Posted September 5, 2015 by admin in Patagonia Product Reviews

Patagonia Fly Fishing Wader Task Force

Patagonia Fishing Waders Seeking Perfection

Some anglers are always looking for trouble. You know the type: Every conversation starts with “Hey, I heard about this spot” and the thornier the brush, the more barbed wire crawled through, the longer, rockier, more narrow the way the better the fishing’s going to be.

Patagonia Rio Gallegos Zip Front WadersSince 2014 a new attitude has developed at Patagonia and they have set out to build gear for these real world anglers who take their Patagonia Waders to hell and back. Patagonia has no control over the trouble they can get into, but what they can control is their real world production process to meet those demands. So now they take wader design from the field, then try to replicated that in production in a factory; exactly, consistently, each and every time.

Patagonia says waterproof breathable waders are one of the most complicated and technical pieces of gear that are built from fabric. The many stresses placed on waders in the field are matched in number by critical points during manufacture where weakness can occur.

Patagonia’s Wader Task Force team of in house quality experts, advanced R&D engineers, fabric developers and designers are dedicated to one ongoing task controlling and eliminating variation in the production process.

How does Patagonia do it? By leaving all assumptions at the door and testing, measuring and documenting everything. It’s an inquiry process that has brought significant changes to the way Patagonia thinks about product development and has materially changed the wader their waders are built.

Patagonia has now consolidated it’s production of the entire wader line to a single production facility. The wader task force’s testing numbers (tested off the shelf to failure, Patagonia and other brands) showed that the new factory, which had been making their simpler lightweight waders, was constructing a stronger, more consistent seam than the industry veterans including the factory that had been building the rest of their line for years.

I guess it all comes down to process and control. The new factory partnered with Patagonia on the process from the ground up the quality managers were in the factory outset; and weren’t struggling to teach an old dog new tricks.

Now standard operating procedures are clearly communicated at every workstation. Updated machines and attachments at the facility are more precise controlled: temperature settings are checked and maintained consistently throughout the day; sewing machines with automatic trimmers accurately maintain seam allowances; seam tape is centered by laser; air testing is followed up by visual check and every step is documented and tracked to the individual wader with a unique Wader Task Force serial number that links to the data about the making of that particular pair.

The entire Patagonia Wader Task Force process is informing the product development cycle with higher benchmarks for durability and quality. When new Patagonia Wader materials and designs are considered, they must meet or exceed the high water mark. The ongoing Wader Task Force process has no finish line; a system of improvement and data driven feedback that is moving the Patagonia Waders toward a perfect 10 product, without heading off into the weeds.

Look for the Patagonia 2016 wader line to meet or exceed that perfection.

To shop for Patagonia Fishing Waders click here.