Pando's new M65 Camo Black is the successor to the company's original M65 Camo jacket—which was released about a year ago. This new version is virtually identical, with the added benefit of waterproofing, plus a darker, more subtle design. So, what's the new Camo Black have over its older sibling and what makes it better? Glad you asked, let's check it out.
The jacket's shell is a single layer mix of Dyneema (20 percent) and 16-ounce jacquard canvas. it’s plenty strong enough, and even though it can’t match Pando Moto’s slightly thicker and heavier garments which feature 55 percent Dyneema, you still get an impressive 4.5 seconds of abrasion resistance. That is better than even the high–end Cordura–type fabrics and makes me feel very reassured in the event of a get-off.
There’s armor included as standard with the M65 Camo Black too—CE–approved Knox soft protectors in the shoulders and elbows, though there’s no back protector as standard. It’s worth mentioning, though, that I managed to find several back protectors that would fit the M65’s pocket for less than $20. So, it’s no real hardship if you’re seriously considering it.
The Knox stuff is good quality, but doesn’t really feel like it’s there when you’re in civilian mode. My only gripe is that the shoulder armor sits a little bit low, meaning it doesn’t quite cover the top of my shoulders. Some might not have this problem, it might just be down to my particular body type (I am very tall and slim, FWIW).
The party piece of this jacket, and what makes it a much more usable proposition than its older sibling, is the inclusion of waterproofing throughout. On the outside you get a fairly standard PTFE protection to shed rain. On the inside, you get a 10,000mm waterproof bonded Insotex membrane sandwiched between the outer Dyneema layer and the Coolmax mesh inner lining.
Unfortunately, the lack of taped seams in the M65 Camo Black makes it susceptible to water penetration at points like the main zip, despite the quality waterproof lining. You certainly wouldn’t to wear this if you were going on longer rides where there’s a chance of a prolonged downpour, but for shorter rides when there’s little to no chance or rain it’ll be sufficient.
Fit and Finish
Considering the jacket’s weight and lack of thickness, it doesn’t feel like anything is there. In real world use, a 20 minute downpour left most of the interior of the jacket dry, save for a damp area on the lining facing both lower pockets, which seemed odd — when questioned, the PR for Pando Moto informed me, and I’m paraphrasing just slightly here, that the jacket is “suitable to ride in light rain or for saving the rider from accidental rain”.
In terms of fit, this is a pretty slim cut jacket, so not ideal for larger folks, though there is some adjustment at the waist if you’re carrying a bit more around the middle. Even if you are slim, I’d say it might be worth sizing up for a bit more comfort, especially if you want to wear a fleece or warm jacket underneath. For me, it feels great to wear, on or off the bike. The Bi-swing back with stretch panels offers good flexibility, even if your arms are really stretched out, and this is backed up by nice long arms which provide great coverage, even if you’re a bit ape-like.
For days out on the bike, it’s good to know there are loads of roomy pockets on the outside (and one on the inside), making it easy to carry all your belongings, and they feature a simple pop button design for quick access. No complaints here, although there was a small amount of fraying on both top pocket flaps where my backpack straps must have rubbed against them.
Overall, this is a great jacket for folks at the slimmer end of the spectrum. Sure, there are seven different sizes to select at purchase, but the caveat is that shorter types might struggle with the arm and body length in bigger sizes. There’s the added benefit of a degree of waterproofing and windproofing, but it’s not the warmest jacket. As for the color, well, I’ve never really been a fan of camo on anything that isn’t used in a military application, but here it’s done very tastefully. In addition to that the use of corduroy on both the collar and turned up cuffs looks really neat.
The M65 Camo Black is best suited to warm, but not really hot days as there’s no venting other than a few small eyelets in the armpits. It costs $450 dollars and can be found at Pando's website or, possibly, your friendly, local bike shop.