L.L.Bean All Conditions Parka
Price Paid: $249
I am not wont to spend $300 for a coat without careful evaluation. When the time came to do so, I purchased the Bean parka and a TNF Mountain Light in order to compare the two. I had the TNF for a couple of days and subjected it to my sef-made cold weather test. It did quite well; my only complaint was that the sleeves seemed too long. Then the Beaner arrived in the mail.
I was shocked that one could get so much more parka for $30 less. Rip-stop nylon and triple-layer Gore-Tex, seriously taped seams and an overall feeling of ruggedness. The TNF jacket felt like a woman's slip by comparison. The sleeves are too long on the Bean parka, too, but I'm having my arms lenghtened in order to accomodate this superb parka. By the way, it's every bit as warm as the North Face.
Fabric: 3layer Gore-tex
Price Paid: U.S. $269
Great value. Extremely well finished. Adequate storage. Very adjustable. Hood adjusts perfectly. This parka is cut VERY generously, both in width and length. It is also very lightweight. I am 5 feet 8 inches @ 175 punds and ordered a large. It is very roomy and also comes almost to the break at the back of my knees. Keep in mind the back is cut a few inches shorter than the front. I think I could have gotten by with one size smaller, but I prefer a larger size and use this only with heavy layers. Great value for the money.
Fabric: 100% Nylon
Price Paid: $269
Just a quick update. I've worn this parka now for two years and it simply won't wear out. I've done nothing but machine wash and dry it and even the durable water repellent coating still beads water like the day I bought it.
I'd like to finally make an embarassing error from my last review. I said that this is a long parka and that the rear is cut a bit shorter than the front. Obviously the rear is cut about 3 inches shorter than the front for a great fit.
You'll be glad you bought one.
Fabric: Parka: Nylon/Gore-Tex
Price Paid: Parka: $245; Fleece Jacket: $75
The whole ensemble is extremely warm and weatherproof and I am very happy with it. The parka is very lightweight but is still warm and dry alone; with the fleece jacket zipped in, it is the warmest cold-weather wear I have ever owned. I have a men's model which comes down well below my hips. The only thing I have a small probem with is the pocket arrangement. There is no pocket at hip level; the two pockets are situated at the chest level which is sort of inconvenient. Overall, I am pleased with this jacket.
Fabric: Gore Tex
Price Paid: $259
This jacket has fared very well over the last year. It's very water resistant- It was lost in a river, submerged, for a full month, and now has been retrieved. I haven't treated it and it still repels water well.
So yeah, that counts as really great. The only negative is that the zipper catches on the yoke of the collar, pretty common in the jacket world. I've got a work around, but it's a little pesky
Price Paid: $250
This parka has my full and complete support. I wore it every day for three weeks of VERY cold and WET weather on the Appalachian Trail in late autumn. I didn't believe in Gore-Tex until I got this parka. Thank you L.L. Bean for creating an affordable and VERY durable waterproof jacket that looks new even after weeks of mud and snow!
Price Paid: $299
Good raincoat, awful hood. I appreciate the totally waterproof, very breathable Gore-Tex XCR, and venting pockets and pit zips. Seems durable. However, the hood design is very inconvenient. It is too bulky, hard to stow, and uncomfortable. I would look for a lighter parka with a stow-away hood - possibly Bean's new Cresta Ultralight?
Fabric: 3 ply gor-tex
Price Paid: $235
The jacket is basicly o.k. Before I purchased the jacket I had only seen the North Face and Marmot Gore-tex jackets, although they were nice, they were pricey. This jacket is long, but has no snow skirt or large cargo pocket.
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