Hands-on Gear Review

Patagonia Crosstrek Hoody Review

This is a stylish, comfortable fleece for strenuous activity and around town wear, but a little heavy for long backcountry trips.
By: Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 14, 2017
Price:  $169 List  |  $118.30 at Backcountry - 30% Off
Pros:  Stylish, comfortable, great range of motion
Cons:  Not a very good warmth-to-weight ratio
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 14
  • Warmth - 20% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Breathability - 20% 7
  • Layering Ability - 15% 7
  • Style - 5% 9
  • Weather resistance - 10% 5
  • Weight - 10% 7
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Our Verdict

The Patagonia Crosstrek is a rad balance between casual styling and technical performance, leaning a bit more towards the performance side of the equation than the classic Patagonia Performance Better Sweater. While the Better Sweater is appropriate for warming up at the crag or casual bike rides, the Crosstrek holds its own on all day adventures and makes for a versatile, mobile fleece layer, similar to the beloved Patagonia R1 Hoody, but more at home in the coffee shop.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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Our testers appreciate this fleece for its breathability, durability, and style. If you're shopping for a fleece for all occasions, this could be what you're looking for. While it receives middle of the road scores for warmth and layering abilities, it excels in comfort and breathability and looks pretty slick for around town use.

Performance Comparison


Warm yet breathable  this hoody was perfect for traversing ridges in the High Sierra.
Warm yet breathable, this hoody was perfect for traversing ridges in the High Sierra.

Warmth


The Crosstrek employs 6.8oz Polartec Powerstretch fleece, which kept our testers about as warm as the lighter, more technical R1 Hoody. The R1 uses a lofty grid pattern to reduce bulk and increase breathability, while the Crosstrek has spandex jersey face with a fleece backing that feels reminiscent of the Arcteryx Fortrez, but warmer.

This jacket has long cut at the hem so it fits well under backpack straps or a climbing harness.
This jacket has long cut at the hem so it fits well under backpack straps or a climbing harness.

Comfort


Soft and stretchy, our testers would sometimes even wear this jacket to sleep. The flat-seam stitching was hardly noticeable while bundled up in a sleeping bag and also kept the Crosstrek from catching and shredding in Yosemite offwidths, and chimneys. The hood fits under a helmet if needed, and zips up to the base of your chin. While not as tight as the balaclava hood on the R1, The Crosstrek's hood is a great improvement on the Better Sweater bulky hood that can blow off in strong winds. Two zippered handwarmer pockets are concealed with a centimeter of overlapping fabric, and our testers didn't notice them at all when tucked under a climbing harness or layered under a shell.

Breathability


We found the Crosstrek exceptionally breathable for its weight. While not as breathable as the R1 or the ultrathin Black Diamond CoEfficient Hoody, our testers were able to run, hike, and climb in cool fall temps without overheating, much more so than thicker, knit-style jackets like the Patagonia Better Sweater or the Arc'teryx Covert Hoody. Our lead tester climbed multiple offwidth climbs in the Crosstrek and was impressed with how well it breathed, how it protected his elbows and shoulders and climbed pitch after pitch without falling apart.

Layering Ability


A full zipper and two handwarmer pockets prevent the Crosstrek from scoring as high in this metric as the 1/4 zip R1 or the super soft Outdoor Research Transition Hoody, but the flat-seam construction and thumb loops make it a great layering piece under a wind or rain layer.

Thunb loops and lightweight zippers make it easy to layer this fleece under a hardshell jacket.
Thunb loops and lightweight zippers make it easy to layer this fleece under a hardshell jacket.

Weather Resistance


With 6.8 Polartec Powerstretch between you and the elements, the Crosstrek provides more wind resistance than the Black Diamond CoEfficient Hoody and the Patagonia R1 which still isn't very much. You'll want to pair this with a wind breaker when things get breezy, or choose a thicker fleece like The North Face Denali 2. The same thing goes if you're worried about rain in the forecast. Light rain soaks through this breathable jacket instantly.

This Fleece is very breathable  yet vulnerable even to light rain.
This Fleece is very breathable, yet vulnerable even to light rain.

Weight


Weighing 14.7oz for a men's small puts the Crosstrek in a very similar weight class as the Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man Grid II and the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody. However, these three jackets have wildly different applications. We'd choose the Crosstrek when breathability is our top priority, the Monkey Man for warmth, and the Fortrez for weather resistance.

Style


While this jacket is most at home on the cliffs and trails, it has a slick Apple product type vibe. Coffee shops, messenger bags, bikes, and earbuds are all in line with the stylings of the Crosstrek; it even has a special hole in the pocket for your headphone cord. Available in black, grey, navy blue, and paintbrush red (flashy!), there's something for everybody.

Best Applications


This model is a great mid-weight do-it-all kind of fleece. We wouldn't take it into the backcountry because of the weight and bulk (that space in our pack is reserved for the Patagonia R1 Hoody) we happily brought it along for day missions to the crag, the ski hill, or on cool fall runs.

All smiles during another day in the mountains  staying warm and comfortable in the Crosstrek Hoody.
All smiles during another day in the mountains, staying warm and comfortable in the Crosstrek Hoody.

Value


The Crosstrek retails for $169, so it's not exactly a bargain, but you get all the stuff that goes along with Patagonia products like environmentally friendly fabrics, a great warranty, and that sweet logo with Fitzroy on it.

Conclusion


In the lineup stylish fleeces like the Arc'teryx Covert Hoody, the Patagonia Performance Better Sweater, and The North Face Denali 2, the Crosstrek stands out as the most performance oriented, breathing and moving well so you can have an all-day adventure, then cap it off with date night without having to change jackets.

Matt Bento

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Most recent review: November 14, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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