Ninja Star: Patagonia R1 Hoody

The Patagonia R1 Hoody has been a four season staple of my outdoor wardrobe for as long as I can remember.  It is in fact the best mid layer on the market and has been for the better part of the last decade.  When I was laid off a few winters ago and skiing daily (why did I get a job again?), I almost needed an intervention to remove my R1 from my body.

The R1 is so good that I have spied it on numerous athletes sponsored by other manufactures both in the mountains and in videos (this is a bizarre complex that happens from working in the industry: you actually try to identify the product being used/worn in videos and when coming across someone of relevance).  If you live in the Northeast, spend time a little time in North Conway and watch the guides heading out for the day…it is a solid bet that they will be sporting a threadbare Patagonia R1 Hoody.

Why threadbare?  Because the only negative about the R1 is the price.  It is really expensive, even when compared to the competition.  You can easily purchase copy cats from the competition for substantially less money, but don’t waste your time.  The Patagonia product is that good.  I have spent the better part of the last two years trying to save some money by replacing my beloved R1 with the competition’s offerings and have been disappointed every time.  In hindsight, it would have been much more cost effective just to pony up for a new R1.  
Doug skinning on Mount Washington in his R1

The R1 excels in just about every facet you expect a mid layer to perform in.  Pull it on to keep warm as the sun sets in the summer, climb in it in the fall, skin in it while backcountry skiing in the winter, and use it as an insulating layer for ice climbing or resort skiing.  It does it all.  And not only that, it also looks great.  More than once I have transitioned it from the slope to either work or apres with no complaints.

Sadly I am still too cheap to purchase a new R1, relegating my old one to the closet a fair amount of the time for fear of how little life it has left in it.  I let the pretenders stand in for my trusty R1 most of the time saving it for only special occasions.  Even after all these years, and in spite of the holes and tears, it never lets me down.  

I must have forgotten to mention kiting as a use 

Here is another great blog spreading the R1 love from Andy Kirkpatrick:

Disclaimer:  All gear reviewed has been purchased with money earned through my day job at the local outdoor store.   That is not to say I am above receiving free gear for review, it is just saying that no one is giving me any (if you would like to change that, feel free to reach out).  The fact is if I did not like the piece, I wouldn’t be writing about it.