Remember, in the southern hemisphere the seasons are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. The air temperature in Tierra del Fuego is not particularly cold, as it is their summer, but the wind blows constantly and creates a chill factor that can be uncomfortable. Much of the fishing is done in the morning and late evening hours when temperatures are at their daily ebb. And it can rain heavily or lightly at any time throughout the season. So be prepared to dress warmly. Clothing strategies should be based on the ``layering system´´, the idea being to trap heatedair generated by your body between multiple layers of insulation. The layering system also allows you to adapt to air temperature, body temperature according to activity level, and whatever Mother Nature dishes out.
Start off with a synthetic fabric next to your skin (the TFS Base Layer is a good start). This often is a pair of thermal underwear (tops and bottoms) and they usually come in three weights: light, mid and expedition. According to your individual metabolism, pick what is best for you. Synthetic (non-cotton!) materials retain little moisture and ``wick´´ moisture away from your skin. This is very important when you are walking in waders or when outside temperatures heat up.
Your second layer of insulation should match the weather and conditions you are going to be fishing in. Use lighter weight insulation for cool weather days, mid-weight for colder conditions, and a heavy weight layer for really frigid days. Fleece is an outstanding choice here in tops and bottoms, or overalls. The new merino wool is also a good choice as, like fleece, it stays warm when damp.
1 set mid weight Simms ``WaderWick´´ Wading Underwear, TFS Wading Fleece or Patagonia heavy weight Capilene, or fleece equivalents. Tops and bottoms.
1 set fleece pants - Simms Power Stretch Guide Bibs or Pants, or Patagonia Capilene Fleece
1 fleece jacket - Simms Wind Stopper, or Patagonia Synchilla
Anglers should bring enough socks to alternate on a daily basis. For a week´s fishing trip, three pairs should be fine. Do not wear the same socks every day, but alternate, leaving one pair to dry and air while wearing the other set. We layer on our feet just like on our bodies. Thin liner socks to wick and keep your feet dry, thicker wool or synthetic socks to insulate. Wool and polypro is our favorite combination in for socks. Try on your socks with your waders and wading boots before you leave for your trip to insure that you have plenty of room to move your toes. Being unable to move your toes and cramping of your feet in your wading boots are the biggest reasons for numb toes and cold feet. We´ve experienced great success with the disposable air-activated heating pads available at many outdoor stores. Removal from the cellophane wrapper activates them and they then simply stick to the outside of socks for hours of cozy warmth. Simms and SmartWool make great wading socks.
Wool or Polypropylene Gloves:
Fingerless gloves are great for cold, rainy days. Neoprene gloves are fine, but retain a lot of water when wet. We have had the best success with synthetic or wool gloves.
Your final layer should be a breathable waders and a rain jacket when the conditions require it.
High quality Gore-Tex® type products are the best. Your rain jacket should be 100% waterproof and breathable. Rain jackets must be seam sealed, multi-layered, of QUALITY construction and from a recognized outdoor clothing company. Jackets specifically designed for fly fishermen are the most comfortable and practical. Simms G3 or Guide Jacket
Patagonia Stretch SST
Stocking foot, breathable waders are the way to go. You will experience little or no moisture build-up inside the waders, even after a long hike; they wear like iron, and are comfortable to be in all day. These modern waders take up a fraction of the space in your luggage as compared to the old-style neoprene waders. For safety, we strongly recommend wearing a wading belt at all times. Simms Gore-Tex® G4 Guide or Pro Model, or G3 Guide Model
The Rio Grande is a very easy river to wade, with a bottom formed of non-slippery pea gravel, and mellow currents throughout. For this reason the new knobby, “sticky” rubber Vibram soled wading boots are recommended. They are also much longer lasting than felt soles, and are more environmentally friendly in reducing unintentional transport of New Zealand mud snails, and other invasive species, from river to river. Felt soled wading boots are allowed, but be responsible and clean them thoroughly. Metal or carbide studs are not necessary and not recommended. Gravel guards are a must.
Rubber-soled boots: Simms Guide Boot and Patagonia Riverwalker
Felt-soled Boots: Simms Guide Boots, Freestone Boots, Chota STL+.