Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Highly breathable, highly versatile, recycled materials, clean design, warm for its weight, unobtrusive logo
Cons: Little wind protection, mesh pockets, bland styling,
Best Uses: Under almost anything for varying temperatures, stand-alone light layer.
The Patagonia R1 Full-Zip Jacket takes the highly versatile, breathable, and compressible R1 Pullover and adds a full-length zipper and two handwarmer pockets. Although our testers love the R1, we prefer the Pullover and Hoody versions to the Full-Zip Jacket because: 1) theyre lighter, and 2) the Full-Zips handwarmer pockets have mesh backings, which save weight, but dont make the pockets warm. We suggest the Pullover version for people who dont like hoods or the Hoody for everyone else (the hood is thin, fits under a helmet and covers your face like a balaclava).
Go for the Patagonia R2 Jacket if you want something warmer and something that looks better around town. If youre going for aesthetics and the cozy factor get the Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man 200.
This is an outdated review and the product may have changed or been discontinued. Please see our latest Fleece Jacket Review to see our current top rated jackets.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The R1 is Patagonia's lightest and most breathable fleece. It uses 6.8 oz. Polartec Power Dry, which has a grid backing (high-loft pillars with open spaces between) and a smooth microfiber face for the outside. The R1 is designed for high output activities in cold weather or for use an outer layer in moderate temperatures without high winds. This is arguably the most versatile fleece layer available. It excels in fluctuating temperatures and wicks your sweat away almost as good as bare skin. The R1 is the go to fleece layer for alpinists and backcountry skiers. It can be a baselayer for 8000m peaks or the main insulating layer on multi-pitch climbs in spring, summer, and fall. The R1 breathes well enough to be used when skinning up the steepest of mountains. This layer epitomizes versatility. Pair it with a windbreaker, softshell, or hardshell for the most versatile high output layering system on the planet.
The R1 is not as warm as the R2, or other standard fleece jackets. Unless, the temperatures are mild, the R1 is for moving in. Its also exceptionally compressible and tucks into a corner of your pack.
The R1 comes in three Mens versions: full zip jacket (with two handwarmer and one chest pocket), pullover (quarter length zipper with a chest pocket), and a hoody (quarter zipper, chest pocket, longer cut for tucking into pants, thumb loops, and balaclava style hood). Being heavier than the others, the full zip jacket is geared toward casual use but still performs well in the mountains.
The R1 has less a lower environmental impact than other similar fleece jackets. The fleece is made of recycled soda bottles. And Patagonia donates a significant part of their profits toward environmental efforts that work to preserve and restore our planets natural areas and threatened species.
The R1 isnt a casual, around town fleece. Yes, it can be, and is often, used around town, but it doesnt look like a casual cardigan. For example, the sleeve seams lie below your shoulder, which makes it more comfortable under a backpack, but looks less jacket-like. Get something else if you want a fleece jacket solely for its looks.
The R1 is highly breathable and thus not very wind resistant. Thicker fleeces or those with windproof membranes (Gore Windstopper) offer more wind resistance. Bring a lightweight wind shell, such as the Patagonia Houdini, with you. (A wind shell weighs around four ounces and pack smaller than an orange.)
The R1 isnt the most durable fleece. Polartec Power Dry is knit relatively loosely and is prone to snag on passing branches or wearing out after prolonged time in fierce offwidths or squeeze chimneys. We suggest wearing a wind shell while bushwhacking.
All active cold weather pursuits.
Max Neale has lived almost exclusively in the R1 Hoody for the past three years. Hes worn holes in one (Patagonia replaced it free of charge) and is slowly working on the next. Hes also returned all other fleece jackets (including the R2). Why? Answer: because synthetic jackets are warmer for their weight than heavier fleece jackets. The R1 Hoody is Maxs single most used piece of outdoor gear. Highly recommend.
Exceptional design and materials combined with Patagonia's Ironclad Guarantee (you can return it at anytime for any reason) make the R1 an exceptional value.
This jacket is also available in the half zip version with a hood: Patagonia R1 Hoody, $160. Patagonia also offers the Patagonia R1 Pullover - Men's, but we highly recommend that you go with the Hoody. As you can see in our ratings the other R1 models score considerably lower in several categories.
Looking for the women's version? Check out the Patagonia R1 Hoody - Women's, $160, or Patagonia R1 Full Zip - Women's, $160.
Looking for something warmer?
Patagonia R2 Jacket - Men's, $170.
— Chris McNamara, Max Neale and Kevin Swift
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: February 15, 2012
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