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Patagonia R1 Air Review

A warmer and more comfortable version of the classic R1, it's warm and versatile
Patagonia R1 Air
Patagonia R1 Air Crew
Credit: Patagonia
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $99 List | $99.00 at Backcountry
Pros:  Cozy, athletic fit, breathable, lightweight
Cons:  Poor weather resistance, no thumb loops
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Buck Yedor ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 5, 2020
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  • Warmth - 20% 8.0
  • Comfort - 20% 9.0
  • Breathability - 20% 9.0
  • Layering Ability - 15% 9.0
  • Weather resistance - 10% 7.0
  • Weight - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Patagonia R1 Air Crew is part of Patagonia's newly revamped R1 collection. The most significant difference between this and the classic R1 we all know and love is the new style of fleece fabric. This crew neck is made from hollow-core fibers that purportedly offers more breathability without sacrificing warmth; this new fabric is highly comfortable. Technical abilities aside, it is an absolute pleasure to wear. Soft and cozy on the inside and out, you won't want to take it off. The athletic fit, light weight, and fantastic breathability make this more than just a cozy fleece — it's also capable and adventure-ready.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Patagonia Air Crew is an athletic fitting pullover made from 100% recycled polyester. This piece was designed for high-intensity output in cold weather conditions, and is an absolute stand out when it comes to comfort and breathability. While this crew neck is missing some features like side hand pockets, it was such a high performer in every other metric that those features simply weren't missed.

While at first glance, this seems to be a relatively simple piece, it is equipped with several modern design features. Offset shoulder seams increase comfort while carrying a pack, and the high tech "hollow core" and zig-zagging weave of the fabric make for a soft and breathable experience. The simple design, combined with the high tech construction and materials, make this fleece a serious contender in the mountains.

Performance Comparison

Patagonia R1 Air fleece jacket - the breathability, comfort, and warmth offered by the r1 air crew...
The breathability, comfort, and warmth offered by the R1 Air Crew make it the perfect fleece for days spent outside in dynamic environments.
Credit: Buck Yedor


Patagonia's entire R1 line is beloved for their utility and breathability during high-intensity activity in the cold. The keyword there is "during". If you aren't on the move and the temps really start dropping, they don't make for ideal stand-alone pieces. The R1 Air Crew is no exception; while it is warmer than the original R1, it isn't the warmest fleece on the market. Lacking a hood and thumbholes, wearers might need to bring along a beanie and gloves to round out this fleece.

The R1 Crew is the perfect weight and warmth for cold weather hiking and climbing as long as we had another layer to throw over it when we stopped moving. In more temperate coastal environments, this was the perfect standalone piece for cool mornings or evenings; it offers a great balance between warmth and mobility, making it an ideal choice for cold-weather athletic pursuits.


This piece brings a new level of comfort to performance fleece wear. The hollow core fabric and zig-zag patterning are highly comfortable on the skin and make it feel more like a sweater for lounging in than getting after it in the backcountry. While the lack of pockets and zipper could potentially be a detractor for some situations, the lack of those features is a plus when it comes strictly to comfort, especially when using this fleece as part of a layering system. The minimal bulk from the lack of zippers, hood, or side pockets makes this a great piece to climb, hike, or ski in without feeling encumbered.

The soft and stretchy nature of the fabric, in addition to the minimal bulk from the simple design, made this our favorite fleece for wearing on the go. Due to its high level of comfort, it quickly became our favorite to wear around the house on chilly mornings. Whether you're giving redpoint burns on your sport climbing project or headed to the coffee shop, you won't want to take it off.

Patagonia R1 Air fleece jacket - the comfy r1 air crew is just at home lounging by the lake as it is...
The comfy R1 Air Crew is just at home lounging by the lake as it is on an epic day out in the mountains.
Credit: Buck Yedor


True to its name, the R1 Air is highly breathable and offers a great deal of airflow and sweat-wicking power. The excellent breathability, combined with how comfortable it is, made this a stand out for athletic performance.

Patagonia R1 Air fleece jacket - the stretchy and breathable fabric makes the r1 air crew a great...
The stretchy and breathable fabric makes the R1 Air Crew a great layer for cool weather climbing.
Credit: Buck Yedor

While we found the difference between the moisture-wicking ability of this piece and the original R1 to be negligible, the R1 Air seems to be more impervious to wind. The minimalist design of the crew neck and the breathability made this a favorite stand-alone piece for chilly morning cardio endeavors.

Patagonia R1 Air fleece jacket - the z-weave of the r1 air fabric is both highly breathable and soft...
The Z-weave of the R1 Air fabric is both highly breathable and soft to the touch.
Credit: Buck Yedor

Layering Ability

The R1 Air Crew is the perfect piece for layering. Its athletic fit and lack of bulky zippers or pockets make fitting it under a puffy as easy and unnoticeable as it gets. While the lack of a hood might be a detractor in terms of using this as a stand-alone piece, it makes for a great layering experience. When you find yourself wearing a fleece, insulating layer, and hard shell all with hoods, it can start to feel pretty restrictive.

The only drawback to layering with this piece is the lack of thumb holes. Our testers find that thumb loops help you slip your arms into another coat without them getting bunched up and stuck around the elbows. Thumbholes are also nice to keep your fleece cuffs securely inside the cuffs of ski gloves.

Patagonia R1 Air fleece jacket - the streamlined r1 air crew is easy to layer over.
The streamlined R1 Air Crew is easy to layer over.
Credit: Buck Yedor

Weather Resistance

While virtually no fleece is waterproof, some are better than others at keeping a light rain from soaking in. The R1 Air is somewhere in the middle. It doesn't soak up water like a sponge, but anything more than a light mist will start to permeate through.

What makes it so comfy and breathable is also what makes it struggle in windy conditions. The permeable fabric, similar to other lightweight fleeces, lets wind pass through the weave and hit your body. If conditions are getting blustery, you will want something with more wind resistance to layer over this fleece.


Besides being a standout in comfort, this fleece truly shined in the weight department. The next lightest fleece was a full two ounces heavier. While the material is light, part of the low weight can be attributed to the lack of hood, zipper, or side pockets. All of which would add to the bulk and weight of this piece. Weighing in at just under 10 ounces, it's easy to throw it in your bag and forget about it — until you start getting cold.


The R1 Air Crew is a worthy addition to anyone's wardrobe. It brings a level of performance, comfort, and style that makes it worth the price. While it's certainly not inexpensive, it is priced in the middle of the pack, and outperformed some of the more expensive options in our fleet. The versatility and quality of this fleece make it a well-valued item.


This fleece brings a new level of comfort to the world of performance wear. A highly capable jacket, the Patagonia R1 Air Crew can take you from your adventures in the mountains to lounging at your local coffee shop. High tech without looking like it, this was our favorite new fleece and this season's top choice.

Patagonia R1 Air fleece jacket - the new r1 air might just be better than the beloved orignal r1.
The new R1 Air might just be better than the beloved orignal R1.
Credit: Buck Yedor

Buck Yedor
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