Review: Patagonia R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody

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A proper midlayer is one you keep on all the time, be it approaching, belaying, climbing, etc. This necessitates a few things: comfort, breathability, stretchiness, and rapid drying so you don’t get clammy. Patagonia’s new R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody, which comes in M’s and W’s versions, delivers all these attributes in spades; it quickly became a go-to for shoulder-season and high-country cragging when I wanted a touch of warmth but didn’t need the big guns of a Gore-Tex shell or a puffy. Building on their classic R1 Hoody, Patagonia wove this technical fleece using hollow-fibered yarn (100 percent recycled polyester) to keep it, well, airy, and it wears almost like a thick T-shirt. This low profile is nice for climbing/sliding under a harness, plus the R1 Air has a quick-drying woven strip at the hem and cuffs for stretchy movement—handy on athletic sport and trad climbs. For such a light layer, it does a bang-up job of keeping heat in: You will get sweaty, though the thin, zigzag-pattern fabric lets condensation out and does, as advertised, dry quickly. I also appreciated the five pockets—a chest zipper pocket, two zip-up hand-warming pockets, and two internal stash pockets. And I’ve run it through the washer many times and it shows zero pilling. (Note: Available for order in late December.)