Patagonia R2 Jacket - Women's Review
Cons: No hood or wind protection
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Patagonia R2 Jacket is made of a Polartec Thermal Pro hi-loft fleece in the body (97% polyester (63% recycled), 3% spandex), which is similar to a long-haired raschel fleece material but with a slightly shorter length "fur." The side arms and torso are made with Polartec Power Grid (the popular R1 fabric), sometimes in contrasting colors and other times in the same tone. There are two zippered hand pockets and a zippered left breast pocket, and the latest version no longer has thumb loops.
The Patagonia R2 Jacket has a good warmth-to-weight ratio. It is extremely packable (about the same amount as the R1), so it's great to toss into your pack as an extra layer on long days. Overall, this model will keep your torso warm on a cold day, but the lack of a hood or balaclava means you don't have the same coverage to seal in the heat if using it as an outer layer. While hoods provide more warmth overall, they can be bulky under a helmet or unwanted if every other layer you are wearing has one. So, if you are specifically looking for a mid-layer, say for under a ski jacket, then you'll want to look for a model without a hood, and the R2 is a good option in that respect.
The R2 is one of the most comfortable options that we tested. It has a soft-lined collar and a garaged zipper to maximize comfort around the neck, and the lofted fleece is cozy inside and out.
This jacket excels at venting your perspiration. The main hi-loft fleece has thousands of tiny pinprick holes that let your moisture escape, and the R1 gridded fleece panels on the sides are strategically placed in areas where you want less bulk and even more breathability. It also has mesh-lined pockets to increase airflow. This jacket is a great option for a lightweight mid-layer, whether you are heading on a steep uphill hike or out on a long alpine rock climb.
The R2 has a tapered technical fit that leaves little room to layer underneath. A thin t-shirt or base layer is as much as you are going to fit under this jacket. As such, it's easy to layer over it. It fit nicely under an insulated ski jacket without restricting our arm movements.
Ease of Movement
The stretchy, lightweight fabric made this jacket easy to move in, particularly when not wearing too much underneath it. The torso isn't super long, but it doesn't ride up while exploring the outdoors either.
Like many of the fleeces we reviewed, this jacket does not protect against rain and will not do much to keep you warm on a breezy day. You can almost see through the fabric. The short-sheared, hi-loft fibers quickly absorb into the fabric without barely beading up first.
One of the more expensive products in our review ($169), this jacket is worth the cost if you're looking for a cozy, yet technical fleece.
This jacket keeps getting retooled slightly by Patagonia, so if you haven't liked older models, you might want to take a second look at the R2. While not an award winner, we still really like it, and it's a great option for active pursuits in cold weather. This jacket keeps you warm while also being highly breathable, and it easily fits under your other layers.
— Amber King & Cam McKenzie Ring