Expert Review: 686 Men's Smarty 3-in-1 Form Jacket

Published on 12/11/2022 · 4 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2022.
Garrett Waliky, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Garrett Waliky

Photos courtesy of Garrett Waliky

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the jacket, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2022.

My take

The 686 Men’s Smarty 3-in-1 Form Jacket is geared for a rider who wants the warmth of a puffy with the waterproofing of a good shell.

About the piece I own

  • Model: 2022 686 Men's Smarty 3-in-1 Form Jacket
  • Size: XL
  • Fit: Runs true to size

About me

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 195lbs
  • Experience: 18 years of snowboarding

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: January 2022
  • Days tested: 50
  • Where I’ve used it: Mt. Hood
  • Conditions I’ve used it in: Powder, sub 15 degrees, rain.

How it performs

Comfort
5/5
Durability
5/5
Warmth
5/5
Breathability
4/5
Waterproofing
4/5
Style
3/5

What I was looking for

I have never been a fan of layering whatsoever. Shells just aren't warm enough, and adding layers makes me feel constricted. I wanted a jacket that would keep me warm and dry without needing more than one layer.

Why I chose this gear

686 has always been a fan favorite out here in the PNW. They offer many options, from shells to insulated jackets. This jacket comes with a built-in puffy jacket. That’s all one had to say for me to be on board.

What I love about it

  • Fit: I have found that 686 has always had one of the best true-to-fit sizes. The XL is roomy enough to layer and never feels too tight, no matter what size layer I rock underneath.
  • Design: This jacket really focuses on design and function. It is designed to keep one warm and the elements out. Not-too-loud design is really appealing to me, and I can see myself wearing all colors.
  • Durability: I put this jacket through the wringer out here on Mt. Hood. We have some nice, tight tree sections, and I have not had any issues with getting tears from tree branches. The 20k shell held up nicely all season, and I never had to apply any kind of waterproofing again.
  • Pockets: One will find more than enough pocket space with this jacket. There are two large pockets near the bottom/front of the jacket and a nice-sized one on the front chest near the zipper where I can tuck my phone away and keep it warm. There's also a large mesh pocket on the inside to tuck my goggles away. Additionally, there’s also a little pocket on the sleeve to throw my pass in.
  • Waterproofing: The Smarty comes packed with a 20k/20k waterproof/breathable shell. In the PNW, I want nothing below 15k or GORE-TEX. The 20k shell packs a punch and keeps me dry all day.
  • Breathability: The Smarty comes packed with two massive zippers with lined vents under the armpit area. On days when the sun is shining, and I start to build some heat up, those zippers provide enough ventilation to get my body temp down with no sweat.
  • Warmth: This was where the jacket shines. As stated earlier, the jacket has a removable 165g puffy-style jacket built right into it. On days it is below 20, I only need a thin baselayer underneath, and I am set. It's removable, so I can leave the puffy in the car when I need a shell. The added jacket is nice to wear after a long day of riding.
  • Weight: I am really happy with the overall weight of the Smarty. The puffy adds no noticeable weight, and I think it feels good after a day of riding and isn’t heavy if I need to throw it into a bag.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Style: If I had to be picky, the length is probably my only dislike here. I love a longer-cut jacket. A long jacket is always nice when I’m riding on a wetter day and the chairlifts are soaking wet.

Favorite moment with this gear

My fiance and I tend to go up to Mt. Hood on weekdays at night after work, and the temps can get pretty low and brisk late at night. It dipped below 10 degrees one night, and all I had on was my ninja suit, but I stayed nice and toasty on the lift. The rest of the crew was left shivering by the top of every run but me.

Value for the money vs. other options

This jacket packs in a lot of features for its price. There aren't many jackets out there offering the removable down, but there are a couple of close competitors. If I had to pick a similar-feeling coat, I would say the Dakine Reach has the same warmth. Not having a removable insulating layer is the only downfall.

Final verdict

If someone is looking for a do-it-all jacket, look no further. The insulated puffy does more than enough, so they don't have to worry about layering up. If it’s snowing or even raining outside, they won’t have to because this jacket will keep them dry and warm.

Garrett Waliky, Snowboarding Expert
5.0
Garrett Waliky
Snowboarding Expert
293 Reviews
9500 Customers helped
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