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Patagonia R1 Hoody Review

   
Editors' Choice Award

Fleece Jackets - Men's

  • Currently 5.0/5
Overall avg rating 5.0 of 5 based on 9 reviews. Most recent review: March 18, 2014
Street Price:   $159 | Compare prices at 6 resellers
Pros:  Hood= instant balaclava, very warm for its weight, highly breathable, packs down small, extra length tucks into pants, thumb loops secure cuffs for active sports.
Cons:  Not as durable, wind resistant, or as stylish as hardface fleeces; no handwarmer pocket can be a drawback for some people.
Best Uses:  Under almost anything for varying temperatures, standalone light layer.
User Rating:     
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 (5.0 of 5) based on 8 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (7/7) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
Review by: Max Neale ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ May 22, 2013  
Overview
The Patagonia R1 Hoody takes the highly versatile, breathable, and compressible R1 Pullover and adds: a balaclava style hood, longer arms with thumb loops, and an extended hem for tucking the fleece into your pants or a harness. This is our favorite style R1 and our top rated fleece jacket. Alpinists and backcountry skiers worldwide live in this layer; it’s our testers’ single most used fleece. The features are nearly perfect: the ninja hood adds instant warmth when you need it and the quarter-length zipper dumps heat when you’re moving fast uphill. This could be Patagonia’s single best product and it is the author's favorite Patagonia product-- many other premium brands make similar fleeces but none match the high performance of the Men’s R1 Hoody.

This fleece competes fiercely with the Arc'teryx Fortez Hoody, which is more durable, more wind resistant, and more jacket-like. Our testers prefer the R1 Hoody, but if you’re looking for a top-tier technical fleece that looks better around town and functions at a higher level as a standalone jacket the Fortez Hoody is worth considering. Check out all the jackets tested in our Fleece Jacket Review.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Warmth
The R1 Hoody is our testers’ go-to midlayer for outdoor adventures of all types in all seasons. It is a lightweight fleece that is warm enough, but not too warm. That’s why we love it. It serves equally well when used as a baselayer on ultra frigid gram counting adventures, when tossed over a t-shirt for the mid-summer bike ride to happy hour, or on a casual evening walk around the neighborhood.

We reach for warmer hoodless fleeces on cold climbing and skiing days (<15 degrees F) because they can be warmer for their weight, and we regularly pair them with a full face, sometimes windproof, balaclava. However, our tests show that warmer fleece materials are frequently too warm for active use in three-season conditions. We've found that there's no need for a heavyweight fleece because other types of clothing, such as down and synthetic insulated jackets, are more efficient insulators- they provide more warm per unit weight and per dollar. Therefore, we believe that the R1 fleece's type and weight represents the best of the available options for the widest range of applications.

Comfort
Without increasing warmth, it doesn’t get any more comfortable than the R1 Hoody. The fleece is lightweight so you feel like you're wearing a really warm shirt rather than a jacket. Also important: the quarter-length zipper eliminates the rigidity of full zip models, and the hood fits over and warms your head like a dream come true.

The Hood
The hood is worth elaborating on because it is the second best fleece hood we’ve ever tested. For many years this jacket had the best fleece hood we had used. Other companies (including Outdoor Research, Wild Things, Mammut, etc.) released and revised their lightweight fleeces but they never put enough attention to the most important part (the hood)and the R1 Hoody’s hood reigned on as the leader in comfort and warmth. Then in 2013 Arc'teryx released the Fortez Hoody which has a hidden, integrated balaclava, which is a unique and innovative feature. The Fortez Hoody provides excellent visibility for 90% of the time you need a hood and it lets you pull a black balaclava over your face, and customize its position over your mouth, nose, or neck, in a way that bests the R1 Hoody. We prefer the Fortez’s hood because it is more versatile, provides more coverage especially for the nose, and because it allows better visibility. (The R1 Hoody’s chin covering material can flap about annoyingly and can need to be tucked into the sides of the hood to remain out of your field of vision.) But, even though the Fortez has a slightly better hood we still LOVE the R1 Hoody’s hood.

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Hood comfort and warmth are critical for lightweight fleeces. Here Max and Zeb compare the Patagonia R1 Hoody (left) to the Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid. The R1 Hoody has a warmer and more comfortable hood chin closure.
Credit: OutdoorGearLab
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Hood comparison: Wild Things Power Stretch (left) and Patagonia R1 Hoody (right). Note how the R1's offset zipper is more comfortable than the Wild Things' "in your face" zipper.
Credit: Max Neale
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The Arcteryx Fortez (left) has the warmest hood of any fleece tested. It's even more protective than the Patagonia R1 Hoody's hood (right). Also note the Fortez's handwarmer pockets, which increase comfort around town when you don't have gloves.
Credit: Molly Ravits
Weight and Packed Size
Our men’s medium model weighs 12.8 ounces and compresses to slightly less than one liter in volume. Although fleece is not superbly warm for its weight (down and synthetic insulation are warmer per unit weight/volume), its warmth when wet and comfort next-to-skin make it a material that we almost always carry with us.

Wind Resistance and Breathability
All R1 models have very poor wind resistance and excellent breathability. The material dries very fast, which is a huge advantage for high exertion activities and three-season backpacking.

Click to enlarge
The Patagonia R1 face fabric close up. Note the loose knit fabric (not durable, but highly breathable) and the hail. Shot at 13k ft. in the Sierra.
Credit: Outdoor Gear Lab
Style
It’s not form fitting, it doesn’t have seams at the edge of the shoulders that make you look like a burly man, and the material is obviously technical in nature; the R1 is not at all stylish. Yet, for experienced users, the fleece is attractive in that when you see someone else in it you can appreciate how comfortable they are. And that is attractive. The R1 Hoody is a staple in climbing circles from Denali to Camp 4, to Patagonia, and across the ponds. Despite its OK aesthetics we all wear it everywhere.

Limitations
The hood could cover the nose slightly more, but otherwise this piece is nearly perfect. Our testers have owned several different iterations of the jacket the current one is exceptional in both design and in durability. As illustrated in the photo below, there is little that can wrong with the jacket.

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After 3 years of constant use the plastic zipper pull tab on the R1 Hoody broke. With a simple design, there's little that go wrong with the fleece.
Credit: Outdoor Gear Lab
Best Application
Ice and alpine climbing.

Value
The R1 Hoody is worth its weight in gold. It’s one of those pieces of gear that improves your comfort and performance by a significant margin, and it’s very challenging to put a monetary value on such a benefit.

Other Versions
Patagonia also offers the R1 Pullover and R1 Full-Zip, 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.

Dream Backpacking Gear List
The R1 Hoody is one of many items featured in our Dream Backpacking Gear List. Check it out for other top-tier "dream" backpacking items.

Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: March 18, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (5.0)

100% of 7 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
8 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (8)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 8 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Apr 8, 2012 - 08:09pm
spidey · Climber · Berkeley CA
Best layer ever for cool to cold weather climbing, hiking, skiing, etc. Hood is perfect and increases the warmth significantly. Fit is on the snug side so it works great as a baselayer or over a capilene T-shirt, and under other layers. thumb loops are great under gloves or by themselves. Super breathable, comfortable, durable enough for rock climbing. Zippers are perfect. So good I bought 2 of them plus an R1 pullover.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Feb 18, 2012 - 08:35am
Ray Lee · Climber · Hong Kong
I have been living in Patagonia R1 hoody for most of my climbing, biking and trekking time. It is thin like a skin and very comfortable to wear on for whole day. I will still feel cold if the wind is too strong and temperature drops sharply. But I can't find a better layer for such price, functions and quality.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Jul 8, 2011 - 10:59pm
WML · Climber · Biggest Little City, NV
In a word, versatility.

That's what you get with this thing. Much warmer than it looks, much more breathable than you think it would be, and no need to buy a silly looking balaclava.

Why do that when you can look like a ninja?

Also, very compressible and quite comfortable. Thumb loops are a nice touch, kinda weird when you have to move 'em outta the way to climb rock in the cold, but hey, when climbing ice or somethin like that your hands are much more warm I do suppose. The long fit is really nice so that you don't have exposed skin to the elements. With pull-over hoody the need for a beanie or balaclava is negated and it fits very well under a helmet.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Mar 18, 2014 - 04:39am
MChesney · Backpacker · Los Angeles, CA
The Patagonia R1 hoody is perhaps the first article of clothing every beginner should purchase. It is the foundation of most of my layering systems and finds itself as a simple backup layer even in the dead of summer. The face-hugging hood and chin protection moves with you in all directions, and can replace a balaclava for those looking to shed ounces by eliminating redundant gear. The thumbholes are greatly appreciated in a mid- to base-layer to prevent ride-up and twisting. And the long body length of a slightly thinner material is perfect for tucking into the waistband and preventing cold spots while climbing. If there is one piece of clothing to own, this is it, and I have not seen anything come close.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 8, 2013 - 08:48pm
Snow Slog · Climber · California
Click to enlarge
Rocking the R1 Hoody near the summit of North Palisade
Credit: Snow Slog

R1 Hoody is essential kit, I'm on my second one. I don't leave the car without it if I'll be doing something active under 60F Deg. I beat my first one to death and the pocket happened to come apart. To my surprise Patagonia sent me a new one at no cost. They have a customer for life.

I'm 6'2" 200lbs, 34" sleeve, 36 waist. The Large size fits great-slim fit.

FYI 2013/2014 edition is made a little different (better) than my 2009/2010. Better quality fabric on the stretch cuffs, and better hood/ front pocket design.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Oct 27, 2013 - 10:33am
 
I was just wondering what size the reviewer is wearing in the video and if you would mind stating your measurements so we can size it accordingly. Thanks for your top notch reviews!
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   Jun 24, 2012 - 04:49pm
peanuts10 · Skier · Cold Lake
I would not consider the Patagonia R1 Hoody a fleece jacket as it's more of a base layer but here is my review.

The Patagonia R1 Hoody is a must for any outdoor enthusiast. I spent last year as a ski patroller here in Canada and I never left for my shift without it. Unlike other hoodies I have tried, this hoody covers my head, neck and chin without needless bulk and uncomfortable spots. I also liked that the sleeves were long enough to protect my wrists eliminating cold areas above my hands. This hoody does it's job, I was always comfortable whether I was having lunch in the lodge, skiing or pulling a toboggan.

My only warning is that I found the top snug for its size. I normally wear a medium so when it's time to replace my R1 hoody I will likely buy a size larger to give me a little extra room in the arms and chest.

To summarize, this hoody is a must.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 8, 2012 - 09:03pm
Srbphoto · Climber · Kennewick wa
I haven't tried the hoody but have been using the pullover for years. Truly my favorite layering piece. Running, climbing, mt biking, lunch or whatever, it just works. Super durable and works great in a wide range of temps. A classic.

Click to enlarge
in action
Credit: Srbphoto


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Patagonia R1 Hoody
Credit: Patagonia
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