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Patagonia R1 Air Review

A well rounded and highly versatile fleece that offers a great warmth to weight ratio in a surprisingly cozy package
Patagonia R1 Air
Photo: Patagonia
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $99 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
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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86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 10
  • Warmth - 20% 8
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Breathability - 20% 9
  • Layering Ability - 15% 9
  • Weather resistance - 10% 7
  • Weight - 15% 9

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.

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Patagonia R1 Air
This Product
Patagonia R1 Air
Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award   
Price Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$99 List
$98.95 at Backcountry
$159 List
Check Price at REI
$109 List
Check Price at REI
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Cozy, athletic fit, breathable, lightweightBreathable, lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable for athleticsPerfect fit for most active uses, ideal weight for many conditions, great hood designLess "teched out" aesthetic, thumbloops, large chest pocketSoft, warm, stylish
Cons Poor weather resistance, no thumb loopsNot incredibly warm, poor weather resistanceNot as warm for its weight as some high-loft modelsHeavy, poor breathabilityDoes not breathe well, bulky
Bottom Line A well rounded and highly versatile fleece that offers a great warmth to weight ratio in a surprisingly cozy packageThis lightweight and breathable fleece offers the same or better performance than many of the more expensive optionsA perfect layering piece that regulates body temperature so well you'll leave it on from summit to sleeping bag and everywhere in betweenThis midweight fleece looks good enough to wear for apre ski drinks while offering enough performance to make it a worthy cool weather hikerThis fleece is loved by many for its style and warmth, but more suited for around town than the backcountry
Rating Categories Patagonia R1 Air Outdoor Research Vi... Patagonia R1 Hoody Kuhl Interceptr 1/4... Patagonia Lightweig...
Warmth (20%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
Comfort (20%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
Breathability (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
2.0
Layering Ability (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
2.0
Weather Resistance (10%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
8.0
4.0
Weight (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
3.0
Specs Patagonia R1 Air Outdoor Research Vi... Patagonia R1 Hoody Kuhl Interceptr 1/4... Patagonia Lightweig...
Type Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Midweight Midweight
Weight 9.7 oz 12 oz 11.1 oz 14.6 oz 17.5 oz
Main Material 100% recycled polyester Grid-back fleece: 94% polyester, 6% spandex 6.9-oz polartec power grid 93% recycled polyester 7% spandex with Polygiene permanent odor control ALFPACA GOLD performance fleece and KASHMIRA side panels 100% polyester (85% recycled) fleece
# of Pockets 1 3 1 1 1
Unique Features 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 Articulated sleeves, low bulk seem stiching Snap closure, stand up collar
Hood Option Yes Yes Yes Yes No

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


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.
Photo: Buck Yedor

Warmth


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.


Comfort


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.

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.
Photo: Buck Yedor

Breathability


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.

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.
Photo: 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.

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.
Photo: 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.

The streamlined R1 Air Crew is easy to layer over.
The streamlined R1 Air Crew is easy to layer over.
Photo: 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.


Weight


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.


Value


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.

Conclusion


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.

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.
Photo: Buck Yedor

Buck Yedor

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