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Hands-on Gear Review
Cons: Not as stylish as some other fleeces for around town, not as warm for its weight as some high-loft models.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
R1 Pullover - Men's
R1 Full Zip - Men's
Patagonia R1 Hoody - Women's
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
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: April 25, 2016
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