The Patagonia R1 Hoody is a timeless classic and the standard for mid layers. Its tried and true design has been fiddled with over the years, but it still has the features we love: a balaclava style hood, thumb loops, and a ¾ length zip. We've been carrying the R1 on adventures around the world for years, and its versatility, style, and light weight make sure that it never gets left at home. The North Face Summit L2 Proprius Hoodie comes in close for breathability but lacks the warmth of the R1.
Patagonia R1 Hoody Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Perfect fit for most active uses, ideal weight for many conditions, great hood design
Cons: Not as stylish as some other fleeces for around town, not as warm for its weight as some high-loft models
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The newest iteration of the beloved classic brings some significant changes that didn't sit well with all of our testers, mainly the tighter hem. This helps keep the hem from riding up and fits well under a harness, but as one reviewer said, "It feels like I'm wearing a hair tie." The R1 now sports thin, stretchy panels under the arms, a feature all our testers appreciated due to the increased breathability. Style-wise, the R1 has a more techy look, too techy for around town for our testers. For a jacket that feels an awful lot like the previous version of the R1, the Arcteryx Konseal is a great alternative, plus it has a sweet balaclava/neck gaiter feature that we love.
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.
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 on 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, it didn't bother our testers.
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 Deviator, Arc'teryx Fortrez Hoody, Arcteryx Konseal Hoody, and Patagonia Better Sweater.
If you hold the R1 up to the light, you can see how thin and breathable the 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 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.
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 Patagonia R1 TechFace 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.
The R1 Hoody weighs a scant 10.4 ounces, bested only by the lightweight Outdoor Research Deviator and the North Face Summit L2 Proprius Grid Hoodie. 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.
The R1 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.
The newest R1 pullover is honed and dialed for the mountains, not the around town. The Arc'teryx Konseal and the TNF Proprius look more at home with a pair of jeans than the R1. If style is priority number one, check out the North Face Campshire Hoodie.
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.
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 Preon. Though it lacks some 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 Hoody.
— Matt Bento