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Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody Review

Patagonia made the classic R1 warmer and more comfortable with this versatile piece
Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody
Credit: Patagonia
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $169 List | $169.00 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Cozy, athletic fit, breathable, lightweight
Cons:  No thumb loops
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By James Lucas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 26, 2022
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86
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 10
  • Warmth - 20% 8.0
  • Comfort - 20% 9.0
  • Breathability - 20% 9.0
  • Layering Ability - 15% 9.0
  • Weight - 15% 8.0
  • Weather resistance - 10% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Patagonia R1 Air is part of Patagonia's 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 fleece is made from hollow-core fibers that offer 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, lightweight, and fantastic breathability make this more than just a cozy fleece — it's also capable and adventure-ready.

Editor's Note: The hooded version of the R1 Air was added to our line up on August 26, 2022.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $169.00 at REI
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$169 List$179 List
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$119 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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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 designIncredibly soft brushed fleece interior, athletic fit, incredibly comfortableLess "teched out" aesthetic, thumb loops, large chest pocket
Cons No thumb loopsAverage weather resistanceNot as warm for its weight as some high-loft modelsNo thumb loopsHeavy, not built for heavy movements
Bottom Line Patagonia made the classic R1 warmer and more comfortable with this versatile pieceHighly featured and even higher performing, this cost-effective option provides a hard-to-beat valueA perfect layering piece that regulates body temperature so well you'll leave it on from summit to sleeping bag and everywhere in betweenAn extremely comfortable and well-built fleece that’s ready to accompany you as far into the mountainsThis midweight fleece looks good enough to wear for apres ski drinks while offering enough performance to make it a worthy cool weather hiker
Rating Categories Patagonia R1 Air Fu... Outdoor Research Vi... Patagonia R1 Hoody Arc'teryx Kyanite A... Kuhl Interceptr 1/4...
Warmth (20%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Comfort (20%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Breathability (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Layering Ability (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Weather resistance (10%)
8.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Patagonia R1 Air Fu... Outdoor Research Vi... Patagonia R1 Hoody Arc'teryx Kyanite A... Kuhl Interceptr 1/4...
Type Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Midweight Midweight
Measured Weight 12.5 oz 13 oz 11.4 oz 15 oz 15.1 oz
Main Material 100% Polyester 94% polyester, 6% spandex 93% polyester, 7% spandex 53% polyester, 38% nylon, 9% elastane Body: 78% acrylic, 22% polyester
Side panels: 70% acrylic, 30% polyester
# of Pockets 3 3 1 2 1
Unique Features Slim-fit hood, quick drying Thumb holes, UPF 30, 3-panel hood with binding Balaclava hood, odor control, thumb holes Scuba hood, stretchy fabric Thump loops, articulated sleeves, low bulk seam stiching
Hood Option Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Patagonia Air is an athletic-fitting full-zip fleece made from 100% recycled polyester. This piece is designed for high-intensity output in cold weather conditions and is an absolute stand-out when it comes to comfort and breathability. While it's missing some features — like thumb holes — 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 or out for a casual evening around town.

Performance Comparison


Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody fleece jacket - the lack of thumbholes makes layering this piece less than ideal...
The lack of thumbholes makes layering this piece less than ideal, but the fit still allows it to be a good choice for putting under a hardshell.
Credit: James Lucas

Warmth


Patagonia's entire R1 line is beloved for its 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 is no exception; while it is warmer than the original R1, it isn't the warmest fleece on the market. Lacking thumbholes, wearers might need to bring along gloves to round out this fleece. However, the form-fitting hood does provide a bit of protection for the neck, ears, and head.

The R1 Air 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. On windy days at 14,000 feet on Rocky Mountain National Park's Diamond, the R1 provided ample warmth while climbing and moving.


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.


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 or on errands when experiencing chilly mornings. Whether you're giving redpoint burns on your sport climbing project at Smith Rock, hiking to the top of Long's Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park or heading to the local coffee shop, you probably won't want to take it off. The jacket does an amazing job of moving with the body and not catching when our testers had to raise their hands above their heads making it a good piece for climbing.

Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody fleece jacket - the comfort of the r1 comes in part from the hollow core fabric.
The comfort of the R1 comes in part from the hollow core fabric.
Credit: James Lucas

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.

Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody fleece jacket - while we found the difference between the moisture-wicking ability...
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. It also handled the heavy hiking well, breathing well through the movement.
Credit: James Lucas

When a storm moved in while climbing on Rocky Mountain National Park's Diamond, this piece kept the biting wind from freezing our tester, making the piece much more favorable to our chilled tester. The minimalist design and the breathability made this a favorite stand-alone piece for chilly morning cardio endeavors.

Layering Ability


The R1 Air is perfect for layering. Its athletic fit and lack of bulky zippers or oversized pockets make fitting it under a puffy or rainjacket as easy and unnoticeable as it gets. Even without cords or ways to adjust it, the hood wraps well around the head and easily slides under other layers. Additionally, the hood moves well making it work in tandem with other layers.


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 fleece has a slight tendency to bunch under other layers because of this but it's a slight annoyance.

Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody fleece jacket - the r1 air provides solid warmth while moving in the mountains of...
The R1 Air provides solid warmth while moving in the mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Credit: James Lucas

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. If the forecast calls for a bit of rain, it's best to bring a hard shell and not just rely on the R1.

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. This piece proved a bit more weather resistant when fog enveloped the cliff.


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 12.5 ounces, it's easy to throw it in your bag and forget about it — until you start getting cold.


Should You Buy the R1 Air?


The R1 Air 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.

Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody fleece jacket - high tech and fashionable, the r1 air provides a great layer or...
High tech and fashionable, the R1 Air provides a great layer or independent fleece.
Credit: James Lucas

What Other Fleece Jackets Should You Consider?


This fleece brings a new level of comfort to the world of performance wear. A highly capable jacket, the Patagonia R1 Air 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 fleece and this season's top choice. If you want something more technical, we'd recommend the classic Patagonia R1 or the less expensive Outdoor Research Vigor. If you're looking for a similar feel but something slightly warmer, take a look at the Arc'teryx Kyanite AR.

James Lucas
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