The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
The rest of the MS Team
Patagonia RI Granular Jacket great for all occasions
Posted on: February 22, 2006
I spent over a week in the Canadian Rockies and the R1 Granular Jacket hardly ever left my body. I don't think I can say enough about this piece from Patagonia. As someone who has eliminated many fleece garments for typical layering in recent years I've found that the R1 is already indispensable for me.
With any clothing piece, the fit is really the key element. Bottom line: No matter how much I love the look, the feel or the technical aspects to a garment, if it doesn't fit well it just simply isn’t going to spend much time on my body. Fortunately this jacket is right on. I seem to have a body type that fits many Patagonia tops fairly well and this one fits as it's meant to: athletically. Its contoured design with articulated arms and shaped cuffs makes it feel like a second, warm skin. In Canada, I wore the R1 primarily as an outer layer with a thin Capilene layer underneath while in active mode and then threw a belay jacket over it while stopped or belaying. This was my clothing system for a spin up many of the classic "Beer Routes" near Field and it was a perfect combination for typical near-freezing temps. The positioning of the pockets made them accessible with a harness on and the upper left arm sports a bonus low-profile pocket. The contoured cuff line actually did do a better job covering my wrist area with a lightweight ice glove on than a standard cuff. And the fleece grid pattern seems to do an excellent job retaining heat yet the jacket still breathes well. Even on longer approaches to some of the "Ogden" lines up the Yoho Valley, the jacket provided a perfect outer layer in colder conditions with consistent aerobic activity. On longer alpine lines, this would be an ideal mid- or outer-layer depending on conditions. Despite many opportunities to change clothes, I kept this on even while unwinding at the beloved Truffle Pigs Bistro and General Store in the evenings. While up the Icefields Parkway I also did a day of backcountry skiing in cold, clear and breezy conditions and found the jacket to do a decent job of blocking wind. As the wind picked up throughout the day I threw on a shell and the R1 stayed as an ideal layer underneath. I was continually impressed overall with the warmth of this jacket.