Let me preface by saying that, as a reader of my blog, you know I don’t bullshit around here. If I’m calling something the “best” then it’s a piece of gear I use, trust, and rely on. As a full time ski instructor at Deer Valley Resort, I spend more than 100 days on skis every year and my cold weather gear either keeps up with me or gets donated to the second hand store.
This isn’t another Amazon affiliate review from Joe Schmoe’s website – this is the real deal. Real advice from a backpacking guide and ski instructor you can count on to cut to the chase. So let’s get to it:
Made from polyester, this excellent winter insulation layer is perfect for several reasons.
First, Patagonia was one of the earliest makers of “waffle” pattern polyester insulation layers in this fashion. The inner fabric of the R1 fleece line is made of raised square grids which significantly improve the insulative value of the garment.
Second, Patagonia’s style fits my slender, longer frame quite well so it’s great for any of you “athletic” fit people out there.
After years of owning and using the R1 pullover, I have yet to see any wear or degrading of materials. I’ve taken this thing on so many trips I can’t even count and I’m not sure if it’s 4 or 7 years old at this point… I do know it’s still kicking strong and I doubt I’ll need to replace it any time soon.
To top this all off, they offer it in several variations and, while I own the R1 Pullover, if I could go back and buy the “right one” I would have gone with the R1 Fleece Hoody.
This one is offered in two different flavors – synthetic or down (the down version is called a Down Sweater).
In case you’re not already aware of the difference here are the major points:
- More Expensive
- Most compressible
- Higher insulation value
- Loses almost all insulation value when wet
- Less expensive
- Slightly less compressible
- Slightly lower insulation value
- Loses less insulation value when wet
For mid-winter skiing there’s nothing wrong with down… I just opted for synthetic at the time because I wanted to save money and have more flexibility in using it for backpacking in the cold rainy off seasons.
I LOVE the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket for its absurd warmth. The jacket is comfy, highly durable, and warmer than it should be. This jacket lets absolutely no wind through (due to nylon outer and inner shells). Paired with a moderate helping of synthetic insulation this jacket will keep you roasting!
If money weren’t an obstacle and I could snag another jacket, I would grab the Patagonia Men’s Down Sweater Jacket and give it a try. Though I must say, the Patagonia Men’s Nano Puff Hoody would be great for the added hood option.
If I had unlimited cash, I would most definitely try many other Patagonia ski apparel products. Even with access to great industry deals, I have to choose when and where to buy their often pricey gear.
At the right price, and after carefully considering what apparel I need, however, Patagonia gear has never let me down.
Maybe some day I’ll get the chance to test some of their other awesome looking goodies!
I usually use the R1 and Nano Puff with a hard shell jacket (I own several from various brands) as my full layering system for mid winter personal skiing and have never had a problem with this set up. It’s versatile, usually way too warm, and highly adaptable.