Review: 686 Smarty Original Cargo Pants

10 Apr, 2011

Intended Purpose: The Smarty Original Cargo snowboard pant started it all with the smarty series.  Highly waterproof and breathable with a ton of pockets to store everything you need on the mountain.

Fit: The original cargo pants have the baggy fit to them in usual 686 standard sizing.  Baggier all around feel and super comfortable if you like baggy.

Appearance: I really liked the bright cayan colorway on the original cargo pants and figured the bright look would go great with the darker plexus sonar softshell jacket I have.  I have noticed with the amount of sunny days in CA that the lower portion of the pants have faded a touch versus the pant portion that’s hidden underneath my jacket.  The inner pants can be used as pajama pants which helps when you forget yours or don’t expect to crash somewhere and have pajamas.  In terms of material, the pants are nylon solid oxford so not a slick material like my last smarty pants and they work just fine for the snow conditions.

Features: The smarty original cargo pants features 15,000mm waterproofing and 10,000mm breathability which worked great for Mammoth conditions this year.  I wondered how the waterproofing would hold up with the wet snow days but those were few and when I noticed the pants not being as waterproof, I washed them to get the dirt out of the pores of the material and that made them better.  The pants also feature a fleece inner liner pant that works perfectly for pajamas or on the really cold days.  For most the season I went naked under the pants and was fine.  Features include fully taped seams, zippered thigh pocket, side cargo pockets, back pocket, zippered venting.  One thing I noticed with the pockets was since I ride regular, I preferred the right pocket over the left pocket because it had a zippered closure.

Durability: These pants have been my main snowboarding pants all winter long (that’s 6 months of riding and over 70 days) plus I’ll use them well into the summer riding and they are still holding strong. There have been no major issues with the pants, they are holding up strong for wear and tear so far. One noticeable durability test has been the fading of the color. On the pant portion covered up by my jacket, the color is bright as day 1 but the portion that’s been in the elements and in the sun, has noticeably faded over the season.

Thoughts: The original cargo pants have worked for me all winter. Tons of pockets to put extra stuff like camera gear on the mountain but also high quality for waterproofing and breathability. The pants have lasted me over 70 days so far while still in great shape and continue to be exactly what I need every day on the slopes. On the colder days, I wear the inner layer below the pants and on the warmer days, just open up the vent pockets. My only complaint with the pants is the pocket design which I’ve discussed with Mike, the owner of 686. The left pocket is a cargo pocket with 2 small velcro strips to keep it closed and the right pocket is zipper opening with a cargo pocket with velcro closures. The left pocket doesn’t fully close which means on a deep powder day, snow can get in the pocket from riding left foot forward. It also meant having to adjust since I used to put my camera in that front left pocket but now put it in the zippered pocket on the right side so it stays dry on the mountain.

Ready to buy? head over to evo for the 686 Smarty Original Cargo Pants or shop their full line of Men’s 686 snowboard pants

On-snow photos

On-snow Video (here’s a couple clips in the pants)

Shay shreds Mammoth from Shayboarder on Vimeo.

686 Original Cargo Pant 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!

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  1. April 10, 2011

    Best pants ever.

  2. keothakid!
    April 11, 2011

    My favorite Pant. I feel like they have gotten lighter in weight over the years but they still seem to hold up. Also the liner comes in handy on days when you are tired and you don’t want to change for the ride home.

  3. Yao
    September 03, 2012

    Hi, Do you know what is the diffenece between the 686 Smarty Original Cargo Pant and the 686 Smarty Original Cargo 3-in-1 Snowboard Pant ? thanks a lot