LL Bean is a brand name so popular, it’s actually included in the encyclopedia. That’s some pretty strong branding. LL Bean is famous for providing tough, outdoorsy clothing that will help you do anything in the realm of enjoying nature or getting active. There are many brands similar to LL Bean, but how close are they to this fashion juggernaut? Does any other brand really compare to LL Bean or is this one fashion beacon that shines alone? It’s time to explore brands similar to LL Bean and compare them to the famous name in outdoor products.
Who Was LL Bean?
There was once a real LL Bean and yes, that was his real name. Leon Leonwood Bean lived in Maine and he loved the outdoors. He was orphaned at the tender age of 12 and had to make his own way, doing so by basically taking whatever jobs he could find, including selling soap door-to-door. It’s a clean living, right?
This is where Bean honed his work ethic and his salesmanship skills, which would end up serving him well when he married his two passions: being active outside and selling stuff to people.
A lover of nature and the outdoors, LL Bean was often frustrated when he went hiking in the damp Maine woods. His boots often got soaking wet. So in 1912, he added leather to the top of some rubber boots, enlisting the aid of a shoemaker to make his vision of waterproof boots a reality.
Bean had the tailor make several pairs and created an advertising circular called “The Main Hunting Show.” It was a direct-mail ad that he mailed to people in Maine who had applied for hunting licenses. He even included a money-back guarantee for the price of the boots, which was $3.50 per pair.
He was a brilliant salesman. But apparently, he wasn’t yet a genius bootmaker. Of the 100 pairs of boots sold, 90 were returned. The leather tops had separated from the bottoms of the boots.
Bean honored his money-back guarantee to every dissatisfied customer and borrowed $400 to pay for a complete redesign of the boots. He even went to Bostom to personally go to the U.S. Rubber Company to perfect his design and make his vision a reality.
Building a Brand
The new boots were a hit. Bean opened up a factory and a store, which was open 24 hours a day. A sign was posted at night that read “push once a minute until clerk appears.” LL Bean’s business grew and the mail-order catalog expanded to more customers even as the brand expanded to include many more items beyond the highly popular waterproof boots.
The business didn’t just survive the Great Depression, it actually made money and grew even bigger. Today, LL Bean is a legendary name in fashion with a brand this instantly recognizable. LL Bean is associated with high-quality outdoor wear, a reputation the company has maintained throughout the entirety of its existence.
Today, the LL Bean brand can be found on a huge range of products that includes all types of outdoor and casual clothing, everything from base layers to sleepwear to swimwear to comfortable hoodies and jeans. They sell outerwear and footwear made to take on all kinds of tough terrain, all the bags you might need for any type of travel or outdoor adventure and so much gear for hunting, hiking, sporting, recreation and outdoor fun, it’s impossible to even start listing it all.
LL Bean makes items for the home, for men, for women, for children, for toddlers and for babies. You can literally get everything you need here for whatever you want to do or wear, so long as it’s pretty casual and made for performance. That’s because LL Bean clothing, gear and products are associated with performance. Since that first pair of boots, items from this brand are meant to do something, whether it’s stand up to the weather or help you hike a little longer.
Do any other brands compare to this century-old fashion producer of famously high-quality and highly useful items? Many brands have attempted to enter the market that LL Bean cornered. How do they actually compare?
Finding Brands Similar to LL Bean
LL Bean is the largest and most profitable U.S. catalog company and the largest catalog supplier of outdoor gear in the entire world. That’s pretty darn tough to beat. However, many other brands have made names for themselves by selling the same kind of items and appealing to the same customers as LL Bean. How many of these brands have you shopped with?
Allbirds (Similar Pricing)
Allbirds makes clothing, shoes and accessories with a casual, active style for men, women and kids. Like LL Bean, this brand appeals to a wide range of people…actually, anyone who wants to be active doing anything, or at least dress that way.
The products here have a casual style and feel. These clothes are made to be active and the designs are made for specific performance types. You can search for clothing for warm weather, cool weather, everyday wear, running. Many items here are made with cotton blends and lightweight wools that are naturally moisture-wicking.
Allbirds clothing comes in a huge range of colors and a lot of classic activewear styles, though the catalog here isn’t nearly as big as the long list of products you can find at LL Bean. Allbirds has similar pricing to LL Bean, so you can spend about the same amount of money for similar products across both brands.
Allbirds also participates in several environmental initiatives, a feature that many customers like. Allbirds has taken steps to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and to use carbon offsets to improve the health of the planet. The brand uses renewable materials for its products and has goals to reverse the effects of climate change.
These features are a strong selling point for many customers. Those who want a sustainable brand that offers products similar to LL Bean will find the fashion they want to buy at Allbirds.
Cabela’s (Less Expensive)
Cabela’s loves the outdoors. You can truly get everything you need here for your outdoor adventures, from the most serious hunting and camping gear to anything you might want to wear in every kind of weather for any kind of casual activity. You can even get footwear here, along with shooting equipment and home stuff.
Cabela’s has a broad product range of outdoor clothing and stuff that’s on par with the huge line of products offered through LL Bean.
You can get any item of clothing you want to wear here. That includes hunting clothes, swimwear, rain clothing, pieces of clothing made just for fishing. You can get base layers or overalls here. And like LL Bean, Cabela’s sells clothing for men, women and children.
Cabela’s has a huge line of accessories, too. That includes all the regular stuff like watches, jewelry and sunglasses, but also items like pocket knives, lures, fishing reels and just about anything you need to enjoy being outdoors.
If you want gear, footwear and clothing for the great outdoors and you think LL Bean is a pretty great place to shop, give Cabela’s a look. Like LL Bean, this brand specializes in creating stuff for you to wear and use outdoors.
Cabela’s is more affordable, on average, than similar items you can purchase at LL Bean. This is affordable everyday outdoor fashion that is made in a big range of items in traditional styles. This clothing isn’t meant to have a designer look. It’s meant to function and that’s what it does.
So if you want practical, affordable clothing that will help you get outside and like it, Cabela’s has a big selection of stuff you might like.
Columbia (Less Expensive)
With a big range of clothing items made for the outdoors in a huge array of colors and styles, Columbia is one of the most popular names in activewear. They have all the stuff you need, from the base layer to the footwear to the backpacks you might need to take on the trail with you.
Like LL Bean, Columbia has accessories, clothing based on the activity you’re doing, footwear and items made for men, women and children. Columbia has a big range of clothing items to choose from in different color options. The color palette at Columbia tends toward more neutral shades of blue, gray, black and brown.
Columbia is a well-known brand name that specializes in cold-weather clothing. It’s a popular brand among skiers and others who spend time doing winter sports. Like LL Bean, Columbia makes clothing that is optimized for outdoor wear. This includes items that are insulated, waterproof and packed with features that are made to enhance outdoor clothing performance.
The pricing here is less expensive than the cost of similar items through LL Bean. Columbia has a lot of outdoor clothing options, with an array of traditional styles that are similar to the casual designs at LL Bean. Add this brand to your shopping rotation to add Columbia clothing to your outdoor clothing wardrobe.
Eddie Bauer (Similar Pricing)
You can get everything you need at Eddie Bauer, including the gear you need to perfect an athletic activity. Eddie Bauer has a huge range of outerwear that includes wind jackets, insulated designs and rainwear. Like LL Bean, Eddie Bauer makes clothing for men, women and kids.
Eddie Bauer has footwear, home goods and plenty of gear. You can get the tent and the sleeping bags, along with the hiking shoes and gloves you need for your camping trip. Eddie Bauer even makes items for pets.
The pricing here is similar to what you’ll find for similar items a LL Bean. Both these brands offer quality outdoor gear and clothing, even the accessories you need to make any adventure a success. If you like LL Bean, you will find lots more stuff to like at Eddie Bauer.
Filson (More Expensive)
Filson is a sportsman’s brand and that does mean men. This brand specializes in men’s clothing, accessories, bags and lifestyle items. This is definitely a go-to spot for flannels, hoodies, travel bags, backpacks and all the jeans and pants you might want for hunting, fishing or whatever you’re doing outside.
Like LL Bean, Filson offers a range of classic items in traditional styling. You will find lots of Earth tones in the Filson catalog, with lots of items in shades of black, red, brown, green, white and blue. Filson offers a more limited range of gear than LL Bean. The brand specializes in clothing, accessories and bags primarily.
The prices at Filson are more expensive than similar items you will find at LL Bean. The Filson brand is associated with tough, high-quality clothing and items. Plus, all products from Filson come with a lifetime guarantee. This is a testament to the strength and quality of the items and explains why the pricing here is a little bit more. When clothing is made to last a lifetime, it’s made pretty well…and that costs extra money.
Helly Hansen (More Expensive)
The selection of items at Helly Hansen is positively staggering, something the brand has in common with LL Bean. You can practically shop all day here and still not get a chance to see everything that’s available. You can buy outdoor items for any activity at Helly Hanson. They even have an entire category dedicated to sailing jackets.
Everything you could ever want in the way out of outdoor clothing is here, including all the footwear, tops, base layers, pants, mid layers, outerwear and the accessories to go with it. Helly Hansen specializes in performance clothing that’s made to take on the weather, the water and the harsh conditions you might face outside no matter what you happen to be doing.
The pricing here is higher than what you will find at LL Bean, significantly so in some cases. Helly Hansen uses a lot of high-tech fabrics and features in clothing to ensure the best possible performance for each item. This kind of attention to detail and extra workmanship costs a little bit more.
Lands’ End (Less Expensive)
Lands’ End makes clothing for active lifestyles. Along with the outerwear and clothing made for activities, Lands’ End has a lot of everyday clothes with a distinctly preppy style. There are a lot of knits, long-sleeved shirts and casual and semi-casual items you might wear around the house or to the office.
The wide range of items at Lands’ End is similar to the large catalog of stuff you can get through LL Bean. Jeans, dresses, shirts, long underwear, you name it. Lands’ End has a bunch of accessories as well. You can find everything from ties and belts to umbrellas and luggage here.
Like LL Bean, Lands’ End carries a big selection of clothing for men, women and children. Both brands also offer home goods. You can get snow boots here, a winter coat, anything you need to look sporty and stylish…and a little bit preppy, too.
Lands’ End is somewhat more affordable than LL Bean. You can buy similar items here for less than LL Bean. Lands’ End is made to be affordable to keep outdoor clothing and items accessible for a wider range of people.
Nike (Less Expensive)
Nike is one of the most recognizable and one of the most popular brand names in the world. It’s well known that Nike makes clothing for athletes of both the indoor and outdoor varieties, though the brand is perhaps best known for basketball clothing and footwear.
Nike has a huge range of products that includes everyday wear and all the activewear items you want for all sorts of different sports. Nike is a famous name with highly recognizable branding, a famous logo, which is present on absolutely every single item Nike makes.
The brand is also famous for its performance. Nike shoes are considered to be among the best athletic shoes in the world and Nike dresses professional and collegiate athletes and athletic teams across many sports. Nike is associated with high-quality activewear and shoes. Along with accessories, this is all Nike sells. Nike is an apparel company, not a company that makes gear. In this, Nike differs from LL Bean. However, both brands carry a massive selection of clothing.
Nike is more affordable than LL Bean, on average. Most of the time, you will spend less on similar items from Nike. However, this varies based on the level of technology present in items. Nike has some shoes and some performance apparel items that have many different features made to enhance athletic performance, which can make items more expensive.
The North Face (Similar Prices)
The North Face was created to sell tough outdoor clothing. The name of the company itself references the coldest, iciest part of the mountain and therefore, the hardest part of the mountain to climb. North Face is designed to take on the toughest, coldest conditions you can find out in nature. That’s a pretty tough job but this brand does it very well.
You can find a huge selection of everyday and outerwear options at North Face. That includes sweatshirts, pants, zip-up jackets, sweaters and more. This company has very distinct branding and a very well-known name. The North Face is famed for creating high-quality performance clothing. A lot of tech is integrated into this clothing to add performance capabilities, such as extra warmth, moisture-wicking and other features.
The pricing at North Face is similar to LL Bean. You can find similar items that have high-performance value and good quality across both brands. If you like LL Bean, you will like what you find at the North Face.
Orvis (Similar Pricing)
Orvis is a brand name that specialized in fishing. They’ve got all the gear, all the accessories, all the equipment and all the clothes you need for this activity. You can get tons of different bags and tools, wading boots, rods and reels, not to mention a whole line of products for your pets.
Orvis has a big selection of clothing for men and women and a product line of home goods, too. Like LL Bean, Orvis has gear, clothes, equipment and items to help you enjoy all sorts of different outdoor activities. You can get hunting knives, boots, accessories and spend plenty of time shopping around here looking at all of it.
The pricing at Orvis is similar to what you will find at LL Bean, with similar items priced about the same across both brands. If you like the big selection and all the different gear and clothes you can find at LL Bean, you will like all the products you can find at Orvis.
Patagonia (Similar Pricing)
Like LL Bean, Patagonia has an enormous selection of products that includes equipment, gear and clothing for men, women, children and even babies. Patagonia also offers a big selection of clothing based on different outdoor activities, so you can outfit yourself easily for surfing, fly fishing, mountain biking or whatever else you might have on your weekend agenda.
Patagonia has a big selection of accessories as well. This brand has a lot in common with LL Bean, even selling bags and other items you need in order to take on the great outdoors. Even the pricing between the two brands is similar. If you like the big selection and the simple, high-performance style you find at LL Bean, you will like shopping at Patagonia, too.
REI (Less Expensive)
REI Co-Op makes shoes, clothing and gear of all types for men, women and kids who want to celebrate the great outdoors. They specialize in clothing and items for climbing, cycling, water sports, running, snow and winter sports and general fitness. In other words, they have an extensive product catalog of items for the outdoors, something the brand has in common with LL Bean.
REI has clothes in both classic and trendy styles in a huge range of colors and color combinations. You can get a big selection of bright outdoor clothes here. Something that isn‘t always easy to find. REI clothing is typically made with cotton, wool, polyester and synthetic fabrics.
The pricing at REI is slightly less expensive than what you will find in the LL Bean catalog. If you enjoy the huge selection of items at LL Bean and want to find all the stuff you need to have the kind of outdoor adventure you want but you want to pay a little bit less, REI is exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Sierra (Less Expensive)
Look for outdoor gear, equipment and clothing for men, women, kids or maybe even your pets at Sierra. Like LL Bean, this brand maintains a huge product catalog of items for all your outdoor activities. That includes clothing and items for being in the snow, being out fishing, biking and cycling, camping and hiking, hunting or doing anything else you might want to do outside.
Sierra’s selection of clothing is huge and they have everything you might want in the way of activewear and casual wear. You can find clothing for everything here, from golf to skiing and every single outdoor activity in between.
The pricing here is far less expensive than what you will find at LL Bean. This brand prides itself on providing affordable clothing and gear for outdoor adventurers and tries to make its items accessible to everyone. After all, shouldn’t everyone enjoy being in the great outdoors? If you like LL Bean for its huge selection of items but you want to pay as little as possible on the stuff you want to buy, Sierra is the perfect place to start shopping.
Wearing Brands Similar to LL Bean
LL Bean s a famous name in outdoor apparel, with a huge line of products that includes everything you might want to wear or use when you’re outside having fun doing anything active at all. But while this may be one of the most famous brand names in this corner of the fashion market, LL Bean is certainly not the only brand that specializes in the outdoors. There are many brands similar to LL Bean that have many of the same features you like about the famous brand.
Start exploring your different fashion options and start expanding your wardrobe to include a lot more outdoor brands that are similar to the outdoor brand that everyone has heard about.
There’s a lot more to LL Bean and to outdoor clothing and gear than most people realize. Once you start shopping for different types of outdoor apparel and then, things get overwhelming very fast. What do you need to know about LL Bean and brands similar to LL Bean?
We searched the internet or the most commonly asked questions about the brand and we’ve got the answers, so you know everything the experts know about dressing for the outdoors and getting all the gear you need to have a good time when you’re out there.
Can LL Bean backpacks be washed? Can any LL Bean items be washed?
Some items from LL Bean might be specially treated or made with certain materials designed to enhance performance. This includes waterproof items that might have membranes to prevent moisture from getting through or leathers that have special treatments on them. Because of the technology and the different materials used to create outdoor items and gear, like backpacks, machine washing these items can be pretty tricky. Can you wash LL Bean backpacks at all? Can you wash other LL Bean products?
If you’re going to wash your LL Ben backpack, start by unzipping all pockets, compartments and any other zippers you might find. Place the bag inside a mesh laundry bag. Wash the backpack only with like items or alone. You don’t want the zippers, snaps and other implements on the backpack to end up causing damage to sensitive blouses, underwear and towels.
Machine wash the backpack on the gentle cycle in cold water using mild detergent. Many items of clothing and gear, even bags, can often be machine washed this way. However, before you wash any item, check the inside of the product for a care label. LL bean products should have a label with clear instructions on how to wash your items properly.
In many cases, a gentle cycle and cold water is all you need. However, you always want to check because in some cases, washing items can destroy waterproof coatings and other special features that are designed to enhance outdoor performance.
What does LL Bean stand for?
LL Bean’s name was Leon Leonwood Bean and the brand is named after the real person who started the brand over 100 years ago. LL Bean began his business by making boots, because he didn’t like the selection of hiking boots on the current market and believed he could do better. It turns out that he was right!
Are LL Bean products made in the U.S.?
LL Bean is one of only a few clothing manufacturers that actually has manufacturing facilities in the U.S. LL Bean has one such facility in Maine, where the business first began. Around 425 different products in the LL Bean catalog are made in the U.S.
However, the catalog includes over 5,000 different products. Most of these are made outside of the U.S. Only about 10 percent of LL Bean’s total product line is actually made within the U.S. Most of the products sold through LL Bean are made in Vietnam, China, India, El Salvador, Bangladesh, Mexico and Turkey.
Who owns the LL Bean brand now?
LL Bean was founded by a person named LL Bean in 1912, a fan of the outdoors who wanted a better pair of boots and decided to make them himself. To this day, the LL Bean brand remains a family-owned business. After the death of LL Bean, the brand passed on to his family members, who continue to operate the LL Bean business.
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