Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Super breathable, compressible, light, built-in hood w/ninja-like balaclava, thumb loops
Cons: Thumb loops too tight, torso not as long as men's R1 hoody
Best Uses: Rock climbing, extra layer to toss in the pack, cardio on cool days
A high-performing, technical layer without any bells or whistles, the Patagonia R1 Hoody was again a favorite among our testers, and it's still our Top Pick for Technical Fleece for this updated review. This durable, lightweight pullover is perfect for rock climbing missions, backcountry skiing and cardio-heavy hikes. It breathes beautifully but still provides a good amount of warmth for its weight and thin-ness. Our favorite feature on this jacket is the fitted hood and built-in balaclava. When you need just a little extra warmth, you can pull the hood into place and zip it up all the way above the tip of your nose. Sure, you might look a bit like a ninja (especially if you opt for black), but this feature is beyond awesome when you really need it. You can also pull the hood down but keep it zipped up to make a neck gator, and this fitted piece also has thumb loops. For a slightly cozier and more stylish technical fleece, be sure to check out our Editors' Choice winner, The North Face Radium Hi-loft - Women's. For a more versatile fleece that offers some wind and water protection, consider the Patagonia Piton Hybrid Hoody - Women's instead.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The R1 Hoody is part of Patagonia's Regulator fleece series. The fleece is a Polartec Power Dry that is gridded to increase breathability while maximizing warmth. The sleeves and back panel are made of a slightly lighter fabric for even more breathability and faster drying times. It comes with a balaclava style hood with an offset zipper, thumb loops, and a zippered left breast pocket.
Thanks to its fitted hood, which layers perfectly under a helmet, and its thumb loops that keep the hands warm, this fleece has a surprising warmth-to-weight/packability ratio. Although it was not one of the warmest fleeces that we evaluated, the Patagonia R1 Hoody is made with Regulator grid fleece, which does provide standout breathability, durability, and compressibility. Overall, this jacket is a great mid-layer on a cold day or a perfect stand-alone piece for technical activities in the spring or fall. However, it does not have hand pockets, so if this feature is important to you, you might want to consider the Patagonia R2 jacket or our Editors' Choice winner, The North Face Radium Hi-Loft. If you want an even lighter weight but less warm fleece, consider the Arc'teryx Caliber Hoody.
Comfort and Coziness
More of a technical layer than a cozy fleece you want to lounge in, the Patagonia R1 Hoody did not score as highly in comfort and coziness as some of the other fleeces we evaluated. While its interior is fairly soft and fleecy, the fabric is not nearly as touchable as the Marmot Flair Hoody or The North Face Osito 2. Our testers noted that the pullover's slightly longer torso and its extra-long arms provided a little extra comfort, although it's worth noting that the thumb loops were a little too tight and rubbed uncomfortably against the skin. Additionally, the pullover's fitted hood and built-in balaclava feature a comfortable offset zipper that doesn't sit right on the center of the nose.
One of the most breathable fleeces we evaluated, the Patagonia R1 Hoody's grid fleece design wicks away moisture and effectively regulates temperature even while doing cardio-heavy activities. Additionally, the pullover design has a deep V-neck that allows the torso to vent and the sleeves can be pushed up past the elbows. This fleece's breathability is only matched by the lightweight Arc'teryx Caliber Hoody and the Patagonia R2 - Women's jacket.
Layering Ability and Ease of Movement
With its thin yet warm design, the Patagonia R1 Hoody works great as a layer over a silk weight top and/or a layer underneath a shell, another fleece, or a down coat. It tucks seamlessly into a harness, pulls on easily over a helmet, and the hood layers well under another hat or inside a helmet. Thanks to its stretchy fabric and longer torso and arms, this jacket provides maximum ease of movement while maintaining coverage. Additionally, the R1's hood doesn't restrict movement at all.
Wind Protection and Water Resistance
Through our testing we found that while the R1 dries quickly, it does not actually shed water. When we sprayed this fleece with water, the droplets absorbed but were trapped before they went all the way through to the skin, so it would keep you relatively dry in a short-lived, light rain. However, the Patagonia R1 Hoody has no protection against the wind. If you take this jacket as a layer into the mountains, you should also be sure to grab a wind protective shell, or consider the Patagonia Piton Hybrid Hoody, which sacrifices some breathability to help protect you from the elements.
Style and Fit
A minimalist piece, the Patagonia R1 Hoody doesn't have any stylish extras, although it does have a zippered chest pocket big enough for a smart phone or other small necessities. It has a slim fit that hugs the body while still leaving room for a layer underneath and it has a slightly longer torso. The fitted hood is far from stylish, but it is extremely practical. If you are looking for a cuter technical fleece, consider the Patagonia Piton Hybrid Hoody.
This fleece jacket is most at home on adventures in the mountains. Its abrasion-resistant outer fabric allows it to stand up to wear and tear on alpine climbing excursions, while its interior grid design makes it extremely breathable and packable. As a specific-use, mid-weight, technical piece, our reviewers decided that the R1 Hoody can't be beat. However, they noted that women who want to be able to tuck the fleece into their pants to keep it from riding up may want to consider the men's version of this jacket. The men's version offers additional length, but sacrifices the slimmer fit more suited to the female upper body.
Credit: Skiy Detray
While this fleece hoody may be fairly pricey, it offers a number of awesome technical benefits. We asked several long-time R1 owners how they felt about this fleece and they reported that it is hands down their favorite piece for big adventures where breathability and packability are key.
When Patagonia first came out with the R1 Hoody, it was only available in a men's version for several years, and a lot of us ladies were either complaining to Patagonia or wearing the men's version because it is so unique and awesome. Finally, the company answered the ladies' call and retooled it for us, with a more tapered fit and design. Its warmth, breathability, and cool features makes it THE technical fleece to wear when being active in a cold environment, whether that's alpine or ice climbing, backcountry skiing, or even just rock climbing on a cold day. It's not going to be the fleece you wear as a jacket around town, but every adventurous lady should have one of these in their closet.
The R1 is also available in a full-zip with no hood, the R1 Full Zip - Women's and a men's version, the Patagonia R1 Hoody.
For another alternative, the Capilene 4 Expedition Weight 1/4 Zip Hoody - Women's is available for $120.
— Cam McKenzie Ring & Amanda Fenn
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Most recent review: October 13, 2014
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