The R1 now sports thin, stretchy panels under the arms and around the waist, a feature all our testers appreciated due to the increased breathability and layering capability. The R1 Hoody has a techy look that was fine for the trail, but for around town for our testers preferred fleeces that blended better into the surroundings.
Despite a few changes, the new iteration of the R1 is as good as ever.
The R1 Hoody is far from being the warmest fleece in our test, but when you consider how lightweight it is, it packs in a ton of warmth. The large grid squares lining the inside are super soft and lofty, which feels great against our bare skin but also does an amazing job of holding in warm air where we need it most.
On shady, sub 50 degree days at the crag, our testers found that the R1 Hoody kept them toasty while climbing, but they ran for the comfort of a warm puffy while belaying. Throughout the day, the R1 never came off. The balaclava-style hood was useful on chilly Fall days, fitting warmly and snugly under our climbing helmets, and effortlessly zipping up to protect our cold faces. We feel this fleece may be the perfect mid-layer, and we often layered it under an insulated jacket and a hard shell, shedding the insulated jacket as temperatures rose throughout the day, but never taking off the trusty R1.
No other fleece in our test has the same soft, airy feel that the R1 Hoody has against the bare skin. It has a trim fit that allows it to easily be layered over without any fabric bunching up. We have had a number of these fleeces through the years, and while this hoody has gone through some redesigns and updates, this fleece is just as awesome as it ever was. Currently, the zipper zips straight up the middle of the face instead of offsetting it to the side as it has in the past, and the zipper is lined with a little extra fleece buffer behind it. We find ourselves putting it on, and not taking it off until the trip is done or we take our next shower.
The sleeves are snug enough to stay put under other layers, especially when we used the thumb loop, but they are too snug to pull up over our forearms past our elbows, a feature that bothered some testers and delighted others.
The R1 is one of the most comfortable fleeces in our test.
The R1 is a super breathable layer, which would be evident if you were to hold it up to a lite. Between every grid square is a very thin layer of fabric that allows warm air to escape. In the case that you need even more ventilation, you can unzip the super-long zipper to cool down even further. This jacket is offered in a full-zip version, but we much prefer the pullover for its weight savings and for reducing bulk for when we wear it under a harness or backpack waistbelt.
The R1 uses a fleece that has been treated for odor control (Polygiene), which is supposed to reduce bacteria growth and, therefore, odor as well. And while we would love to report that we had no odor problems, that isn't the case. After just a few uses, we found that this fleece smelled horrendous. Once we washed it, however, the smell washed out completely, as opposed to other synthetics that hold the stink even through the wash.
The micro-grid fleece breathes like a dream and if you need more ventilation, just zip it on down!
The R1 is an impressive layering piece due to its slim fit, half zip, and the thumb loops. Thread your thumbs through the perfectly placed loops at the cuffs, and you can easily slide on other layers without bunching up the sleeves, and even eliminate the gap between your sleeves and your gloves. The half zipper is nice because it reduces the amount of bulk that, without proper management, can get unwieldy under other layers. Ditto for the one chest pocket. It gives you a spot to put your keys or chapstick, so we didn't miss cumbersome handwarmer pockets that we wouldn't even be able to access with a harness or other layer on.
Layering the R1 under a pack waist belt is no problem. No zippers or pockets to get in the way or cause hot spots.
While you can't fit more than a light base layer under this jacket due to the slim fit, it is low profile enough to fit under most of the other models we tested. You'll undoubtedly have no trouble fitting the R1 under a shell, puffy jacket, or even another fleece layer.
You can layer this fleece with just about anything. We had no issues with bunching or extra bulk.
The features that make this jacket so breathable and good for layering also leave it defenseless against the elements. Rain, even light rain, soaks right through the R1, and it does little to block the wind. For moving quickly through the mountains, however, maximum breathability is needed to let excess heat escape. This fleece layers well under a wind jacket or a hardshell, so when conditions take a turn for the worse, put your thumbs through the thumb loops and layer up.
If you are looking for a fleece jacket that can protect you from the elements a little better, we recommend something with a "hardface technology". Alternately, our soft shell jacket review contains more options when it comes to fleece/shell hybrids.
The thumb loops are made to be functional and durable. We found no stress on any seams as opposed to a few of the others in the roundup.
The R1 Hoody is one of the lightest fleeces in this review. If you are looking to conserve weight in your backpack or for a long chilly run, and don't mind the lack of handwarmer pockets or a full-length zipper, then this is a great choice.
The R1 also stuffs down quickly into the lid or top of your pack, making it an excellent just-in-case layer for those long days that don't end until the sun goes down and the temps start to drop.
As always, this hoody is exceptionally lightweight.
The newest R1 pullover is honed and dialed for the mountains, but for around town, it comes off as a bit techy. There are better options in our selection that would look more at home with a pair of jeans for around-town use, but if you don't mind the techy look, it's not too bad.
The long front zip comes up super high to act as a balaclava style closure. Great for the backcountry but not great on style!
This fleece has a fairly high price but considering Patagonia's excellent warranty service, and how incredibly versatile this jacket is, we feel it's worth the extra cash for year-round comfort during your adventures. One thing worth noting is this fleece isn't the most durable. The thin fabric between the grids can't withstand hard use for too long. Most R1 lovers understand this fact and yet, wouldn't trade there beat up R1 for any other product.
A great single zipper chest pocket is large enough for most cell phones.
Patagonia has something special with the R1 Hoody. This thing sets the standard by which every manufacturer is trying to reach, but alas, to no avail. We would love to offer a substitute for the R1 Hoody, but in reality, there is none. This jacket is the lightest weight, most compressible, most breathable, and best layering piece in our test without a doubt. If you are one to move fast in the mountains, this is far-and-away the best fleece for you. For the aforementioned reasons, the R1 takes home our Editors' Choice Award again. For bitter cold mornings when you are active, a wind shell goes a long way, and for cool fall evenings at camp, nothing is more comfortable. If you are in the market for a technical fleece for climbing, skiing, hiking, running, or any activity that requires using a layering system, then look no further than the R1 Hoody.