The Patagonia R1 Full-Zip Hoody is a technical mid-layer that works best in the mountains. Designed to shed heat but retain warmth when needed, it's a go-to classic for anybody who's searching for the best performance while moving in cold weather. It features a balaclava hood that covers the face under the nose and fits nicely under a helmet while the fabric is soft to the touch, treated with a smell-proof Polygiene treatment. This versatile Editor's Choice winner will last you for years to come and is our go-to technical mid-layer.
The Patagonia R1 is our editor's choice and a great example of an excellent fleece mid-layer. Wear it anywhere...from the beaches to the high mountains.
The Patagonia R1 Full-Zip Hoody isn't the warmest option out there, but it'll still keep you warm when it's not too cold outside. Made of 6.9 oz of Powertech Powergrid fleece with a wind-cutting overlay, it will insulate on its own when the temperatures are cool.
When layered with the proper gear under a shell or insulated jacket, it's the perfect mid-layer that'll provide warmth in the coldest temperature out there. The fitted hood that zips into a balaclava provides ample coverage all the way up to the nose which helps to lock in warmth. Unfortunately, this jacket does not come with thumb loops anymore (a feature we used to love), but the sleeves are stretchy and long enough to wrap around the hand if you need to lock in more heat.
The hood is warm and provides good coverage that fits well under a helmet. While this is a lightweight mid-layer, it's perfect for wear on its own during cool temps or on aerobic adventures during cold weather.
The lightweight regulator fleece provides ample breathability and more warmth than the similarly thin Marmot Flashpoint. While it's not as warm as thicker jackets like the Patagonia R2, it makes for an excellent technical layer. It's perfect as a mid-layer in cold weather or a stand-alone piece for technical wear during the Spring or Fall.
Skinning up with the Patagonia R1 in the San Juan Mountains is a perfect place for it's great performance.
For a technical layer that's pretty bare bones on features, we are impressed by the level of relative comfort and coziness this jacket has to offer. The full-zip fleece is easy to put on and take off, while the power grid fleece is super soft on the skin.
The wrist cuffs are double layered and reinforced, making them comfortable and cozy to pull up over the hands. The hem cuff also has this feature, making the jacket fall heavier towards the bottom, providing a nice fit. The fabric is a little stretchy without any weird constrictions throughout the stitching. In addition, the hand pockets are huge with a hidden zippered pocket in the right pocket that comes in handy for items you don't want to lose. We also really like the garaged zipper that keeps our face away from the metal zipper during cold weather.
While it isn't as lofty as the Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover and doesn't have an outer fabric that isn't as touchable as the Patagonia R2, it's still one of our favorites. We never felt constricted or uncomfortable wearing it to work or out in the woods.
While this layer isn't fire-proof (not the hole), it's super comfortable with seams that don't sit directly on the shoulder and away from the straps of a backpack.
This fleece offers some of the best breathability and thermoregulation of any option tested. The grid-like pattern of the PowerTec fleece offers hundreds of small canyons for heat to escape readily. The fleece itself, when worn next to the skin, wicks away moisture easily, keeping you dry and warm. This key feature makes it the best technical layer we've tested and the pinnacle reason we recommend it for aerobic endeavors in cold temperatures.
While the fabric itself is super breathable, the zipper also provides a means of manual thermoregulation. The full-zip design allows you to unzip just a little or a lot. If the day heats up and you need ventilation pronto, simply unzip. But, if a cloud rolls in and you need to retain heat, zip it back up, either a smidge or all the way.
Even when playing on the beach, this jacket dries out quickly. On the go, it wicks away moisture and keeps you dry.
The Patagonia R1 simply provides the best balance of breathability and warmth. The Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody is a touch more breathable because it's a little thinner, but not as warm. Midweight fleeces like the Patagonia R2 are almost as breathable but because of the thicker design, it's not as suited to higher output activities like backcountry skiing or alpine climbing.
As lightweight and thin mid-layer a thinner baselayer will fit nicely underneath the roomy interior of the jacket. It also slips seamlessly under insulated jackets or a shell easily.
The stretchy fabric conforms to the body, staying in place underneath a fully-weighted backpacking backpack or harness. The hem has a thicker design that adds a little more weight to the jacket, preventing it from rising up. The brick fleece is smooth and doesn't catch base layers easily unless they are particularly thick or lofty.
Layer it easily over a midweight base layer or under an insulated jacket.
The fabric on the full-zip does provide enough room to wear a thicker wool base layer underneath and can be worn as a final layer. The ¾ zip jacket does not have as much room as the full-zip jacket, and roomier options like the North Face Denali Jacket should be considered if you need to layer with really thick baselayers.
Ease of Movement
It's no wonder that the classic Patagonia R1 has been a go-to for first ascents and all sorts of climbing escapades around the world. This sport is renowned for its dynamic movement, and the Patagonia R1 conforms to the body and flows perfectly with it. The stretchy fabric and long arms and torso provide full coverage while promoting easy movement.
We didn't have any issues with this classic riding up bunching while wearing a backpack or harness as we did with the OR Deviator. The longer length in the torso of the full-zip version accommodates bodies short and long. Sadly, the new version of the R1 does not have thump loops anymore, but the arms of the jacket are still stretchy and long enough for those who are tall. The R1 hood articulates well under all sorts of helmets (we tried skiing, climbing, and biking) and doesn't impede peripheral vision. Overall, the full-zip jacket offers full-range of motion.
Even when we're psyched about a climb or moving on the rock, it moves with your body, stretching without bunching.
The Patagonia R1 is not water resistant or super wind resistant either. Given its thin design, it's lesser so than most contenders in this review.
Sporting a grid-like brick fleece pattern, this jacket has a lot of little holes that provides amazing breathability. That said, when it comes to dumping rain or snow, we have to recommend a lightweight shell that you can layer on over. In our water tests, after about two seconds under a tap, the water began to percolate into the fabric, soaking it thoroughly. When on, we noticed that a small drizzle or some light snow (with a layer underneath) wasn't a huge deal. The upper fabric absorbs the bulk of the moisture while the polyester fleece retains warmth when wet.
When the rains poured hard on Kauai island in Hawaii, this jacket didn't provide a whole lot of weather protection. However, because it dries quickly, we still wore it when we needed to dip our feet in the water.
Another plus is that the fabric dries quickly…especially with a good breeze. The upper fabric also does a decent job at cutting super stingy winds, but it's not at all wind-proof to safe the least. As a result, make sure you put a thin shell overtop if you're expecting super wet or windy conditions. We've hiked plenty of times with this top on and gotten it completely wet. The plus is that it does stay warm when wet if you keep moving and have a layer underneath.
Style and Fit
As a technical layer, it's not the most stylish, but we thought it was sufficient to wear out on the town or to work. The lines are clean and provide a nice pop of color over a cute tank top.
The slim fit of this jacket cinches close to the curves of your body. The stretchy fabric that is a little thicker conforms to your curves in a flattering way. The hood looks super silly when on, so we'd leave that look for when you get into the backcountry. While it's a cute jacket, it does have a techy look to it. We'd recommend checking out the Arc'teryx Covert Cardigan if a super cute jacket is what you're after.
While it has a bit of techy style, it's a no-frills layer that'll do well walking around town and hanging out at the crag.
This is the best technical mid-layer out there. It's at home in the mountains, at the beach, and on the street. It's super durable fabrics stand up to snags and scratches while the breathable nature of the fabric provides awesome thermoregulation for cold-weather aerobic endeavors. This fleece has historically been a classic go-to for alpine ascents for its breathability and packability. It's not the warmest option on its own, but when layered appropriately, it simply can't be beaten. The fabric won't get smelly either. After wearing this for a week without washing, the Polgiene odor-resistant treatment did a great job keeping the fabric smell-free, even when worn and sweated in all day long.
Climb, bike, hike, run, do it all with this layer. As an ultra-classic that does well in all conditions, it's our favorite and Editor's Choice winner.
Retailing for $179 (with some deals online), many people might cringe at the price tag. However, for anybody who's owned an R1, they know it's worth the money. The main author has been a long-time user (along with many of her friends). Over the last ten years, she hasn't had to replace it and only upgraded for different colors. The new rendition has all the same construction features as the previous version, with a few style differences…thought the fabrics are the same. There's a reason that Patagonia has been afraid to change it up too much. It's simply amazing bang for the buck.
The classic Patagonia R1 hasn't changed a whole lot over the years and continues to be our favorite mid-layer fleece. As a technical layer, it provides an amazing warmth-weight ratio with exceptional thermoregulation. While it's not the warmest on its' own, it simply performs the best as a mid-layer for cold-weather aerobic activities. You'll be seeing this on us during our Alpine ascents and backcountry hiking trips. It is offered in a full-zip hoody and a ¾ jacket option. While we really like the new full-zip hoody, we do miss the ¾ zip hoody option and the thumb loops. Overall, our Editor's Choice award winner and favorite fleece mid-layer…hands down.