Building on the reputation of the original R1 jacket, the new Patagonia R1 Air Hoody was a recommended buy in our full test of fleeces and mid-layers. David Lintern tries it out.

The original R1 earned plenty of accolades in winter sports and mountaineering circles as well as being a recommended buy in our guide to The best fleeces, and for good reason. It wicked well and provided tons of warmth. The R stands for ‘regulator’ – and it did have a reputation for being a mid you could keep on all day.

The fabric is updated in the newer Patagonia R1 Air Hoody iteration with a medium loft, zigzag weave made of ‘hollow core’ fibres, designed to help wick moisture. Unlike my older R1, this is fluffy on both sides, not just the inside, which Patagonia say makes it warmer. There are two decent sized torso pockets (set low, so will interfere with a hipbelt) and a chest pocket, which is frustratingly small. The hood is a close fitting, under the helmet affair and zips to the nose. The fit is on the slim side, but not athletic – you’d struggle to get both a baselayer and thin mid under it, but then I can’t imagine a scenario where you would need to. The fuzzy, close fitting interior means it’s clingy to other fabrics, too. It’s worth noting that the outer has begun to pile just a little on the arms after a few washes.

In use, the Patagonia R1 Air Hoody is very warm and does indeed still wick as well, if not better than the regular R1. I took this on a mountainous backpacking trip in spring and it stayed on for three days straight – usually I’d be in and out of a mid, several times in one day in similar conditions, so this is impressive. On the Cape Wrath Trail in May (a route which by and large keeps to the lower ground) there were times when it felt too warm. For me, then, The R1 Air is best placed for the mountains, and in November-April conditions in the UK. In that environment, it really excels. It’s also 100% recycled, and Blue Sign and Fair Wear approved.