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Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Patagonia R2 Fleece Jacket > Owner Review by Gail StaisilOwner Review:
Patagonia R2 Jacket
April 15, 2008
Name: Gail Staisil
Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight: 138 lb (63 kg)
Chest: 37 in (94 cm)
Sleeve Length: 31 in (79 cm)
Email: woodswoman2001 AT yahoo DOT com
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
For the last 18 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably, but my base weight is under 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages over 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero (0 F/-18 C) temps.
The Patagonia R2 Jacket has been a staple in Patagonia's line of clothing for many years. It is a highly-versatile garment that can be worn alone or with other layers. The jacket is made out of 100 percent stretch-knit polyester called Polartec Thermal Pro. The women's version of this jacket is slim and feminine-fitting. It features a full-length center zipper, two handwarmer pockets and a vertical chest pocket. Other features include a collar lined with R1 polyester-stretch fabric and raglan sleeves. The 2008 version of this garment is slightly different than the one I own (it has forward-facing shoulder seams), but all of the main features are mostly the same.
I have owned and used some version of the R2 Jacket for many years. I might add that I still have an older version that was made out of a different type of fabric (more of a plush-fleece knit). It's still in great condition but it's heavier and not as easy to pack (I tend to wear it for non-backpacking endeavors).
Although I wear the R2 Jacket year-round in this mostly cool climate, I wear it mostly for backpacking trips during the fall and spring months. During those months the weather is still very cool during the daytime hours (40 F to 60 F/4 C to 16 C) and it is suits me just right worn as a trail garment. During the other seasons, I tend to wear it more for regular everyday wear.
As I alluded to before, the Patagonia R2 Jacket is a very stylish-looking jacket. I really don't think of it as being only a "jacket" but as a light-weight fleece top. I often wear it without underlayers (other than a sports top) as it functions well on coolish days for active pursuits or just as an everyday type of garment.
The R2 Jacket has a very streamlined construction with no extra bulk. The R2 Jacket that I own has raglan sleeves. They fit nicely across my shoulders without any irritating seams. The sleeves and hem are finished off without any adornment other than the embroidered word "Patagonia" a few inches above the lower hem on the right side (and an embroidered "R" on the right sleeve for noting a "Regulator" fabric. It feels like there's an elastic inside each hem (lower edge and sleeve edges but they're not puckered or gathered on the surface. I like the fact that the edges lie flat but that they still stay nicely in place.
The surface of the jacket has a check-like texture or pattern all over it. Although slightly lighter in color and weight, the matching R1 fabric is inserted into an inset under each arm and it extends almost down to the bottom of each side. The same fabric is used to line the collar area. This grid-like or waffle-like fabric has a high stretchability to it. Just in front and to the side of the inserts are the handwarmer pockets.
The pocket's matching zippers are welded into a surrounding supplex material before they were inserted into the jacket. The pockets have rubber-type flexible pull tabs on them with an enlarged end for easy grasp.
The linings of all the pockets are a mesh material in a matching color. The handwarmer pockets are huge. Their mesh backing extends all the way to the collar on the top, bottom edge on the lower part of the jacket and to the zipper in the center. The smaller vertical chest pocket is handy for storing my keys and sometimes my camera.
The full-length front zipper is a simple coil zipper but it features two sliders so that it can be opened from both the top and bottom. I especially like opening it from the bottom to allow additional venting. Although the front zipper doesn't have a wind flap, there is a small comfortable flap at the top of the zipper to prevent the zipper slider from touching my neck.
I find that the Patagonia R2 Jacket Jacket works the best when the humidity and temperature combination isn't extremely high. I find it best worn at temperatures that don't exceed 60 F (16 C) on cloudy, windy, and mid-range humidity days. However, it's still quite comfortable for me at lower temperatures (40 F to 55 F/4 C to 13 C) during sunny and less windy days. (The areas that I normally travel don't usually have low humidity, norm is at least 60 to 80 percent).
The knit fabric breathes very well and when it gets damp on the backside from my backpack, it quickly air dries as soon as I take my pack off my body. The breathability of the garment and its comfort are the main two features that allows me to use it in this manner.
I have also worn the R2 with a light underlayer at cooler temps. In addition, I have worn a shell over the jacket when the temps get below 30 F (-1 C) and I have also layered down or synthetic-filled jackets over it for warmth at camp during the evenings. I have slept while wearing the R2 jacket several times and I've been completely comfortable.
The R2 Jacket has been very comfortable to wear under my backpack or under a waistpack. There isn't a lot of excess material to the jacket, so it doesn't bunch up underneath the waistbelt or harness. The absence of bulky seams seems to eliminate possible irritation points under the harness straps.
The jacket is not only lightweight but it is very packable. Without bulky seams, the R2 Jacket compresses nicely to fit into the top hood of my pack or when I stuff it into a daypack.
I haven't done anything special to care for the jacket other than to wash it often. I'm sure its been washed upwards of 100 times and it really looks just as good as the day I got it. The durable fabric and color has held up beautifully.
I have mostly washed it in warm water with similar-type colors and then tumble dried it a bit (not recommended by manufacturer) and then let it hang dry. Patagonia uses symbols on their care tags and the instructions for the jacket say to wash in cold or warm water, no bleach, line dry and no ironing.
The R2 Jacket was worn on many of my backpacking trips in the state of Michigan, USA and in Ontario, Canada. I have also worn the jacket for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and day hiking. Most of my area of travel covers hilly boreal and deciduous forests in the Midwest. Elevations ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m) and temperatures ranged from a low of approximately 0 F (-18 C) to a high of over 85 F (29 C).
Overall, the Patagonia R2 Jacket is one of my favorite garments. I have found it to be very versatile for use with a variety of activities. The breathability and comfort of the jacket are some of its greatest attributes, but its functionality is outstanding.
Read more gear reviews by Gail Staisil
Reviews > Clothing > Jackets and Vests > Patagonia R2 Fleece Jacket > Owner Review by Gail Staisil
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