Our longstanding Editors' Choice-winning fleece has gotten a few minor updates for its 20 year anniversary. It now has a lower-profile Capilene hybrid material, which Patagonia states is the lightest and most breathable iteration they've produced yet. The colors and seamlines have been changed up and provide a more paneled, technical look, and the torso is now a full inch longer. The thumb holes, which previously were placed vertically, are now cut on a bias. Compare the updated R1 in the first image to the most recent version we tested, right.
We're currently testing this updated version. In the meantime, the review that follows still refers to the previous model of R1.
Hands-On Review of the R1 Hoody
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 more natural 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.
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.
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 effortlessly 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.
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, mainly 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 Outdoor Research Transition Hoody,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.
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 comes down to personal preference; our testers liked the half zip because it doesn't bunch up when worn 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 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 Outdoor Research Transition Hoody topped the charts in this metric, earning 10 out of 10, followed by the R1 and R3.
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 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 cumbersome 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. You'll undoubtedly 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.
Looking for less bulk?
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.
Thumb loops make sliding into other layers easy with the R1, and the 3/4 length zipper allowed us to cool off quickly without completely removing this versatile layer.
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 "hard face" 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 model 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.
The R1 Hoody weighs a scant 12.9 ounces, bested only by the lightweight Outdoor Research Transition Hoody and the 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.
also stuffs down quickly 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.
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 a slew of colors. 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.
This fleece jacket is a year-round performer in the mountains. We especially liked wearing 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 and we had a hard time finding a reason to take it off.
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.
At $159, this fleece ain't cheap, 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. 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.
The Patagonia R1 Hoody is about as close to perfection as it gets when looking for a breathable mid-layer, and for its all-around appeal, we've awarded it our Editors' Choice 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.