When it comes to staying warm on the mountain, layering is key. The L.L.Bean Down Sweater 3 in 1 Jacket combines a lightweight down jacket and sturdy waterproof shell that can be zipped, allowing it to be worn in three configurations.
The 3 in one is essentially two jackets that combine to become one. The inner layer is a lightweight 650 Downtek jacket constructed from baffled nylon, while the outer layer is a waterproof, windproof polyester exterior, WDR coating and a silky nylon interior. These can be worn separately as their own, or they can zipped together to form a more robust jacket. So, you can have a down jacket, a winter shell, or an insulated winter shell, depending on how you wear it. The adjustable hood is helmet compatible for hitting the slopes, and both jackets have zippered pockets for storing phones, keys or whatnot. The jackets come in multiple colors, men and women’s variants, and retails for $299.
What I liked
Having the three in one jacket means being comfortable in a huge variety of conditions, ranging from warm and rainy to blistering snowstorms. The down layer is great for hanging out around camp, cruising around town, or being used as an extra layer at the foot of a sleeping bag. The outer storm proof layer is great for when the temperatures rise a bit and it starts to rain, or just when a wind blocking layer is needed, say topping out on a gusty peak. When combined, the two layers form a great jacket for riding out a snow storm, or for a nice powdery ski trip. The 3-in-1 is sized to fit over a mid and base layer, meaning a thin fleece mid and wool base layer can be worn underneath , greatly boosting it’s usable range. As a pair, I’ve found the 3-in-1 to be comfortable from about 20-60 degrees F depending on the configuration(about 30 F for the down alone while active, or about 50 F for the shell,. When used with appropriate mid and base layers underneath, it can potentially be used into the negatives. This is a huge comfort range and makes the system valuable for those who want one kit that adjusts to fit all conditions. This makes it viable for skiing, hiking, snowboarding (or skiing) and much more.
As far as weather protection goes, the 3-in-1 holds up great. The down jacket sheds light rain and snow easily thanks to a light DWR finish and water resistant down fill, while the outer layer is basically impenetrable. It has waterproof zippers for storage, adjustable cuffs and hip to block out wind and snow, and it’s built to take a beating. The rugged polyester outer provides excellent resistance to scuffs and scrapes that might otherwise wear down the weather protection on flimsier garments. The jacket even has an extended tail to keep out rain and wind when bending over, a personal boon for me. In the worst conditions, this jacket feels right at home.
The jacket is also exceptionally comfortable. The down inner jacket especially feels great. The nylon has a pleasantly smooth feel that comes across as slick and silky, while the thin baffles and relaxed fit make for a snuggly, cozy main layer. The outer shell also feels nice with the same supple nylon being used for the interior, with extra features line chin protectors that save the face from zippers. The outer fabric is soft enough that it moves fairly easily with the user, never causing any impairment to mobility, and the fit in the shoulders provides unimpaired shoulder rotation and reach. I just love how the jacket sits gently across my shoulders, and every inch, from the cuffs to the hood, is adjustable for a better fit.
The jacket is cut and sized in a way that’s large enough to comfortably accommodate additional inner layers and gloves, meaning it doesn’t get tight when that extra fleece layer is worn underneath, and the cuffs easily accommodate large gloves or even down puffy mittens.
The inner layer is impressively light, easily packing down to the size of a small gourd, making it an excellent layer to pack as a backup year round in many climates.
What I didn’t like
While the inner layer is appropriately feather light, the more durable outer shell packs up to about the size of a basketball and weighs considerably more than the inner. This is due to the shells robust build and thick, burly polyester base material. The combined weight comes in at 2.61 lbs (about 42 ounces), with most of that being the outer shell.
While the relaxed fit is great for layering, it does result in large, bulky shell as it has to accommodate anything that can be shoved under it. The inner looks great on its own, and the shell looks nice when combined with it. However, this room for layering also results in a shell that feels a bit large to be worn on its own. Thankfully, it still remains perfectly functional, it just loses a couple points in aesthetics. Still, it’s a trade off that has to be made for the functionality, and in the end staying warm and dry is more than worth a little bagginess. In truth, some will appreciate this look, but I prefer something a little more form fitting.
I do wish the wrist cuffs could be adjusted down a bit smaller. Even at their tightest they leave a small gap around my wrists when worn as a shell only. This could possibly allow for some rain or snow to slip in when hiking with trekking poles or skis. Those with thicker wrists won’t have this issue. When paired with the down inner this isn’t a problem at all as the stretch cuff there blocks out any drift.
The 3-in-1 is a great one stop solution to those who are looking for a jacket that’s viable in a wide range of conditions. The durable shell and warm cozy inner makes it great for snowboarding, hiking, and getting around town during the frosty winter months. The inner jacket is really when worn as a solo layer, and I really love the weatherproofing of the system when combined with the shell. Still,I do find that wearing just the shell alone felt a little loose and bulky, at least on my smaller frame. While it’s a little heavy as a kit for extended backpacking trips, one could feasibly swap the shell for something lighter to shed a considerable amount of weight if needed. In the end, it’s a wonderfully comfortable, impressively warm option that also looks great, and it’s built to survive season after season. At $299, it’s also a great price, making it an easy purchase to recommend if weight isn’t too much of a concern.
For more information on L.L.Bean and and their wide range of gear, check out their website, https://www.llbean.com/
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I want to extend a huge thanks to l.L.Bean for providing this product for review. We couldn’t do it without their help. Our full disclosure can be found here.
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