Let me introduce you to my Patagonia R2 fleece jacket, or my “monkey jacket” as Britnee calls it. A fleece jacket so light, so warm and so damn comfortable that I wore it day AND night throughout all our trekking in Nepal.

I packed three jackets on this trip–a waterproof shell, a windproof synthetic down and this R2 fleece–with the intention of layering them when required. All three are incredibly lightweight and so far the system has worked as planned, keeping me warm in a variety of cold conditions. But the R2 fleece has been my go-to jacket and has seen the most use by far.

Patagonia R2, jacket, fleece, climbing jacket, mid layer, travel, packing list, RTW packing list,Yes, it might make me look a little more furry than other jackets, but the Polartec fleece fabric is breathable, moisture wicking, quick drying and has a superior warmth-to-weight-ratio, (meaning that for as light as this fleece is, only 13.8 ounces, it keeps me surprisingly warm, especially while active). The underarms and side panels are made of a lighter but still sturdy grid fleece, providing improved fit and breathability as well as abrasion resistance. 

I can talk fabric specs all day, (not really), but all I really have to do to sell this fleece jacket is say, just try it on. That’s what I did at the Scheels store back home and walked out with the jacket that same day. Never before had I experienced such comfort in a piece of clothing. Sure, Britnee might make the occasional joke about my “monkey jacket,” but when it gets cold she’s cuddling right up next to me and complimenting the super-soft fleece. She gets to wrap her arms around it and nestle her cheek against it, but I’m living in it!

Patagonia R2, jacket, fleece, climbing jacket, mid layer, travel, packing list, RTW packing list,

Besides the soft fabric itself, there’s little details that add to the overall comfort of the Patagonia R2: offset seams provide better comfort under a pack; the gussets reduce underarm lift; thumb loops provide added coverage; and a “soft, kissing-welt zipper garage at chin provides next-to-skin comfort.”

Best of all, like many of Patagonia’s items, the jacket is made of recycled polyester, (63% in the body and 41% in the side panels), and is bluesign® approved, a big reason I’m a big fan of the brand.

Maybe this jacket is less Paris and more Kathmandu, but if you’re looking for great warmth for little weight on your travels, the Patagonia R2 fleece jacket provides it with the added bonus of amazing comfort.

Superior warmth to weight ratio and amazing comfort make this one of my all-time favorite jackets for active wear. Unfortunately it's style doesn't quite cut it for a night out on the town... according to my wife.
  • Soft fur-like comfort
  • Great warmth-to-weight ratio
  • Durable
  • Monkey-like (if you consider that a con)
4.5Overall Score

About The Author


Mark quit everything to travel the world for a year with his wife, Britnee. Along the way, he picked up a love for many other things, including illy coffee, Nepal, Bolivianos bills, and Thai beaches. Now happily home in Utah, Mark is a balding marketing professional with a mountain biking addiction.