Awhile back I saw a pair of crampons with metal bars screwed into them. They were being tested for wade fishing, as an alternative to felt, as states like Alaska and Missouri don’t allow felt anymore. One look at these new wading boots from Patagonia made me think……really?
Screwed into the soles?
Not in my boat was my first thought……or on the wood floor at home….or to the grocery store……these are for wading rivers. Now, Patagonia will say they are fine in the boat, but I haven’t tried it yet and it doesn’t sound like a good idea. Maybe a carpeted deck in a jet boat, but a fiberglass driftboat? The jury is still out……
So, a few days ago, I laced them up and took off walking upstream over the snow and down to the Madison. There was some slickness of the sole in the snow, but overall, that was not a big problem. When I got in the river, I expected to slip right away. The bars tripped me up a couple times, but once I got used to it, I could wade anywhere and wasn’t slipping. No shit, I didn’t slip and the grip was as good as felt. Waste deep in the river, shallow fast riffles……no slippin’. The bars do mark the rocks, but all spiked wading boots will do that. These work and are the first none felt boots to do so.
Patagonia is on to something with these new boots. A set of bars should last 80-100 days. The true test will be to see if they hold up over time to hiking and fishing. All in all, I am impressed thus far after one day of wade fishing.
The bars are replaceable for around $25.
The boots will retail for $239.
The River Crampons will retail for $199.