As the range of products that we review and explore expands, looking at brands that are renowned for a variety of outdoor products and not solely limited to clothes is also necessary.
This past year we have gone through numerous brands and their top-selling and most popular designs, and fortunately there are many more brands to feature and become acquainted with.
In today’s brand face-off, we have selected L.L. Bean and Lands’ End, two brands that make outdoor clothing and other gear that are essential for having a safe and cozy time in your adventures.
We will begin with L.L. Bean, as it is a brand that has been previously featured in our comparisons.
Let’s get started!
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1. L.L. Bean
A short history of the brand
A brand established more than a century ago, L.L. Bean began with a pair of rubber boots, made by Leon Leonwood Bean, the brand’s founder.
Being a fisherman himself, he knew too well the importance of good footwear and his rubber boot became a popular item in his community for its quality and the protection it provided to those who went hunting or fishing.
While at first it focused primarily on these two activities, throughout the years the brand expanded its product range to cater to other outdoor activities through their innovative and quality designs.
Nowadays, L.L. Bean retails in more than 50 stores, primarily located in the U.S, as well as Japan and Canada.
Materials and Manufacture
If there is anything we have learned from looking at so many brands and the materials they use, it’s the fact that a high quality brand will not rely only on regular fabrics for their products, but will almost always work with specialized ones as well.
Many brands have developed their own fabric technologies, while others utilize already-developed options, one of which is Gore-Tex, one of the best-performing fabrics to date, and one which L.L. Bean use for their weather-resistant and highly durable products.
Other fabrics that this brand has incorporated in their designs are Loomia fabrics, as well as PrimaLoft.
Being a brand that specializes in outdoor garments, they rely on PrimaLoft’s synthetic insulation for jackets that are made to be lightweight and weather-resistant in low temperatures, whereas natural down is part of their other winter coats, which are made to provide great insulation, preferably in dry conditions as down is notorious for its susceptibility to moisture, as we have discussed in a past piece.
L.L. Bean makes most of their products in Maine, where their headquarters are also located, while the rest are made in Asian countries.
As we usually do in these brand comparisons, we have picked two popular products by L.L. Bean:
L.L. Bean Men’s Mountain Classic Down Parka
The coat we have picked is the Mountain Classic down parka for men. This is a medium-length parka that ends at the thighs and provides warmth during harsh winter days.
It comes with the Bean Tested® DownTek™ insulation, which is a synthetic, weather-resistant insulator that helps keep you warm in wet conditions and dries quickly as well. This is a 100% recycled polyester jacket with an attached hood and adjustable sleeve cuffs.
L.L. Bean Continental Rucksack
We chose a backpack as the second product. The Continental Rucksack is an iconic pack by L.L. Bean, which is made of recycled polyester fabric, lined with 210-denier nylon and reinforced with Kodra nylon.
It has an air mesh back panel that helps keep the back of the pack breathable in order to prevent discomfort and excessive sweating. The top lid comes in a hinged design that makes accessing contents much easier.
There are several sleeves on this rucksack, providing plenty of storage space and helping to keep everything organized.
You might also like: Backpack vs Rucksack: What’s the Difference?
L.L. Bean prices are quite varied, generally speaking. Being a brand that makes quality products, you will find designs that can be considered expensive, but their product range includes options that are quite affordable, as well.
Typically, the prices start at roughly $70, whereas the more expensive designs can cost more than $200.
Are their products worth the price?
Overall, L.L. Bean designs are made of good quality materials and are quite comfortable to wear. Judging from the reasonable prices on most products and their overall performance, this is a quality brand that is worth the chance, in our opinion.
2. Lands’ End
A short history of the brand
Established over 50 years ago, Lands’ End started out as a small mail-ordering company for yachting equipment in Chicago.
Its founder, Gary Comer, a copywriter with a passion for sailing and traveling the world, founded Lands’ End along with four of his friends, who, like him, were also passionate sailors.
It took them several years to position the brand as one that could rival other popular names at the time and in 1977 the company was a million-dollar business.
Lands’ End is one of the brands to first embrace e-commerce as part of their mail-ordering operation and continued to expand their product range and reach, featuring not only yachting supplies but apparel, too.
Nowadays there are numerous Lands’ End stores, although that, the brand continues to rely primarily on its online retail stores.
Materials and Manufacture
Brands are always moving towards greener and more sustainable production means and Lands’ End is one of them, too.
They take great pride in their progress in this regard and continuously make efforts to use materials that are responsibly sourced. For those looking to find out more, you can take a look here.
Primarily, they rely on nylon for their weatherproof outerwear, but cotton and polyester also play a major role, especially for the outerwear and some of their bags.
Their insulating jackets rely mainly on natural down, which is the best insulator there is when it comes to warmth and loft. Lands’ End use only responsibly-sourced down as per the RDS certification that ensure the humane treatment of the birds and prohibit live plucking.
The manufacturing facilities operate within international standards, along with the brand’s own high standards of providing quality conditions and treatment to their employees.
Lands’ End Women’s Classic Squall Raincoat
Our first selection by Lands’ End is Squall, a classic raincoat for women, made out of 100% Nylon. This design comes with sealed seams that prevent any water leaks or seeping through.
To make it a comfortable jacket, the inside of the upper body is lined with soft fleece, which is both antistatic and anti-pill, also helping to provide some insulation against the cold.
There is a 2-way zipper on this design that is protected by a storm flap, and it also comes with four outer pockets and adjustable sleeve cuffs.
Lands’ End Handled Canvas Backpack
The backpack we chose is the Handled canvas design made of cotton. It is a laptop-suitable design, which comes with adjustable shoulder straps that are padded to make them more comfortable.
It comes with several pockets, some of which are on the outside, such as the mesh pockets, and some are on the inside. There is a key fob, too, for those who might need it.
Lands’ End is also a brand that provides a wide price range for their products. Their backpacks are quite reasonably priced, as is the activewear and a lot of other designs.
Jackets, our main focus, are also quite varied in price, many of which go for around $100, whereas the winter parkas can go upwards of $300.
Are their products worth the price?
All in all these are quality designs made of durable materials. Depending on what you are looking for, the price can be definitely worth it.
3. Which Brand is Better?
Both L.L. Bean and Lands’ End design and manufacture a wide range of products within similar categories. Which one is better, as usual, will depend on which one fits your requirements and preferences better.
If we were to decide, we would go with L.L. Bean for those looking to purchase technical clothing as their performance gear is of high quality, especially the footwear and backpacks.
On the other hand, Lands’ End provides better fits and choices, especially for the activewear and casual apparel. Their affordable prices can also be a deciding factor for some buyers.
With that being said, we would advise you to have a clear idea of what it is you are looking for, in order to avoid buying a product that doesn’t meet your needs.