A legacy action sports brand, and one of the few “independently rider owned and operated” since day one, 686 has pushed the design of progressive technical apparel for more than 20 years. Founder Mike West remains president and CEO, safeguarding the So Cal technical outerwear brand he started in 1992. His passions for skateboarding, punk, rap and jazz music, sneakers and vintage clothing were his inspirations, along with his snowboarding addiction found at Big Bear, CA, in the late ‘80s.

 Among the brand’s many achievements include the snow world’s first 3-in-1 pant, now a part of its trademarked SMARTY series, it’s innovative infiDRY fabric, and with a few other brands in the 90’s, it helped pioneer the use of recycled plastic bottles, hemp and other eco friendly materials into the production of their apparel.

And this fall marks the 20th anniversary of the 686 Toolbelt, $45, an oft-imitated product that may very well be the brand’s most indelible mark on the snowsport industry.

Every rider on the mountain has something come loose sooner or later. Tools take up precious space in your pockets, hurt to fall on, and resort tool benches never seem to be there when you need them. The 686 Toolbelt patented design includes three wrenches, two screwdrivers and one bottle opener, designed to deliver quick fixes in unexpected situations. TSA compliant, it has also become a daily carry for adventurers who simply like to be prepared.

686-toolbelt-graphic“For the last 20 years, the 686 Toolbelt has solved the inopportune needs that anyone who enjoys snowboarding and skiing faces. Eventually you’re going to need a wrench, screwdriver or bottle opener,” said Brent Sandor, 686 director of marketing. “Multi-tools are tough to remember, get lost and add weight. Since its debut, the 686 Toolbelt’s purposeful design has been used in countless ways, from the backcountry to resorts people’s cars on the side of the road and while they travel long after snow season has ended. The amount of stories we have gotten continue to amaze and inspire us.”