Catskill Mountaineer

Review of LL Bean Cresta Hiking Pants

LL Bean Cresta Hiking Pants
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Rating: 2 star rating ll bean hiking pants

Price: $69

Waist sizes: 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38, 40, and 42
Inseam sizes: 29, 30, 32, 34, 36
Colors: 5 colors
Material: 95% Nylon and 5% Spandex
Comfort: Excellent
Durability: Poor
Pockets: lightweight mesh
Zippers: Normal Comb nylon
Availability: Only at LL Bean Stores and on-line at
Rain Resistance: Poor
Wet drying time: Good
Tick Resistance: parmethin NOT applied from factory
Washing Instructions: Machine washable in cold water
Drying Instructions: Machine on low heat

Most people like the large number of sizes. Many manufactures only have small, medium, large, and extra-large. LL Bean offers multiple sizes for waist and length. They also have five colors. The cut of the pants appeals to most people. The price is consistent with most high quality brand pants. The material is thin, which will reduce the life of the pants. With spandex added to the material, the comfort level is excellent. But, the real downside to these pants is that they fall apart rather quickly. Sometimes within a handful of hikes. While the thread that they use is correct, the stretching of the fabric causes the thread to break. Mainly in the crotch region. For hikers who do not climb on steep terrain, they might like these pants. But, I would not take them on rock scrabbles. We also found that in rain, they become wet very quickly.

It is disappointing that the Marketing and Accounting Office at LL Bean made a lot of decisions on how these pants were designed and manufactured. At first glance, the pants appear to be excellent. Marketing made sure that they had a good cut and plenty of sizes and colors is very appealing. The zippers on the pockets appear very high quality waterproof zippers, but in reality they are a "band-aid" for poor quality material. Then Accounting decided to skimp on light weight material that is not durable. They also used light weight mesh fabric in the pockets that rip very easily. They used a snap on the waist instead of a button. There is NO zipper on the lower legs to allow you to easily remove the lower legs of the pants without taking your shoes off. On a wet day, that will suck as your socks end up getting wet. The pants were designed to sell easily, but you will not discover the short cuts they took until long after your purchase. This is not the LL Bean that the public knows. We are very disappointed with these pants.

Things we DIDN'T like:
Snap to close the pants on the waist - The snap on the waist (above the zipper) likes to come undone several times during the hike. They is annoying. Snaps are cheaper then buttons to install on the pants, so that is why you see them. But, with the pants selling for $69, and the manufacturing cost less then $10, they could easily afford to put a button on the waist.

Zipper on side pockets - The zipper on the side pockets is just a regular zipper. But, they have this waterproof boarder around the zipper. It makes it look like they installed a waterproof zipper. Waterproof zippers are more expensive. The real reason they installed the boarder was because the corners of the opening for the zipper are the likely place for a fabric failure. With spandex added to the fabric, the probability is much higher. The boarder is used to reduce the probability of a failure.

Zip off legs - Most high quality pants that have zip off lower legs, have a zipper on the cuff of the pants. This zipper is installed on most hiking pants so that you do not have to remove your hiking shoes to put on or take off the lower legs. These pants do NOT have a zipper on the cuff. So, you will have to remove your shoes if you want to put on or take off the lower legs of the pants. Again, they are trying to save money on expensive pants.

Pockets - The main pockets on these pants have a light-weight mesh fabric. Mesh fabric is designed to allow water to flow past them. So, if you had your cell phone in your pocket when it is raining, it might save your cell phone. The problem with this mesh, is that it isn't durable. Some people have put their car keys in the pocket, and the keys have ripped through the mesh, and they lost their car keys.

Pocket for Car Keys - Most good hiking pants will have a separate pocket for car keys. This ensures that the hiker does not accidentally lose their car keys. Losing your car keys is quite a disaster.

Fabric - The fabric is very thin and will wear out fairly quickly. The seams are also small to save on fabric. Then they have 5% Spandex added to the fabric to allow some stretching of the fabric while hiking. While this does make the pants more comfortable to wear, it greatly reduced the life and durability of the pants. Their web site said that they have reduced the Spandex to 4%. But, the pants we received had 5%. A thicker fabric with less Spandex might be better. But, that would cost them more money to manufacture. North Face used to put some Spandex in the crotch of their hiking pants. But, the fabric was thicker then LL Bean. These pants would be good for only Summer hikes. If you do purchase these pants try to keep them upsize the waist. This will minimize ripping of the fabric.

Quality Control - Many hikers who ordered these pants on LL Bean's web site, reported that they received the pants with the label indicating that the size was correct. But, when they measured the pants, the size was wrong. Whoever LL Bean is using to manufacture their pants in Indonesia is not a good factory, or LL Bean employees are not on site to make sure that they are made correctly. If you do buy these pants, you need to visit the store and try them on. Some people reported that the pants were falling apart very quickly. A good pair of hiking pants should last thousands of hours. These will not last nearly that long. The waist seems to be a little small, and the length seams a little longer

Things we DID like:
Large Number of sizes - These hiking pants come in a large number of sizes for both waist and length. They are sized just like blue jeans. This adds to the comfort level.

Large Number of Colors - These hiking pants come in 5 different colors. Most people are able to find a color that they like.

Light Weight for Minimalist - Due to the light weight fabric that was used Summer hikers who are minimalist will like these pants .

Waist Belt Loops - The loops on the waist will allow just about any size belt to be used. Some hiking belts do not always fit in the loops. Almost any hiking belt should be able to use these loops.

Cut of the Pants - The cut of the pants makes these pants fit well, and they are very comfortable to wear.

LL Bean Hiking Pants LL Bean Hiking Pants
LL Bean Hiking Pants
Overall View of the Pants
LL Bean Hiking Pants LL Bean Hiking Pants
LL Bean Hiking Pants
Zipper on side Pocket
LL Bean Hiking Pants LL Bean Hiking Pants
LL Bean Hiking Pants
Zipper on side Pocket

Links and References:

LL Bean

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