The remarkable comfort, versatility, and breathability of the Patagonia R1 makes it a household name in the world of alpinism, and I find it quite deserving of the rapport it’s been awarded. The Patagonia R1 Hoody is a staple piece in my alpine kit but, to be honest, it is an essential part of my wardrobe regardless of the activity at hand. I’ve worn it mountaineering in the North Cascades, backpacking through southern Utah, underneath my drysuit while rafting on the Deschutes, and on trips to the grocery store down the street from my house. Throughout each of these adventures, the Patagonia R1 has kept me warm and happy.

Women’s Patagonia R1 Hoody Features:

  • Raglan sleeves and thumb holes for wrist coverage
  • Snug fitting balaclava hood, fits comfortably under a helmet
  • Polartec® Power Grid™ material (93% recycled polyester/7% spandex)
  • Polygiene® permanent odor control treatment
  • Left chest pocket
  • Average weight: 303 grams
  • MSRP: $159
Women's Patagonia R1 Hoody Review

Scrambling up Fremont Peak on a windy morning in the Wind River Range.

Long-serving fleece gets long-term review:

This fleece boasts incredible breathability and moisture-wicking abilities. The R1 uses Polartec’s® Power Grid™ material. This is an innovative technology that strikes a balance of both warmth and efficiency. The symmetrical grid incorporates what Polartec calls “open air channels,” which work to diffuse moisture throughout the garment so that it can quickly evaporate. Less moisture on the skin leads to increased warmth, and in this case the material’s grid design also yields a lower weight. It’s a win-win-win. (Plus, the material is super soft and cozy.)

I believe it’s because of this breathability that I can leave it on for days on end: I can hike all day—sweating buckets, like I usually do—then crawl into my sleeping bag warm and dry. Nobody likes sleeping in cold clothing that’s been soaked with sweat, so it’s great that I can go from high activity to sleeping comfortably and not need to take off the R1.

Women's Patagonia R1 Hoody Review

Sunrise in the Selkirks. Harrison Peak is the prominent peak to the right.

On the other hand, the incredible breathability of the R1 comes at a cost: its windproof abilities, or lack thereof. This fleece is permeable—that’s what makes it breathe like a charm. However, this means that there is also a lot of areas of weakness where the wind, snow, and other elements can do a number on you. If you’ll be in inclement weather, use this as your mid-layer and throw on a shell.

The makers at Patagonia were, of course, very thoughtful with the shape and construction of the R1. I love the half-zip length of the front zipper, which allows me to dump heat quickly when I begin to heat up during activities. I can also easily take off the fleece while wearing a helmet, and the thumb holes afford just a bit more warmth to my wrists and hands when it’s chilly out. The torso is also longer than other garments tend to be, which I find both flattering and functional. It tucks in nicely under a harness or the waist-belt of my pack, and the R1 never works its way up to expose my hips. To top it all off, the balaclava-style hood is sleek and fits wonderfully under a helmet.

Women's Patagonia R1 Hoody Review

Utilizing the nifty chest pocket to hold my phone while climbing in the Selkirks. Note the sleek, low-profile fit of the hood under a helmet.

The material is treated with Polygiene, which boasts “permanent odor control.” While my R1 stayed pretty stink-free for several months of frequent wear, I would not call the power of Polygiene “permanent.” I would often wear this fleece for several days in a row in the backcountry and, like I mentioned earlier, would not take it off. So, it comes as no surprise that the smell would be rank at the end of my trips. For a while, the smell would wash out easily. It was like magic. However, the magic faded and the smell intensified and, although faint, there is a bit of a odor that seems to be permanently embedded in my R1. Bummer. So yes, the R1 has impressive odor control technology, but eventually you’ll stink.

Another downside has been the fabric’s propensity to pill, especially along the seams and in high-wear areas like the shoulders and elbows. It’s unfortunate, but not terribly noticeable or surprising (have I mentioned I put this thing through the wringer?)

Women's Patagonia R1 Hoody Review

Pilling material, but you can also see the grid outline of Polartec‘s “open air channels.”

The Good

  • Grid-like design of the fleece offers great breathability
  • Long cut offers additional coverage for the hips and arms
  • Slim fit (flattering and functional!)
  • Chest pocket is great for taking along a phone, snack, or chapstick
  • Snug fitting hood fits comfortably under helmet

The Bad

  • Fabric and seams will pill
  • No protection from wind or rain

The Bottom Line: Patagonia R1 Women’s Hoody

I’ve played hard in the R1 for a year now and can say confidently that it is my go-to for all sorts of fun and adventure. It is a well-designed mid-layer that moves with me, keeps me warm, and makes it easy to cool down. So if you find me in the mountains (or river or canyons or around town), you’ll find me with this keeping me toasty.

Buy now: Available from Backcountry.com

About Author

Bella was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and loves to exploring it through backpacking, climbing, and camping. Although she adores the Cascades, she dreams of one day living in the desert. She works and guides for Peak 7 Adventures.

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