Patagonia R1 Pullover
these serve as a great light/mid insulating layer…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80
these serve as a great light/mid insulating layer or a heavy base layer. very versatile, very comfortable, and extremely durable. if i were on a limited budget for a layering system, this would be one of the first pieces on my list because it is performs so well in so many different situations.
- good for a wide range of temperatures
- love the zip neck
- good luck trying to wear it out
- can get smelly
- expensive unless you find it on sale
i wear this shirt a lot. alone, it takes the chill out of a fall or spring hike, and i'll wear it on cooler summer nights. i use it over a thin base layer on cooler days. it's an ideal mid-layer for winter hiking alone or under a shell, and it's one of the first layers i'll think about when the bottom drops out of the thermometer.
the shirt has a little more room than a true base layer, so i have no problem with a wicking short or long sleeved t-shirt or thin insulating layer underneath. the grid fabric is soft, stretchy, and comfortable to wear. the sleeves are on the long side. i particularly like the zip neck - fully open, it really helps ventilate the shirt. zipped all the way up, it is warm but not constricting (i wear a 17 neck). there is a small flap of fleece between the top of the zipper and your skin, which is great.
the inside of the r1 fabric is fuzzy little squares in a grid pattern, the outside surface is smooth. the grids trap a good amount of air to keep you warm, and the fabric does a really good job drawing moisture out to the surface. this is not by any means windproof. while it is reasonably warm in still air, a solid breeze goes right through it. like many fleece products, it will insulate very well even if it gets wet. shake or wring out the moisture, and it 'wears dry' better than most shirts.
the fleece itself stands up to abuse very well. apart from random branches and hot coals, these last a really long time. stitching, cuffs, hem - outstanding construction. i have two of these shirts. the first one is about ten years old, the second 3 or 4 years old. both are fully functional today, though very different.
Patagonia does change things over time. the older shirt has a significantly thinner microgrid fabric, not nearly as warm as newer versions and much stretchier fabric. the new ones have a small zippered chest pocket - good for small things, positioned so it doesn't interfere with pack straps. the seams on the newer one are better-placed to avoid shoulder strap friction.
the main downside to this shirt, and most synthetic base or mid layers, is that they eventually start smelling bad after a while. if you use it a lot, the anti-odor treatments just stop working. wool definitely wins on that front, but wool shirts generally aren't as warm, wet out more, take longer to dry, and aren't as durable as this fabric.