L.L. Bean has been around for over a hundred years. This Maine-based company has over 50 stores worldwide as well as a strong online presence.
The brand has a strong reputation for creating products that are comfortable, durable, and high quality. Since they offer such a wide variety of products, there is an expected range of prices that you’ll find when shopping around the store.
In order to determine whether or not L.L. Bean is a good brand, we need to break down what factors make a good brand and see how this company compares!
The L.L. Bean Brand
L.L. Bean has been a great brand that provides high-quality products for over 100 years. They’ve spent the last few years focused on developing and selling high-performance products that even incorporate their own technologies.
The design phase is important to L.L. Bean as they keep durability in the outdoors in mind from the start of the process. Their testing of products can be brutal, mimicking the harsh environments that their customers will expose the clothing and gear to.
Even their casual clothing and boots go through this process. They expect a basic flannel or chamois shirt to hold up to the same rough testing as their camping gear so if you purchase from their casual line you can expect it to last a lifetime.
I have several chamois shirts that I have had for over 30 years that still look nice and never really go out of style.
They also have a focus on sustainability: they want their products to be durable, and not disposable.
One way this is accomplished is by not just using everyday fabric (like cotton) in their clothing and gear and by doing their own manufacturing in Maine instead of outsourcing.
L.L. Bean Quality
With the above points factored in, it’s clear that L.L. Bean is certainly not a low-end brand. They have a varied price range, with many of their products being expensive.
In other words, you could get something similar online for less cost. The question becomes, is it worth it to pay the extra money for the L.L. Bean product?
They have over one hundred years of reputation, with legions of dedicated fans. As an outdoor brand company, they need to make sure that their products will withstand what could be very rough conditions. Outdoor adventures simply would not buy their products if they were not holding up.
Additionally, if you compare them to other similar companies, such as Patagonia and The North Face, they may actually be a bit less expensive.
L.L. Bean Returns
L.L. Bean has great customer support and also has an easy to use one-year warranty or return policy. If you are unhappy with the product, you can return it for your money back with proof of purchase.
Until a few years ago, this was a lifetime policy. Unfortunately, the company found that people were taking advantage of the no questions asked policy, and returning items that had been seriously abused, or were even from different manufacturers.
From the L.L. Bean website:
The change aggravated fans of the line sparking online outrage and a lot of press coverage. Some claimed that they were done with the product and it’s unclear if it had any impact on the business as they’re still doing very well.
Is L.L. Bean Ethical?
L.L. Bean has a strong connection to and commitment to nature and the outdoors, which is why they’re constantly looking to improve their efforts in sustainability. By 2025, their main goal is to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions by 50%.
They currently recycle 84% of the waste created in all Maine facilities and use Responsible Down Standard on every down product that’s produced.
Here’s a quick guide to the L.L. Bean sustainability program:
Another part of their improvement relies on picking the correct materials to work with that are durable and sustainable in the long run. For the near future, they have goals to increase their use of recycled materials in their products like polyester and nylon.
Overall, L.L. Bean certainly makes quality clothing, equipment, and gear which would classify them as a good or even great brand. They put a lot of effort into the development of their products, and their aim is to make them last.
They are certainly not the most inexpensive, but you will be buying a product that is meant to last (and does). Their return policy, while not as generous as in the past, is still impressive. Most other clothing companies simply will not let you return a product because you no longer like it.