PNW’s first-ever jacket is loaded with the same kind of practical detailing that’s made its components a consistent hit with our test team and it makes the Lander a really versatile and good value shell. Go a size down if you want snug though.
Keep reading to find out how it compares to the best MTB jackets.
Design and aesthetic
While it’s a shell jacket PNW makes it clear from the start that it’s not a full waterproof. Instead, it uses a stretchy, quiet and so far impressively durable yet light and thin windproof fabric with a DWR water repellent treatment.
The cut is casual with squared-off shoulders but look close and there’s some nice detailed side panel shaping around the sides. Sleeves are adequately long with a cowl over the back of the hand but there’s still quite a big gap despite the elasticated gather underneath. The hem is cord locked too but there’s no ‘fishtail’ drop so it looks like a normal jacket at the expense of butt coverage. There’s a big hood that’ll easily pull over helmets with cord-locked drawstrings to stop if pulling off in the wind. There’s a simple loop and tab system to keep it stowed at the back of the open collar when it’s not needed.
There are two big zipped hand pockets with an 82 per cent recycled mesh liner that can act as low-down vents but things get really clever with the rear pocket and vent arrangement. Two long vertical zips start mid-back on either side and extend right down to the hips to act as back vents. They also let you access three mesh (82 per cent recycled again) elastic topped apron pockets which are suspended on an optional internal slide lock waist belt.
While having the belt and pockets inside seems odd at first and certainly makes access more awkward than external pocketing it works really well in practice. The riding benefit is that it stops the pockets from pulling the jacket down or bouncing around even when you’ve stuffed them. It also protects the contents of the pockets (great if you have a tendency to half eat your snacks or take paper bagged nutrition straight from the bakery) from weather and back wheel-spray. Internal pockets don’t look weird off the bike and you can still use a hip pack over them too although that does obviously make the vents less effective
While the rear vents don’t work as well as armpit zips from a pure cooling point of view, when teamed with open front pockets they can still create a decent breeze to stop your lower back from getting too sweaty. You should expect some dampness if you open them on a rainy day but even that highlights an unexpected strength of the Lander. While PNW doesn’t claim it’s waterproof, the DWR coating is one of the best we’ve used recently and we’ve been out riding in heavy shower conditions in the Lander for hours at a time and still come home dry with droplets beading off. It does a good job of killing wind chill, too, although the loose cuffs and open neck can make it a bit draughty depending on what you’re wearing underneath. If you want a snug fit overall we’d suggest sizing down too as there’s no chance to try before you buy
The fact it’s not seam sealed also helps the breathability so even if you’re working seriously hard it’ll soon shift any steam that builds up. The fabric doesn’t feel clammy against bare skin either so we were comfortable wearing it over PNW’s short sleeve Ozone Trail jersey. The lack of backing fabric and the mesh pocket liners mean it dries fast if the weather perks up or between rides on multi-day missions.
While the zips and hood make it bulkier than a minimalist emergency shell it still packs down into its front pocket and it’ll fit into PNW’s Rover hip pack, too. It’s shrugged off plenty of rough use unscathed so far too and it’s covered by a lifetime material and workmanship warranty if something does give way unexpectedly.
There are a huge amount of mid-price shell jackets around but the Lander definitely provides some good reasons to choose PNW. For a start, it handles rain a lot better than even PNW suggests and the fabric and vents mean it still stays relatively dry and comfortable unless you’re properly steaming up the climbs. The big hood adds welcome protection and the internal belted pockets are a really clever feature for keeping your spares and snacks stable and protected. This all translates into a jacket that’s practical and comfortable all day whatever the weather and its durability make it even better long-term value. The casual styling makes it versatile on or off the bike too, although loose cuffs and collar mean fans of snug coats might be better off sizing down.
Shop for the Lander jacket at Pnwcomponents.com (opens in new tab).
Tech Specs: PNW Lander jacket
- Price: $149.99 / £113.48
- Sizes: XS-XXL in mens and womens
- Colors: Super Nova orange (tested) Neutron green.