686 GLCR Gore-Tex Weapon 3-In-1 Smarty Jacket | Review

Made for mountain adventures, this excellent 686 jacket is packing some very useful secrets

Why We Chose The 686 GLCR Gore-Tex Weapon 3-In-1 Smarty Jacket: Extremely functional, environmentally-friendly, excellent HydraStash feature and a ‘free’ midlayer included.

Price: $600

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Remember the first time you saw Inception? Remember how the whole dreams within a dream concept blew your mind into a million tiny pieces?

Well, picture that concept now, picture that meme where Leonardo DiCaprio is squinting at Cillian Murphy, picture the spinning top and then instead of dreams within dreams switch it up entirely and think about what it would be like to purchase a jacket within a jacket (aka ‘Jacketception’). Your brain just exploded, didn’t it?

“We like this conceptually interesting product”

With the GLCR Gore-Tex Weapon 3-In-1 Smarty Jacket, 686 have gone full Christopher Nolan – altering perceptions of the physical realm as we know it and… OK, might have oversold things slightly there; might have gone a bit too Hollywood. Whatever, we like this conceptually interesting product. Here’s what you need to know about it. 

Materials and Insulation

There’s a lot of meat on the bones here so we’ll jump right in, put our pedal to the metal, and crack on with explaining it all. Buckle up. We’ve got a lot to get through.

First things first, there’s the ‘2-Layer Bluesign Approved Gore-Tex Nylon Stretch Fabric with DWR (Durable Water Repellent)’. You know what Gore-Tex does, you know what it’s about, you know that it’ll keep you dry when the conditions serve up their absolute worst. To the surprise of no human being currently alive, that’s also the case here. The jacket’s extremely good waterproofing is enhanced further by the fully taped Gore-Tex seams. 

“The biggest talking point of this jacket is that it comes with a removable midlayer”

What’s good about the Gore-Tex used in this product is that it’s also very breathable and is, perhaps most interestingly of all, designed to be used by people who want to get hyper mobile. By being that bit more stretchy, the Gore-Tex in this jacket is well placed to suit the needs of active skiers looking for heightened movement and articulation in their apparel. 

Probably the biggest talking point of this jacket is that it comes with a removable midlayer included as part of the overall package. 93% of the 80g insulation here is made from recycled plastic bottles, making this product a very decent scorer on the sustainability front.

While we’re talking about the jacket’s insulation properties, big up 686 for the CLO Eco Vivo Insulation. The brand has claimed it’s “up to 30% more breathable than the competition” (a number which sounds too good to be true, but one that’s reportedly the result of thorough testing). 

As we all know, mid layers often massively limit breathability so it’s cool to see the brainboxes at 686 trying to cook up a solution for this. Vivo works thanks to a series of tiny apertures set within the insulation. These holes are apparently small enough to enhance breathability without sacrificing thermal performance as a result. If it works even half as well as claimed, it means you should be able to spend more time cracking on and less time delayering and relayering. 

One final thing to mention in this particular section. We really like the merino wool blend in the inner collar. It makes for a warmer, more comfortable, experience when you’re fully zipped up.


Some brands would cook up their ‘removable midlayer included with the jacket’ idea, sit back, and expect to immediately start watching consumers’ money flooding in. Not 686 though. They had that admittedly very cool idea for a feature but they also had a tonne more which we’ll tell you about now.

In a nutshell, Hydrastash is “Award Winning Apparel Hydration.” What does that mean exactly? Well, it’s basically a way to combat the planetary scourge of single use cups and bottles by implementing the hydration solution into the clothing itself. New for 2020, 686 have added a Hydrastash powder skirt with elastic micro-tube guides to select jackets including this one (bladder sold separately). No need for a backpack. No need for a single use bottle of Évian. A 686 jacket with secretive thirst-quenching powers is all you really need (and pants obviously). 

“This is a deeply practical ski jacket, one that’s bursting with clever features”

The jacket’s Air-Flo underarm vents will help to keep you cool on the warm days, while the adjustable cuffs and hem cinch will help you to ‘lock yourself in’ on the cold ones. The adjustable helmet compatible hood and inner lycra wrist gaiters will also come in handy in such situations.

As we all know, pockets equals practicality. With that in mind, it makes sense that such a practical-seeming jacket like this is pocketed up to the eyeballs with various storage solutions. Take the inner smartphone pocket with an audio cord outlet, for example, or the internal 686 jacquard mesh goggle pocket, or the RFID blocking inner pocket. 

Nice touches like the tangle free headphone loops and ‘pant jacket connect system’ add to the sense that this jacket has had every inch of its being thoroughly considered. 

One final thing to mention. The jacket comes with RECCO advanced rescue technology included. While no substitute for an avalanche transceiver, which should be carried at all times when in the backcountry remember, it is a reassuring addition and adds to the overarching impression that this ski jacket is made for exploring the entire mountain in.


The fact we’ve written so much about the 3-in-1 Smarty from 686 should tell you all you need to know about it. This is a deeply practical ski jacket, one that’s bursting with clever features, and which can, thanks to the removable midlayer that comes with it, be worn three different ways (both layers at the same time, or each layer on its own without the other). It’s a properly versatile and technical all-rounder, made with mountain conquering missions very much in mind.

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