This post will be less about how to identify Regulator fleeces, than a bit about why I like them. The jackets has changed routinely in style, cut and colors; making identifying them a bit tougher than the Snap-T. The one consistency has been the “R” logo on the left sleeve. Beyond that, the easiest way to familiarize yourself with the difference is to handle them. a 1999 R2 jacket will be pretty much the same weight as a 2015 version. The R3 jacket though has changed considerably in the past couple of years, moving to a “grid” fabric that I don’t think looks as nice. As always with Patagonia, it’s fairly simple google the style number to find out the style name. As with other jackets, the tag will either be on the inside left side seam; or behind the neck tag.
The Regulator Fleece jackets, introduced in 1999, are perhaps the greatest leap in synthetic fleece fabric. Weight for weight, they will be warmer than Synchilla fleeces, and are generally more durable and abusable. I’ve used mine around the world, and in a variety of conditions, and will say that for active pursuits, these are my goto jackets. I currently have an R2 jacket (purchased in the Fall of 2002 off the clearance rack at REI in Saratoga, CA) that is very worn down, and a relatively new R3 Hi-Loft fleece (purchased in the Fall of 2014 from the Patagonia Outlet in Santa Cruz, CA).
As you will see from the pictures, my old R2 fleece (a Spring 2001 model in Fire/Asphalt (dark red/gray), has been through a lot. It has seen climbing and hiking action from the Sierra Nevada of California to the Himalayas in Nepal. It’s been to more countries and states than a lot of people have. Lately, it has been retired to lounging around the house duty. I just can’t bring myself to get rid of something that has been part of so many experiences. The Buddha eyes were embroidered by a street vendor in Kathmandu while I enjoyed an Americano at the cafe next door!
The R3 jacket (the color is called “Red Delicious (RDS)) is in the early stages of developing character. It has seen action in the ranges of California, and now that I have moved to Colorado, it has seen some use in the Rockies as well. I wore it today, on a brisk day with a high of 23, with only a t-shirt underneath.
Here are the pictures of my R2 jacket. The catalog images are of the Early Spring 2001 catalog.
Here are the pictures of my R3 Hi-Loft jacket.
So yeah, there’s a bit about my “collection” of Regulator fleece jackets… I do wish I still had the R1 pullover and R4 jackets that I had once upon a time. The windproof R4 would be ideal for Colorado winters…