LL Bean NeoShell Bounder Jacket ReviewMarch 1, 2014
- Good breathability
- Solid weatherproofing
- Quiet fabric doesn't crinkle when moving
- A little bit of stretch
- Hood stays out of sight
- No hand pockets
- Limited pocket space
- Waterproof zips are stiff
A heck of a good price for a great jacket. The few issues aren't major, more minor annoyances and personal preference stuff. For the performance and value we're impressed.
Like Gore, Polartec’s Neoshell can command high prices. Its performance usually makes it worthy. But in the Boundary’s case the price isn’t that steep and the performance is pretty solid. Excellent value.
After a few years of testing Polartec’s NeoShell we can comfortably say it is up to the task of defending a daylong deluge. In the Boundary specifically, a solid hood helps keep the rain away and waterproof zips make sure it doesn’t leak through.
Using convection and diffusion to move heat and humidity from inside to out, Polartec’s NeoShell’s structure is micro-perforated: there’s enough room for air to flow back and forth, but not for wind or rain. It makes NeoShell comparable in breathability to Gore Active and better than most other three layer laminates out there. LL Bean ditched pit zips, which is usually okay for hiking, but up the ante a bit in humid weather and you’ll be wishing for them.
The only two exterior pockets are side by side on the chest, which means there’s nowhere to stick your hands when you’re hanging out. The pockets are also small and their unfortunate position makes it look like you’ve got weird breasts when you store stuff here. On the plus, small items don’t jiggle. The hood cinches tight, but doesn’t fit well over a helmet. A little stretch throughout ensures sleeves do a good job of staying in place, but the shorter, bomber-style cut tends to ride up a bit.
After a couple months we haven’t made a dent, although the lightweight fabric seems like it would be susceptible under heavy abuse.
At 12 ounces it lands in the middle of the test. Respectable, but not amazing. For pack size it scores similarly.