A unique entry in the fleece category, the Patagonia R1 Techface Hoody is the most weather resistant "fleece" we've ever worn. Buyer beware, this is not the traditional, soft R1 we've all come to love as a mid layer. Our testers jokingly referred to this model as the "identity crisis R1", since it's not quite soft enough to wear as a mid layer, it's cut baggy like a shell, and it's very weather resistant, but not weather proof like a hard shell… so it's kind of like a softshell, but much lighter weight than a traditional softshell. After scratching our heads and months of testing, we discovered that the Techface is a great layer for running, biking, and climbing, tougher than any wind layer, and infinitely more breathable than any hard shell. After months of testing, it became one of our go-to layers for climbing on breezy spring days and drizzly bike commutes. Our testers argued over who got wear it in variable "shoulder season" conditions, prompting us to award it our Top Pick for Weather Resistance.
Patagonia R1 TechFace Hoody Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Water and wind resistant, breathable, stylish
Cons: Baggy fit doesn't work well as a mid layer
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This jacket excels in our weather resistance metric but falls short when it comes to layering ability. This is because it's best used as a final layer, on top of light insulation or a base layer. Its best competition is the Arc'teryx Procline, which uses a hybrid of wind-resistant fabric and fleece to offer breathability, light insulation, and weather protection. The Procline leans more towards insulating and can still function as mid layer due to its slim cut, while the Techface belongs on top of your other layers.
Our testers get a baseline idea about the warmth of a fleece by wearing it over a t-shirt while hiking, climbing and biking around in moderately cold, often breezy conditions. Regarding fleece, we're used to next-to-skin softness and a snug, thermally efficient fit. The Techface has a baggy fit, and while it does feature the grid pattern found in all the Patagonia R-series, it's loft is a small fraction of the material found on the R1 or R3 models. On its own, the Techface is slightly warmer than the lightest fleece in the lineup, the Outdoor Research Transition Hoody.
When worn over a light fleece layer like the Arc'teryx Kyanite Hoody the Techface is a comfortable terminal layer, cut to accommodate under layers without restricting movement. When worn just above a base layer like a typical fleece, the Techface lacks the soft fluffy feel that makes fleeces a staple in outdoor clothing. If you're going for fluff, the Techface will disappoint, and you'll want to stick with the R1 Hoody or the Best Buy award winning REI Co-Op Flowcore, but if you're looking for a comfy, durable wind layer for climbing, the Techface is right up your alley.
This jacket is super stretchy, has a long hem that tucks neatly under a climbing harness. We squirmed up chimneys and wide cracks in this jacket, and it came out no worse for wear, unlike our battered testers. The stiff brimmed hood kept the precip out of our testers faces, and the adjustable hood cinch keeps the hood comfortably in place and out of your face. The hood is designed to fit over a helmet like a shell, not under your helmet like the original R1. Two zippered hand pockets and a chest pocket provide ample room for essential items like keys and snacks.
This thin, fleece-ish layer has the same the same grid pattern as the R1 and R3, featuring tiny channels between squares of fleece, allowing for breathability. The Techface is thinner than the R1 Hoody, and it feels even more breathable. Since it has a larger fit than the R1 Hoody, it feels cooler when worn only with a base layer, but not as thermally efficient. Our testers enjoyed using it for road biking and running on windy days. It blocks some wind, and we cooled off quickly by unzipping the jacket.
If you're looking for a lightly insulated mid-layer, the R1 Hoody is the way to go. As a mid layer, the Techface R1 doesn't cut it. It offers little warmth, and it bunches up under other layers. As a final layer, it's incredible! We loved wearing while biking around town and climbing in chilly conditions. The hood is massive; it's a pain if worn under a puffy or a shell, but on top of other layers, it fits perfectly over a climbing helmet.
The Techface resists water better than most contenders in the fleece category. We even put it through some good old shower testing and stayed completely dry after five minutes of heavy water pressure. We don't typically do that kind of testing with fleece since they usually soak through in seconds. The Techface, the Arc'teryx Procline Hoody and the Outdoor Research Deviator are all hybrid designs, trying to make the traditional fleece layer more versatile. In the case of the Techface, there is a durable water resistant (DWR) finish. This finish won't last forever, but our brand new Techface worked as well as a rain jacket. It blocks light winds, but not as well as a less breathable wind layer or a hard shell.
At 13.8 ounces, the Techface weighs an ounce more than its cousin, The R1 Hoody. We attribute the extra ounce to the fact that the Techface has a bigger cut and that takes more material, even though the R1 Hoody is thicker and feels warmer. Crammed down into our pack, we barely noticed it was there.
Our testers fought over who got wear the Techface, all agreeing that it looks pretty cool. Maybe because it doesn't fit euro-tight like other mid layers designed to fit underneath a shell and has a relaxed fit like everyone's favorite cotton hoody. The Techface is available in four colors: Black, Dolomite Blue, Paintbrush Red, and Sprouted Green.
The Techface goes for $169. That's $10 more than the R1 Hoody, and $10 less than the similarly weighted Arc'teryx Kyanite Hoody. For the quality, we feel this jacket is competitively priced, plus it's backed by Patagonia's Ironclad guarantee and great warranty and repair service.
Again, this jacket underperforms as a mid layer but worn on top of a t-shirt, a lightweight fleece, or an active insulation layer, it's one of our favorites. Stretchy, breathable, and durable, this is a near perfect layer for climbing in shady conditions, biking around town, or running in light rain. Patagonia has a knack for coming up with layers we'd never thought we'd need but become instant classics once we've tried them out. Turns out this "weather-resistant" fleece has a perfect fit in our ever growing jacket quiver.
As manufacturers continue to tweak classic designs and make a wear-all-the-time do everything layer, we're seeing more hybrid styles that break the mold and don't necessarily score well in every one of our metrics. Those looking for a soft fleece to sleep in while camping in the backcountry should hang on to (or go out and buy) their R1 Hoody. If you want a breathable layer that will keep you dry in light rain, grab yourself a Techface.
— Matt Bento