In the battle of L.L. Bean vs Eddie Bauer, many prominent players compete for the top spot in the outdoor gear industry. There are numerous brands to choose from, but these two stand out because they offer quality products that have stood the test of time.
However, when choosing a superior brand, where do you begin? Throughout this article, I will compare L.L. Bean to Eddie Bauer across several key categories to assist you in making the right choice.
Designs & Styles
L.L. Bean: An American Classic
A core principle of L.L. Bean’s design philosophy is to deliver timeless, functional, and practical products.
The company’s traditional American style can be seen throughout its entire range of products, from its durable totes to its legendary Bean boots. With simplistic designs and earthy tones, the gear from L.L. Bean is as at home in the Great Outdoors as it is in the city.
Eddie Bauer: Fashion Inspired by Adventure
Since its founding more than a century ago, Eddie Bauer has adhered to an adventure-inspired aesthetic. The brand’s designs blend fashion with functionality, incorporating the latest trends without sacrificing practicality. Beyond the classic earth tones, the company offers a variety of colour options, allowing consumers to enjoy the brand’s reliability while expressing their individuality.
This category was decided by a small margin, with Eddie Bauer taking the cake with its more fashion-forward approach despite L.L. Bean’s passion for timeless classics.
Materials & Manufacture
L.L. Bean: A Commitment to Durability
L.L. Bean manufactures its products with durability in mind. The brand uses sturdy materials that withstand harsh weather conditions and rough use, extending the lifespan of its products. As a result of its attention to robust materials, L.L. Bean achieves excellent results in the durability of its outdoor jackets, flannel shirts, and, of course, iconic Bean boots.
Eddie Bauer: High-Tech Materials
In addition to using high-quality materials – just like its rival – Eddie Bauer employs innovative technologies in its manufacturing processes. The brand’s outerwear often features advancements like moisture-wicking fabrics, thermal insulation, and weatherproof components. As a result of this focus on using technology to improve its products, the company’s offerings typically beat those of its competitors regarding overall functionality.
While it’s true that L.L. Bean focuses on tried-and-true fabrics, Eddie Bauer’s use of technologically advanced materials gives it a distinct advantage in this category.
L.L. Bean: Casual and Outdoor Apparel
Outdoor and casual wear are the cornerstones of L.L. Bean’s product line. Its catalogue includes everything from casual shirts and pants to camping gear and fishing equipment.
However, those looking for business or formal apparel may find the brand’s selection limited.
Eddie Bauer: Outdoor-Centric But Diverse
Although Eddie Bauer specialises in adventure and outdoor gear, it also offers a range of other clothing types, including casual and formal apparel. Still, the company focuses on specialised gear for various outdoor activities and, as such, offers more options to consumers.
In summary, there is more variety in clothing types and specialised gear available at Eddie Bauer than at any other company (including L.L. Bean) in the product range category.
While this article primarily focuses on the comparison between L.L. Bean and Eddie Bauer, it’s worth noting the parallels between Lands’ End and L.L. Bean. Both brands have a rich history in the outdoor gear industry and have garnered loyal customer bases over the years.
Much like L.L. Bean, Lands’ End offers a range of quality outdoor and casual apparel, with a strong emphasis on durability and timeless design. For many outdoor enthusiasts, choosing between these two brands often comes down to personal preference and specific product needs.
Customer Service & Warranty
L.L. Bean: Service You Can Count On
Customer service has always been one of L.L. Bean’s strongest points.
Although the brand has (unfortunately) changed its return policy from a lifetime to a one-year warranty, it is still committed to customer satisfaction, striving to meet every customer’s needs.
Eddie Bauer: Satisfaction Guaranteed
Eddie Bauer offers a lifetime warranty on all its products, allowing customers to return items for exchanges or refunds if unsatisfied. This policy shows the brand’s confidence in its offerings and commitment to delivering a satisfactory customer experience.
This category is easily won by Eddie Bauer thanks to its lifetime warranty.
Ultralight 850 Hooded Down Jacket
- Material: DownTek-treated down, Pertex nylon
- Sizes available: 6 (S – XXXL)
- Colours available: 6
This L.L. Bean jacket is a warm, hooded, and (relatively) inexpensive model that balances a street-use jacket and a technical garment for cold-weather outdoor escapades. In fact, I recommend it as the model to go for to those who can afford only one down jacket. It is available in six colours and sizes, so getting the Ultralight 850 in fit and look that suits your needs shouldn’t be a problem.
The primary selling point of this midweight jacket is its insulation. The medium-sized Ultralight 850 contains 3.76 ounces of goose down (850 fill power – hence the name), which makes it a very warm piece of apparel. Moreover, this high-grade down insulation has been infused with DownTek, a special treatment that helps accelerate drying and reduce moisture absorption. This makes the Ultralight 850 an ideal outer layer for trekking in temperatures up to -10 below zero.
Regarding outer fabrics, the model features a DWR-coated 20-denier Pertex shell, which is waterproof and windproof. You won’t have to worry about durability – the jacket is heavy, thick, and very resistant to accidental punctures by sharp gear. Furthermore, it does a superb job of preserving the warm air around the wearer’s body: with this down jacket, you’ll never experience cold air blowing under the hem and up the back or down the hood to your chest. The fit and styling are on point.
Unfortunately, there is no adjustable hood on the Ultralight 850, but you should expect that from a model in this price range. There is no rear adjustment, brim, or cords to make the hood’s opening smaller – only a tiny elastic ring around the face (which still does the job, though). On the bright side, the model excels in pocket distribution: it features a zippered chest pocket (with a built-in stuff sack) and two zippered hand pockets.
In the realm of outdoor apparel, the L.L. Bean versus Patagonia debate is a frequent topic among enthusiasts. While the L.L. Bean Ultralight 850 boasts of its impressive insulation and durable Pertex shell, Patagonia, as a brand, has its own line of down jackets that are celebrated for their sustainability initiatives and technical prowess.
When comparing the Ultralight 850 to a similar Patagonia model, one might find differences in environmental commitments, design nuances, and brand ethos. However, both brands offer top-tier quality, and the choice often boils down to personal preference, specific features, and brand loyalty.”
- High-grade down insulation guarantees warmth
- DownTek treatment for quick drying & less moisture absorption
- Durable (and DWR-treated) shell material
- It stuffs into a pocket for transport & storage
- Non-adjustable hood
Water-Resistant Cresta Hiking Pants
- Material: Spandex, nylon
- Sizes available: 11
- Colours available: 5
If you’re into hiking, you know one cannot engage in this activity in just any type of pants. Your hiking trousers need to be durable, water-resistant, sweat-wicking and allow for freedom of movement. They must also be lightweight, making climbing and constant movement more comfortable. Are L.L. Bean’s Cresta Hiking Pants a good choice? Are they a good option for hikers on a budget, as they retail at only $80?
Available in 5 earthy colours – a standard for L.L. Bean apparel – these pants are made of 5% Spandex and 95% nylon. This blend makes the Cresta trousers quite stretchy: they don’t restrict the wearer’s movement in any way. Moreover, additional ease of movement and comfort are provided by a gusseted crotch and articulated knees. It’s also worth pointing out that the outer fabric has a UPF rating of 50+, meaning it can block almost 100% of harmful U.V. rays.
The outer fabric is also highly abrasion-resistant and effortlessly handles the inevitable wear and tear of traversing rugged terrain on foot. On the other hand, the fit is a standard one – the Cresta Hiking Pants sit low on the waist. As their full name suggests, these pants are also water-resistant, which can be helpful for those who often find themselves hiking in poor weather. Lastly, the nylon used in their manufacture is surprisingly breathable and lightweight, and there are six pockets in total, four of which are zippered.
Regarding disadvantages, many buyers complain about the fit of these pants, claiming that they’re too baggy or too slim. However, I think this is a simple consequence of people getting the Cresta Pants in the wrong size – be careful when ordering a pair for yourself. These phenomenal, inexpensive hiking trousers provide excellent value for their low price tag.
- Durable, abrasion-resistant construction
- Stretchy, lightweight, and breathable
- Water & UV-resistant outer fabric
- Lots of pockets
- Easy to get in the wrong size
Gore-Tex Insulated Bean Boots
- Material: Gore-Tex insulation, rubber, leather
- Sizes available: 8
- Colours available: 1
With a perfect blend of style and sturdiness, the brand’s world-famous Bean Boots are as durable as they are stylish. Moreover, when worn with thick socks, these boots are super comfortable. The microfiber-lined Gore-Tex membrane is yet another thing that contributes to the comfort level of these boots. Still, the membrane is here primarily for insulation – it keeps the cold at bay and provides much-needed warmth during wintertime hikes.
The upper of the Bean Boot is constructed of high-quality leather. While this makes the product feel stiff on the foot, it significantly contributes to its sturdiness. Regarding waterproofing, there’s nothing to worry about; with these hiking boots, one can safely trek in wet weather and wade through creeks. After all, the model is equipped with the world-famous Gore-Tex membrane, the best waterproofing solution in the footwear industry.
The most significant drawback of the Bean Boots is undoubtedly traction. Although it’s much better than that found on cheaper, low-top trekking boots, the model falls short in this category. Its outsole’s “cable pattern” fails to impress when grabbing loose or slick surfaces. Be cautious when walking over wet wood or mossy rocks in these boots.
- Comfortable, particularly when worn with thick socks
- Sturdy leather upper & efficient Gore-tex insulation
- Sufficiently stable & supportive
- Stylish, eye-catching design
- Poor traction
Peak XV Down Jacket
- Material: DWR-treated down, ripstop polyester
- Sizes available: 5 (S – XXL)
- Colours available: 2
There are a few good reasons why this jacket costs significantly more than the Ultralight 850 model offered by L.L. Bean. Despite its relatively high price, the Peak XV Down Jacket is one of Eddie Bauer’s bestselling products – it’s a warm, exceptionally well-designed product that features premium-quality materials that considerably enhance its functionality and durability. And while it’s available in fewer colours or sizes than its rival, it’s a better option for anyone serious about their adventures in the Great Outdoors.
Eddie Bauer XV Down jacket uses 800-fill power StormDown for insulation. Take it in your hands, and you’ll immediately notice its heaviness and bulkiness, which are, in this case, a significant advantage – it’s safe to say that the model was built for freezing weather. Another critical thing to say here is that the jacket’s down insulation is DWR-treated and, as such, highly waterproof. Also, the model is true to size and fits nicely over a soft shell or a fleece base layer.
Speaking of fleece, the part of the jacket’s interior next to the wearer’s face features a thin fleece layer, which I consider a nice touch. Regarding pockets, Peak XV has three: a smaller one at the chest and two zippered hand pockets. Its stitching is clean and tight – as expected from an Eddie Bauer garment – and its hood is puffy, helmet-compatible, and features draw-cords for easy adjusting.
Other features worth mentioning are velcro tabs on the cuffs and an easily accessible hem drawstring. On the not-so-bright side, the model lacks a neck baffle, and its central zipper baffle could be more robust. Still, the overall construction quality is outstanding, making Peak XV one of those down jackets that provide plenty of value for the money. If you are okay with the bulkiness and the price, this is the only cold-weather garment you’ll ever need – it’s an investment you certainly won’t regret making.
In the ongoing debate of Eddie Bauer versus Patagonia, much like the comparison with L.L. Bean, it’s evident that different brands shine for different reasons. While Patagonia is renowned for its environmental initiatives and versatile designs, the Peak XV from Eddie Bauer distinctly carves its niche for those seeking unparalleled warmth in extreme cold conditions.
- Exceptionally warm due to its StormDown insulation
- Built for abuse – a highly durable winter jacket
- Large, stretchy pockets & adjustable hood
- Lots of small & practical features
- The central zipper baffle is of questionable quality
Guide Pro Pants
- Material: Spandex, nylon
- Sizes available: 26
- Colours available: 6
Often described as “do-it-all outdoor trousers”, Eddie Bauer’s Guide Pro Pants are among the brand’s bestselling products of this type. In fact, these trousers are so popular that the company has created an entire line of spinoff variants, such as dual-layer, slim, and cold-weather versions. The model I’m reviewing here is the original one, and it leaves little to be desired regarding design, quality and looks. Let’s take a more in-depth look!
The materials used to manufacture Guide Pro Pants are nylon (94%) and Spandex (6%), making these trousers exceptionally stretchy. The model provides enough stretch to retain durability and shape while increasing comfort and mobility. Many people who bought these pants claim that they’ve experienced no wear, tear, snags, or pilling even after years of use – durability is not something to worry about. If you want your hiking trousers to last, you’ll make no mistake by going with the Guide Pro Pants.
Eddie Bauer covers most of its outerwear with a StormRepel DWR finish; these pants are no exception. Another great thing about this product is the athletic fit – the trousers fit relatively trim and close to the wearer’s body while maintaining exceptional flexibility. Moreover, the model is available in 25 sizes, so it’s easy to get the Guide Pro Pants in the right size, even if you’re taller than most people. The only drawback is the somewhat loose fit of the lower legs.
In summary, it’s safe to say that these trousers look and feel like your standard hiking pants without limiting their wearer to an “outdoor” vibe. They work exceptionally well combined with technical fleece layers. If you decide to get these pants, remember they’re available in several additional variants (as mentioned above), including Guide Pro Convertible, Guide Pro 4S, Guide Pro Lined, and Guide Pro Work Pants.
- Versatile design – the pants work in all environments
- Highly durable & resistant to wear and tear
- A stretchy fit promotes mobility
- Available in additional versions
- The loose fit of the lower legs
Guide Pro Hiking Boots
- Material: Leather, rubber, mesh, polyurethane
- Sizes available: 11
- Colours available: 1
Eddie Bauer’s Guide Pro Boot is the premier hiking boot in the brand’s footwear line. Many outdoor enthusiasts use this boot as their “daily driver”, thanks to the model’s excellent traction, comfortable EVA midsole, and durable full-grain leather upper. Those seeking a three-season boot for trekking in exceptionally harsh conditions should keep this model at the top of their list – it’s a bestseller for a good reason.
Equipped with Vibram X.S. Trek outsoles, these boots do not disappoint in the traction department. They stick like crazy on steep, slabby descents, off-trail open forest sections, and rocky hiking trails. The model’s ankle support is also praiseworthy, as is its comfort level – its nylon shank and the EVA midsole offer an almost sneaker-like cushion. The boots are also highly durable, but that’s something I always expect from Eddie Bauer footwear.
The only not-so-good thing about the Guide Pro Hiking boots is their waterproofing, which is average at best. Although these boots will protect your feet from getting wet in light to moderate rain, you should definitely refrain from crossing creeks in them. Still, the model is a reasonably good option for anyone seeking a pair of inexpensive trekking boots as long as they plan to leave them at home in excessively wet conditions.
- Vibram XS Trek outsoles provide excellent traction
- A very durable full-grain leather upper
- An almost sneaker-like comfort
- Solid ankle support
- Not the best waterproofing
The Final Verdict
Both L.L. Bean and Eddie Bauer manufacture and sell high-quality outdoor gear, so choosing between the two is very difficult. L.L. Bean stands out with its durable offerings and the classic American style. At the same time, Eddie Bauer impresses with its superb warranty, wide selection of products, innovative use of materials, and stylish designs.
However, after a thorough comparison, it’s easy to see that Eddie Bauer wins this battle due to the abovementioned advantages – from the unbeatable lifetime warranty to innovative use of technology in manufacture and materials. Despite L.L. Bean’s commitment to long-term quality, Eddie Bauer wins the contest because of its edge in other categories.
Still, there is no doubt that you will receive durability, style, and quality with either brand, regardless of your choice. Choose the one that aligns best with your expectations and needs.
However, the debate doesn’t end there. When discussing top-tier outdoor gear, the Eddie Bauer vs North Face comparison often arises, with both brands vying for the attention of outdoor enthusiasts. Each has its strengths, and the choice often comes down to specific product features and personal brand loyalty.
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.