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August 2021 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Fleeces

Patagonia R1 Air Zip Neck

Price:

$210

Our Rating:

Weight: 289g (m), 252g (w) 

At a glance
Plusses
: Comfort, style, fit. 
Minuses: Expensive, no hood.

Features: Made from 100% recycled polyester and Fair Trade Certified sewn, this mid-layer fleece is Patagonia’s latest addition to its R1 line-up and wears its green and sustainable credentials on its sleeve. It features odour control to allow repeat wearings before washing, off-shoulder seams to avoid discomfort while wearing a pack, a zippered chest pocket (internal chest pocket on the women’s version) and a venting half-zip. 

Fit: It’s a close-fitting garment, designed to trap warmth next to the body and to be worn beneath a hardshell or other jackets when the need arises. Medium fitted me perfectly, with the arms coming to the heel of my hand. The hem hangs to just below my tailbone and doesn’t rise up to expose my back when my arms are outstretched.  

Comfort: The fabric is super soft and comfortable next to skin. It’s made from a hollow-core yarn laid in a zigzag pattern to allow effective temperature regulation: it wicks moisture and dries quickly. 

In use: I wore the top practically every day for one month, and then about half the time during the second month. Despite doing several bush walks and undertaking a lot of travel, I haven’t felt the need to wash it. Odour-wise, it’s fine (grubby-wise, it’s due a wash). 

It’s a mid-weight fleece, so is good for cold winter walks but it wasn’t quite up to the task of keeping me warm during inactive times, and I would pair it with an insulated jacket or raincoat. 

It’s a very technical garment with the zigzag pattern alternating between thicker fleece and thinner, more breathable and wicking, fabric. It does breathe and wick moisture incredibly well.

The half-zip proved an effective venting mechanism when I got too hot, but sometimes I wished for a full zip. On colder days, a hood would be welcome. (There is a full zip hoody version of this top which could be a better, more versatile, option.) 

Value: It’s an incredibly technical piece of clothing, for which Patagonia charges a premium. For this amount of money, I’d pay the extra $40 for the full-zip hooded version. 

Verdict: An effective mid-layer for cold days on the trail. It’s super comfortable, warm and brilliant for temperature regulation.