Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Great fit, breathability
Best Uses: Active activity in cold weather, all around use.
The Patagonia R2 Men's Jacket seems to be the perfect midweight polar fleece for people serious about getting out there and going for it. It's not too heavy or bulky, plenty warm, and even looks good around town. Made of U.S.-sourced recycled materials and backed up with a great warranty, this was a tester favorite voted most likely to be "lost" during the course of our review. Winning Editors' Choice for sheer versatility, the R2 is a must-have.
It's especially great for active people in cold climates. If you are looking for a more cozy fleece, go with the Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man. If you are looking for a more windproof jacket, check out the Patagonia R4 Jacket. If you just want a basic fleece that will get the job done, there are lots of cheaper options.
View our complete Men's Fleece Jacket Review to see how this product compared to others.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
What stands out most about the Patagonia R2 is the fit and the breathability. It is tapered in all the right spots, which means there are nearly no dead air pockets when you are exercising and it fits great under other layers. It has a nice cozy feel but is not so fluffy as to keep it from breathing well (it has excellent ventilation). The pockets can be zipped open so that it breathes better. We like the extra cozy material inside the collar that keeps your chin comfy when the jacket is all the way zipped up.
A big part of Patagonia is the history, manufacturing process and philosophy behind their gear that is told in Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard. Highly recommended reading.
Somewhat detracting from the "green" rating, the R2 is made in Colombia. Also, the fuzz that is so cozy also collects pet hair, grass seeds, rain, and dust like a magnet. The chest pocket is a little small, not fitting much more than a wallet or car keys, and the mesh liners for the hand warmer pockets seem a bit fragile. Also, since this fleece is aimed at an athletic bunch of folks, it could use a slightly trimmer fit.
The new design of this fleece jacket has "glued-in" zippers that look cool but are a little alien to the otherwise coziness of this jacket. We like the old zipper style better. It also does not come in a lot of color options only three if you don't count discontinued colors.
This is one of the most expensive fleeces of this weight. It is a great jacket, but for such a "non-critical" function it is a little hard to justify the cost if you are on a budget. This as opposed to something more critical like a shell to keep of rain or a big down jacket, where splurging on the price is easier to justify. There are a lot of other fleeces that will get the job done at a fraction of the price. That said, since this layer is worn so often it's a good value if you absolutely love it and will wear it a ton.
This can be a stand alone outer layer while active in cool conditions. Or, it can serve as "super long underwear" to be worn under other layers.
Patagonia R1 Full Zip - Men's
Patagonia Footprint Chronicles: R2® Jacket Design
— Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: April 3, 2011
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