Aug 8, 2012

Patagonia Rock Grip Aluminum Bar Wading Boot

"Don't Lose Your Grip"

Rock Grip Aluminum Bar Wading Boots

Man, do I hate falling in the river! Nothing can ruin a trip like starting the day out cold and damp. That’s the basic design problem with all waders… they put this huge hole at the top of them! Much worse, falling in rivers can put your life at risk. A few years back, I decided to fish the Sandy River, just outside of Portland because I had an obligation later in the city. With my aggressive wading and yes, poor motor skills, I managed to take the big plunge. We aren’t talking a bit of a stumble. We are talking the full on over-your-head type of dunking. Being ill prepared without a change of clothes, I was stumped as to how I would go to my meeting soaked. I ended up going to an outlet store where I bought the cheapest clothing I could find. I put it all on right in the dressing room and then had to explain to some kid why I would be wearing it out of the store. Yep, I felt like a massive dork.

Since that time, I’ve decided that it would be wise to take whatever measure possible to stay dry which includes having a great pair of wading boots. I’ve tried all types of studs, and soles both felt and rubber. Some performed admirably and others had the traction of silicon over oiled up Teflon! I’ve discovered the perfect wading boot especially for steelheading on western rivers and snot-covered basalt. It’s the Patagonia Rock Grip Aluminum Bar Wading Boot, Have a look at this Patagonia Video for an in depth look at this new technology.  I’ve had a chance to get out with these boots on multiple rivers including the Deschutes, Klickitat and Hood River. Understand that some surfaces, you can’t wade on unless you’re Spider Man, himself, but these boots get you pretty darn close. The outside construction is synthetic leather and the toe box has full rubber protection. The synthetic soles can be used in any states where felt is banned and 5 aluminum bars are screwed in across the sole to provide the traction. And like a well worn fly that is more effective the more beat up it gets, the traction improves as the bars get scuffed. The lacing system gives superior ankle support. And though these aren’t the lightest boots I’ve owned, they don’t make my feet feel heavy like the others. For a little less money, Patagonia also has the River Crampons containing the aluminum bars which can be strapped to your current boots. I did find that the one major weakness in the boot is that you want to avoid pushing off sideways with your feet.

With motorcycles, you always need to keep the “rubber down” but with these boots, it helps to keep the aluminum down.

-Charlie Chambers


  1. I have the strap-on River Crampons attached to my Simms insulated boot-foot waders, and they're, bar none, the best I've found for traction on slippery, uneven bottoms. Only problem is, the bars on the present strap ons are not replaceable like those on the Patagonia Wading Boot. I've complained to Patagonia about this, and they assured me that the aluminum bars on future models of the strap-on River Crampons will be replaceable.

  2. Has anyone tried these on the North Umpqua?

  3. careful winter on smooth ice. studs better


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