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L.L.Bean Gear Review: Kennebec Shirt with Insect Shield

June 29, 2009

– Howdy Up’North enthusiasts!

The first review of L.L.Bean gear this week is of the Kennebec Shirt with Insect Shield. Knowing the black flies and mosquitoes are something to be reckoned with in northern Maine, the fine people at Bean’s sent me a few shirts to see if they could withstand the test.

L.L.Bean Kennebec Shirt with Insect Shield

L.L.Bean Kennebec Shirt with Insect Shield

Many people use a large variety insect repellents to battle the elements in the north Maine woods. While each one might swear by their favorite brand, simply using a repellent is seldom enough when the flies get thick. To make matters worst, the harsh chemicals are not only harmful to the skin, but also do a great job of destroying fly line and mono.

The Kennebec shirt with insect shield is a great alternative to harsh insect repellents. Made of a unique blend of cotton and polyester, the fabric is treated with insect shield, an odorless, scentless repellent that L.L.Bean claims will stay affective for up to 70 washings.

My first impression when I put on the shirt was how comfortable the unique material was. It is extremely light weight and breathable, making it a fine choice for warm summer days. Built in sleeve tabs make sure your rolled up sleeves stay up and out of the way, which is something I’ve grown to appreciate greatly the more I wear the Kennebec shirt in the field. The shirt also has many useful pockets that are ideal for tippet spools, small fly boxes, and a fishing license, while two tabs allow for easy, attachment of zingers or a perfect place to clam forceps. The D-Ring on the back is also a nice touch for those who wish to carry a net. With so many technical features, the shirt still manages to keep a low profile, which means snagging fly lines around the edges of pockets and sleeves is an annoyance of the past.

The Kennebec shirt in action, protecting me from the flies!

The Kennebec shirt in action, protecting me from the flies!

For a technical shirt, the Kennebec shirt also makes a fine casual dress shirt, and has drawn many compliments on several occasions in non-fishing environments. (Translation: The ladies digg it) My only true complaint with the Kennebec shirt is with the sizing. Normally my size for shirts of this type is an extra large, but in this case I would strongly consider going down a size. While it fits nicely around the shoulders, the shirt is much longer than I expected, making it difficult to tuck in. Luckily, simply ordering a size smaller than you normally would should solve this rather irritating problem.

The biggest selling point of the Kennebec Shirt is most certainly the insect shield. The invisible shield works surprisingly well at keeping away black flies and mosquitoes. Clouds of mosquitoes were no match for the Kennebec, and I noticed a huge difference when wearing the shirt. While it does not protect bare skin completely, it does prevent flies from landing, which cuts down significantly on the ones that tend to stick around and bite the hell out of fishermen. Combined with the Adirondack hat, the need for spray on or lotion fly repellent is nearly obsolete, although leaving it behind is a risk only a foolish man would take in the thick woods of the North.

I give the Kennebec shirt 4 of 5 stars. It excels in functionality, while faltering only slightly in sizing and fit. Still, durability is top notch and the unique fabric is not only extremely comfortable but also great at keeping the bugs away. I would recommend this shirt to any fisherman who needs a hand when the fish aren’t the only ones biting, just make sure you buy it one size down from what you would normally purchase.

Two thumbs up L.L.Bean, my bite free skin thanks you greatly.

For more information on the Kennebec shirt, and L.L.Bean’s complete line of Insect Shield clothing, click HERE!

Tight Lines,


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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 2, 2009 5:33 am

    One size down? That would be a welcomed change.

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