Whatever activity it is that has you stopping and going, you probably don’t want to be constantly readjusting your layers throughout the day. Enter the TechFace: this fleece offers cozy softness and incredible breathability, but also sheds wind and moisture. The sleek construction slides under additional layers easily. It’s technical, comfortable, and functional. Everything I want in a good jacket.
Patagonia R1 TechFace Hoody Features:
- Weather resistant face fabric
- 2 hand pockets, interior chest pocket
- Adjustable hem
- 2-way adjustable hood with laminated visor
- Internal zippered chest pocket
- Sleek design
- Low-profile elastic cuffs
- 366 g (12.9 oz)
- MSRP: $169.00
A technical, versatile fleece designed to move with you
This jacket is one of the newest additions to Patagonia’s well-loved R1 family. While the TechFace offers something very different than the R1 — which I reviewed recently — Patagonia utilizes many of the same qualities that make the these fleeces so remarkable. The new R1 TechFace boasts a practical design with just enough technical features, making it a winner in the versatility department. Not to mention it’s lightweight and slides under additional layers with ease.
The cut on the TechFace is more generous than your typical base or mid-layer fleece. I found that the articulated design afforded me full range mobility, without being limited, restricted, or distracted by my clothes. Both the hem and the arms are long, and I liked the ample coverage the cut provided. Whether running or climbing, I was free to move as I needed. The TechFace is noticeably looser in the gusseted underarms, and when I raised my arms fully extended above my head, the garment didn’t move much at either the hem or the sleeves. No dramatically exposed hips or wrists, no constrictions around my shoulders. The TechFace is clearly made for movement, to the point that I never really noticed it while I was moving.
The interior material is soft against the skin and warm, thanks to the Regulator Insulation used in the R1 and other Regulator fleeces. However It is not as warm as other thicker fleeces, so if you’ll be in colder climates you may need to layer up (luckily, the TechFace slips under layers easily). The soft interior is met by an abrasion-resistant and durable face fabric. This will give you the peace of mind to scrape up those granite pitches without thinking about beating up your clothing. A notable complaint I had of my R1 was that it pilled pretty badly on the outside; happily, the face material of the TechFace shows zero signs of pilling.
While I was initially disappointed in the lack of thumb holes, I actually quite liked the sleeve design after my testing. The sleeves on the TechFace are long, which allowed me to move my arms freely and still have both full coverage and comfort. I especially appreciated the cuff design: simple, streamlined, with a bit of stretch for a good fit. The cuffs are comfortable, with no excessive adjustments. Plus, if you choose the TechFace in the “Elwha” color, then the elastic of the cuffs is a different shade of blue–a nice stylistic touch, if you ask me.
The adjustments in the hood and hem are well-designed overall and easy to release. Instead of the sprung-toggles often seen on jackets, the TechFace uses dual-point cord locks hidden in the seams. These locks release the tension with the ease of pressing a button. Tighten the hem by pulling the cords in the hand pockets, or cinch down the hood using the cords on either side of the chin. I loved how simple it was to tighten and release the adjustments quickly. However, I worry that repeated pulling on the ends of the cords will wear down or break the elastic. Only time will tell on that one.
I found the hood construction on the TechFace to be a real winner. I was able to easily fit the hood to hug close and comfortably against my head, both with and without a climbing helmet. Two pull cords tighten the opening of the hood, effectively sealing out any unwanted drafts by my cheeks and bringing the high collar extra close. I was impressed by the mobility I had, even with the hood tight over my helmet. The material and construction provided plenty of stretch, and I could look around without my view obstructed. Patagonia also incorporated a laminated visor, which added a touch of extra structure to the hood. I appreciated the visor especially when I wore the hood without a climbing helmet underneath, as it seemed to help the hood hold it’s shape without being too bulky.
Now, it’s been unseasonably warm in the Pacific Northwest this winter. As a result, one afternoon I spent well over an hour wearing this jacket while the skies dumped wet, heavy snow. This isn’t powdery snow, but the kind that breaks big branches off the trees and leaves you feeling more like you walked through the rain instead. I expected to take off this jacket and be soaked underneath–after all, DWR (durable water repellent) has it’s limits. But I was dry. Despite sweat and fat, wet flakes on my shoulders, I was dry and warm under the TechFace. The DWR did its job wonderfully, while the TechFace continued to breathe and wick away moisture as I worked.
The TechFace left me pleasantly surprised as it performed in various types of weather: from those cold, sunny days to wet or windy nights. The biggest downfall of the classic R1 is its inability to keep out the wind and rain. However, the TechFace succeeds at just that, while retaining some of the fleecy goodness found in the Regulator Insulation. It won’t keep you dry in a downpour, but it will shed precipitation better than most fleeces. Yay, hardface fleece!
Aside from it’s wind and water protection, the TechFace breathes beautifully. The same gridded pattern found in the Regulator Fleece line is integrated in the TechFace. This technology wicks moisture off the skin and spreads it out along the materials venting channels, allowing it to dissipate quickly while keeping you warm. After running in sub-freezing temperatures, I watched the heat from my body work through the TechFace fabric and steam into the air. I literally watched the TechFace breathe.
While that was fun to see, the coolest part of the TechFace’s breathability was experiencing the undeniable heat regulation. Once I put this jacket on, it stayed on. Because I wasn’t drenched in sweat, condensation, or light precip, I wasn’t immediately cold when I stopped moving. So if you’re wondering how you’ll mitigate body temperature during those high output, stop-and-go activities, the TechFace might be the answer for you.
Honestly, the only shortcomings I could find in the Patagonia TechFace during the course of my testing seemed like pretty small matters of judgement. The looser cut isn’t the most flattering and is rather baggy across the chest, but it performs well so I don’t care. And while the outer face material hasn’t pilled at all, I did notice some of those pesky fluffs on the inside mesh pocket. However, that’s such a minor quip that it almost feels petty to even notice. At the end of the day, I am very pleased with the TechFace’s performance, quality, and design.
- Thoughtful pattern and stretchy material
- Hood design and adjustments are awesome!
- DWR treatment sheds light moisture (and wet PNW snow)
- Great sleeve and cuff design
- Impressive breathability while keeping you warm and cozy
- Lightweight, compresses easily if you’re throwing it in your pack
- I question the durability of the pull cords on the hem and helmet adjustments
- Inside mesh pocket pilled a bit
The Bottom Line: Patagonia R1 TechFace Hoody
Patagonia’s TechFace is a fleece made for movement, not lounging at home on a Sunday afternoon. Take the TechFace to the mountains. Take it to the trails. This versatile piece will breathe with you and move with you, while keeping you warm and dry in light precipitation. It’s not a rain shell, nor is it a giant puffy: it probably won’t keep you dry in torrential rain or warm while standing in the bitter cold. But when utilized as it’s designed — for high-output activities in ever-changing conditions — the TechFace excels as a light, technical fleece. The lightweight material and practical features make it so that this jacket seems to disappear while you’re wearing it, letting you focus entirely on the sports you love.
Buy Now: Available at Patagonia.com