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686, the oldest independent snow outerwear brand in the U.S., is releasing their first collection in conjunction with ’47 Brand.  The collection features the logos of fourteen schools across the U.S., including Boston University, Brigham Young University, University of California, University of Colorado, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Michigan, University of Nebraska, Pennsylvania State University, University of Southern California, University of Texas, University of Vermont, University of Wisconsin and Yale University.

For each school there will be a new custom Victory Jacket release (insulated shell), Flight Jacket (insulator piece that can be worn on its own or under another jacket), as well as ball caps, masks and other items.  I had the opportunity to try out one of their Flight Insulated Jackets, as well as some of their hats and neck gaiters.  Their apparel is LEGIT.

QUICK REVIEW:

Aesthetics: A

Utility: A-

Quality: A-

Price/Value: B+

Overall: A-

The NCAA Technical Apparel Collection from 686 and ’47 is on point.  The apparel is stylish, functional, and gives fans and alumni a solid alternative to the book store merchandise.  There are some very, very minor details that I can nitpick at, but you will not be disappointed with any of this gear.  If you’re lucky enough that your school is included in their line, it’s a definite cop.  Check out all their products here: http://686.com/products/men/collections/686-x-47/.

FULL REVIEW:

wiscojacket

The guys at 686 and ’47 sent me a bunch of awesome items to try out.  They hooked me up with the Wisconsin Flight Insulated Jacket, a Wisconsin Crispy Snapback, a Michigan Toasty Snapback, and a couple of Sierra Neck Gaiters.  Check out how they look in real life via this gallery:

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Flight Insulated Jacket

The Flight Insulated Jacket is simply awesome.  It’s lightweight, but incredibly warm.  It’s worth every single penny at its retail price of $150.  I wore it around Chicago for one weekend and had several people ask me where I got it.  It fits perfectly, and just looks great.  A lot of fan apparel is over the top, and I love that this jacket isn’t.  It’s got the Wisconsin W on the upper left chest, and a University of Wisconsin crest on the back right shoulder.  If you’re a fan or alumni, it’s clear that you support the Badgers, but you don’t look like a 12-year-old kid wearing this coat.  It’s got as much class as a fan apparel jacket can have.

The Flight Insulated Jacket is perfect for walking around in freezing cold temperatures.  I actually had to unzip the coat when it was in the mid 40’s because it gets so toasty inside.  I could imagine myself skiing in this bad boy in 25-35 degree weather without a doubt.  It’s thin enough to layer, too, if you’re going to be facing extreme temperatures.

My one tiny nitpick about this jacket, and it’s probably just because I’ve never seen it before, is the pocket zippers.  They zip down to close instead of up like every other jacket I’ve ever owned.  This takes a little getting used to, and shouldn’t deter you from buying it, just be aware of this little quirk.  I’m sure there’s a tactical reason for it, but I’m not quite sure what that reason is.  Overall Rating: A-

Crispy Snapback

This isn’t your average snapback.  The Crispy Snapback has a grid fleece inner lining to keep your head warm when it’s cold outside.  It’s waterproof, breathable, and durable.  It looks incredibly sharp, and the color really pops.  If you’re into snapbacks, this should probably be in your collection.

My only knock on the hat is that the Wisconsin logo was screen printed on, not sewn.  I’m sure this has to do with the material and waterproofing, but I just prefer the embroidered look over the print.  Still cool as hell, though. Overall Rating: B+

Toasty Snapback

If you prefer the bill to pop and the crown to have that gunmetal camo look, the Toasty Snapback gives you that option.  The rest of the specs are the same as the Crispy Snapback, so you’re getting the same hat essentially.  Both of these hats retail for $32, which is a little steep for a hat, but like I said before, they’re not your average snapbacks.  Hit the slopes in style with one of these.  Or both of these.  Fuck it, buy one of each.  Overall Rating: B+

Sierra Neck Gaiter

If you’ve ever gone skiing or snowboarding without something covering your neck and face, you probably went to the gift shop at the lodge and bought a scarf, or just dealt with the chaffing and chapped lips and had a miserable time.  The Sierra Neck Gaiter is perfect for any type of activity where your neck and face are going to be exposed to cold or extreme conditions.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see hundreds of these in the stands when the temperature starts to drop at the Big House.

This neck gaiter is extremely comfortable and of the highest quality.  At $25 it’s well worth the price.  The colors are great, the logos look awesome, and it just feels nice around your neck.  There’s like 6 different ways to wear this thing, too.  An absolute must cop for any fan.  Overall Rating: A

686 has tons of cool stuff.  The quality is extremely high, and you can tell a lot of thought was put into the design of their gear.  Check out their products here: http://686.com/ and gear up for the winter.  You won’t be disappointed.

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