The Rab Nucleus Hoody was redesigned for the fall of 2018, and we like the results! The new material is stretchy and comfortable, with a high range of motion in the arms and shoulders. The full-length zipper lets you take it on and off easily, and the zippered hand pockets help you secure your valuables. This hoody was a close second to the Patagonia R1 Hoody, but slightly different in a few key ways. The R1 is a bit warmer, but if you prefer a full-length zipper and a hood, you can't get that from the R1. If you are looking for something that works well under a backpack hip belt or a climbing harness, we prefer the R1, but the Nucleus is a slightly more versatile piece because of the full-length zipper. The Nucleus is also $20 cheaper, should that help you decide between the two. If you are looking to save even more, the Marmot Flashpoint rings in for only $99.
Rab Nucleus Hoody - Women's Review
Cons: Not very warm, no weather resistance
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Rab Nucleus is made with a "Thermic" stretch fleece. Rab calls it a mid-weight fleece, but it feels more like a lightweight option to us and weighs about the same as the other lightweight fleeces that we tested, like the Patagonia R1 Hoody and the Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody.
The Nucleus sacrifices warmth for breathability and easy layering. It's one of the thinnest pieces in our test group, and it's made for moving fast in the mountains and not hanging out at camp in cold weather. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as we often need something that will keep us warm on cool days without overheating us. If you need an outer layer that's warm and cozy, check out The North Face Osito 2 instead.
This is a fairly comfortable layer for several reasons. The interior gridded fleece is soft, and it feels nice against your bare skin — not scratchy at all! The hood is form fitting but not too tight, and the cut is tapered but not too constricting. It's not quite as plush at the Patagonia R2 or other hi-loft models, but we didn't mind wearing it all day long.
This jacket is highly breathable thanks to the gridded fleece. It feels on par with the Patagonia R1 Hoody and only slightly less breathable than the ultra-thin Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody.
Layering Ability and Ease of Movement
The Nucleus is one of the top scorers for both of these categories. It works over a thin underlayer, like a sweat-wicking t-shirt or tank top, and then it also layers well under a thicker soft-shell jacket or a windbreaker jacket. The material is stretchy, and there is ample room in the shoulders for climbing or other active pursuits. The full-length zipper is not our favorite option for wearing under a pack or harness, as it can cause pressure points, but the length is long enough so that it doesn't ride up.
Fleece jackets are not known for their weather resistance, and this one scored about how you might expect a thin fleece would — not very well! Water absorbs straight into the material, and wind rips right through it. If you want something with a bit more weather resistance, check out a thicker fleece, like The North Face Denali 2. If you're looking for a performance layer that also offers some weather resistance, check out the Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody.
This layer doesn't stand out one way or the other when it comes to style. It's rather non-descript, but that can be a good thing sometimes. It has a flatter "face" than the Patagonia R1 Hoody, so it looks slightly less technical than that model. If you're looking for something that has a more casual appeal, check out the Arc'teryx Covert Cardigan or the Patagonia Re-Tool Snap-T Pullover.
This is a great option for any active pursuits in cold weather.
This jacket retails for $140, which is $20 less than the Patagonia R1 Hoody, making it an attractive pick for the price. If you're looking to save even more, the Marmot Flashpoint is a basic layer that only costs $99.
We don't know how long Rab has been making the Nucleus Hoody for, and if it or the Patagonia R1 came "first." They are both very similar though and excellent fleece layers that any active woman would be happy to have in her closet. Which one is for you might be a matter of small details and personal preference. If you want a ¾ zip and a hood, then check out the R1, but if you want a full-zip and a hood, then the Nucleus is for you.
— Cam McKenzie Ring