Preparing for a trip, the routine of weighing—figuratively and literally—every item of clothing and gear to balance weight with safely and, ideally, comfort is an accepted fact of life. How cold will it be? How hot? Will there be rain? Bugs? Will we need to climb snow or rock? With all the considerations to be had, it is great to have a few pieces that one knows will come along, no matter what. No thinking required. For me, the Patagonia R1 Hoody is one of these.
Let’s get this out of the way. I’m a sweater. For as long as I can remember, whenever I start physical activity, my body flips a switch and out comes the sweat. Doesn’t matter if I’m fat or thin. So when I read about jackets with “waterproof/breathable” membranes, I always have to chuckle a bit, because I know that I’m the kind of guy who would sweat jogging bare-chested (sorry for that mental image) on a cool day, and if I have a waterproof jacket on and I start some vigorous movement, I’m quickly going to become a sauna. So I have pretty realistic expectations for how today’s hardshells perform, and I’ve been able to use a number of them with different membranes, designs and technology.
The first thing I noticed wearing Westcomb’s Shift LT Hoody was that I could feel air from outside the jacket cooling my body. This was different from what I’d experienced with other waterproof jackets, and was reminiscent enough of wearing a softshell that I wondered whether the Shift was truly waterproof.