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Hands-on Gear Review

Patagonia R1 Hoody Review

   
Top Pick Award

Fleece Jacket

  • Currently 4.8/5
Overall avg rating 4.8 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: April 25, 2016
Price:   $159 List | $159 online
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Perfect fit for most active uses, ideal weight for many conditions, great hood design.
Cons:  Not as stylish as some other fleeces for around town, not as warm for its weight as some high-loft models.
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
Review by: Kenny Barker ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ December 18, 2015  
Overview
Our testers loved using the Patagonia R1 Hoody. We put this fleece through the wringer, from the desert floors of Las Vegas to the surrounding peaks hiking, climbing, running and even re-bolting alpine sport routes. It did not disappoint. This fleece is an amazing mid- or outer layer, and where it really shines is in the balance between warmth and breathability when being active in cold environments. The grid-style fleece takes your moisture away, leaving you dry and warm. The zipper drops all the way down to the navel, which lets you open it way up when hiking hard. The balaclava-style hood acts as saran wrap for your head, and fits well under a ski, bike or climbing helmet. Overall, the R1 is a technical masterpiece that should be in everyone's outdoor layering wardrobe, and as such we've given it our Top Pick for Breathability award. We did have one small durability issue: we used this fleece while climbing a lot and noticed that the material pilled at the cuffs. Outdoor adventures are hard on our gear, though, and we can't expect it to stay nice and pristine forever. If you are looking for a warmer layer, our Editors' Choice winner, the Patagonia R3 Hoody, was our favorite fleece of all, and if saving dollars is a concern, then check out the Marmot Reactor jacket, our Best Buy winner.

RELATED: Our complete review of fleece jackets - men's

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

The Patagonia R1 Hoody is one of the most technical fleeces on the market. This pullover style jacket is a lightweight must-have that works well for any activity. This was the only jacket we tested that had thumb holes, which keep your hands warm and allow for easier layering. The deep three-quarter front zipper works well to maintain proper body temperature and allows a harness to fit comfortably around the waist. The single zipped chest pocket carries small essentials such as a house key and I.D. while out on a winter run. It's made with Polartec Power Grid fabric (93% recycled polyester, 7% spandex) with Patagonia's anti-odor "Polygiene" treatment. It weighs 12.9 ounces and comes in Black, French Red, Peppergrass Green and Underwater Blue colors.

Performance Comparison


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The R1 has long been known as the best climbing fleece, as it keeps you warm while you're moving without leaving you all sweaty. Here's Kenny Barker working his way up the physical Plumber's Crack on Kraft Mt.
Credit: Nick Redinger

Warmth


This fleece jacket may not be ideal as an only layer in what most of us think of as extreme cold, but for such a lightweight fleece it holds its own against the other fleeces we tested. During our testing phase this pullover-style hoodie was always the first to be grabbed during cold climbing days up in the mountains. In sub-45 degree weather, the Patagonia R1 Hoody kept the crisp winds from chilling our bones and freezing our ears off. The thumb holes kept the sleeves from bunching up when layering with a wind breaker or down jacket, and the Polartec Power Grid fabric did a great job of trapping in the right amount of heat to keep us comfortable any time of day. This is a layer to wear when you are active though if you're looking for something to throw on at the campground, then a thicker heavyweight fleece like The North Face Denali is a better choice.

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Notice how the hood fits tightly around the head. This helps trap the heat in and keep you comfortable during bitter cold climbing days.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Comfort


The Patagonia R1 Hoody is so lightweight that it feels more like a warm t-shirt than a jacket. The soft fleece inner lining lightly keeps in contact with the skin for a warm, fluffy, barely there feeling. When using a waist belt or harness over top of the jacket, the half zipper was superior to the full zipper models, eliminating any bunching or pressure points. During our brisk, windy evening dog walks, the balaclava-style hood wrapped around our head for the perfect amount of comfort to help keep our ears warm. When pulling up the sleeves, the elastic wrist cuffs stayed in place securely around the forearms. The R1 may not be ideal as a single layer in sub-zero temperatures, but it adds great comfort when layering in the right conditions.

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So comfortable, climbing seems like a breeze with the R1 Hoody on during a chilly climbing day. Whether you're a sport climber, boulderer or high alpine climber you will appreciate the comfortable feel of this fleece against your skin.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Breathability


Patagonia has done a lot to further the advancement of their technical fleeces when it comes to breathability. The Polartec Power Grid material lets air flow in and out of the jacket during highly intense activities. In between each tiny square of fleece material are micro gaps that let your moisture vent. There are not many fleece jackets we could run in, even on the coldest of days, without being a sweaty mess by the end of it but the R1 manages to do the trick, and for this we've given it our Top Pick for Breathability award. This fleece is also made with "Polygiene," Patagonia's new odor control treatment for synthetic materials. This treatment is supposed to minimize the growth of certain bacteria that actually eat your sweat and produce that funky smell synthetic layers get.
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The Polartec Power Grid technology gives you better breathability than a standard pile fleece during aerobic activities when the body needs it most. It is also extremely comfy and soft.
Credit: Kenny Barker

Layering Ability


The number one thing that helps this jacket surpass all of the other fleeces we tested when being used as a mid-layer are the thumb holes. Perfectly placed, they keep the sleeves from bunching up and help to maintain the best fit possible. This allows for quick, fluid layering when needed, and extra protection for your wrists and hands on chilly days. The thin hood also layers well with a helmet when needed. While you can't fit more than a light baselayer under this jacket due to the slim fit, it is low profile enough to fit under most of the other models we tested, and you'll certainly have no trouble fitting the R1 under a shell, puffy jacket or even another fleece layer.

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The R1 is slim fitting and thin enough to fit under another fleece, like the R2 shown here. The thumb holes help keep the sleeves in place while layering.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Ease of Movement


This fleece was the most comfortable to be active in. The stretchy material moved well no matter how we contorted ourselves while climbing. There is ample room in the shoulders as well. The low-profile hood did not obstruct our view when turning our head in any direction. The length of the jacket was spot on as well; it was long enough to fit well under a climbing harness without riding up, and it kept us covered when bending over.

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This is the most comfortable fleece that we tested to climb in. Our tester didn't even notice it was on while doing the moves up this steep route in Red Rock Canyon.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Wind Protection & Water Resistance


Wind and rain are always elements you need to deal with in the outdoors. This jacket was not designed to prevent those elements from entering. The grid channels that are great at venting moisture out also let wind and rain in. When caught in a drizzle, the material will soak all the moisture in, though it does dry quite fast. Windy days are not the best option for this fleece either, though it does pair well with a wind layer like the Patagonia Houdini. If you are looking for a fleece jacket that can protect you from the elements a little better, the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody is a great option. It's made with a "hardface" fleece that repels the wind and rain more than this model, but it's not nearly as breathable. Alternately, you can check out our Soft Shell Jacket review for more options when it comes to fleece/shell hybrids.

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Since this is the most breathable jacket we tested, it is also the worst when it comes to keeping wind and rain at bay. It is hard to see the color change in here because the water immediately flowed through the material to our testers shirt.
Credit: Kenny Barker

Weight


The Patagonia R1 Hoody weighs a scant 12.9 ounces. If you are looking to conserve weight in your backpack or for a long chilly run, then this is a great choice. It also compacts down quite small, and makes a great emergency layer in the bottom of your daypack even if you're only heading out for a short hike. You never know when the temperature might drop or how chilly that peak will be.

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Another reason this is the ultimate climbing fleece is its light weight. Climbing up this steep Red Rock route it felt as light as a t-shirt. The thin material is perfect for cragging, bouldering, multi-pitch and just about any other activity that involves you fighting gravity.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Best Applications


This fleece jacket is best used for just about everything you might do outdoors. We especially liked using it climbing, hiking and running on chilly autumn days when a larger layer was too warm. It also works well for aerobic winter activities like cross-country skiing or ski touring. While it doesn't work as a stand alone piece for all weather conditions, it is a welcome addition to any layering system.

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The R1 is amazingly comfortable while climbing or really doing anything active that requires fluid movement. This fleece feels more like long sleeve t-shirt than a jacket. It is the ultimate layering fleece when the extra warmth is needed.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Value


At $159, this hoody may seem a little pricey, but you do get what you pay for in terms of quality construction and a versatile layer.

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The chest zip pocket is great for stashing small items such as a key, wallet, or phone. You can also unzip it and leave it open if you are in need of a little more breathability.
Credit: Cam McKenzie Ring

Conclusion


The Patagonia R1 Hoody is about as close to perfection as it gets when looking for a breathable mid-layer, and for this we've given it our Top Pick for Breathability award. It adds just the right amount of warmth and the Polartec Power Grid material breathes amazingly well, keeping you warm and dry even when you're working hard. It is lightweight and is hardly noticeable when packed in a backpack. Use it as a mid-layer during those mid-winter hikes or a standalone jacket on a crisp spring/autumn day at the cliffs. If you are in the market for a technical fleece for climbing, skiing, hiking, running or any activity that requires using a layering system, then look no further than Patagonia's R1 Fleece Hoody.

Other Versions


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R1 Pullover - Men's
  • Cost - $129.00 ($30 less than the hoody)
  • Weight - 11.75 oz (about one oz lighter than the hoody)
  • Lacks the balaclava style hood

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R1 Full Zip - Men's
  • Cost - $159.00 (same as the hoody)
  • Weight - 12.6 oz (same as the hoody)
  • Features a full front zip, unlike the half-zip of the hooded version
  • Two high hand warmer pockets, no chest pocket

Patagonia R1 Hoody - Women's
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  • Women's version
  • Cost - $159 (Same as men's version)
  • Weight - 11.4oz (1.2 oz less than men's version)

Dream Backpacking Gear List


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

Around the World in 13 Days


This is the fleece the OutdoorGearLab co-founder Chris McNamara chose to take around the world seeing the New 7 Wonders of the World in 13 days. Check out the video:

Kenny Barker


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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 25, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 4
  • 5
 (4.5)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 67%  (2)
4 star: 33%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Apr 25, 2016 - 11:08am
NatD · Climber · WA
This is a great fleece if a fleece is what you want. Best part is the integrated balaclava hood, and thumb holes in the sleeves.

However fleece in general is not the most weight efficient insulation and it offers no performance features as an outer garment.

I've found myself usually going up a weight in my merino base layer and using a heavier softshell (260 weight top and Black Diamond Dawn Patrol jacket) if the weather is going to be too cold/windy for my ultralight base layer and ultralight soft shell (120 weight top and OR Ferrosi Jacket), rather than adding the R1.

I mostly have the R1 now for those outings where weight isn't a big issue and I want something cozy to wear around camp or for casual days out rock climbing. It's really comfortable.

I'd recommend buying one, because it is useful and very comfortable. However I wouldn't suggest it as your only/first light synthetic insulation layer, when there are offerings like the Nano Air jacket available. It is a great second purchase to add some comfort to more casual activities, so that you can save your primary synthetic layer for when grams count.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Mar 18, 2016 - 03:14pm
TJ F · Backpacker · California
I try to bargain shop when possible (last years color-deep discount-I'm in) but an REI gift card allowed me to bite the $160 bullet for this piece which I've read nothing but great things about. Everything I read was true. Especially about the comfort and breathability. Anyone who sweats a lot and wants one piece to do many things should take a good look at the R1. I can't see going out without having it in my pack. Just a great piece of gear.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Jan 31, 2016 - 09:41pm
 
Gordon · Backpacker
Patagonia ditched the asymmetric zipper?! Say it isn't so!
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