ll bean kennebec waders
I posted here the problems I had with the Orvis Silver Sonics leaking right out of the box. From all I could find out, this was an isolated incident, but I decided to try another vendor rather than roll the dice with Orvis again.
I purchased the above wader and have had it out twice for good workouts. It is a new wader from LL Bean.
- Doesnt leak right out of the box. I have had them out for several hours on two trips in waist deep water, no problems with leaks.
- The warranty. I called and chatted with two different Cabelas reps and questioned them if I could return their waders for a refund if I had another initial failure like the Silver Sonics. One rep said they would only refund after I sent the waders back at my expense and they evaluated them. The second rep said if I returned them in a few days after purchase, they would refund for defective waders, and they would refund return postage. Both seemed to want to waffle on a 100% refund. I talked to 2 different LL Bean reps, one in customer service, and one at their fly fishing hotline. Both said a full refund including postage was no problem. The customer service rep even said they would refund for up to 2 years if I was not satisfied, no questions asked. She said after 2 years, they would send a gift card. Now, I know some could and would take unfair advantage of such a warranty, but I feel safe that I can get a couple years without seam leakage. If a barb wire mishap occurs, that would be on me; maybe I would ask for repair if I couldnt patch it myself.
- The zinger attachment area. I have my little leatherman and hemostats attached there, and it is very handy.
- The zipper pocket, nice and secure for my keys. Also an inside pocket for a camera or (heaven forbid) a phone.
- They are very comfortabe and the color is a dark grey which I find acceptable.
- The wading belt is nice, I usually dont use a wading belt, but this one is handy (no buckle and velcro closure).
- About $70 cheaper than the Orvis.
- I had to return the first pair as the footie was too small for my size 11's and any kind of heavy sock, even though the size chart said it would fit 9 to 11 (they paid return postage). The next size up, which fit 10 to 12 was fine. The second pair was a little big in the body, but the above mentioned wading belt made a nice fit.
- The first pair was a little short in the inseam. The second pair was supposed to be an inch longer, but was more like 2 -3". I thought they were a little long when I first put them on, but I never noticed the length when fishing. Frankly, I like waders a little long, I feel I stress the seams less when trying to climb around.
- The snap on the suspenders looks a little weak, but so far I havent had a problem. The suspenders also have a "harness" that I tought was overkill, but after I got them adjusted I never noticed them while fishing.
- The pockets are too small for a fly box IMHO. I use a sling pack that also has my staff on the belt so I always use that anyway, so it was no biggie for me. But if you want to replace a vest/pack with the pockets, I dont think it will work. Also, the wading belt is a great wading belt, but it is stretchy, and you cant really attach stuff (like a staff holster) to it.
Overall, these are a step up over my Hodgemans (which are almost 2 years old, although they do have some Aquasol applied). Time will tell...