You've probably heard of 686 through your snowboard buddies, who know that 686 has been making apparel for the core board-sports scene for a long time. Twenty-five years, to be exact. This year, for the first time, the Compton-based company launches a line of skiwear.
So, yeah, we know what you're thinking: Yet another snowboard brand that finally wants to get into the cool factor of skiing. Well, you can be cynical all you want, but when you approach 686 with an open mind, you'll first realize how good their stuff is, and secondly, how lucky skiing is to have them join our community. It's all sliding downhill, anyway. Who cares what you put on your feet?
That's the authentic approach 686 brought to the table with its GLCR Project, from which the 3-in-1 Weapon Jacket stands out for its technical properties, functionality in harsh mountain environments, and great style. Made of two-layer Gore-Tex, the shell comes equipped with a removable, integrated Primaloft midlayer. Together, the shell and midlayer are warm but surprisingly not bulky.
Like the rest of the piece, the system is well thought out, including a big chest pocket that carries goggles or a pair of skins, a touch-compatible phone pocket, helmet-compatible hood, and adequate underarm venting. The cut is roomy and long, but doesn't suffocate or hinder movement. The outer fabric has a rugged feel but doesn't have the loud, crinkly sound associated with other jackets. Given the tough construction, it inspires fast skiing through unforgiving terrain.
As a heavy jacket, especially with the midlayer, this piece is best utilized riding chairs, not touring in the backcountry. But if you consider the best days to be when the mercury drops, the wind howls, and snow flies sideways providing free-refills on every lap for you and your friends (no matter what they ride), the Weapon is one of the best new options for 2018.