3 Layer Weatherproof protection; sub 200g weight. The M10 Anorak from Patagonia floats my boat for sure.
As someone who has spent a lot of time operating in the Scottish mountains in winter, I probably need to get over this, but the fact stands – I really don’t like wearing waterproofs. Heavy, bulky, sweaty, that annoying rustling sound when you move; take your pick. So when it comes to hard-shells I like minimalism and functionality.
Companies have cottoned on generally and many make a minimalist climber’s shell at around the 300g mark. But Patagonia have gone quite a way further. They’ve created a hardshell that will keep you dry and keep the wind off you. It has no features that you don’t need. And it weighs less than 200g (198g).
Patagonia say: “Years of tinkering and refinement culminate in the M10™ Anorak, our ultralight 3-layer alpine shell jacket, representing the optimal balance of minimalist design and protection essential for the most critical high-alpine objectives.”
This is a jacket for climbers and alpinists obsessed with shaving grams off their gear so they can concentrate on the job in hand. Firstly it’s a pullover, this has the benefit of saving weight, getting rid of seams that might leak or be an area of weakness, and also creating a clean silhouette underneath a climbing harness. A deep venting and trim, half-zip silhouette gives ample ventilation and allows easy on/off even over a helmet. The cut around the midriff is clean and the M10 doesn’t flap around or hinder vision when you’re climbing and need to see your feet. Patterning around the back, arms and shoulders is also excellent – movement is free (the fabric actually has a slight stretch to it too) and there is no extra fabric flapping around. All seaming is eliminated from the shoulders and back panel, reducing points of failure and enhancing stretch and mobility.
The hood and neck on the M10 Anorak are incredible. Ample room over a climbing helmet, so you feel free to look up/down/around, but also a weatherproof haven. The hood adjusts using a single-pull adjustment which rolls down and stows with a simplified cord-and-hook design. Weatherproofing comes from Patagonia’s proprietary H2No™ Performance Standard shell (built with ultralight, 3-layer, waterproof/breathable nylon ripstop with a DWR finish). Ultrasonic-welded seams are reinforced with narrow seam tape for super low bulk. Granted this set up is not going to be as durable in the long term as a heavier, burlier construction but there is always a trade off. After a season of hard use, rock climbing, alpine climbing, hiking and running, I have to say mine is holding up just fine.
The final features of the M10 Anorak that I haven’t mentioned already are the left side chest pocket with watertight zip (this also serves as an internal stuff pouch) and the simple elasticated cuffs. The stuff pouch feature, I use a lot, clipping it to my harness with the integrated clip in loop. I quite often carry the M10 instead of a straight windsell as it weighs only a fraction more but offers way more protection. The simple cuffs are low profile, work under or over gloves and there is no velcro to freeze, flap and stop working.
The M10 Anorak is a brilliant hardshell, whether you’re a weight conscious alpinist or just looking for a simple, light and effective waterproof shell jacket that works. Great for alpine climbers, rock climbers, mountaineers, runners and hikers. You don’t need tp climb M10 to own one 😉 . Mine almost permanently lives in my backpack, whether I’m guiding or just going cragging on my days off. It has a streamlined feature set, that will keep you out of trouble and whilst it might not be quite as durable as some other shells, I’ll always have this one with me. I just hope Patagonia don’t stop making them!
Find out more and buy one at the Patagonia Website
RRP: £300 or €350
Kevin Avery is an Aspirant IFMGA Mountain Guide. He is available for guiding in the Alps, UK and further afield. Contact him via the website: http://www.truenorthalpine.com