I imagine I'm not the only person who has wished Patagonia would make a lighter, less warm version of the R1 hoody. As it turns out, they have: the cap 4 1/4 zip hoody. 8.2 oz in the medium that arrived for review today.
Feature-wise it is pretty comparable to the R1: slim fit, long torso and sleeves, articulated arms, tight fitting hood, zip to base of sternum, small chest pocket. Instead of thumb holes in the sleeves there are discrete little cords/straps to hold the sleeves in place (or tuck out of the way when not needed). The zip goes straight up the middle of the chin, and ends right below the nose.
The real story is the fabric. When I first saw it I assumed it would be like the old R 1/2, which morphed into the first cap 4 and then got replaced with a powerstretch fabric for the last few years. However, looking at the specs I saw it listed as 3.7 oz a yard. That's lighter than cap 2.
R 1/2 was like R1 fabric, but shrunken. The wider voids of this new fabric represent a different approach, and I'm quite excited for the weather to cool off so I can find out how it works.
I'm assuming it will wick and dry fast. Very fast.
The focus of the eventual article will be comparing grid-fleece (R1 and all the imitators) midlayers to powerstretch. Both wick pretty darn fast, but the structure and increased lycra content of the later tends to dry slower. Like wool, this retarded evaporation can actually keep you warmer under cold and damp conditions.
At least, that is the question I'll be investigating. It will be a bit difficult to do a direct comparison, as most powerstretch fabrics are twice the weight as this new cap 4.
I should also mention that the whole hood and collar are double-layered. For warmth, I assume. Odds are I'll be unable to resist the temptation to cut the inner layer out, which promises to drop some decent weight.