L.L. Bean Backpacks Are For Trusting Souls

Reader j. sent us the above scan of a page from an L.L. Bean catalog. j. says:

Look where L L Bean advises you to keep your phones and gadgets!

They’re such trusting souls, storing their gadgets outside their backpacks for the whole world to steal. No wonder this is probably the worst complaint we’ve ever gotten about L.L. Bean. They’re obviously just too nice. Good for them.


Edit Your Comment

  1. chiieddy says:

    Haven’t you even been to Maine?! :)

  2. raremoth says:

    What else would you expect from a company with no locks on the doors of it’s flagship store?

  3. snoop-blog says:

    Can I get the one on the left in crossing gaurd orange?

  4. JN2 says:

    They are in cahoots with Apple. Thieves steal your cell phone and leave a coupon inviting you to stand in line for an iPhone! :D

  5. mariospants says:

    I’m assuming the “turbo” designation is meant to make us think these bags are “cutting edge” and appeal to the “younger demographic”.

  6. B says:

    @snoop-blog: Yes, yes you can.

  7. Bladefist says:

    Putting your gadgets there would be retarded. That pocket is meant for your life savings in cash. duh.

  8. LinkDJ says:

    In the pictures, they both have gigantic Nokia cell phones from 1997. If I had a phone that old, I’d probably be begging for someone to steal it.

  9. theblackdog says:

    @Bladefist: I thought it was where you were supposed to leave your credit and social security cards!

  10. boss_lady says:

    @LinkDJ: LOL, I had that phone! It was my first cell phone that I bought with my first job… when I was sixteen. That was ten years ago.

  11. Shannon says:

    Maybe the packs are more less meant for like hiking and wilderness type areas where thieving humans are less likely to frequent. Just a guess.

  12. JerBearHtL42 says:

    I live in Maine. I leave my car unlocked with the keys in it in my driveway. We don’t lock our house. Its quite nice.

  13. Nissan288 says:

    what a crappy phone…who would steal that anyway

  14. MissTicklebritches says:

    @Bladefist: don’t forget your photo ID and social security card!

  15. AceKicker says:

    Maine. The state where you can leave the heat on in the car while you run into the convenience store, and still expect to still have a car when you get back. Yes, we’re just that trusting. And for the most part, that trust is respected. The local news is so subdue, the biggest stories we are likely to have is that snowmobile accidents were high this winter at around 25. We tend to be a lot more suspicious when we see a lot of out of state license plates around though.

    If you’re ever up in the area, do your self a favor and stop at the L.L. Bean store. They’ve got trout swimming indoors right along the isles, and “fish pond” does not begin to describe it. L.L. Bean is the best thing to come out of Maine since lobster.

  16. snoop-blog says:

    Hmmm, I really DO know people who leave their keys in their car. I always thought that you can’t file a stolen car claim with your insurance company if the keys were left in it.

  17. azntg says:

    It looks like a decoy phone to me.

    1) Unsuspecting would-be thief eyes the phone
    2) Tries to lift it from the mesh pocket
    3) Gets exposed to a very nasty electrical shock
    4) ???
    5) PROFIT!

  18. boss_lady says:

    @AceKicker: I’ve had my eye on a bag from L.L. Bean for a while now- I like the simple functionality of their designs and products. I just can’t convince myself to spend the amount they want on shipping to Canada. In the case I do pick it up, I certainly won’t keep my cell phone in the outside pocket.

  19. MexiFinn says:


    Correction. “Turbo” means you get your crap stolen lickety-split.

  20. picardia says:

    @snoop-blog: I grew up in a very small town where people routinely left their keys in their cars — and it was not necessarily bad manners to borrow a friend’s car without asking, as long as you were quick and put it back roughly where you found it. Had anyone attempted to take advantage of this system and steal one of the cars, both car and thief would’ve been recognized quickly on the street. And probably waved to. It was too small a town, in many respects.

    L.L. Bean is a fantastic company. I’ve bought a lot of hiking/outdoors clothing and equipment from them over the years, had to negotiate a couple of returns, and they’ve never been less than polite, swift and efficient.

  21. @boss_lady: It might be worth it in the long run. I believe they have lifetime guarantees on their bags. I know of people who had back packs from high school that they exchanged for new ones when they wore out 8 -10 years later.

  22. this ad sponsored by the International Pickpocket Association

  23. quail says:

    It’s common practice in advertising to put all kinds of things in every pocket imaginable before snapping the picture. Ever see the Lands’ End briefcase in their catalog? Now that was a joke. (Great bag, stupid photos.)

  24. afrix says:

    Moderators, please take note of these comments.

  25. chiieddy says:

    @AceKicker: We drive up from Boston to the LL Bean store at least 2x a year. Sometimes on our way to or from Acadia, sometime just because. Love that store.

  26. Legal_Eagle_In_Training says:

    As soon as I walk into one of their stores, I immediately start planning this big camping trip and scoping out all the things I need to buy.

    Then I walk out of the store and back into the mall and realize that I like central a/c too much to part with it for a week of peeing in the bushes.

  27. Michi430 says:

    You know you grew up in New England when, the first thing you think of when you see this is “why would I buy a new LL Bean backpack, the one I got in 6th grade is still in great shape.” That was 17 years ago!! Seriously awesome company.

  28. synergy says:

    I see people do this all the time. I always ball up my fists to keep from nabbing it then handing it back to them a block or two later for an object lesson.

  29. MissPeacock says:

    @Spaceman Bill Leah: I’m going to throw in a Jansport back-pack plug here. I bought mine during my freshman year of college in late 1997 and it’s STILL going strong. No tears, rips, holes, anything. I only use it now when I go on trips, but it’s been FANTASTIC. I think I paid $60 for it at the time of purchase.

  30. Garbanzo says:

    Hmm. I could get away with this if I wanted. I carry my bag a block on a non-busy street from my car to work. Otherwise it mostly travels from the curb or driveway of private homes inside, then back out.

    Not *everyone* is wearing their backpack on crowded public transit for hours each day.

  31. Xerloq says:

    For a minute I had LL Bean mixed up with Land’s End. I though Consumerist had gone nuts saying this was the worst complaint, completely forgetting the association with Sears/KMart… then I realized it’s just me.

    I like LL Bean.

  32. TheBusDriver says:

    @JerBearHtL42: I don’t believe you…please prove you live in Maine by providing your address, and directions from Boston. Thanks.

  33. weakdome says:

    My mother still has that phone. STILL.

  34. unpolloloco says:

    Really depends on the situation. I went to a high school where you could literally leave everything you owned in the middle of the hallway, and nothing would be touched except the pens/pencils – which would be immediately borrowed

  35. chrrey103 says:

    These bags arent big enough for school. My kids would need 3 of them to bring home their homework. I guess they are just for your electronics.

  36. sing_michael_sing says:

    Additionally, L.L. Bean’s return/fix policy is fantastic. My dad bought a jacket there in the 1980s. 20 years later, the lining is work and the zipper doesn’t work – he brings it in, they fix it up good as new for free.

  37. DjDynasty says:

    L.L. Bean’s store is open 24/7/365 with no locks on the doors. Maine is the most trusting place on the planet!

  38. grapedog says:


    Lol…that reminds me of that old SNL skit…

    “Announcer: From Boston Mass, right off the Mass Turnpike, it’s What’s The Best Way – All right, here’s your host, Stanley Sperrow –

    Stanley Sperrow: Hello, welcome to What’s the Best Way, the only game show by New Englanders, for New Englanders. Ok folks, ready to play?”

  39. SpdRacer says:

    @AceKicker: Reminds me of when I was younger and we would go to the U.P. and visit grandma, we would pack snow over our license plate so they wouldn’t know we were from out-of-state. They would do shit to out-of-state cars, well, just because.

  40. jgodsey says:

    I am ‘J’ and I agree, in most parts of MAINE you can do such naive things, the parts with out all tourists. I don’t live in Maine and I leave my keys in my truck ALL the time. I was just kinda shocked that someone didn’t catch that photo.

  41. Ragman says:

    @MissPeacock: I’ll back you on the Jansport packs. I had one for 7 years (4 in college, 3 of work), heavy use, carried full loads easily 20+ pounds daily in school. I carried it single strap, alternating each semester for my back, and never had a strap problem. I had to toss it b/c the zipper teeth finally wore down so much that they’d pull apart at the top of the bag. Still have the wife’s pack from 1992 that I told her to get at the time. $60 well spent on a padded back and leather bottom pack. I also have a Samsonite, Ogio, and an eBags that I like very much, although they do not see the use my old Jansport had.

    LL Bean does make some quality gear. And yeah, I’ve actually seen people walking around with calculators, keys and cells in the mesh pouches of their bags at college in the past few years. Way back when I was in jr high, I got a bag that had pencil slots on the outside. First thing I though was that I’d never make it to my locker before the pencils got stolen – or if I’d even make it inside the building, for that matter.

  42. Soulgenesis says:

    @chrrey103: wow. what are kids learning these days? xD

    all i had on me for the entirety of high school and college was a 1/2″ binder and a notebook.

    i’m guessing they don’t have lockers in school anymore?

  43. Moosehawk says:

    What in the hell do you need 8 pockets for anyway? (see: right description)

  44. mac-phisto says:

    @JerBearHtL42: no kidding! my uncle had to rummage around 3 neighbor’s kitchens while they weren’t home before he found his lobster pot (that they borrowed when he wasn’t home).

    his grumblings about having to hunt down his pot made me chuckle a bit considering how strange leaving your house unlocked & open to your neighbors is to “foreigners”.

  45. chrrey103 says:

    They do have lockers but they have tons of homework they have to carry home. Last year my daughter brought home 3 huge books everynight. My son is supposed to but I rarely see his. Unfortunately, the rolling bookbags aren’t “cool”. I just ordered a Jansport so I am glad to hear the reviews. Old Navy is also very sturdy.

  46. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    @Shannon: I dunno, that one on the left definitely looks like it’s being worn by a kid at school.

    Besides, losing your phone in the wilderness because it falls out of the mesh pocket it was hanging out of isn’t exactly fun either.

  47. JohnOB1 says:

    @chiieddy: Here, Here Chiieddy!

  48. @Spaceman Bill Leah: Yes. I actually bought a new one when a single zipper wore out on my old one after 10 years, even though they offer the lifetime replacement warranty, because I felt like, dammit, I used it every day, and 4 years of high school, 4 years of college, 2 years of lawschool, 2 continents, 11 countries, and 3 cars later, I HAD GOTTEN MY $48.50 WORTH AND THEY DESERVED MY DAMN MONEY FOR A NEW ONE.

    I also have an Eddie Bauer flannel shirt that’s still with me, that has been on a similar life/world tour. Only I didn’t wear it daily after grunge went out. :D But it’s been a raincoat, blanket, pillow, sweater, hobo carryall, collared shirt to tour the cathedrals of Europe ….

    Hooray for high quality!

  49. @snoop-blog: You can have mine. Well, 2 years ago you could have.

    Technically, I already gave it away my orange manbag. Not because it was orange and awesome, but because there’s just something unmanly about cute cashiers asking me where I bought my purse, or when your friend’s girlfriend buys one in a different color.

  50. Marshfield says:


    “a week of peeing in the bushes”

    — that’s one of the best things about camping!!!

  51. Jabberkaty says:

    @JerBearHtL42: I live in Maine, too. Lock my car and house… And just in case some would-be thieves think that Maine is easy pickins, most locals have at least one type of gun in their house (if they live north of Portland).

  52. brandyk says:

    LL Bean is the awesomest of the most awesome. If you have a problem, call their number, it rings maybe once, you talk to a person, who then proceeds to fix your problem in about two minutes flat.

  53. brandyk says:

    um, that would be a problem with LL Bean stuff. Don’t call LL Bean if you have general life issues :)

  54. williehorton says:

    I’m so glad they don’t make “concealed-carry” holsters and fanny packs.

  55. Legal_Eagle_In_Training says:

    @Marshfield: I remember camping once as a kid. Once. I went to go do my ‘business’ in the bushes and ending up not squatting/positioning myself right (I’m a girl) and proceeded to pee down my leg and soak my slouch sock. Thank god they were orange…

  56. redheadedstepchild says:

    @Shannon: Somebody already asked if you have been to Maine.

  57. redheadedstepchild says:

    I used to live next to an LL Bean outlet. They had a big clearance sale, on some items. I noticed a nice GoreTex XCR jacket that usually sold for $345 had been marked down to like $68. I went to the register, it rang up at like $200. Manager looks at the tag, and the rack of jackets, and says, oh, those are in the wrong place, but gives me the jacket at 68. And then helps me snag 6 others, at the same price, that I ebayed.

  58. Snakeophelia says:

    People “down East” are just unbelievably trusting. I wanted to buy a bunch of local pottery from a store on North Haven Island during one visit, but I didn’t have my checkbook with me and the ATM wouldn’t be open before the ferry left. The store’s owner just said, “Oh, mail us a check when you get back home.” And no, she didn’t write down my bank or driver’s license number or anything. Just let me walk out of her store with $150 worth of stuff on a wink and a promise.

    Of course, I mailed her the check. I also sent her note asking her to please NEVER visit Philadelphia (where I live), because I would hate to see what would happen when such a trusting soul met people living in the urban world.

  59. Superawesomerad says:

    Maine’s great as long as you’re on the coast. Everything else in that state is a straight-up hellhole. The presence of L.L. Bean does not mitigate this.

  60. mac-phisto says:

    @Superawesomerad: & as an expatriate, i think i can speak for (most) maniacs by saying, “thanks for visiting our coast, not straying west of the turnpike, nor north of bar harbor & feel free to leave the way you came, twice as fast as you got here.”

  61. Amelie says:

    I love llbean: Great quality, good customer service and basic products. I have their credit card which gets you free shipping and free returns.

  62. algormortis says:

    My linegar bag’s an L.L. Bean. When i was back east not long ago, my mom and i made the pilgrimage to Freeport, and i enjoyed showing off my 12-year-old bag to the Customer Service desk, replete with my name embroidered on it. They enjoyed it too.

    If you know what happens to a gear bag in the telecom world, on top of it serving me through undergrad, grad, and 2 years in the real world, you know what an awesome product they make.

  63. @brandyk: That why I will never have OnStar because when I had a rental car with OnStar, the temptation to push the button and go “I’m lonely — Tell me a story!” was almost overwhelming.

  64. stuny says:

    LL Bean will give refunds for anything at anytime. EXCEPT (coincidentally to this article) BACKPACKS. It seems people in the colleges in Maine would steal other students’ backpacks and take them back to the store for cash. So they started requiring receipts for refunds because of this ‘trend’!

  65. stuny says:

    Oh, and another wacky thing about LL Bean. As I said, you can return anything at any time. However they offer a service where you send your old, worn out, stinky Bean Boots back to them and pay to have either the tops replaced or the bottoms. So now you have a pair of 10 year old tops with new soles, or destroyed old rubber bottoms with shiny new leather tops.

    Hey, either return them for free if they are defective, or buy a shiny new pair, but don’t replace HALF of your boot!

  66. 17-A says:

    Actually, L.L. Bean backpacks can be very secure. Their pockets have double zippers that easily accomodate padlocks even heavier than the ones that come with your luggage!
    …Yes, I have done this. I was in Honduras. …Yes, people made fun of me. …You’re going to make fun of me now too, aren’t you?

  67. katyism says:


    What’s your street address?

  68. ppiddy says:

    @Snakeophelia: I dunno. Most people are decent enough that if you show them kindness it’ll be returned. I’d venture that even in any major city, if you asked a random person to mail you a check for some merchandise you sold them, they’d do it. It’s like what you tell your kid if they get lost: walk up to the first nice looking (lady) person you see…don’t wait for someone to notice you look lost and offer to help.

    Now, if if you advertise the fact that people can leave with merchandise and ‘just mail in a check’ you’ll get thieves no matter where you are.

    L.L. Bean is awesome and stands by their stuff. FWIW, Lands End has the same sort of no-questions-asked-return-it-anytime policy and is great to deal with.