Patagonia R1 Air Review
Cons: Poor weather resistance, no thumb loops
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Patagonia R1 Air
|Price||$99.00 at Backcountry||$59.37 at Backcountry||Check Price at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
|$119.00 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Cozy, athletic fit, breathable, lightweight||Breathable, lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable for athletics||Perfect fit for most active uses, ideal weight for many conditions, great hood design||Less "teched out" aesthetic, thumbloops, large chest pocket||Soft, warm, stylish|
|Cons||Poor weather resistance, no thumb loops||Not incredibly warm, poor weather resistance||Not as warm for its weight as some high-loft models||Heavy, poor breathability||Does 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 package||This lightweight and breathable fleece offers the same or better performance than many of the more expensive options||A perfect layering piece that regulates body temperature so well you'll leave it on from summit to sleeping bag and everywhere in between||This midweight fleece looks good enough to wear for apre ski drinks while offering enough performance to make it a worthy cool weather hiker||This fleece is loved by many for its style and warmth, but more suited for around town than the backcountry|
|Rating Categories||Patagonia R1 Air||Vigor Full Zip||Patagonia R1 Hoody||Kuhl Interceptr 1/4...||Lightweight Synchil...|
|Layering Ability (15%)|
|Weather Resistance (10%)|
|Specs||Patagonia R1 Air||Vigor Full Zip||Patagonia R1 Hoody||Kuhl Interceptr 1/4...||Lightweight Synchil...|
|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|
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.
Due to Covid, Patagonia is experiencing some delays in the release of their R1 Air Crew, 1/4 Zip, and Hoody, which will now be released in February of 2021.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
— Buck Yedor