Review: 686 Plexus Sonar Softshell Jacket

31 Mar, 2011

Intended Purpose: The 686 Plexus collection is all about the minimalist, lightweight, shell jackets that go above your standard shell jackets.  The Sonar softshell jacket continues with the minimalist features in a shell jacket but also offers 15,000k waterproofing and 10,000gm breathability.

Fit: The 686 Sonar continues with the 686 fit so it will run baggy on you.  I like the fit of the 686 softshell jackets because they run baggier, longer and still fit in the arm length for me.  I enjoy wearing men’s jackets because I never have to worry about snow getting down my ass when I bend over and they have the length I want.  The fit isn’t always there but I like how the sonar jacket fits me personally.

Appearance: I took a risk when I picked the sonar jacket in herringbone because it’s the second time I’ve used herringbone in a jacket and it definitely will attract snow on the mountain.  But the style and fabric I really like.  People notice the fabric and always comment on it.  The sonar up close is striped but from a distance it looks like a solid color.  The color says it’s black herringbone but there are many times when I think it looks navy.  I combined the jacket with bright blue smarty pants this year and really love the combo.

Features:   The plexus collection is meant to be minimalist which means it won’t have as many features as other jackets in the 686 collections.  It will have the same technical features like 15,000 waterproofing and 10,000 breathability which makes this a softshell jacket you can wear year round.  It also features underarm vents, removable powder skirt, water resistant zippered chest vent and chest pocket.  The total pockets on this jacket are three, one chest and two hand pockets on the front.  The inside of the jacket is minimal.  Velcro cuff closures on the wrists and zippers work fine on the jacket.  The jacket does zipper up from the bottom which I find annoying to be honest.  For material, the sonar is 100% poly tweed herringbone face with bonded 210g 100% poly fleece inside.

Durability: This jacket has over 70 days on snow this year, it’s been my main jacket for the majority of winter.  In terms of durability, for 70 days it still looks brand new.  The only wear on it is some scuff marks from where velcro got ahold of the herringbone but it’s nothing major and you barely notice it.  The overall look of the jacket is still in great shape, the zippers work and I’ve encountered no problems with durability from this 686 jacket.  It’s been ridden in sunny bluebird days, powder fluffy days and cold dreary days on the mountain.  On the colder days, I layer up underneath but the majority of winter has mostly been riding in my Burton dry ride hoodie underneath this jacket.

Thoughts: The Sonar softshell jacket has been my main jacket for the majority of this winter since October and is still in use today (that’s 6 months of riding so far and over 70 days).  I found that last year I could wear a softshell jacket all season comfortably and this year I decided to opt in for another 686 softshell jacket.  The herringbone fabric makes it a heavier softshell material but very durable.  I love the material, fit and overlook look of the jacket and I dislike the missing ipod pocket and zipper from the bottom up.  When I ride with an ipod, I have to put it in the front button chest pocket and that’s just not a good location or option for it.  The bottom up zipper is more annoying than anything else.  On the wet snowy days, the jacket stays dry and doesn’t appear soaked through at all.  On the bluebird days, it’s definitely a easy jacket to get warm in but having the underarm vents helps a lot.

There’s a reason I’ve worn this jacket so much this year and that’s because it worked for me.  I have other jackets in the closet but I really love the look and design of this one.  It’s durable and it holds up in the snowy days on the mountain without making me overheat while riding.

Ready to buy? Head over to evo for men’s 686 snowboard jackets or shop their full line of men’s snowboard jackets

On-snow photos

686 Plexus Sonar Softshell Jacket Description


Review Disclosure:  This product was given to me from 686.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

Related Posts


  1. jpt
    March 31, 2011

    Awesome pic of that pow slash. Totally jealous.

  2. Rose D
    March 31, 2011

    Makes me want to move out west!