Monday, February 18, 2008
The L L Bean Wader Review
About a month or so ago, I put a question up on the Blue River Fly Fishers group site as if anyone had any experience with L L Bean Waders. The overwhelming answer was no, but that post did receive quite a bit of input as to which brand of waders, in the posters opinion, were the best.
Simms seemed to be highly regarded by most but not by all and I do believe I recall one rather dissenting voice against Simms. Cabelas seem to get a lot of good reviews as did Hodgman and several other well known names.
However, since there seem to be no one with knowledge or experience with L L Bean waders I decided to give them a try just so I could give this review. It was'nt only that...I was simply tired of leaky waders and Carol needed a new pair of waders also.
The L L Bean waders we ordered were reasonably priced, under $60.00, which I know makes them "cheapies" in a lot of fly fisher's eyes. But, my reasoning was as follows.
I could have very well ordered a pair of Simms Guide waders and paid just twelve cents short of $300.o0 for that distinction. But, I know myself well and in that self-knowledge I have come to realize that my rough and rowdy butt will get two years out of a pair of waders...regardless of the brand or name. With that in mind and doing the math I can get five pair of L L Bean waders for the price of one pair of Simms Guide waders. Now, I doubt that a pair of Simms Guide waders would last me ten years and that is what I will get out of five pair of L L Bean. The economics were simply with the L L Bean product.
So, what do Carol and I think of our new waders. More good than bad and here is our review.
The first thing I noticed about our L L Bean waders was less seams. Our waders are void of an inseam and that spells good with a capital G to me. Less seams...less chances for a leak.
The first thing Carol noticed was the inside chest storage pouch. It seemed to be much smaller than previous waders we had owned or wore. As a matter of fact, with the last two set of waders I have owned I could get a small digital camera, pack of cigarettes, lighter, a pack of strike indicators, and small notepad in the storage pouch. But, with the L L Bean waders I had to make a decision between digitial camera or pack of Doral's and being the weak willed creature I am, the cigarettes won out. The pouch is not real accomodating.
Size and fitting are very important to Carol and myself. Most companies that offer waders do offer small sizes but "small" doesn't always fit Carol and myself. Both of us are cut rather thin and short to the ground. I have a 28 waist and Carol's is even smaller. We have problems finding everyday clothes to fit us at most times. However, the L L Bean small waders fit us quite well. Actually they don't fit quite as snug as the last two pair we have purchased which makes it easier to bend and squat.
Personally, I did find one big downside to our L L Bean waders. The waders came with a waist belt...but no belt loops. I don't like that and for very good reasons. It seems like every time I go to the great outdoors my bladder and prostrate hears the "call of the wild" and goes into doubletime. It is not uncommon to see me crow-hopping out of the river, scurrying my way to the brush trying to find the closest tree. In order to water the natural grass, lillies, whatever, I will have to take that belt off which means putting the belt on the ground or somewhere. Once I finish my required nature break it will be time to put the belt back on. As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow there will come the day that in my haste to get back to the water coupled with my absent mindedness, I will get back in the water and realize that my waist belt is still on the bank somewhere. And, when that happens...that will chap my butt. L L Bean should have put belt loops on these waders.
All in all, we like these waders so far. We've only wore them three times but so far no leaks and that is a good thing. I have had waders in my past that I realized a leak with the first outing.
L L Bean is a respected company with great brand name recognition. It's our hope our waders will live up to the quality of their company name.