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Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Review

This fleece is loved by many for its style and warmth, but more suited for around town than the backcountry
Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T
Photo: Patagonia
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Price:  $119 List | $119.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Soft, warm, stylish
Cons:  Does not breathe well, bulky
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Adam Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 4, 2019
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52
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 10
  • Warmth - 20% 9
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Breathability - 20% 2
  • Layering Ability - 15% 2
  • Weather resistance - 10% 4
  • Weight - 15% 3

Our Verdict

On the luxury end of the fleece category, we have the plush Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap T. To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever sent 5.14, skied a 60 degree slope, or stood on top of an 8000 meter peak while wearing a Lightweight Snap T, but we can pretty much guarantee that plenty of hard-charging folks have put on this cozy pullover after sending the gnar, safe and sound, curled up with a hot cup of something. This is based on the original Snap-T that has been in the Patagonia line for over thirty years. Around town or around the house, this is a warm and comfy fleece, but for the backcountry, we'd recommend a fleece that fits better, breathes better, and packs away smaller.

New Colors

An updated color option for the Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T is shown above. The design of the shirt is the same as the model we tested.

March 2020

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Price $119.00 at Backcountry
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Pros Soft, warm, stylishCozy, athletic fit, breathable, lightweightBreathable, lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable for athleticsPerfect fit for most active uses, ideal weight for many conditions, great hood designLightweight, long zipper, chest pocket, thumb loops
Cons Does not breathe well, bulkyPoor weather resistance, no thumb loopsNot incredibly warm, poor weather resistanceNot as warm for its weight as some high-loft modelsLess breathable
Bottom Line This fleece is a staple of mountain towns everywhere, but is more at home in a coffee shop than the backcountryA warmer and more comfortable version of the classic R1It is hard to beat the value of this high performing and cost effective fleeceAn ideal fleece for almost anything you can think of, you'll never want to take it offThis fleece makes a great layering option for active days in the mountains
Rating Categories Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Patagonia R1 Air Vigor Full Zip Patagonia R1 Hoody Type 2 Fun 3/4 Zip Hoody
Warmth (20%)
9
8
8
7
6
Comfort (20%)
9
9
8
8
9
Breathability (20%)
2
9
9
9
8
Layering Ability (15%)
2
9
9
9
10
Weather Resistance (10%)
4
7
7
6
6
Weight (15%)
3
9
9
9
8
Specs Lightweight... Patagonia R1 Air Vigor Full Zip Patagonia R1 Hoody Type 2 Fun 3/4 Zip...
Type Midweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight
Weight 17.5 oz 9.7 oz 12 oz 11.1 oz 11.7 oz
Main Material 100% polyester (85% recycled) fleece 100% recylced polyester Grid-back fleece: 94% polyester, 6% spandex 6.9-oz Polartec Power Grid 93% recycled polyester 7% spandex with Polygiene permanent odor control 55% polypropylene, 45% polyester
# of Pockets 1 1 3 1 1
Unique Features Snap closure, stand up collar Hollow-core fabric is highly breathable for high-output activities
offset shoulder seams
Balaclava style hood, thumb loops, Balaclava style hood, thumb loops, Polygiene permanent odor control, longer length to stay tucked under a harness Helmet-compatible hood
Hood Option No Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

This fleece performs poorly in the breathability, layering ability, and weather resistance category while feeling super comfortable and exuding a certain style synonymous with mountain culture.

Performance Comparison


This fleece performs best with a beer in hand.
This fleece performs best with a beer in hand.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Warmth


This fleece is thick, heavy, and consequently pretty warm. It's thick, uniform polyester fleece is an effective insulator, but doesn't compress or breathe very well. This will keep you warm in town when the temps dip, but when they start to come back up, you'll be shedding this layer pretty quickly.

Comfort


The Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T has blanket-like softness and comfort. We don't know if Patagonia sourced these Synchillas in the wild or from the controversial Argentinian Synchilla farms, but their fur sure is soft. Seriously though, this pullover has some of the softest fleece, but we sometimes wished it had some hand pockets, and it's slouchier fit draped over our testers like a poncho. Elastic cuffs keep the sleeves down around your arms when it's cold, but they are easy to pull up when it's time to get down to business.

The LW Synchilla is not a great choice for heavy activity. If you...
The LW Synchilla is not a great choice for heavy activity. If you get warm in this fleece, you have no choice but to un-snap the front and roll up the sleeves, and that still won't cut it!
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Breathability


The Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T is one of the thickest fleeces in our test and, therefore, one of the least breathable. The Synchilla's only method of venting hot, sweaty air is to open the four plastic snaps and roll up those sleeves.

The snaps don't extend down too far and the fleece is warm.
The snaps don't extend down too far and the fleece is warm.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Laying Ability


You're going to need a shell or insulated jacket with ample room if you plan on incorporating the Snap-T into your layering system. Our slimmer testers found this fleece bulky, especially in the shoulders and sleeves. When layered under a shell, the thick fabric bunched up, feeling constricting and uncomfortable. However, we suspect folks that like the look of the Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T won't be trying to hide it under a technical looking hardshell jacket.

This jacket is available in several different options, including five colors and a couple of print models. Our testers often paired it with a warm flannel as this loose-fitting jacket has plenty of room for it. This fleece has a classic look for any casual occasion.

This bulky pullover did not fit well underneath our tester's wind...
This bulky pullover did not fit well underneath our tester's wind jacket.

Weather Resistance


When it comes to wind, the Snap-T performs better than most of the fleeces in our test due to how thick it is. This "benefit" comes at the cost of breathability and weight. Also, since this jacket has no durable waterproof treatment, don't expect to stay dry in a downpour. If you do get caught out in the rain, this fleece will take longer to dry out. This is not a technical layer, so we would not recommend treating it as one.

Weight


The Large size Snap-T tipped our scales at 17.5 ounces, making it one of the heavier fleeces in the test, but if the goal is maximum warmth for the weight, this is actually a great deal. However, if you plan to use this in a technical capacity, you will be much happier finding a better overall performance piece.

The LW Synchilla is not a great fleece for stuffing into a backpack...
The LW Synchilla is not a great fleece for stuffing into a backpack and there are other better options that would be lighter for taking into the backcountry.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

This big, baggy fleece only has one snap pocket, and it is too small...
This big, baggy fleece only has one snap pocket, and it is too small for many modern cell-phones.
Photo: Elizabeth Paashaus

Value


The Synchilla Snap-T is priced very well. If you understand the limitations of this jacket and just want a warm, stylish town piece, this is priced right! However, don't let the low price convince you that you can use this in both a casual and technical capacity.

Conclusion


This warm pullover is popular for its comfort and style and has been a classic Patagonia staple for years. We think it's an awesome piece for post-adventure lounging and recounting highlights and mishaps around the campfire, but if you're headed into the backcountry, we recommend a more technical fleece, that will breathe and layer better.

Adam Paashaus