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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.
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Price:  $120 List | $119.00 at REI
Pros:  Soft, warm, stylish
Cons:  Does not breathe well, bulky
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Adam Paashaus ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 4, 2019
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 12
  • Warmth - 20% 9
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Breathability - 20% 2
  • Layering Ability - 15% 2
  • Weather resistance - 10% 4
  • Weight - 10% 3
  • Style - 5% 10

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.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Soft, warm, stylishPerfect fit for most active uses, ideal weight for many conditions, great hood designLightweight, long zipper, chest pocket, thumb loopsBreathable, awesome balaclava feature, great fitStretchy, lightweight, comfortable
Cons Does not breathe well, bulkyNot as stylish as some other fleeces for around town, not as warm for its weight as some high-loft modelsLess breathableExpensiveNot incredibly warm
Bottom Line This fleece is loved by many for its style and warmth, but more suited for around town than the backcountry.A perfect layering piece that regulates body temperature so well you'll leave it on from summit to sleeping bag and everywhere in between.An incredible layer that strikes a perfect balance between warmth and breathability for active pursuits.Arc'teryx's take on the half zip has some solid advantages over the R1.This fleece is as light as some base layers, but still takes the edge off on cool days.
Rating Categories Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Patagonia R1 Hoody Type 2 Fun 3/4 Zip Hoody Arc'teryx Konseal Hoody Arc'teryx Adahy Hoody
Warmth (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
3
Comfort (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Breathability (20%)
10
0
2
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Layering Ability (15%)
10
0
2
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
10
Weather Resistance (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
3
Weight (10%)
10
0
3
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
10
Style (5%)
10
0
10
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Specs Lightweight... Patagonia R1 Hoody Type 2 Fun 3/4 Zip... Arc'teryx Konseal... Arc'teryx Adahy...
Type Midweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight
Weight 17.5 oz 10.8 oz 11.7 oz 13.3 oz 9.9 oz
Main Material 100% polyester (85% recycled) fleece 6.9-oz Polartec Power Grid 93% recycled polyester 7% spandex with Polygiene permanent odor control 55% polypropylene, 45% polyester Polartec Power Dry High Warmth Torrent (84% polyester, 16% elastane)
# of Pockets 1 1 1 1 2
Unique Features Snap closure, stand up collar Balaclava style hood, thumb loops, Polygiene permanent odor control, longer length to stay tucked under a harness Helmet-compatible hood Neck Gaiter/Balaclava, Thumb Loops, Media Pocket Gusseted underarms
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.

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 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!
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!

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.

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 bulky pullover did not fit well underneath our tester's wind jacket.
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 and there are other better options that would be lighter for taking into the backcountry.
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.

Style


This jacket is available in 7 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 that has plenty of room for it. This fleece has a classic look for any casual occasion.

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

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