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Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody Review

This lightweight fleece has a highly breathable design that's ideal for active adventure
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Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody Review
Credit: Zach Lovell
Price:  $179 List
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Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Zach Lovell, Ben Applebaum-Bauch and James Lucas  ⋅  Apr 24, 2024
78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 17
  • Warmth - 25% 6.5
  • Comfort - 25% 8.0
  • Breathability - 20% 8.5
  • Layering Ability - 15% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 8.5

Our Verdict

The Patagonia R1 Air Hoody is a lightweight, super-breathable fleece that tops the charts in most metrics. It uses hollow-core fibers in a zig-zag pattern, making it one of the most breathable options we have ever tested without sacrificing softness, comfort, or warmth. This combination of attributes makes it one of the best men's fleece jacket. With a great fit, it layers well, accommodating base layers underneath as well as shells or heavier jackets over the top. The handwarmer pockets are simple and effective, though the chest pocket is very tight for fitting a cellphone. Some may also find this jacket to be a bit odorous compared to other garments. At the end of the day, the R1 Air Hoody became our go-to for heavy exertion during outdoor adventures and is worthy of your consideration.
REASONS TO BUY
Incredibly comfortable
Great breathability
Well-fitting
REASONS TO AVOID
No thumb loops
Tight chest pocket
Odorous for some
Editor's Note: This review was updated on April 24, 2024, following a full retest for our Spring update.

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Bottom Line A stylish and comfortable fleece that is lightweight yet warmA year-round layer for any of your technical mountain pursuits, even in stormy conditionsThis lightweight and breathable fleece with excellent performance at a price that's hard to beatA featherweight fleece that doesn’t compromise warmth for weight. This is a layer you'll always keep with youA stylish and comfy fleece that’s both functional and fashionable
Rating Categories Patagonia R1 Air Fu... Rab Ascendor Summit... Outdoor Research Vi... The North Face Summ... Arc'teryx Kyanite H...
Warmth (25%)
6.5
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Comfort (25%)
8.0
9.0
7.5
7.0
8.0
Breathability (20%)
8.5
7.0
8.5
8.0
8.5
Layering Ability (15%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.5
7.0
Weight (15%)
8.5
7.9
8.5
10.0
6.1
Specs Patagonia R1 Air Fu... Rab Ascendor Summit... Outdoor Research Vi... The North Face Summ... Arc'teryx Kyanite H...
Measured Weight 12.8 oz 11.6 oz 13.2 oz 7.9 oz 14.8 oz
Type Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Midweight
Main Material Body: 100% polyester Body: 20D Pertex Quantum Air, Thermic G fleece, polyester knit Body: 94% polyester, 6% spandex Body: 55% polyester, 45% recycled polyester Body: 53% polyester, 38% nylon, 9% elastane
Hood Option? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
# of Pockets 3 1 3 1 2
Features Slim-fit hood, quick drying Body mapped fabric positioning, flatlocked seams, wind resistant zipper, under helmet hood, thumb loops Thumb holes, UPF 30, 3-panel hood with binding Pre-tensioned elastic hood, seamless shoulders, stretch underarm gussets, thumb loops Nylon face outer with a brushed polyester interior, 4-way stretch textile

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Patagonia R1 Air Hoody works as an ideal fleece for high-exertion, cool weather activity. It excels in its ability to wick away sweat and moisture, and the unique fabric pattern allows air to easily move through the garment.

Performance Comparison


This layer is incredibly comfortable and offers a great fit.
Credit: Syd Knadler

Warmth


The R1 Air Hoody offers a perfect level of warmth for colder sandstone bouldering, hiking, skiing, or ice climbing. Though this jacket is one of the lighter models in the category, it has the warmth of a mid-layer piece and is ideal for moving in colder temps. The flip side is that the chill set in quickly when we stopped moving, necessitating a second layer over the top.


The hood adds another dimension of warmth, keeping in heat at the head, including frost-bitten prone spots like the tips of the ears. Relative to most other models, the hood has a very snug fit. In our experience, this is a net benefit. Though it lacks adjustability, it stays put while on the go. Our testers appreciated that when they rotated their heads, the hood moved along with them rather than just turning their faces into the fleece. The hood also provides decent neck protection. If you really need to wait out a gust, the neck is long enough that you can pull it up over your face to cut the wind and protect it from blowing debris. Though the waist lacks a drawcord, the jacket's slim fit also keeps body heat trapped inside.

patagonia r1 air full-zip hoody - we took this fleece ice climbing in northern wyoming and were able...
We took this fleece ice climbing in northern Wyoming and were able to stay warm, especially when used with other layers.
Credit: Zach Lovell

Comfort


Due to the zig-zag pattern, the 100% recycled polyester fleece of the R1 Air Hoody feels different against the skin than other products. Initially, our testers were skeptical as the fleece has a less stretchy feel than other contenders. However, the only resulting issue was the sleeves riding up slightly when we had to reach straight up over our heads. As for the fit, it is definitively slim.


The textured fleece has a thin polyester band on the underside of the cuffs, around the hood, and along the base of the jacket. These strips minimize fraying and rubbing in the areas that tend to come in direct contact with the skin. The seams on this fleece are also behind the top of the shoulder instead of directly on top, making the R1 Air more comfortable to wear with a backpack. Additionally, we enjoy the simple practicality of the two handwarmer pockets. The liner of these pockets is also sewn around the interior of the jacket, making them viable internal pockets as well. The chest pocket is a great spot to stash small items like keys, a credit card, or an ID.

We noticed a couple of minor comfort issues around the hood. First, because the hood fits so snugly when it's up, it's actually pretty challenging to put up and pull down if the jacket is fully zipped. You have to get used to a specific order of operations (i.e., unzipping slightly before moving the hood). Second, this fleece doesn't have a zipper guard, so there is no fabric between the back of the cold metal and your lips. Brrr.

patagonia r1 air full-zip hoody - this fleece is soft and comfortable, inside and out.
This fleece is soft and comfortable, inside and out.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Breathability


The R1 Air Hoody offers superb breathability. The zig-zag patterning leaves gaps between each line of fleece to facilitate a ton of airflow through the garment, and the lightweight material also allows for additional breathability.


Some of our testers thought the garment provided too much breathability. Sharp gusts of wind cut through to the skin, and moisture from perspiration can also escape via soaking through. We once wore the R1 Air as a mid-layer under a shell, and our sweat made it through to the shell's interior. In general, this piece works best during cool, dry weather while on the move.

We were able to take the R1 Air on the go, even for lengthy backcountry ski tours.
Credit: Syd Knadler

Layering Ability


The R1 Air Hoody offers great layerability. The athletic fit and streamlined design ensure that it fits comfortably underneath any shell or winter jacket. In fact, other than the friction factor of trying to layer two fleece jackets on top of each other, it fits underneath many of the other models in this review. The thin zippers, single chest pocket, and streamlined hood mean there's no extraneous material to get stuck under a puffy or rain shell. The form-fitting hood moves well under other layers as well. One minor drawback of this fleece is that it doesn't have thumb holes or straps in the wrists, which would otherwise enable the sleeves to stay in place while putting another layer on over it.


On the flip side, despite the slim fit through the body, the sleeves are still loose enough that the garment slides on over a base layer, albeit with a little fleecy friction.

patagonia r1 air full-zip hoody - the lack of thumbholes made layering a bit more difficult but the...
The lack of thumbholes made layering a bit more difficult but the hood fit close to the head and a bit of elastic under the cuff allowed for the sleeves to be pulled up and stay in place.
Credit: James Lucas

Weight


We really enjoy the light weight of the R1 Air Hoody. Barely tipping the scales at 12.8 ounces, it is the lightest jacket in this review. And though it is not the warmest in absolute terms, one of the things we love about it is how warm it is relative to its packability.


In addition to the hollow-fiber zig-zag fleece, which seems to use both lighter and less material than a traditional fabric pattern, this model is even more streamlined by just a single chest pocket and few other frills. We just wish a cell phone could more easily fit in the chest pocket. Though this layer lacks adjustability, it does have a simple build that keeps it light.

patagonia r1 air full-zip hoody - the r1 air hoody isn't overly feature rich, but what it does have is...
The R1 Air Hoody isn't overly feature rich, but what it does have is well considered and doesn't add excessive weight.
Credit: Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Should You Buy the Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody?


The R1 Air Hoody is a phenomenal all-around fleece. It belongs in any climbing pack or in the car, ready for a hike, and it looks good for a day out with friends. We feel confident that this jacket will last through the regular wear and tear of both mountain and city adventures. For someone looking for a lightweight, breathable fleece that performs well during heavy exertion in cooler weather, this one delivers.

What Other Fleece Jackets Should You Consider?


If you are looking for a hoody but want an even warmer option, we recommend the REI Co-Op Hyperaxis 2.0, which has a nice dense weave. For a hoody of similar weight but with a little more stretch and features like thumb holes, check out the Outdoor Research Vigor Full Zip. For a looser-fitting, fashion-focused but reliable option, you might check out the Better Sweater, another high-performing option to consider.

Zach Lovell, Ben Applebaum-Bauch and James Lucas