Patagonia R1 Review: Regulator Fleece Pullover Hoody

Last Updated on June 14, 2021

Blue Patagonia R1 pullover hoody

Price: $159 MSRP – Check Price on REI | Backcountry | Patagonia
Connor’s Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4.2 out of 5 stars
Pros: Comfortable, versatile, easy to layer with
Cons: Not very weather-resistant, not super packable
Weight: 11 oz | 312 grams
Women’s Model: R1 Pullover
Lighter Option: Patagonia R1 Air Crew – 9.7 oz | 275 grams
Budget Alternative: Outdoor Research Vigor – $99

Overview: Patagonia R1 Regulator Fleece Pullover Hoody

The Patagonia R1 Regulator Pullover Hoody is a Polartec microgrid fleece designed for high output activities when the temperature drops but you must keep moving. It’s intended to function as a versatile midlayer that stays on the vast majority of the time. 

I was in the market for a grid fleece to use for climbing, skiing, and trail running and it only took a couple of quick Google searches to learn that the R1 seemed to be the holy grail of active-use fleeces. I had no choice but to add the R1 Pullover Hoody to my arsenal and, after countless hours of use, it has become one of my favorite pieces of activewear to date.

Though it’s not perfect, I wholeheartedly recommend the R1 to high-intensity athletes looking to add a versatile piece of clothing to their layering system. Let’s dive into why in my top-to-bottom review.

Features

Man wearing a green pullover fleece with thumb loops

The R1’s thumb loops help leave less skin exposed to the elements

 

The Patagonia R1 Pullover Hoody has a unique and thoughtful design when compared to other hooded fleeces on the market. There are plenty of other grid fleeces on the market, though, so what makes the R1 special? Here are some of my favorite features. 

Polartec Grid Fleece: The main material of the R1 is its Polartec grid fleece. The idea of grid fleece is to provide warmth while allowing the right amount of body heat to escape during high output activities. The result is a hoody that keeps you warm whether you’re resting but breathes well when your heart is pounding through your shirt. The fleece does a great job at wicking away moisture, also, and keeps your sweat from sapping away your body heat.

Balaclava-Style Hood: One of the best features of the R1 Hoody, and what makes it more popular than the R1 Pullover and R1 Jacket, is its slim-fitting balaclava style hood. This hood can be precisely adjusted to cover your neck and chin and is perfect for cold-weather activities that require a helmet or for anyone that prefers to layer with hoods as opposed to wearing a beanie or a headband.

¾-Length Zipper: The R1 Hoody features a ¾ zipper that runs down most of the fleece and stops near the waist. This is ideal for venting when the temperature rises and also allows you to peel off the R1 and let it hang at the waist when you don’t need to wear it anymore. This technique may be a personal preference, but I find it to be super effective during days when the temperature fluctuates and I need to actively control my body heat.

Other Useful Features: The R1 also features thumb loops for extra warmth and easy layering, a quick-access chest pocket, and an anti-microbial coating to reduce body odor. These features aren’t unique to the R1 but provide some nice extra touches that add to the overall stellar design of the fleece.

Equipped with a full set of features, the R1 is an incredibly versatile fleece that suits many high-intensity, cold-weather pursuits. This fleece’s unique design makes it a versatile piece of gear that few have imitated well and is generally held as the gold standard for grid fleeces. 

Features Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars

Comfort

Man wearing a green Patagonia R1 Regulator Pullover Hoodie with the zipper completely unzipped

The 3/4-length zipper does wonders for breathability

 

I typically wear a size small in Patagonia products and the R1 fits true to size. Its fit is relatively slim but still allows me to comfortably add a base layer and a long sleeve shirt underneath if I desire.

The R1 extends down the waist so it can fit snugly under a climbing harness. It fits comfortably underneath puffy jackets and hard shells, while also pairing wonderfully with windbreakers. The microgrid material is so incredibly light and soft against the skin that I often find myself wearing it around the house.

I’ve never overheated in the R1 due to its incredible breathability, but I’ll usually take it off if the temperature climbs into the mid-50s.

Comfort Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars

Warmth

Hiker wearing a green pullover fleece balaclava style hoodie

Though not incredibly warm while resting, the R1 will keep you toasty during high-intensity cold-weather pursuits

 

From experience, I’ve found the temperature range of the Patagonia R1 — with only a t-shirt underneath — to be 30-55 degrees Fahrenheit during moderate activity without a wind chill. During static activity, or times of rest, its temperature range rises to 40-60 degrees.

Because the R1 is made from Polartec grid fleece, which is designed to be extremely breathable, strong wind has no problem cutting right through its material. For that reason, I recommend pairing the R1 with a windbreaker if you anticipate any strong gusts. I couple mine with my Patagonia Houdini, which makes for an unbeatable combo on chilly, windy days. 

If the temperatures dip well below freezing, I usually pair the R1 with my Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket, which works well to keep me warm and toasty during static activity down into the low-20s.

Overall, the R1 is fairly warm for a mid-layer fleece while maintaining a high level of breathability. It’s versatile enough to be worn in a wide range of temperatures, but it won’t stand up to harsh wind or bitter cold on its own. That said, it would make an impactful addition to any layering system. 

Warmth Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

Durability

Close up of Polartec microgrid fleece material

Polartec grid fleece isn’t known for its durability but will last a long time with proper care

 

The Patagonia R1 is well constructed but is still a thin fleece that has the potential to tear depending on the type of activity. For the backpacker, runner or cyclist, the R1 is likely to never get torn up, but for the climber, constant friction against rocks might eventually cause some tears. That said, My R1 is in solid shape after dozens of climbing sessions, with a few minor scuffs but no tears. 

Like all other Patagonia products, the R1 is backed by Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee, meaning that if the material does rip they’ll either fix it for you, send you instructions on how to fix it yourself, or ship you a new one on the house!

As someone that doesn’t mind putting some scars on their clothes, I’ll likely keep this fleece forever, sewing up any tears that may occur along the way. But for the individual that likes to keep everything neat and tidy, getting their hands on a replacement should be no problem at all.

Overall, the ultra-breathable R1 isn’t known for its durability but will stand up comparably to any other active fleece around the same price point.

Durability Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.5 out of 5 stars

Weight/Packability

Folded up hiking/backpacking fleece next to a filled stuff sack

For activities like ultralight backpacking, I consider the R1 to be slightly heavy and bulky

 

The Patagonia R1 Pullover Hoody weighs 11.7 ounces, which makes it a heavier carry for three-season ultralight backpackers. It packs down relatively small compared to other bulkier fleeces on the market like the Patagonia R2 or the Mountain Hardwear Monkey Man. It can easily rest on the top of a pack if you want to stash it away, but due to its ability to hang at the waist, packability issues may or may not come into play. 

For the fleece loyalists who count every gram, I recommend the R1 Air Crew, which comes in at only 9.2 oz. It’s made with the same Polartec grid fleece material but doesn’t come with the hood and thumb loops, which means it’ll essentially provide the same warmth with no trade-off in breathability. If you’re into ultralight backpacking, then you’ll only want to bring the Patagonia R1 Pullover Hoody along if you’re wearing it nearly 100% of the time.

Weight/Packability Rating: 3 out of 5 stars 3 out of 5 stars

Weather Resistance

Backpacker wearing a green pullover fleece with the hood pulled up

Though comfortable and breathable, the R1 isn’t meant to block wind or repel rain

 

The Patagonia R1 is designed to wick moisture away from the skin, but in moderate rain, don’t expect it to repel water. Once you reach shelter or the rain stops, the Polartec fleece will dry relatively quickly. But if you are expecting to be out in the elements for long periods of time, bring along a reliable rain shell to pair with your R1. 

As I mentioned earlier, strong wind will cut through the R1 due to its stellar breathability. If you plan on bringing the R1 out into windy conditions, pack a windbreaker or rain shell on your trip. The R1 isn’t intended to be a standalone piece during cold or gusty weather conditions but will keep you warm while your shell or windbreaker takes on the brunt of the weather. 

If you’re looking for something burlier, check out the Patagonia R2 TechFace Hoody. It’s essentially a heavier and more durable version of the R1, which will stand up to abrasion and harsher weather while sacrificing breathability.

The R1 doesn’t make any bold claims on weather resistance and performs exceptionally for its intended use as an active midlayer fleece. For these reasons, pair it with appropriate outer layers according to the forecast and you’ll be good to go.

Weather Resistance Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.5 out of 5 stars

Value

Green activewear midlayer hoodie laid out over a bed of rocks

Is the R1 worth its hefty price tag? I think so

 

In terms of microgrid fleeces, the R1 Hoody is pricier than many of its counterparts, however, what has made it so popular is its unique design and features that the competitors try to but cannot imitate. R1s generally retail at $159, which is a bit more spendy than the Outdoor Research Vigor, but not as expensive as the similarly-featured Arc’teryx Fortrez

I was able to find my R1 on Patagonia’s secondhand store, Worn Wear, for $60. Patience and flexibility are key when buying used and will usually pay off in the long run. After owning and using the R1 for quite some time, I can confidently say I would pay the full retail price for this fleece, knowing what a top-notch piece of gear it is. 

The R1 is in a class of its own and doesn’t have any competitors that have replicated its unique features and design. If the cost of the R1 Pullover Hoody is out of your range, look into the R1 Air Crew and R1 Pullover, which are priced at $99 and $119 respectively. Sure, this fleece isn’t cheap, but considering its unique features, design, and reputation, it’s well worth the price tag.

Value Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

Patagonia R1 Variations & Alternatives

The R1 has numerous iterations that are equipped with slightly different features, all of which are made from the same quality Polartec grid fleece material.

The R1 Pullover is essentially the same as the R1 Hoody but without the hood and thumb loops. The R1 Jacket is more or less the same as the Pullover but is a full-zip rather than a ¾-zip. The R1 Full-Zip Hoody has a slightly roomier fit and a full zipper, which allows for more layering.

Then there are the R1 and R2 Tech Face series jackets, which are made from a more weather-resistant material that’s not quite as breathable. If the R1 Pullover Hoody doesn’t meet your use case, then one of these variations could potentially be the fleece for you.

Currently, the R1 Pullover Hoody is only available in men’s sizing. Women interested in getting their hands on an R1 have the option to pick from the Pullover, Full-Zip Hoody, or the Air and Tech-Face series.

The Final Word: Patagonia R1 Regulator Fleece Hoody

The Patagonia R1 is a highly versatile grid fleece meant for active pursuits in chilly environments and works perfectly as a versatile midlayer. I wouldn’t recommend it as a standalone piece, however, as it’s not meant to stand up to particularly cold or windy weather on its own. 

For temperatures below 50 degrees, I’ll always bring it along when I am climbing, cycling, skiing, running, hiking, and even when I’m checking conditions before surfing. It’s a super versatile piece of clothing, so long as you understand its strengths and weaknesses.

Admittedly, I’m not a complete gear head, but I am a minimalist who seeks out multi-functional pieces of clothing and equipment. Because of its versatility, I consider the R1 well worth the money for its breathability, warmth, layerability, and comfort. 

If you’re a passionate climber, hiker, trail runner, skier, or cyclist who’s craving a top-shelf fleece that’s both warm and breathable, get your hands on the Patagonia R1 Hoody. It’ll surely be a welcome accomplice during your blood-pumping pursuits through the colder days spent in the great outdoors.

VIEW MEN'S R1 PULLOVER HOODYVIEW WOMEN'S R1 PULLOVER

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Do you have any questions about the Patagonia R1 Pullover Hoody that weren’t answered in my review? Let me know by leaving some feedback in the comments below!

6 Comments

  1. Interesting to read why you’re rating the item so highly. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw the price, but I can see now how this can be good value. Still, I’d probably go for second-hand too. First time I hear that option recommended for this type of gear but it makes sense to me, as long as the items have not been worn out.

    1. Thanks! Though this article wasn’t written by me, I’m a strong believer that it’s worth it to spend the extra money for a quality piece of gear that will last longer and perform better. But, yeah, I’m with you; second-hand is definitely the way to go for a piece of gear this pricey.

  2. Good review. I own the R1 and love the ability to stay warm, but I have worn this on a number of different hikes and have yet to find a hike where I don’t wet the garment out. I have tried to use it in subzero hikes in the high country but end up wet. It will dry out overnight in between my inner and outer bag layer out, but I have stopped wearing it for back packing and save it for just running around. Same with 150 Smartwool, but it does not dry out over night. I am 175, 15lbs with food water and shelter for 3-4 days, so not to over the top heavy. I just push the industry maybe! Thanks!

    1. I’m glad you like the review, Dennis. How do you usually end up wetting the garment out? With sweat or precipitation? If your sweat is wetting it out, you might want to look into a lighter and more breathable hoodie like the Montbell Cool Hoodie, although it’s built for hot and sunny adventures and wouldn’t be warm enough in sub-zero temps. I wore it on my thru-hike of the Colorado Trail this past summer and loved it. That, along with a good thermal layer and a puffy jacket worked well to keep me warm into below-freezing temperatures. Take care and happy hiking!

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