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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a fan of all three brands, and I recognize that Patagonia is usually superior. I'm curious, though, how you might view items like sweater fleece, quilted pullovers, etc.

I know some of you only wear sweaters but for those of you who wear casual outdoor gear, I'm curious for your thoughts.


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Ditto...I too am a fan of all three brands, but for different products. Patagonia's Torrent Shell jacket is the most convenient rain slicker that I own. With Orvis it's their Ultimate Khakis and their Shooting Jackets. With LL Bean it's their rubber footed hunting boots and camp shoes. Also, their Alegash Bison hide footwear is handsome on one's feet, surprisingly durable, and modestly priced. I would not want to give up any one of the three as a future source for my outdoor needs. ;)
 

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It you go back far enough, you need to throw Pendleton and Woolrich into the mix. Current Bean and Orvis offerings can be a bit sketchy. Of the three that you listed, Patagonia is the most consistent brandwise. That being said, the last few non-USA made better sweaters that I have owned felt cheap in comparison to their vintage counterparts.
 

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I have a few Patagonia items and like them very much. The stand up shorts are my go-to shorts in the summer, and the better sweater 1/4 zip is my favorite piece of casual layering that get's worn almost too often. The torrentshell is also a great value item for casual rain protection.
For technical gear in the mountains or backcountry I'll stick to Arc'teryx, for everything else it's Patagonia.
Another plus of Patagonia is the companys environmental policy, creating as little enviromental impact as possible, using recycling plastic and a very transparent policy were exactly the items are produced and focusing on fair trade and good working conditions, even in asia. Plus they have this worn wear campaign where they repair your gear for free which is awesome, good for the enviroment and your wallet.
 

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For simply casual wear I don't think there's all that much difference, except for price. You'll probably tire of the article of clothing before you wear it out. Guess it all comes down to what sort of dashing figure you wish to portray. I do think that Orvis is grossly overpriced for clothing, even on sale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Was definitely thinking about items like the quilted synchilla or sweater fleece/better sweater. All three make similar items and it seems like there's not a ton of difference in quality.


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Don't get me started on the Pakistani Bill's. Those things are an abomination.
What is this business about the "Pakistani Bill's"? The resuscitated Bill's touts the fact that their pants and other products are American-made. I purchased a couple of pairs, and they seemed indistinguishable from the originals. I am aware that shortly after the original Bill's folded, there was some sort of effort to sell foreign-made pants under the Bill's name, but I thought that had folded. Am I mistaken in this?

I might buy a few more pairs of Bill's Original Twills if they offered a few more of the older color options like bourbon, mushroom or olive. As it stands, the only color in the original twills I like is British khaki, and I have plenty of those. Wish they'd also revive the Bullard twill.
 

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What is this business about the "Pakistani Bill's"?
Most of the Bill's that I find at thrifts are MIUSA models. However, every now and then, there will be an influx of the Paki Bill's to hit discount retailers in the TJMaxx group. Maybe they purchased the old stock in a buyout. While I am not usually very picky when it comes to pants, the Paki Bill's certainly fit different from the domestic models.
 

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LL Bean: Lined chinos, boots, long underwear, sweatshirts, chamois shirts, flannel shirts, puffy jacket, barn coat.

Orvis: I like their fly floatant better than Gink. Sometimes they have something I want, like odd vests. They size things for the well-fed sportsman. I am going to try their Ultimate Khakis some day.

Patagonia: I never think of Patagonia. I don't know why. I had one of their sling packs (fly-fishing) but didn't like it.
 

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Was definitely thinking about items like the quilted synchilla or sweater fleece/better sweater. All three make similar items and it seems like there's not a ton of difference in quality.
I have several sweater fleeces from both Patagonia and LLB, and the Patagonia ones are decidedly more softer and more substantial. Of course, they cost more at full retail, so it all depends what you're looking for. Patagonia gets a lot of credit for the popularization of polyester fleece, so there's a heritage/authenticity argument to be made for them if you care about that. (I admit that I do. I wouldn't buy duck boots from Patagonia.)
 

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Overall I think Bean's got some hits in there, but a lot of misses these days too. I definitely love their sweaters. While they still made them, shetlands were a great deal for the money. The non-iron scratchy hair shirt oxfords have got to go. those things are bad news. Bean has some passable inexpensive fishing waders, and a bunch of not really passable rods and reels.

Orvis's current line of clothing is often quite gawdy and way way too elderly-dandy for me. Way too many of their casual shirts are $100+, and then made in china, and have absolutely no distinguishing cloth or qualities to make the price point worth it in any way. They do have those Barbour jackets which are neat i suppose.

Orvis's fly fishing product lines however, are absolutely out of this world. They are one of the top innovative companies making fly fishing gear these days, and really hit the nail on the head with the fishing equipment they still make. I have a number of top quality USA rods and reels that always pull their weight and thensome. They also have excellent customer service, great repairs, and neat upsell/upgrade options on the rods they can sell you at surprisingly low prices.

Patagonia has a lot of great technical gear, but I guess I don't really have any. My room mate has a bunch, and she hikes in it all year, and it holds up pretty well.
 

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Overall I think Bean's got some hits in there, but a lot of misses these days too. I definitely love their sweaters. While they still made them, shetlands were a great deal for the money. The non-iron scratchy hair shirt oxfords have got to go. those things are bad news. Bean has some passable inexpensive fishing waders, and a bunch of not really passable rods and reels.

Orvis's current line of clothing is often quite gawdy and way way too elderly-dandy for me. Way too many of their casual shirts are $100+, and then made in china, and have absolutely no distinguishing cloth or qualities to make the price point worth it in any way. They do have those Barbour jackets which are neat i suppose.

Orvis's fly fishing product lines however, are absolutely out of this world. They are one of the top innovative companies making fly fishing gear these days, and really hit the nail on the head with the fishing equipment they still make. I have a number of top quality USA rods and reels that always pull their weight and thensome. They also have excellent customer service, great repairs, and neat upsell/upgrade options on the rods they can sell you at surprisingly low prices.....
We've found Bean to be decent value in many things, but not all. And decent quality in many things, but not all. The rain slickers are great and really well priced, but they can't seem to figure out how to make a zipper on those that doesn't constantly catch on the material. We have a few that we beat the heck out of - can't complain about how they've held up, but from day one, the zipper-catching thing was annoying.

I don't think the Bean boots are unbelievable value, but we love them anyway (and they are made in the US). We've owned many pairs over several decades and - until the new policy change anyway - Bean has always fixed or sent new ones when there was a legitimate problem (we don't, for example, send in ten-year-old ones that are dying of old age, but we have, over the years, had a few things go awry in the first year or two and Bean was great).

I agree with you on Orvis. Its line of clothing seems uneven, all over the map and some parts of it are old, dowdy or just odd. That said, there are some good pieces (some of the "military inspired" ones seem well done as are some sweaters) but you have to pick and chose.

But the fly fishing line - according to my girlfriend's dad - is outstanding. We've bought him several things from it that he loves and, as you note, the prices are very competitive.
 

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I give Patagonia the nod for technical gear - I use their R1 Field 1/4 zip shirt for upland hunting as well as an R1 hoody and a Nano-Air hoody for fly fishing. I also use a Atom sling bag for fly fishing.

The Orvis twill cotton shirts are good. Medium fits like a 16-35, which seems huge for a medium, but happens to be my size. I find their fly fishing stuff to be just ok compared to Fishpond and Simms, but they have some good stuff. But the best Orvis thing I have by far is my Orvis Uplander - a 20 ga Beretta 686 with an English stock and upgraded wood.

Bean I use for more of the staples - chamois shirt, ragg wool socks, Maine Hunting shoes. I did buy one of their Pa'tridge II strap vests this year, but ended up not using it. I am probably going to send it back and get a Wingworks or Q5 vest.

But all three have useful stuff for hunting and fishing.
 
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