Gray’s Best 2017

(River Travelers, by Chet Reneson)

ACCESSORIES & APPAREL: L.L. Bean Maine Warden Day Pack

llbeanbagL.L. Bean is best known for two things: classic Duck Boots and great value. The same purpose-driven philosophy that inspired Leon Leonwood to fashion rubber and leather into the affordable footwear that has kept Bean’s customers warm and dry for more than 100 years has its latest manifestation in the Maine Warden Day Pack ($99). Designed with input from state game wardens, the pack is a tribute both to the hardest working men and women in the outdoors as well as to L.L. Bean’s value proposition. At only $99, the pack is loaded with great features, including a large main compartment with internal bladder pouch; a roomy and waterproof secondary compartment for maps and electronics (or a citation book!); a fleece-lined back pocket on the posterior of an adjustable stash pouch; and two sleekly gusseted side pockets, one of which is tunnel-constructed for carrying long items, such as a fly rod or tripod. The bottom panel is waterproof for riding on the floor of a canoe or sitting in snow, and it features two adjustable straps for a tarp or jacket. The articulated back panels are raised and amply padded to ride cool and comfortable across hill and dale. Shoulder straps are ergonomically contoured, with an easily adjustable chest strap. And from the olive drab rip-stop shell to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife patch on the back, it is aesthetically distinctive. L.L. Bean donates $2 from the sale of each pack to DIFW. So if you are looking for a sporty day pack at a great price, do yourself and Maine wildlife a favor and consider this bag.