Home > Outdoor > Hunt & Fish

Patagonia’s Winter Fly Fishing Kit Review: There Is No Off-Season

Designed to withstand the harshest winter fly fishing conditions, Patagonia’s Winter Fly Fishing kit provides the performance you expect with the creature comforts you need to hit the water all winter long.

patagonia winter fly fishing kit(Photo/Zach Burton)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

Patagonia is no stranger to the fly fishing world, consistently producing gear that performs at the highest level. Its winter fly fishing gear is no exception. Combining new offerings and quality classics, these pieces bring out the best in Patagonia and winter fly fishing.

Built from the ground up, the Patagonia Winter Fly Fishing kit offers everything a fly angler needs to hit the rivers in any weather. Offering baselayers, boots, waders, midlayers, rain jackets, hats, gloves, and more, every component of its lineup is made to elevate your experience on the water. Whether you’re navigating midwinter frigid water temps or the cold drizzle and winds of early spring, Patagonia has you covered.

In short: Patagonia built a winter fly fishing kit that covers you from top to bottom in all weather conditions, year-round. Now, the only limitation is your willingness to brave the elements.

man fishing in patagonia winter fly fishing gear
Fishing in Patagonia winter fly fishing gear; (photo/Zach Burton)

Patagonia Swiftcurrent Wading Jacket


  • Highly durable, four-layer H2No Performance Standard shell
  • Mesh-lined casing drains excess water and encloses an adjustable elastic drawcord for a close fit
  • Weight 22.75 oz.


  • Great protection from winter elements
  • Recessed sleeve arm design helps reduce snags
  • Quality replacement or repair policy


  • Limited color options

Patagonia Swiftcurrent Waders


  • Four-layer H2No Performance Standard shell
  • Articulated legs with removable foam kneepads and heavy-duty scuff guards at the ankles
  • Anatomical booties for lower volume and a sock-like fit
  • Weight 65.9 oz.


  • A multitude of sizing options
  • Good pockets
  • Well-protected in wet and winter conditions
  • 100% recycled face and backer
  • Fully adjustable, quick-release suspender system
  • Comfortable
  • Quality replacement or repair policy


  • Large financial investment
  • Middle zipper is a love-or-hate feature

Patagonia Forra Wading Boots


  • Abrasion-resistant CORDURA nylon mesh upper
  • Adjustable webbing lacing
  • Weight 41 oz.


  • Great traction and lugs
  • Lighter weight
  • Quality replacement or repair policy


  • Limited color options

Patagonia Winter Fly Fishing Kit Review

patagonia winter fly fishing kit
(Photo/Johnson Purimitla)

Cold-weather fly fishing is a moving target when it comes to layering and covering all the bases for gear. Often, you find yourself fishing in cold but manageable air temperatures. The trick is figuring out how to stay warm for hours while standing in freezing cold water somewhere between knee and waist deep. Add a brisk winter breeze and a little sleet, and you have yourself a day.

If that wasn’t enough, a typical fly fishing excursion includes hiking, possible bushwacking, and general physical output to get to your spot on the stream or river. This makes it even more important to layer properly and have gear that can handle both the rigors of the physical output as well as slower, colder hours casting into frigid waters.

Patagonia offers a host of fly fishing accessories down to socks, gloves, and hats. However, I focused on the core elements of a cold-weather fly fishing kit and what each item brings.

R2 Tech Fleece & Pants (Coming Fall 2024)

man fly fishing in patagonia gear
(Photo/Zach Burton)

One of the building blocks of a solid winter gear kit is a dependable midlayer. Midlayers must be versatile and provide comfort, warmth, and breathability. This is important when you are fly fishing and mixing higher-output activities — hiking to find a place on the river — with low-output activities like standing in the water casting or tying on your next fly.

Coming next fall, Patagonia’s R2 Tech Fleece is designed for all-day affairs on the water with a grid-fleece interior for warmth and comfort that pairs nicely with abrasion resistance and water-shedding DWR outer.  You can wear the R2 Tech Fleece top and bottom as midlayers underneath your jacket and waders all day on super cold days.

Or, you can wear them without a shell and still have protection from light rain, spray from the streams, and any thick brush or thistles you may encounter. And best yet? The R2 Tech Fleece and Pants are stylish enough to be worn comfortably as a post-fishing piece around the fire after a long day.

Forra Wading Boots

patagonia forra wading boot
Patagonia Forra Wading Boots; (photo/Johnson Purimitla)

Footwear takes a beating while fly fishing. There’s no way around it. One minute, you’re hacking through thick shrubs and thicket. The next, you’re blindly placing your next step underwater in a pile of rocks. You need boots that can handle both the rigors of hiking and the challenges of wading into rivers and streams. The Forra Wading Boots are “engineered for trail and river” and have handled every situation I’ve thrown at them.

They have a Vibram Mars sole, providing a large contact area for grip on a multitude of surfaces, and an outsole with HexaBase lugs for added traction and stability. If that wasn’t enough, these boots are compatible with grip studs (sold separately).

Beyond that, these boots have a high-collar design for added ankle support, reinforced toecaps, and are designed to drain water and small debris quickly. Most importantly, these boots are only 41 ounces — so you don’t feel like you’re lugging clogs during long approaches or long days exploring new water.

Swiftcurrent Expedition Waders

man wearing patagonia swiftcurrent waders
Patagonia Swiftcurrent waders; (photo/Zach Burton)

Waders are synonymous with fly fishing. Without waders, cold-weather fly fishing is all but impossible. While Patagonia offers several different wader options and styles, I’ve put the Swiftcurrent Expedition waders through their paces. 

The Swiftcurrent Expeditions are Patagonia’s “heaviest” waders, built for the gnarliest conditions. They’re packed with a ton of thoughtful features. They have an interior waterproof pocket that flips out (perfect for a phone and wallet). The handwarmer pockets have zip flaps to keep your mitts toasty. Two zippered chest pockets for fishing tools or a small fly box keep tools close at hand.

Things like a simple back hanger for easy drying round out some of the little touches that make these waders shine. I loved knowing that my phone and wallet were always safe in the interior pocket, and the handwarmer pockets always came in handy.

These waders are highly durable and made with a four-layer H2No Performance Standard shell that is built of 100% recycled polyester microfiber face and recycled polyester backer for added comfort and performance. They have a fully adjustable, quick-release suspender system. This makes it a breeze to convert these waders to waist height anytime.

Again, this is a nod toward hiking comfortably to your spot without overheating. For me, this was a feature I didn’t know I needed until I had it. Now I can’t go back.

On moderate days, it was amazing hiking in with the waders “down” to keep from overheating. I could pull them up in a flash once I got settled into my fishing spot. Single-seam construction, a gusseted crotch for freedom of movement, and articulated legs round out the features. All that said, these waders are very comfortable to wear — especially considering they are “heavyweight” waders.

Patagonia Jackets: Fitz Roy Nano Puff Hoody & Swiftcurrent Wading Jacket

It goes without saying that jackets are necessary for cold-weather angling adventures. Like baselayers and midlayers, jackets are non-negotiable and can make the difference between enjoying your time on the water and calling the day far too early.

Fitz Roy Nano Puff Hoody

man holding patagonia fitz roy nano puff hoody in a pouch
Patagonia Fitz Roy Nano Puff hoody in a pouch; (photo/Zach Burton)

Worn as a layer or on its own, the Fitz Roy Nano Puff Hoody is one of the most versatile pieces in the kit. Made with a 100% recycled polyester shell and lining and packed full of highly compressible PrimaLoft Gold Insulation, you can rest assured that you’re covered with a warm, windproof, and water-resistant jacket. While I wouldn’t recommend this jacket in real rain (Swiftcurrent Wading Jacket, anyone?), this hoody does keep you dry in a drizzle or when things get a little spicy on the stream.

Two zippered handwarmer pockets with zipper garages and an internal chest pocket for keys or other small items give this lightweight jacket just the right amount of storage. Patagonia sweats the details. The center front zipper has a moisture-wicking interior “storm flap” and zipper garage, keeping the cold metals off your skin.

My favorite part of this jacket is that its internal chest pocket doubles as a stuff sack with a reinforced carabiner loop. And yes, it actually does pack down into the pocket with ease.

Swiftcurrent Wading Jacket

close up of patagonia logo swiftcurrent wading jacket
(Photo/Johnson Purimitla)

Weather changes quickly, and preparation is king when fly fishing in wintery conditions. You never know how the biting wind will hit once you’re on the water, if snow is headed your way, or even worse — sleet. That’s where the Swiftcurrent Wading Jacket comes into play.

Picking up where the Fitz Roy Nano Puff leaves off in terms of waterproofness, the jacket boasts a four-layer waterproof and breathable H2No performance standard shell. It is made from NetPlus 100% postconsumer recycled nylon made from recycled fishing nets to help reduce ocean plastic.

Details That Make a Difference

Beyond the shell materials, there are several details that keep water out and warmth in. Patagonia starts with cuffs that are watertight and adjustable. So, even when you’re reaching into the water to release a fish or freeing a snagged fly, your arms stay dry. The arms also have a recessed design to help mitigate line snags.

An adjustable hem drains excess water and keeps the jacket’s fit close to your body. I love this feature, as I have an aversion to “dad-fit” jackets. Keep it close to the body!

The hood is vented and has an integrated collar to provide protection in inclement weather, and is designed to accommodate all kinds of headwear.

Finally, the pockets come in clutch. There are separate pockets that fit fly boxes and other fly fishing gear while also providing zippered handwarmer pockets up higher on the body for deep wading, and have flap covers for back-of-hand comfort.

man wearing patagonia swiftcurrent wading jacket
Patagonia Swiftcurrent wading jacket; (photo/Johnson Purimitla)

For me, the Swiftcurrent wading jacket is one of those “better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it” pieces of apparel.

When you combine the R2 Techface fleece, the Fitz Roy Nano Puff Hoody, and the Swiftcurrent Wading Jacket together, you’ve created a borderline completely “winterproof” system.

On the River

man fly fishing in water while wearing patagonia winter gear
Fly fishing in Patagonia winter gear; (photo/Johnson Purimitla)

Fly fishing during a Midwest winter is not for the faint of heart. Even during an unseasonably warm winter, temperatures and conditions swing wildly each day, demanding anglers come to the party with the right gear. Layering, breathability, versatility, and “weatherproofness” are essential ingredients for a winter kit.

I’ve used this Patagonia fly fishing gear on several trips across the upper midwest in temperatures ranging from just above 10 degrees to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Layering up for the cold is its own challenge. I was especially keen to see how this gear would hold up to wind, snow, and rain.

The upper Midwest was gracious in providing plenty of each, and I was impressed with my ability to stay dry despite standing thigh-deep in frigid water and with sleet falling generously from the sky all around me. Aside from cold hands and chapped lips, my body remained dry and warm.

man in patagonia swiftcurrent waders holding fly fishing rod
(Photo/Johnson Purimitla)

Hike Capable, Heat Dump With Ease

Going further, many of the areas I fish require a fair bit of hiking to reach. Access is plentiful, but you have to work for it. I was eager to see how this kit would hold up and how comfortable I would be wearing it on these adventures.

Going back to the versatility mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to drop the waders down to my waist while hiking. It is easy to dump heat and keep from sweating without actually removing any layers or clothing. The adjustability of the waders came in clutch on a few of the warmer days when I misjudged just how quickly I would heat up on the hike in.


The boots were also impressive. Fly fishing boots won’t ever actually compete with real hiking boots for comfort and performance. But the Forras were much more comfortable and competent on the hikes than I expected. Their lightweight design kept me from feeling like I was wearing clogs through the woods.

I felt like I kept traction while going over rocks, moving down steep banks, tromping through snow, or breaking through skim ice on the stream edges. The break-in period felt very short, and the boots fit true to size.

man wearing patagonia fishing gear
(Photo/Johnson Purimitla)

The little details of the soft, moisture-wicking flap on the Nano Puff main zipper and the handwarmer pockets on the Swiftcurrent jacket provide a premium experience. You can tell that these pieces have been designed by anglers who have been there and done that.

The gear has held up well throughout my testing and has remained free of leaks, tears, abrasions, or other issues. The gear has lived up to the reputation Patagonia has built.

Beyond the Streams

man holding fly fishing rod
(Photo/Johnson Purimitla)

One of my favorite things about this lineup is the ability for the key items to be worn everyday. The R2 TechFace fleece and pants are perfect for a chill day at home, around the campfire, or a quick grocery run. I’ve been wearing them as layering pieces on super-cold winter days. They also make great standalone pieces on more moderate spring days.

The Nano Puff Fitz Roy Trout hoody speaks for itself. It is one of the most popular Patagonia jackets — but this version has the “Lucky Fitz Roy” Trout logo. I love the “Sleet Green” color and wear it as often as I can. The Nano Puff is a great option to throw over an R2 Fleece on a cold day. You can also wear it over a T-shirt for a quick trip out for takeout. It’s the first jacket I reach for in almost any scenario.

Final Thoughts

man in patagonia winter fly fishing clothing walking into the sunset in the forest
Patagonia winter fly fishing clothing; (photo/Johnson Purimitla)

Cold-weather fly fishing is an immersive experience that few have the gall to experience. If you’re someone who won’t let winter slow you down, you can keep throwing flies all year long. Patagonia’s kit provides the comfort, warmth, and durability to stay comfortable on the hike into your favorite fishing hole. Once there, you’ll stay just as cozy while you’re tossing flies and chasing your winter fishing dreams.

DIY Fly Fishing the Tropics: A No-Nonsense Gear List for the Flats

It's hard to beat the feeling of accomplishment when you put the homework in to fish the tropics on a totally DIY trip. What about gear? Read more…

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!