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Hands-on Gear Review
Patagonia R1 Hoody - Women's Review
Cons: Not very warm, poor wind and water resistance.
The Patagonia R1 Hoody is a high-performing technical layer without many bells or whistles. This 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 For this we've given it our Top Pick for Breathability award. Our favorite features on this jacket are the 3/4 length zipper and the fitted hood and built-in balaclava. When you are working up a sweat you can unzip it almost all the way for extra venting, and when you need just a little extra warmth, you can pull the hood into place and zip it up all the way to 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. And if you don't want the hood up, it's thin and low profile enough to not interfere with a helmet or other layer. It comes with thumb loops and a single chest pocket and not much else, but when moving fast in cold weather, less is often more. For a warmer midlayer fleece, check out our Editors' Choice winner, The North Face Radium Hi-Loft - Women's. And if you want a jacket that also offers some wind and water protection, the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody - Women's is a great choice. But everyone who is active in cold weather should have at least one of these R1 beauties in their closet.
RELATED: Our complete review of fleece jackets - women's
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The R1 Hoody is part of Patagonia's Regulator fleece series. It's made with Polartec Power Grid fleece (93% recycled polyester, 7% spandex) that is gridded to increase breathability while maximizing warmth. The latest versions of this fleece now come with an anti-microbial "Polygiene" treatment, which is a tiny amount of silver chloride applied to the material during production. This is supposed to prevent the growth of bacteria that thrive in synthetic fabrics and cause the garments to smell over time. This pullover has a 3/4 length zipper, a balaclava style hood, thumb loops and a zippered left breast pocket. Current color options are Aquastone and Black.
Although this was not one of the warmest fleeces that we tested, it does have a surprisingly good warmth-to-weight ratio thanks to its fitted hood, which layers perfectly under a helmet, and its thumb loops that keep the hands warm. The Patagonia R1 Hoody is made with a lightweight Regulator grid fleece, which provides standout breathability, durability and compressibility, and is warmer than the similarly thin Marmot Flashpoint - Women's. 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 - Women's or our Editors' Choice winner, The North Face Radium Hi-Loft.
This jacket is more of a technical layer than a cozy fleece you'd want to lounge in, and it did not score quite as high in comfort as some of the other fleeces we evaluated. While its interior is fairly soft and fleecy, the outer fabric is not nearly as touchable as the R2, The North Face Tech-Osito Jacket - Women's, or TNF Radium. The slightly longer torso, extra-long arms and roomy shoulders did provide a little extra comfort though, and even after long days on the rocks in this layer we never felt uncomfortable or constricted.
This was by far the most breathable fleece we evaluated and well deserving of our Top Pick for Breathability award. The Patagonia R1 Hoody's grid fleece design wicks away moisture with its hundreds of paper thin channels. This helps effectively regulate temperature even while doing cardio-heavy activities. Additionally, the pullover design has a deep V-neck that runs all the way to the waist, which allows the torso to vent. Some other models like the R2 jacket and TNF Radium were almost as breathable, but those are midweight fleeces and by nature not quite as suited to cardio activities. We also found the Marmot Flashpoint fairly breathable, mostly due to the light 100 weight fleece rather than any fancy material construction. Finally, if you do work up a sweat in this layer, its drying time is impressively fast.
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. It is not roomy enough to use as a final outer layer though, so if you are looking for something to wear over many other layers, then a roomier fleece like The North Face Denali Jacket - Women's is the way to go.
Ease of Movement
Thanks to its stretchy fabric and longer torso and arms, this jacket provides maximum ease of movement while maintaining coverage. We didn't have any issues with the jacket riding up underneath our harness or pack waistbelt, which can be annoying. Additionally, the R1's hood doesn't restrict movement at all. We wore it under a ski helmet and still had full range of motion and peripheral vision.
Wind Protection and Water Resistance
The downside to being so breathable it that this jacket does nothing to block the wind or shed water. Droplets don't even bead up on the surface but instead soak right through. While it will dry out fast after a light rain, if you take this jacket as a layer into the mountains you should also grab a wind protective shell like the Patagonia Houdini - Women's or a rain jacket like the Outdoor Research Aspire - Women's. If you are looking for a fleece jacket that will also protect you from the elements a little, say for ice climbing, the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody has some similar elements, like a balaclava style hood, but with a protective shell that can block a light rain and wind. Note that this shell does damper the breathability somewhat, resulting in a tradeoff between protection from the elements and venting your perspiration.
Style and Fit
The Patagonia R1 Hoody is a minimalist piece without many 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 and arms. The fitted hood looks a little silly on, but otherwise this is an attractive looking layer, though on the "techy" side. If you are looking for a technical fleece that won't look out of place at a happy hour, consider the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody.
The arms on the R1 are nice and long because they have to reach mid-palm on the "typical" person to accommodate the thumb loops. This is a bonus for those of us with long arms who find it difficult to find jackets that fit in the sleeves.
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. It's not the warmest layer, but instead is designed for when you are active in cold conditions and need to stay warm but not sweaty. For this specific use, the Patagonia R1 Hoody can't be beat.
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 her closet.
R1 Pullover - Women's
R1 Full Zip - Women's
Patagonia R1 Hoody
— Cam McKenzie Ring
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: February 26, 2016
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