What if you could blend your favorite sweatshirt with a quality piece of outerwear? If you could rock that old, frayed, way-more-comfortable-than-anything-else-you-own hoody while at the same time sport something that gives you the range of motion and warmth you need at a winter league game or February practice, would you?
Consider the R1 Hoodie by Patagonia.
The R1 is made mostly of polyester with a bit of spandex, which makes it insulating, but it feels like soft cotton. The waffle fabric (the big wigs call it Regulator grid fleece) creates little cushions of softness on the inside of the hoody, and the space in between them makes it breathable.
Other stuff I like about the material: there’s a fuzzy lining around the zipper so you don’t have to worry about your face getting irritated, and the zippers themselves feel strong. Seems minute, but a broken zipper will ruin a good piece of clothing. Speaking of which: like the rest of Patagonia’s products, the R1 is backed by the Ironclad Guarantee, which means they’re repair, replace, or refund it if it breaks.
I will say that you shouldn’t get the R1 wet. While it dries quickly enough, it can feel a bit stuffy even when it gets damp from sweat. It’s easy to ventilate because of the slanted zipper, which lets you unzip it halfway down your chest without it falling off of a shoulder, but if you want a first layer of protection against water, I’d buy… a rain jacket. Also, while polyester is better than cotton when it comes to holding color, my bright green R1 has stained a bit around the end of the sleeves. I imagine this is pretty normal for the part of a hoody that touches your hands the most, and I bet that it’s less of an issue for the darker colors.
Word to Goldilocks, the R1 feels just right in lots of scenarios: over a t-shirt on a cool night in Seattle, on top of a few more layers for a late-November practice in DC, or even on its own when my house is freezing (a given regardless of where I’m laying my head). And being comfortable in lots of temperatures isn’t even the best part: who hasn’t tried eHarmony, blind dates, and the bar scene enough times to know the rarity of something that keeps you warm but also gives you the space you need to throw, mark, and change direction? The R1 is a keeper.
Being that I’m constantly seeking that next level of relaxation, I instinctively slide my thumbs into the loops at the end of the sleeve anytime I’m not throwing, and I throw the hood on whenever I can. I’ll admit that it looks silly because it’s balaclava-style, but whatever: perhaps I want to get practical and wear it under a bike or climbing helmet, or maybe I just want to look like one of the dudes from Coneheads. I also like that the front pocket is perfect for an iPod during a workout or important documents if I need quick access.
The current model R1 will set you back $159. (Patagonia’s site still has the old model up for $79, but they’re currently sold out of just about every size.) And let’s be real: for most of us, any item of clothing that comes closer to $200 than $100 is kind of panic-inducing. But on the flip side, price is relative to your wallet size, and if you’re in the market for a hoody that’s durable and versatile, you won’t beat the R1 when it comes to quality.
Yeah sure whatever.
I love this thing. It’s relaxing like a sweatshirt but it’s also conducive to the playing, biking, and wild gesturing that are parts of my daily life. The only real knock on the R1 is that it’s pretty all-purpose, which you should consider if you’re looking for more specific qualities like waterproofing or extreme warmth. That, and if you get one, your girlfriend is probably going to try to steal it.
Any questions about the R1? Get at me in the comments!
Patagonia R1 Hoody ($159)