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Patagonia have updated their classic R1 technical fleece for the first time in many years - we test whether the R1 Air Full Zip Hoody lives up to the name

patagonia r1 air fz
Best for...
Anyone looking for a technical midlayer that cuts grams without cutting warmth
Overall Score
Brilliant warmth-to-weight
Very close fitting

The new R1 Air range from Patagonia is aimed squarely at the highly technical, high-output market and will have very versatile applications for the cold weather athlete. We reviewed the R1 Air Full Zip Hoody to test its claims of being lightweight, fast drying, breathable and warm. Being Patagonia, it is also made from 100% recycled polyester, naturally.

First impressions were that this thing is warm. Way warmer than it has any right to be given its lightweight minimalism. And particularly warmer than you'd expect given it is riven with 'gaps' in the insulation...

The whole R1 Air range is defined by a zig-zag pattern, which amounts to meandering meshy valleys between the soft, felty lines of fleece. This apparently aids moisture wicking and clearly benefits breathability as it allows air movement unimpeded. Presumably it aids insulation when used as a midlayer as those zig-zag ravines will trap a whole load of warm air. Whether it's the zig-zagging or not, we can confirm this is a toasty midlayer (and surprisingly soft and comforting!!)

One slight downside is that the fit is super-close. We get this is an athletic piece (and OK, we may have added a few lockdown grams) but be aware if ordering online.

And finally, price. The price of fleece midlayers has skyrocketed across the board in recent years, and whilst we're still getting used to that, the price of the R1 Air Hoody is very reasonable in comparison with the rest of the field.

One last thing - great to see that lightweight and minimalist doesn't' have to mean 'no pockets' - the R1 Air Hoody has a chest pocket and two handwarmers - the latter being essential to a cosy and versatile midlayer.

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