I’d longed for a Patagonia R1 Techface Hoody for a while, but it was hard to work out whether I actually ‘needed’ one or whether it was all down to the R1s reputation and its rather catchy advert. But now I come to reflect on it, this has become my go-to do-all jacket.
A bit of history
Back in the 90s fleece was everywhere. It was stretchy, soft and warm when wet (as it still is now). However it was also bulky, heavy and not so breathable. This is where Patagonia’s R1 (regulator) line came in: as an insulating layer that was light, breathable, moisture wicking AND insulating. That’s quite a lot to ask from a mid-layer, but it’s ideal for high output activites such as biking, running and climbing.
Although it has been tinkered and developed into many different jackets, the principal of R1 remains the same and there’s not much that hasn’t been done in one (as the song below suggests).
What is R1 Techface?
Don’t be fooled, this Techface isn’t your average fluffy R1 fleece midlayer. The actual gridded fleece is super low-profile which means it doesn’t offer a whole load of warmth. Nor is it as waterproof or windproof as a softshell… so what is it for?
Treat it as a hybrid layer for active use and you’ll get the best out of it. I usually wear this as an outer shell for running or climbing. For running or summer climbing I’ll just wear a base layer or tshirt underneath, but in the colder months its cut allows for a fleece underneath and a big insulated jacket over the top.
The R1 Techface outer is not just weather resistant, but is tougher than any other jacket that I own. Climbers tend to treat their technical clothing pretty terribly. Is there anything else that you would spend £160 on then drag through a lichenous crack?
I have successfully shredded a lot of abrasion resistant clothing in my pursuit of climbing off-widths (wide cracks), which is an all-body, clothing ruining experience. However thus far my R1 Techface still looks new and, dare I say it, smart(ish)! It is the most durable thing I own, and backed up by Patagonia’s IronClad Guarantee.
The R1 Techface is cut loose for layering and movement. It comes down quite low which is great under a harness, and the slight stretch and generous sleeves mean you can twist and move without any restriction. You can also pull the sleeves up over your forearms to dump a load of heat when you need to.
The hood fits a helmet underneath, but also cinches for good fit without when you don’t have a helmet on. Some helmet compatible hoods can be a bit troublesome when you wear them without a helmet, but I’ve not found this to be the case with the Techface Hoody.
The loose cut does mean that it doesn’t really sit under other mid-layers comfortably. I usually wear a thin synthetic jacket or a big down over mine and where mid-layers underneath.
The R1 music video (be careful, it’s an earworm!)
There’s not a huge amount to say about this jacket as it’s fairly scarce in features, but the simplicity is part of its appeal.
This jacket is in no way a specialist. It’s not the lightest, the most breathable, the most weather-resistant… However it is really good at all these things, which is why I use it for any sort of high output activity. If you’re after a warm layer for sitting round the campfire, this probably isn’t it. But if you’re climbing, running or biking and you want something mega-durable, comfortable and weather resistant the Patagona R1 Techface is a great option.
Beyond the Edge Ltd is based in Sheffield: two hours by train from London and within easy travelling distance from Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and other Northern towns and cities.
We are one of the UKs most experienced providers of climbing, walking, scrambling, mountaineering and navigation training courses.
Most of our courses are run in the nearby Peak District National Park which has some of the finest climbing, bouldering, walking and hiking in the world.