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Patagonia M10 Review

   

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  • Currently 4.8/5
Overall avg rating 4.8 of 5 based on 4 reviews. Most recent review: April 6, 2014
Street Price:   $379 | Compare prices at 6 resellers
Pros:  Very light, versatile feature set, generous fit accommodates wide variety of body types.
Cons:  Not as comfortable or as durable as the Arcteryx Alpha FL, chest pocket could be larger.
Best Uses:  Backpacking, alpine climbing, backcountry skiing.
User Rating:     
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  • 5
 (4.7 of 5) based on 3 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (3/3) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
Review by: Max Neale ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ March 19, 2013  
Overview
The revised 2013 Patagonia M10 jacket is our favorite hardshell for backpacking and our second highest rated jacket overall. Our tests show that the jacket is more durable and more versatile than lighter shells, such as the Mountain Hardwear Blazar and Haglofs Gram Comp Pull 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've ever tested.

Though the M10 is fantastic, our testers prefer the Arc'teryx Alpha FL (2 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—it's our second highest rated jacket and we believe it’s Patagonia’s best waterproof breathable jacket ever. Despite the limitations identified below we highly recommend it.

Check out our full Hardshell Jacket Review to compare all of the models tested.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Performance Comparison
Features
The M10 has a full-length zipper, a generous helmet compatible hood, adjustable waist, and two adjustable wrist closures. Lighter hardshells skip the adjustable waist, which is an unfortunate drawback, and don’t have adjustable wrists, which our testers prefer for ice climbing because the M10’s velcro can freeze up with ice and snow, but we very much appreciate the velcro wrists for all-purpose use.

The M10 is the only hardshell we’ve tested that stuffs into its own pocket. Though this feature is fantastic for wind shells and insulated jackets, we feel it is a drawback on waterproof breathable jacket such as the M10. Here’s why: The chest pocket needs to be downsized in order to make it small enough to compress the jacket into an appropriately tiny package when the pocket is reversed and used as a sack. When you only have one pocket it’s nice to have a big one to store things like a camera, GPS, or gloves. We would prefer if Patagonia ditched the stowable feature and made the M10's chest pocket larger, like the Arc'teryx Alpha FL. Our testing shows that a stowable feature is rarely if ever useful on a hardshell because we usually also carry a backpack that can hold the jacket. Being able to clip the jacket to a harness can be useful on rare occasions, but our testers agree that the benefit of a larger pocket would be more useful than the stowable feature. We like to store shells by rolling them up into the hood to minimize abrasion and dirt.

Another very small drawback is the hood pull cord design. There is only one pull cord, which doesn't allow you to customize the hood's fit as well as jackets with three or four cords. Again, the Arc'teryx Alpha FL takes the lead here with it's slightly more comfortable hood.

The chest pocket and hood adjustments are minor drawbacks when you consider all of the M10’s strongpoints. Overall, the jacket has an excellent feature set. We give it 9 out of 10 points in the category. For a more detailed discussion of the best hardshell features see our Hardshell Jacket Buying Advice.

Click to enlarge
Dan Sandberg in the Patagonia M10 jacket (green), Mt. Cashmere, Cascade Mountains, WA.
Credit: Todd Killcup
Weight
A Medium size M10 weighs exactly 8.0 oz. on our scale. It is the third lightest three-layer hardshell we’ve tested. Only the Mountain Hardwear Blazar and Haglofs Gram Comp Pull are lighter.

Mobility
Like most Patagonia apparel, the M10 is cut generously. Patagonia describes the fit as "Slim" but we feel it is closer to the company's Regular Fit; it's relatively boxy (see the photo below). Consequently, the M10 is likely the best lightweight hardshell for generously sized people. The added space also makes it more versatile because you can wear more layers underneath it.

We give the M10 9 out of 10 points for mobility because our testers prefer the cut of the Arc'teryx Alpha FL, which feels slightly more ergonomic, like you’re body is working with the jacket. However, both shells are extremely comfortable and encroach into the space traditionally occupied by softshell jackets. Wearing the M10 is an absolute pleasure because it feels like you're wearing a lightweight wind jacket. Fantastic freedom of movement.

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Max Neale wearing a fleece and lightweight down jacket under the Patagonia M10 (left) and Chris McNamara in the Outdoor Research Helium II (right). Hanging out beneath El Capitan on a rainy day in Yosemite National Park.
Credit: Molly Ravits
Durability
Our tests show that the M10 is the most durable ultralight hardshell (<10 oz.). More than 10 people have used the jacket on a host of backcountry ski tours, alpine climbs, and extended backpacking trips. We’ve 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 Blazar, have rapidly deteriorated when used side-by-side with the M10 in the same conditions.

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 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.

After testing the Arc'teryx Alpha FL extensively for two years we are confident that jacket is considerably more durable than the M10. Arc'teryx reinforces the Alpha FL’s shoulders, hood, and wrist area with a tougher face fabric whereas the M10 is made entirely with one lighter fabric. Our Alpha FL and M10 jackets are now in roughly the same condition even though the Alpha FL has been used for much longer. But this difference in durability is only likely to benefit people that are really tough on their gear, such as climbers, who rub against sharp granite and carry 70 lb. packs. The M10 is more than sufficiently durable for most applications. Overall, it is impressively tough!! For further proof of the M10's durability see what Patagonia Alpine Climbing Ambassador Colin Haley has used the jacket for .

Patagonia has one of the best fabric testing labs in the nation (the author toured it in in June 2012) and Patagonia has a proven history of thoroughly testing their products before releasing them. For example, in 2011 they identified a problem with an early version of the Gore-tex Active membrane that Gore Associates overlooked. Patagonia decided not to launch their Active shell jacket (the Light Flyer) that season while all the other major brands launched anyway (likely unaware of the problem Patagonia identified). The M10 is a good example of Patagonia's very fine craftsmanship.

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Chris Simrell crossing the upper Elwah River in the Patagonia M10 jacket. Olympic Mountains, WA.
Credit: Max Neale
Breathability
Breathability is very good, way better than ultralight rain jackets. The ability to ventilate through the full-length zipper is what separates this shell from its ultralight competition. We’ve found that when you’re working hard it’s often possible to unzip the jacket all the way and then close it up when you reach the top of a pass, or slow down and aren’t generating as much heat. In such circumstances, jackets with half-length zippers can be too hot. Thus, the M10’s full zipper length is key to making the jacket versatile.

Versatility
The 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.

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Max Neale in the Patagonia M10 with the Hoh glacier and Mt. Olympus in rear. Olympic Mountains, WA.
Credit: OutdoorGearLab
Best Applications
Backpacking, alpine climbing, backcountry skiing.

Conclusion
The M10 is our testers’ favorite jacket for backpacking and our second highest rated jacket overall. We highly recommend it.

Value
Check out our Hardshell Jacket Price Versus Value Chart.

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

Hardshell jacket wash instructions

Max Neale

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 6, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.7)

100% of 3 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 75%  (3)
4 star: 25%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 3 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Apr 6, 2014 - 01:44pm
Ole Hauris Sørensen · Hiker · Copenhagen, Denmark
I'm 6'2, 190 pounds. I've been using the M10, size large, for a couple of months now. The weight and the fit stand out. It's incredibly light weight, and I don't miss pit zips or hand warmer pockets - it's a compromise, but worth it. The best part is the fit. I usually struggle with the sleeves being too short on hard shells. But the M10 seems to have an extra inch or so, and it's a world of difference to me. No more sleeve/glove splitting.

The low weight makes me occasionally forgot that this is a real hardshell, not a thin, light super-breathable jacket. So I've worn it for moderate temperature, high-level activity situations a couple of times. E.g. a fast-paced 20 mile mountain bike trek in 40-ish F degrees. No hardshell is really breathable enough for that sort of thing, same goes for the M10. Now I deliberately use a thinner inner and middle layer than my intuition dictates me. A long-sleeve Icebreaker 150 inner layer under the M10, no middle layer, is my winning combo so-far. Even on quite cold days. The lack of weight and bulk is strange, but it works.

So for me, there's kind of a learning curve with the M10. I really can't fault the jacket itself. I love the simplicity. The fit is great, sleeves, nice room for inner and middle layers, without the jacket coming out baggy. And the neck is not too tight, good room for a Buff, scarf or similar. I haven't tried the hood over a helmet - it seems a little tight for that, but I can't say without having tested it. Maybe you want to double check that yourself, if over-helmet use is critical.

So with the learning curve being over, I expect the M10 to be my hardshell of choice for quite some time. No real weaknesses, and the weight and the fit is hard to beat.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Dec 11, 2013 - 02:49pm
Geoffrey gonzales · Climber · Pasadena, CA
I normally use a houdini for alpine stuff, tucking my hood under my helmet.
But, the reasons someone would choose this over a thin wind shirt (I mean why not right?) is:

1) The hood fits over a helmet, giving you passive superman like protection (where you let the garment do the work), as opposed to active spiderman like protection (where you move around and position yourself to protect yourself.)
2) It has longer arms and wrist cuffs, so in the wet your gloves stay drier, when reaching your wrists stay toasty, and when taking off and putting on gloves your jacket stays put.

Disadvantage time:

1) It doesn't breath as well as a ultralight windshirt or softshell, like a houdini or a knifeblade. This means when your climbing or hiking you either have to choose between being a) a little cold or b) a little wet or c) a little heavier and carry a wind shirt.

2) Its noisy. Obviously. It doesn't bother me, but when you look back at video you think "hmm. interesting".

It fits really really well over 2 or 3 layers, and feels trim without being tight.
To repair it use tenacious tape.
I would recommend this for longer trips, or very cold weather activity.
For these things, its awesome jelly man.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Sep 12, 2013 - 01:37pm
Nick7 · Backpacker · Berkeley, California
Very light, very packable. The material is surprisingly durable considering how breathable and light the jacket is. After scraping it across granite and bullet ice in the sierras, this thing is still without a scratch. Not cheap, but I actually prefer the fit over the more expensive Arc'teryx products.

Excellent jacket.

(I'm 5'7" with athletic build and I wear a medium. Fits perfectly over insulation layer.)

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Patagonia M10
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