This vest has several nifty features, including surprisingly deep zippable pockets in the front and extra length incorporated into the back of the garment that prevents it from riding up when you are on your bike. It feels good and looks good when you wear it.
The main feature that L.L. Bean touts that differentiates the Ridge Runner vest from the competition, however, is the built-in Illuminex technology. This is a narrow 15-inch band across your back that can be set to either blink or glow steadily when activated for an added measure of safety. The lighting unit is powered by a small three-volt lithium battery and can be removed at any time. However, this feature is more gimmicky than effective in my experience as the steady glow or blink is not particularly bright or eye-catching to people who approach from the rear.
The vest we tried was outfitted in high-visibility yellow, a day-glo color so bright I'm convinced it could be seen from outer space. You won't be able to sneak up on anybody when wearing it, but that's a good thing when you're riding and want to make sure you're not being missed on the road.
Other Noteworthy Details
With a nylon shell and polyester jersey lining, this vest is very lightweight. That's a positive in that you won't overheat while wearing it, but don't buy this vest if you are specifically looking for something to help keep you warm.
The vest comes in several other colors, including black, red, blue and green -- carbon, colonial red, deep sapphire and forest moss in Bean lingo. Though these base colors are more subdued than the hi-viz yellow, L.L. Bean added reflective piping on the sides and back of the collars for improved visibility at night.
Specs - L.L. Bean Ridge Runner Vest
- Nylon shell with FieldSensor wicking lining to pull moisture away from your skin
- Illuminex lighting unit powered by a 3-volt lithium battery in low-profile back pocket with steady and flashing modes.
- Back vent and mesh panels under the arms
- Two zippered pockets
- Adjustable hems
- Reflective piping on seams and back of collars
- Large back length -- 28½"
- Colors: Carbon, Colonial Red, Deep Sapphire, Forest Moss and Hi-Vis Yellow