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Best budget parka (L.L Bean vs. Eddie Bauer vs. Lands' End vs. ...)?

isealbz

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I'm looking for a parka for under $250. I've narrowed it down to the following three (all on sale):
I'm having a hard time deciding between them and picking a color. I'm leaning toward the Lands' End in radiant navy, but I'm reluctant because (i) unlike the other two, it doesn't seem to have draw strings at the waist and (ii) the buttons on the pockets look like they could be annoying.

If you've had experience with one or more of them, which would you recommend, in what color, and why? What are the relative advantages and disadvantages? Would you recommend some other budget parka instead?

Also, if anyone owns one and has any pictures, please share! More pictures would be helpful.

Thanks!
 
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jayvee

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Have you looked at the mountain equipment parka? It looked quite good to me when I saw it in store and seems quite well regarded in online reviews. I liked it because it was a bit longer than normal so good for a taller gent. In the end I found a great deal on the EU woolrich parka so I got that and I’d certainly recommend it.
 

isealbz

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Thanks for the input, and sorry for the slow response. Here's an update.

I initially gave the Lands' End a shot. It is a nice jacket. I like that many of the pockets are lined with fleece on both sides to keep your hands warm. I also like that the jacket is long and provides good coverage.

However, as some reviewers have pointed out, there isn't much insulation in the arms and the zipper is very annoying. Those weren't dealbreakers for me. For me, the main downside of the jacket is that the hood is kind of short. As a result, when I adjust the hood to keep the faux fur out of my eyes, the weight of the jacket hangs from my head rather than my shoulders, which is extremely uncomfortable. I also don't like that the hood doesn't hang very far back when you're not wearing it, which means that the faux fur kind of scratches your neck. I decided to return the jacket for these reasons.

I went with the L.L. Bean next. It seems to be much higher quality than the Lands' End, and the hood is much more comfortable (plus removable). The snaps are much better than the velcro and buttons on the Lands' End, and it has additional pockets (e.g., one right behind the storm flap on the front of the jacket). It is definitely bulkier than the Lands' End, which could be a pro or con depending on how you look at it. The only downsides, so far as I can tell, are that none of the pockets are lined with fleece on both sides, the snap pockets on the front aren't lined at all, and the jacket is slightly shorter than I'd like it to be.

I'm just conflicted on the color, because I'm not crazy about any of the options. I ordered it in two different sizes/colors: black and Kelp Green Heather. The black one, a size down from what I usually wear, fits better. So, if I wanted to go with green, I'd have to do an exchange. I'm also somewhat tempted by the Charcoal Heather, which apparently looks less dark than it looks on the L.L. Bean website. I like the black, I'm just worried that it's too stark and/or generic. Then again, since I don't own any other heavy winter jackets right now, maybe it's better to go with black.

Any input on color for a parka?
 
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