LL Bean Tek O2 2.5L Element Jacket Review
- Three pockets
- Pit zips help with breathability
- Good weight to features ratio
- Least refined function
- Noisy fabric
- Early 2000s looking design
The LL Bean Tek O2 2.5L Element Jacket is a retro style jacket that fits well and performed well in both breathability and weather shedding. It represents a good value for solid performance; even though it’s the heaviest shell in this category it’s still only 13 ounces. It may not be sexy, but it is a good choice for a casual rain shell when helmet compatibility is not necessary.
The Tek O2 2.5L Element Jacket does not have a helmet compatible hood. Without a helmet the hood fits snug, adjusts easily and follows head movement. The jacket deflected plenty of rain without issues thanks to fabric flaps protecting the front and hand pocket zips. The chest pocket uses a waterproof zipper.
LL Bean calls the Tek O2 2.5L Element Jacket their most breathable waterproof shell. It does a good job, especially for the price. Pit zips help kick up the cooling to higher level.
Despite a feature set and look that would look cutting edge 15 years ago—big ugly Velcro tabs on the wrist, front flap over main zip—the jacket fit really nicely and comes well equipped. The chest pocket is a nice touch that most other jackets here don’t have. An internal sleeve pocket is handy, especially for storing a music player. And the fit is well proportioned and doesn’t hike up when reaching.
The Tek O2 2.5L Element Jacket is the toughest feeling of the jackets in this category, it’s also backed by LL Bean’s excellent return policy. The ripstop fabric is lightweight but solid.
Even as the heaviest shell in the category the Tek O2 2.5L Element Jacket still packs pretty small albeit a larger than the others. It only weighs 13 ounces, which is not a lot more than any other here, but it comes with the most features like pit zips and three pockets.
How We Tested It
The Gear Institute’s hiking expert conducted a thorough test of this season’s 2.5 layer storm shells. With 2016 being the rainiest fall in more than 30 years in the Pacific Northwest, testing conditions were ideal for this test. A group of testers hiked, biked, and backpacked while wearing the jackets in pounding rain, steady mist, sideways blowing storms, and every other possible way to describe liquid precipitation.
For more reviews beyond this 2017 test, check out our Best Hard Shell Jackets of 2017, Best Hybrid Jackets of 2017, Best Soft Shell Jackets of 2017, along with other related hiking and camping gear tests.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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