietary waterproof/breathable barrier and a DWR (durable water repellent) finish.” There’s also an elastic belt and expandable waist band and heavy duty scuff guards at the ankles for added durability.

These wading pants from in a wide variety of sizes and in Hex Green color. If you see me in Yellowstone in the winter or on the water throughout the year, it is very likely I’ll be wearing the Patagonia Swiftcurrent Wading Pants.

To learn more about the Patagonia Swiftcurrent Wading Pants, please click here.


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.