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Patagonia R1 Hoody Review

Patagonia R1 Hoody
Top Pick Award
Price:   $159 List | $78.83 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Perfect fit for most active uses, ideal weight for many conditions, great hood design
Cons:  Not as stylish as some other fleeces for around town, not as warm for its weight as some high-loft models
Bottom line:  The R1 Hoody is a perfect layering piece that regulates body temperature so well you'll leave it on from summit to sleeping bag and everywhere in between.
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Patagonia

Our Verdict

The Patagonia R1 Hoody is a timeless classic and the standard for mid layers. Its tried and true design has been fiddled with over the years, but it still has the features we love: a balaclava style hood, thumb loops, and a half zip. We've been carrying the R1 on adventures around the world for years, and its versatility, style, and light weight make sure that it never gets left at home. An awesome balance of warmth and breathability, the R1 is a near perfect layering piece, and once again earns our Top Pick for Breathability.

Looking for less bulk?
Patagonia R1 Full Zip - Men's
If you're like this reviewer and love the R1, but have too many other layers with hoods, check out the R1 Pullover - Men's. It still provides all the award-winning qualities of the R1 hoody, but with less bulk. And if you're a fan of zippers, Patagonia also has the R1 Full Zip - Men's, in its line of R1 sweaters.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Fleece Jacket for Men Review


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Matt Bento
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Wednesday
May 17, 2017

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The Patagonia R1 Hoody is one of the most technical fleeces on the market. This pullover style jacket is a lightweight must-have that works well for any activity. This was the only jacket we tested that had thumb holes, which keep your hands warm and allow for easier layering. The deep three-quarter front zipper works well to maintain proper body temperature and allows a harness to fit comfortably around the waist. The single zipped chest pocket carries small essentials such as a house key and I.D. while out on a winter run. It's made with Polartec Power Grid fabric (93% recycled polyester, 7% spandex) with Patagonia's anti-odor "Polygiene" treatment. It weighs 12.9 ounces and comes in Black, French Red, Peppergrass Green and Underwater Blue colors.

Performance Comparison


Check out the following Overall Performance chart to see where the Patagonia R1 ranked amongst its fleece-y competitors.


Whether scrambling the famed Smoke Blanchard rock course or climbing high above our crash pads  we're always breaking a sweat in the Buttermilk country! Fortunately  this highly breathable jacket keeps us comfortable and dry.
Whether scrambling the famed Smoke Blanchard rock course or climbing high above our crash pads, we're always breaking a sweat in the Buttermilk country! Fortunately, this highly breathable jacket keeps us comfortable and dry.

Warmth


This fleece isn't the thickest or the heaviest jacket in our selection, but it's super toasty for the weight. Those lofty grid squares that line the inside and feel so nice against our skin also do an excellent job of trapping warm air close to our bodies.


On a shady, sub 50 degree day 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 days at the mountain, fitting warmly and snugly under our ski helmets, and easily zipping up to protect our cold faces on the chairlift. 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.

The form fitting R1 allows for a complete range of motion while being sleek enough to fit under multiple layers.
The form fitting R1 allows for a complete range of motion while being sleek enough to fit under multiple layers.

Comfort


This fleece has a very soft next-to-skin feel. The fit (a small on our lead tester) is form fitting so that it doesn't bunch up under other layers, but not so tight that it's uncomfortable. We've owned a bunch of these fleeces over the years, leaving them on for long days El Cap, sleeping in them, and getting up and going all day again. Over the years Patagonia has made tweaks and minor changes to the design. Currently, the zipper zips straight up the middle of the face instead of offset to the side as it has in the past (which we miss!). Now the zipper is lined with a little extra fleece buffer behind it, and while not as comfy as the old offset zipper, our testers felt it didn't bother them like the big fat zipper that pressed against our teeth on the Patagonia R3, which earned a perfect 10 out of 10.


The sleeves are snug and stayed in place easily underneath other layers, especially when we used the thumb loops. They are too snug to pull up over our forearms past our elbows, a feature that bothered some testers and delighted others. Other top scorers in the comfort metric include the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody, Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man, and Patagonia Better Sweater.

Snug cuffs keep the sleeves in place when layering up  but are too tight to be pulled up past the elbow  at least on a typical rock climber.
Snug cuffs keep the sleeves in place when layering up, but are too tight to be pulled up past the elbow, at least on a typical rock climber.

Breathability


If you hold the R1 up to the light, you can see how thin and breathable this fleece is between the insulating grid squares. Additionally, the zipper goes down past the belly button for further venting. The half zip versus full zip really comes down to personal preference, our testers liked the half zip because it doesn't bunch up under a harness or backpack waistbelt.


This fleece is made with "Polygiene," Patagonia's odor control treatment for synthetic materials. This treatment is supposed to minimize the growth of certain bacteria that actually eat your sweat and produce that funky smell synthetic layers get. Our testers are very active and often very smelly, and after playing hard and sleeping the night away in this fleece it smelled pretty gnarly, but a quick wash gets it fresh again. The Black Diamond CoEfficient Hoody topped the charts in this metric, earning the only 10 out of 10, followed by the R1 and R3.

Layering Ability


This is an awesome 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 stiff zipper moving around and getting caught 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 bulky handwarmer pockets that we can't even access with a harness or other layers on.


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, and you'll certainly have no trouble fitting the R1 under a shell, puffy jacket or even another fleece layer, earning it a 10 out of 10, along with the Black Diamond CoEfficient Hoody.

Thumb loops make sliding into other layers easy with the R1  and the 3/4 length zipper allowed us to cool off quickly with completely removing this versatile layer.
Thumb loops make sliding into other layers easy with the R1, and the 3/4 length zipper allowed us to cool off quickly with completely removing this versatile layer.

Weather Resistance


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 like a sponge and it does little to block the wind. 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, the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody is a great option. It's made with a "hardface" fleece that repels the wind and rain more than this model, but it's not nearly as breathable. If you're looking for a stand alone fleece against winter weather, the heavy North Face Denali 2 is your best bet. Alternately, you can check out our soft shell jacket review for more options when it comes to fleece/shell hybrids.

Water resistance is not a strength of this breathable fleece. It absorbed even light rain like a sponge.
Water resistance is not a strength of this breathable fleece. It absorbed even light rain like a sponge.

Weight


The R1 Hoody weighs a scant 12.9 ounces, bested only by the lightweight Black Diamond Coefficient Hoody. 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 easily in the bottom 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.

Style


Techy but not too techy, the R1 still looks good with a nice pair of jeans, just make sure you wash it enough if it's part of your dirtbag perma-wardrobe. Our test model is a nice teal, perfect for spring. The R1 Hoody is also available in Black, Forge Grey, Grecian Blue, Yosemite Yellow, Buffalo Green, and Campfire Orange and is on par with the style of models like the Patagonia R3 and Black Diamond CoEfficient Hoody. Top scorers in this metric include the Patagonia Better Sweater, The North Face FuseForm Progressor Hoodie, and the Arc'teryx Covert, with the Arc'teryx Fortrez scoring the highest for style and comfort.

Best Applications


This fleece jacket is a year-round performer in the mountains, We especially liked using it climbing, hiking and running on chilly days when a heavier layer was too warm. It also works well for aerobic winter activities like cross-country skiing or ski touring. While it doesn't work as a stand alone piece for all weather conditions, it is a welcome addition to any layering system.

This jacket will help you maintain a comfortable temperature in a variety of conditions. Here  our lead tester wears the R1 fully unzipped so he can remain cool while performing the daunting task of assembling deck furniture.
This jacket will help you maintain a comfortable temperature in a variety of conditions. Here, our lead tester wears the R1 fully unzipped so he can remain cool while performing the daunting task of assembling deck furniture.

Value


At $159, this fleece ain't cheap, but considering Patagonia's excellent warranty service, and how versatile this jacket is, we feel it's worth the extra cash for year round comfort during your adventures. If you're on a tight budget, check out our Best Buy Award winner, the Marmot Reactor. Though it lacks a hood and many of the R1's killer features, it's a similar weight and makes a great mid layer.

Conclusion


The Patagonia R1 Hoody is about as close to perfection as it gets when looking for a breathable mid-layer, and for this, we've given it our Top Pick for Breathability award. It adds just the right amount of warmth and the Polartec Power Grid material breathes amazingly well, keeping you warm and dry even when you're working hard. It is lightweight and is hardly noticeable when packed in a backpack. Use it as a mid-layer during those mid-winter hikes or a standalone jacket on a crisp spring/autumn day at the cliffs. 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 Fleece Hoody.

Around the World in 13 Days


This is the fleece the OutdoorGearLab co-founder Chris McNamara chose to take around the world seeing the New 7 Wonders of the World in 13 days.

Check out the video:
Matt Bento

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Most recent review: May 17, 2017
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