686 Snowboarding Jackets Review

This is my review of 686 snowboarding jackets and the Geo Insulated jacket.

I’m a certified snowboarding instructor who has spent the last ten years teaching. I’ve worn many different brands of snowboard jackets over the years and have first-hand experience with several options in the 686 lineup. 

686 is a lesser-known but still quality snowboarding jacket manufacturer. I like the blend of performance and value that the brand puts into nearly every model, and they generally have a great fit and solid weather protection. 

In this post, I’ll give you some insight into the many jackets the brand makes and highlight one of my favorite models – the Geo Insulated jacket. My goal is to provide you with an idea of what you can expect if you buy one of these jackets. 

Let’s get started. 

686 Snowboarding Jackets Overview

686 is an outdoor apparel manufacturer that has been around for quite a while. They make many different types of clothing for snowboarding and other sports and have a lot of options for different types of riders. 

This brand isn’t as well known as some of the other big names in the industry, but I still think they offer great quality at an often more affordable price than the competition. I’ve used several of their jackets and snow pants over the years and have always been pleased. 

I think 686 is a somewhat unique brand in how diverse a product lineup they offer. They make everything from everyday streetwear to skating and snowboarding apparel. All of their products are quality, and this wide range doesn’t take away from any area. 

686 jackets are a good choice for any rider who wants a high-quality option that will provide solid warmth and waterproofing without breaking the bank. This isn’t an extremely budget brand, but their options are generally more affordable than Burton and other big brands. 

Each jacket has a natural fit, and you can pick a style that matches your needs as a rider. They have some excellent articulated fit options that hug your body closer, as well as baggy options that reflect their skate and street-inspired origins.

The jackets that I’ve used from the brand have all held up well under heavy use. They are solid and durable to give you plenty of seasons of regular use. For a more budget-friendly option, this is a fantastic characteristic. 

The products 686 makes come with a lifetime warranty, which displays the brand’s commitment to quality and customer service. This guarantee covers any manufacturer’s defects and adds value to any jacket you choose. 

They also offer patch kits if you happen to rip or tear the jacket. The warranty doesn’t cover an accidental rip or tear, so this is an awesome feature that will let you repair your jacket quickly on your own if you snag a brand or take a nasty spill. 

Overall, I’d recommend 686 jackets to any rider who wants to save a little bit of money without compromising performance. They aren’t necessarily a good option for the backcountry but make for a solid resort jacket that can handle a lot on the mountain. 

686 Geo Insulated Jacket Detailed Review

The 686 Geo Insulated jacket is probably my favorite option that the brand currently makes. It’s affordable but will still keep you warm and dry when you ride. It’s insulated but has plenty of ventilation, so you don’t get too hot. 

Comfort

This is a comfortable jacket that is easy to wear and won’t limit your movement when riding. I think the arms run a little bit long, but other than that, the fit is true to size, and you can be comfortable in your standard size. 

The Geo is built with a modern fit design that hits the sweet spot of comfort and performance. The fit is not loose or tight, but somewhere right in the middle, which is precisely how I like my jackets to fit. This fit works well for any type of riding and enhances mobility and flexibility. 

It’s an insulated jacket, so it has a somewhat cushioning feel that adds a little padding if you take a bad fall. Some riders don’t like insulated jackets because they can be bulky and big, but this option keeps it within reason. 

Air-Flo chest vents increase comfort by allowing you to increase the airflow if you heat up or are riding hard. This is nice on warmer days or if you find yourself working hard in waist-deep powder and need a little extra breathing room. 

Waterproofing

The waterproofing capabilities of the Geo Insulated jacket are excellent. The face fabric is made from a 2-layer infiDRY material treated with a durable water repellent finish. This gives you reliable performance when you need it, and you will stay dry when you ride.

It also comes with an infiDRY membrane that gives you 10K mm of waterproofing. This does a great job of blocking out moisture from snow, sleet, or rain and helps prevent your under layers from seeing a drop of water from the outside. 

The combination of these two materials leads to long-lasting waterproofing that you can rely on. It’s a durable system that works in various situations and makes the Geo a good option for any rider that often experiences wet conditions. 

I don’t think this material is quite as waterproof as Gore-Tex, but it easily comes in second place. Gore-Tex is still my preferred choice, but that’s often far more expensive. For a more budget option, the waterproofing here is solid. 

Warmth

Being an insulated jacket, the Geo also offers plenty of warmth. If you tend to run cold or like to venture out on days when the temperature drops, having an insulated jacket on can help you navigate a nasty day. 

The jacket comes with infiLOFT insulation throughout its build. You get 80 grams of insulation in the body to keep your core temperature up. The sleeves come with 60 grams of the same material, and the hood has 40 grams. 

This mapped-out insulation lets you adapt to changing conditions without heating up and is a thought-out choice. I like extra insulation in the body because keeping your core warm is key to staying comfortable in the long run. 

This also helps with movement and flexibility because the arms aren’t stuffed full of material. Other insulated options I’ve used can be a bit restrictive and make you feel like a stuffed animal. The Geo has the perfect spread of insulation, in my opinion. 

Additional Features

This jacket also comes with some solid extras that help increase value and performance across the board. It doesn’t have as much high-tech innovation as some of the top options from Burton but still holds its own well against the competition. 

First off, you get plenty of pockets to stash any extra gear or snacks you want to bring along when you ride. The jacket comes with an internal storage pocket that is perfect for goggles and also has an inner smartphone pocket. 

You also get an adjustable powder skirt to help keep snow out when you are lucky enough to find yourself in deep conditions. A pant and jacket connection system allows you to pair this option with 686 pants as well. 

It also comes with a helmet-compatible hood that is comfortable and won’t blow off in the wind. The Death Grip Velcro cuff works well with your gloves to keep snow and wind away from your arms. Fully taped seams add another level of weather protection. 

Value 

The Geo Insulated jacket is an affordable and high-quality option and makes for a solid value for just about any rider. As with many other options from 686, this one gives you a great blend of performance and value. 

If you are a rider who needs a little extra warmth and insulation, this can be the perfect option to use at the resort. You get plenty of waterproofing, and the insulation is effective without being overdone and in your way. 

This might not be a great value for backcountry riders or experienced snowboarders who want supreme technical performance. It’s a quality option, but not a high-end one. And the insulation makes it less versatile than a shell option. 

Overall, I’d say the Geo is a very good jacket but not quite a great one. It’s one of the better budget options around and will keep you warm and dry. 

The Alternatives

While the Geo Insulated jacket is one of my favorite models from 686, it’s not the only option. Check out these other recommended choices if you want to shop around. 

1. 686 Foundation

The Foundation is another solid option from 686 and is one of their lowest-priced options. It features plenty of waterproofing thanks to an infiDRY 10K mm outer layer and has a modern fit that is comfortable and easy to wear. 

This isn’t the most durable option out there, but the price is very right. You also get hood/helmet compatibility, and the Foundation is available in several different colorways to match your style on the mountain. 

2. 686 GLCR Women’s Hydra

This is an excellent women’s specific option that is warm, comfortable, and ready for action. It’s incredibly waterproof with a 20K mm rating made possible by an infiDRY outer layer. It’s also pretty breathable, so you won’t overheat. 

This option also has a modern fit that won’t be too tight or too loose. It sits right in the middle ground and is very comfortable no matter what riding style you like to do. 

3. 686 Woodland 

The Woodland is another very comfortable and warm insulated jacket. It has a flannel outer layer that looks super stylish while still delivering all-around waterproofing. This is a good option for park riders and anyone who wants a unique but functional option. 

My Verdict

686 is a quality outdoor apparel brand that makes excellent snowboarding jackets. The options they offer are capable and affordable, making them an attractive option for any rider. The Geo Insulated jacket is my favorite option the brand makes.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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