Hands-on Gear Review

Compare hardshell jacket ratings side-by-side >

Patagonia M10 Review

   
Best Buy Award

Hardshell Jackets

  • Currently 5.0/5
Overall avg rating 5.0 of 5 based on 1 review. Most recent review: December 17, 2014
Street Price:   $379 | Compare prices at 5 resellers
Pros:  Extremely light, packs very small, versatile, affordable
Cons:  Large fit, crinkly and noisy, only one hood drawcord, small chest pocket
Best Uses:  Backpacking, hiking, alpine climbing, backcountry skiing
User Rating:       (0.0 of 5) based on 0 reviews
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
Review by: Andy Wellman ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ December 17, 2014  
Overview
The Patagonia M10 jacket is our favorite hardshell for backpacking and the lightest jacket that we tested. At $379 it is also one of the most affordable hardshell jackets in our review and as such is worthy of our Best Buy Award. Our tests show that the jacket is more durable and more versatile than other light shells and nearly as tough as jackets that weigh twice as much. Advanced fabrics and streamlined features make the M10 fantastically versatile; it's small and light enough to accompany you anywhere and it is one of the most comfortable jackets we tested.

Though the Patagonia M10 is fantastic, our testers prefer the Arc'teryx Alpha FL (4 oz. heavier) for alpine and ice climbing and backcountry skiing because of its more ergonomic fit, larger chest pocket, better aesthetics, and astonishing durability. For many people, and backpackers specifically, the M10 could be the best hardshell due to its extraordinary light weight and tiny packed size. Despite the limitations identified below we highly recommend it.

Compare top rated competitors side-by-side >

  • Photos
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge


OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

The Patagonia M10 is a lightweight hardshell that is designed to do everything. It uses a three-layer H2NO performance standard membrane that is simultaneously very thin, breathable, waterproof, and stretchy. It is a minimalist jacket with a set of features designed to save weight at all costs. Sonically welded seams mean there is literally no stitching in the main body construction, which makes it more abrasion resistant, durable, and lighter. Patagonia considers this to be one of their top-of-the-line products for fast and light alpine climbing, and we would have to agree that it is indeed a fine piece of technology. Best of all, it's one of the most affordable jackets we reviewed, so we gave it our Best Buy Award.

Performance Comparison
Click to enlarge
Dan Sandberg wears our Best Buy winner on a backcountry ski mission in the Cascades. The M10 is light enough that you'll hardly feel it and affordable enough that it won't put a dent in your wallet.
Credit: Will Dean

Weather Protection
What the Patagonia M10 gives you with extreme light weight, it loses a bit in weather protection. While it did an adequate job, we found it to be one of the least protective hardshells that we tried. Many of its protection flaws had to do with minimalist features designed to save weight. Our biggest complaint was that the hood had only one adjustment point, in the rear of the head, and this did not adequately allow for cinching down around the face if you are not wearing a helmet. Additionally, we found that the DWR coating wore off very quickly compared to other jackets (especially the Westcomb Shift LT); this caused the fabric to wet out in spots after only a few uses. We gave the M10 a 6 out of 10 for weather protection.
Click to enlarge
The wetted out chest of the M10 after a minute in the shower. The jacket is still dry on the inside, but will not breathe as well unless new DWR coating is applied.
Credit: Elizabeth Riley

Weight & Compression
At 8.8 ounces for a size large jacket, no other jacket was lighter than the M10. Only the Mountain Hardwear Quasar packed down into a neat little package anywhere close to as small as the M10. In order to pack it down you can stuff the entire jacket into its chest pocket; there is also a reinforced clip-in loop for help storing it. These features made the M10 our favorite choice for backpacking and we gave it a 10 out of possible 10 points.

Click to enlarge
The Patagonia M10 jacket inside its chest pocket turned inside out stuff sack. It was the lightest jacket in our review, and the reinforced clip in loop makes it a good option to put on the harness for those days when a wind layer might not be enough.
Credit: Elizabeth Riley

Mobility & Fit
This was clearly one of the most mobile jackets in our tests, receiving a 9 out of 10. The nylon face fabric is highly stretchable ripstop that moves with you as you move. We loved the stretchable fabric and the fit of the hood while wearing a helmet. The hood gripped the helmet perfectly and the entire hood opening turned with our head and face, as opposed to the storm hood on the Arc'teryx Alpha SV; the hood on SV also fit great, but we could turn the head independently of the hood, meaning that the hood sometimes obscures the vision.

While the Patagonia M10 is very mobile and supple, one thing that bothered us was the fit of the jacket. We found it to be boxy and quite large. One could certainly look at this as a plus that many layers could be fit underneath this jacket, but of all the models we tried, this was the only one where we wished we had ordered a medium instead of a large. Our head tester almost always wears a men's large, but this large was just too big.

Click to enlarge
Notice the material in the shoulders and neck stretching as the climber turns his head. We liked how the hood turned with our head, rather than our head sliding around inside the hood as this kept the climbers vision optimally intact. The single adjustment point is visible in the back of the head.
Credit: Elizabeth Riley

Breathability & Venting
Much like the other lightweight alpine climbing jackets we tested, like the Arc'teryx Alpha FL or Westcomb Shift LT, the Patagonia M10 eschews any sort of pit zips or extra venting in the name of saving weight. Due to the great breathability of the H2NO standard membrane, this works out ok. While we thought the M10 was one of the most breathable jackets we tried, we had a similar experience to every hardshell in our review - we were still able to steam up the inside enough that there was water build-up, suggesting that no hardshell is perfectly breathable.

Durability
Our tests show that the M10 is the most durable ultralight hardshell (classified as less than 10 ounces). During our testing period, more than 10 people used this jacket on a host of backcountry ski tours, alpine climbs, and extended backpacking trips. We bushwacked through absolutely heinous terrain, such as the temperate rainforests of Olympic National Park and through the North Cascades, and the face fabric shows only small signs of wear. Other shells, like the Mountain Hardwear Quasar, have rapidly deteriorated when used side-by-side with the M10 in the same conditions.

Click to enlarge
Chris Simrell crossing the upper Elwah River in the Olympic Mountains, WA. This jacket withstood quite a bit of bushwhacking use and abuse.
Credit: Max Neale

This jacket calls into question the need for heavier "bombproof" hardshells like the Patagonia Super Alpine and Arc'teryx Alpha SV. We feel that for 99% of applications a jacket like the Patagonia M10 is best. Our testers rarely reach for super bomber jackets anymore because pieces like the M10 hold up very well and are much more comfortable to wear. Just keep in mind that while heavier duty jackets earned 10 out of 10 in our weather protection metric, the M10 only scored a 6.

Click to enlarge
The Patagonia M10 features sonically welded seams that are almost invisible. It also has water-tight zippers that while effective, were stiff and difficult to manipulate with only one hand.
Credit: Elizabeth Riley

Features
The Patagonia M10 has the same set of features as our other favorite lightweight alpine climbing jackets: a helmet compatible hood, water tight zippers, single chest pocket, Velcro wrist closures, and waistline draw cord. However, we feel that other jackets' features are a bit more refined and function a bit better. The M10 has only one hood adjustment point, and we wish it had three. The zippers are a bit tougher to manipulate than the Arc'teryx jackets, and the chest pocket, while it does double as a stuff sack, is quite small for all the things you want to fit in there. Overall we gave it a 7 out of 10.

Click to enlarge
The only pocket on the M10 is a small napolean-style chest pocket. While it serves as a stuff sack for the jacket, it is pretty small for storing everything you might need while on an alpine climb, we wish it was bigger.
Credit: Elizabeth Riley

Versatility
The Patagonia M10's low weight and minute packed size make it fantastically versatile. Its lack of handwarmer pockets makes it less than ideal for walking around town in the rain because you can't shelter your hands. But handwarmer pockets are best if you don't have gloves or are on super long expedition with lots of down time. The single chest pocket is our preferred pocket configuration for alpine climbing.

Best Applications
Backpacking, Alpine Climbing, Backcountry Skiing

Click to enlarge
Dan Sandberg descends Mt. Cashmere (Washington) in the Patagonia M10 jacket.
Credit: Todd Killcup

Value
For only $379 a brand new M10 can be yours! Seriously though, this is one of the best values out there, enough so that we gave it our Best Buy Award.

Conclusion
The Patagonia M10 is an extremely lightweight and minimalist hardshell fit for almost any purpose. It is a highly versatile piece of gear that has been used by leading alpinists on crazy missions all over the world. Compared to many of the jackets in this review it is highly affordable and backed by Patagonia's Ironclad Guarantee, you really can't go wrong. We love this jacket, and we think you will too!

Click to enlarge
The M10 does a great job moving with the body and protecting from the winds on a solo ski mission in the San Juan mountains of Colorado.
Credit: Andy Wellman

Videos
Patagonia Alpine Climbing Ambassador Colin Haley raves about the M10 in the video below.

Other Versions
M10 - Women's

Andy Wellman and Max Neale

Compare this product side-by-side to top competitors >

Where to Buy?


Thinking about buying some gear we've reviewed? Help OutdoorGearLab out if you do. Just click on any of the above seller links and if you make any purchase, the seller will contribute a portion of the sale to help support this site. It won't cost you anything extra, and it's a simple way to help us fund our gear reviews. Thanks!

*Most retailers free shipping offers apply only to lower 48 US states using ground/economy shipping. See retailer's website for details.


OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: December 17, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used the Patagonia M10?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...

Write a Review on this Gear
Click to enlarge
Credit: Patagonia
Where's the Best Price?
Seller Price
Backcountry $379.00
Patagonia $379.00
CampSaver $379.00
Compare prices at 5 sellers >

*Help support OutdoorGearLab. If you click on one of the seller links and make a purchase, a portion of the sale helps support this site
Related Best-in-Class Review
The Best Hardshell Jacket for Men Review

The Best Hardshell Jacket for Men Review

Our review of the best hardshell jackets for men compares 12 of the industry's top models side-by-side.
Helpful Buying Tips
Get More OutdoorGearLab
Follow us on Twitter, be a fan on Facebook!
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Related Gear Reviews