Patagonia R2 Jacket Review

The Patagonia R2 is a well-rounded jacket that slots right into any clothing ensemble. The lightweight fleece is comfortable and soft, making it a good option for those who want a warm, flexible mid or outer layer.

Quick Summary

  • Where to buy: REI, Amazon, EVO
  • Best for: Lighter or calm conditions. Also for skiers who want a versatile item they can add to their clothing rather than a strictly stand-alone option.
  • Pros: This jacket is extremely comfortable thanks to its soft design. It’s also breathable, lightweight, and does a good job of fighting the wind. It comes in a range of colors too.
  • Cons: Even as a lighter clothing option, the jacket doesn’t match up to similar layers in terms of weather protection of water resistance. There’s also no thumb loops or proper cinch.
  • Alternatives: Marmot Reactor, Fortrez Hoody, Baleaf Snow Jacket

Why Trust Me

I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent ample time researching this jacket, its characteristics, and the way it holds up during all parts of the winter season.

Detailed Review

The R2 fits right into Patagonia’s impressive R-Series as a technical fleece that can do a little bit of everything. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, nor does it have a lot of weather protection. Even so, the jacket does a great job as an outer or mid-layer as long as you have other items to back it up. The R2 is able to withstand a lot of use during the winter, making it a perfect option for more casual runs.

A Comfortable-but-Restrictive Construction

The Patagonia R2 is not the warmest jacket on the market, but you would expect that when getting a lighter clothing option. It doesn’t add much weight to your ensemble and comes without a hood. Though some people may see that as a drawback, it means you can easily throw it under layers. In addition, the special Polartec Thermal Pro Fleece does a good job of locking in heat. I just would have liked there to be elastic at the hem for a tighter seal.

This jacket is also comfortable. I expect a fleece to be soft, but the Thermal Pro Fleece feels incredible against your skin. That’s one of the ways the R2 goes the extra mile. However, it’s not all great. The jacket is a bit restrictive at the elbows and the zipper can bunch up in the front, which is more annoying than anything else.

When discussing the construction, it’s also worth mentioning the offset raglan seams. These sit around the shoulders and add extra reinforcement for skiers who need to carry a backpack. Backcountry riders will especially enjoy that feature.

Breathability and Flexibility

For anyone familiar with the R-Series, it should come as no surprise that the R2 gets extremely high marks for its breathability. Patagonia constructed the jacket with a directional knit. That feature allows for incredible ventilation all the way through the design. That then works with the light weight and moisture-wicking capabilities to ensure you never get too hot or sweaty as you move around.

Something else I appreciate is the excellent flexibility. Many jackets restrict you, but the R2 helps you move. Though there’s a bit of pulling in the shoulder area, the Polartec Power Stretch panels Patagonia placed under the arms enable you to move to your heart’s content. In addition, the jacket doesn’t ride up when you bend down. No matter how much you need to twist your body, the R2 moves with you.

Durability and Water Resistance

If the R2 Jacket has one significant weakness, it’s water resistance. While it’s fine as part of an entire ensemble, it definitely doesn’t hold up on its own in the sleet, snow, or rain. It dries quickly, especially on windy days, but this is not something you’re going to use as your main line of defense in rough environments.

That being said, this jacket does a good job of repelling the wind. It’s also perfect for lighter conditions as a result of the hardface fleece construction. I wouldn’t use this when there’s a lot of moisture, but it’s a perfect option for sunny or warmer parts of the year. It also doesn’t weigh that much, coming in at 14.3 ounces. That means it doesn’t hold you back and is easy to throw into your pack. A great option for long treks.

Useful, if Few, Features

The R2 doesn’t have a ton of extra features, but the ones it does have are impressive. There are two handwarmer pockets as well as a zippered chest pocket. Not only do those provide you with storage, they also give you another way to keep your hands toasty is the temperature drop. The item also features special stretch fabric at the collar and chin flap, and the shoulders are made to give you extra comfort when wearing a backpack.

Price and Value

The Patagonia R2 gets decent marks for value, but it’s definitely not the best bang for your buck option on the market. It does a lot of things well, especially considering the middle of the line price tag. However, there are some jackets out there that do a lot more for slightly more money. If you need a solid fleece, it does the job. Just know that you can get more if you want it.

What I Like

For me, the R2’s standout feature is the ventilation. Patagonia’s directional knit does a great job of allowing you to breathe no matter how hard you work and the R2’s temperature regulation is some of the best in the game. Being able to get a warmer fleece that doesn’t get too hot or stuffy is nice. I also love the moisture wicking as well.

Though the R2 Jacket doesn’t have too many features, there are a few I really appreciate. I’m a big fan of pockets. The two handwarmer ones are great for cold hands, and the zippered chest pocket has plenty of room for smaller items. The shoulder seams allowing for easier pack carrying is something I appreciated as well.

What I Dislike

As mentioned earlier, If the R2 Jacket has one big weakness, it is water resistance. I don’t mind lighter options giving up some durability for extra ventilation, but this took it too far. You’re going to see decent results against the wind, but the water will cause some issues if the snow really starts to come down.

Another weak point is the lack of elastic at the hem. The jacket’s material keeps out the wind, but I find it can still get into the jacket in other ways. Even with the great temperature regulation, you’re going to get some unwanted chill from time to time. I’m also not a huge fan of the price point. It’s not bad, considering what you get, but there are many similar jackets in the same range that simply do more.

The Alternatives

As reliable as the Patagonia R2 Jacket is, there are a few areas where it doesn’t quite hit the highest marks. If you want another solid option, look at these:

  • Marmot Reactor – The Reactor is a great layer for any setup when you need a bit of extra warmth. The moisture wicking fabric works exactly as advertised and the flatlock construction seams ensure you stay warm. It’s incredibly comfortable, soft, and flexible.
  • Fortrez Hoody – If you don’t mind paying a bit more, the Fortrez Hoody is a well-made jacket. This fleece model, like the R2, provides you with a durable shell thanks to the hardfleece. Even more appealing to backcountry riders is that it’s extremely breathable. This has excellent ventilation and is flexible.
  • Baleaf Snow Jacket – This model is a solid budget jacket for skiers who like extra features. Like the R2, it features a hoodless design. However, it’s a bit warmer thanks to the thermal-reflective antistatic lining. You also get an adjustable powder skirt, a range of pockets, as well as a stylish design that looks good both on and off the mountain.

FAQs

How much does this weigh?

The Patagonia R2 weighs 14.3 ounces.

Does this come with a hood?

No. However, that makes it a good midlayer for your skiing ensemble.

What type of fit does this have?

The Patagonia R2 Jacket has a slim fit that does a good job of working with your body.

What pockets does this come with?

The R2 has three pockets. Two handwarmers and a zippered chest pocket.

Final Verdict

The R2 is a solid choice if you want a well-rounded fleece jacket that can serve as both a mid and outer layer. It’s flexible and breathable, which means it works well for casual skiers as well as those who like to hike through the backcountry. There’s a lot of comfort here and the stylish design is backed up with many different colors.

There’s no doubt that the jacket lacks in certain areas. It doesn’t have the best durability and the value isn’t quite up to snuff when compared to other models. That being said, it’s warm, comfortable, and has some of the best ventilation around.

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