Field jackets are one of the few pieces of men’s clothing that you can buy (and wear) any time of the year. Whether you need something for chilly spring evenings, summer travel or winter layering, we suggest considering a new field jacket. Not sure where to start? Unsure where these jackets even came from? Read on. In this article we’ll outline the following:
- The history of field jackets
- How to pick a field jacket
- The best men’s field jackets to buy right now
The History of Field Jackets
Field jackets have seen a huge resurgence lately thanks to 70s/80s nostalgia and menswear’s never-ending love affair with military-inspired clothing. As fashion connoisseurs have pointed out, the military is menswear’s most prolific designer, with staples like boots, chinos, modern suits and even T-shirts (that’s right) all being adaptations of military uniforms over the decades.
Field jackets were first introduced by the US military in World War II as a lighter, more wind and water-resistant alternative to the wool coats worn in World War I. The jacket was a huge success, as it was standard-issue until 2009. Now, it’s a rugged fashion staple you can see on everyone from Jay-Z to Tom Ford.
How to Pick a Field Jacket
When choosing a field jacket, your main consideration should be its purpose. Will you be using it as protection in the wilderness? A go-to office coat? Or maybe somewhere in-between? Because they’ve been around a while now, field jackets are offered with a wide variety of styles, purposes and price points. Be sure to check the thickness and weatherproof abilities (i.e. fabric, concealed hood, etc.) as well as pocket set up for maximum utility.
To narrow down the search for a great men’s field jacket, we’ve categorized the coats and found the best option for your needs. Check them out below.
1. Vuori Ripstop Jacket
Cali-based Vouri’s clothing combine style and functionality. Take their field jacket AKA the Ripstop. Made with stretch, it has a Teflon coating woven into the fabric. That extra touch helps stains bounce off and keeps the cotton-blend fabric supple. This makes this the best field jacket not only for taking long walks in the wild but for travel and commuting, too. The field jacket comes in cool hues like this dark copper (shown), oregano ( sage-green) and black.
2. Goodthreads Military Jacket
Unlike leather jackets or peacoats, you can pick up a field jacket for well under $100. Case-in-point: this jacket from Goodthreads. It clocks in at just $50 but still showcases an authentic military look and a solid cotton build. It’s also very versatile style-wise. This, combined with the low price tag makes it a great travel companion because you can wear it with almost anything, and you don’t need to worry too much about damaging or losing it.
3. Aether Shadow Jacket
BEST MINIMALIST DESIGN
Cleanly tailored, this field jacket is for those who like slimmed-down, utilitarian style. And yes, that trend is going strong. The Shadow jacket has two front chest pockets, a small, but useful pocket on one sleeve, and two hand pockets that are on the side seams. Made from cotton twill, this is a jacket you can wear for spring, summer, and fall.
4. Bonobos Nylon Field Jacket
BEST FOR TRAVEL
Bonobos started out making casual men’s pants and have swiftly moved to making everything for guys. Their stuff has a comfortable lived-in feel. Their styles are always on-point. It’s that mix that finds guys wearing their stuff out of the office because it looks and feels so good. This is all especially true with their field jacket. Fully quilted on the inside and water-repellant on the outside, this jacket can go wherever you roam. There’s an interior drawcord waistband, so you can make it loose-fitting over big sweaters, or tighter over a button-down. Also, inside is a pocket to stash your wallet or phone. Pick it up in black or olive.
5. Alpha Industries M-65 Mod Deco Field Coat
BEST FOR WEEKENDS
When it comes to outwear that outlast trends, is well made and can easily become your “go-to” jacket, we always head on over to Alpha Industries. They’ve been making stuff for the military for years, you know they need durable stuff. Alpha’s consumer line is just as well constructed and looks cool no matter when or where you wear it. Their M-65 field jacket’s modeled on the military one. It’s unisex and has a hood that’s tucked into the collar —unzip it when it rains. There are four spacious outer pockets that can hold almost everything. It’s water-resistant, and to protect you even more from crappy weather, there’s a zipper and snaps. Nothing’s gonna get between you and that jacket.
6. Canada Goose Forester Jacket
By including a waxed cotton canvas and upper pockets, the Orvis Men’s Heritage Field Coat is capable of keeping you comfortable during most outdoor pursuits. Whether you’re hunting, fishing or just hanging out with friends, you’ll find that this sturdy jacket repels rain and briars with ease. It’s available in several colors and sports two further front-facing pockets for keeping your personal effects close at hand. For added comfort, the jacket features gusseted underarm panels with grommets for ventilation. These elements also help maintain a comfortable temperature inside the coat.
7. Helly-Hansen Mens Elements Waterproof Windproof Field Jacket
BEST FOR RAINY DAYS
Back in 1877, Norwegian sea captain Helly Juell Hanson and his wife, Margrethe made oilskin clothing for sailors. The brand branched out to ski and cold-weather gear. If anyone knows how to keep warm when it’s incredibly, icy cold, it’s the Norwegians. Their average winter temperature is 19 degrees. This hooded field jacket protects you against miserable rain and cold. Their field jacket is 100% waterproof and has sealed seams so that nothing leaks in. The cuffs are adjustable, and there’s an anti-chafe chin guard. Four front button flap pockets keep items dry.
8. Superdry Premium Four Pocket Field Jacket
If you’re looking for a stylish jacket and want to stand out from the crowd, the Superdry Premium Four Pocket Field Jacket could be the right choice for you. It sports an appearance very much inspired by old-style field jackets but has a sharp, streamlined look which feels more fresh and modern. This outstanding design makes the jacket ideal for casual and smart-casual occasions.
9. Burberry Ascott Quilted Field Jacket
By including Burberry’s signature lining and a beautiful, diamond-quilted pattern on the exterior, this Burberry Ascott Quilted Field Jacket offers an appealing balance of style and comfort. The front of the jacket sports a zipper and button closure along with four individual snap pockets that complete the look and provide a handy place to keep essential items. For additional comfort, the snap cuffs and collar allow you to securely close up exposed areas when it’s cold outside for a more toasty feel inside.
10. Frame Vintage Military Jacket
Is casually elegant an oxymoron? Not when it comes to Frame’s jacket. While the style is very weekend, very relaxed, the tailoring is elegant and modern. This field jacket has epaulets on the shoulders, a hidden placket front, big pockets and a drawstring hem.
11. Marc New York by Andrew Marc Canal Diamond Quilted Four Pocket Field Lightweight Jacket
On the flip-side of hardcore weatherproof is lightweight, city-ready field jackets such as this one from Marc New York by Andrew Marc. It’s made of a polyester that’s designed to fend off spring breezes and autumn chills, making it an excellent piece for your transition wardrobe. We also love the navy coloring as it tends to go with more clothing pieces, especially jeans.
12. Alpha Industries Men’s M-65 Defender Field Coat
Alpha Industries is the real deal. They’re one of the US military’s actual contracts, supplying outerwear such as this very jacket, the M-65. So if you’re looking for a genuine field coat, this is a great purchase. And for a real piece of military gear, the jacket is surprisingly stylish and wearable in civilian life. The jacket is highly customizable for any weather conditions with a concealed hood in the collar, drawstrings at hood, waist and hem and even a removable lining for just the right amount of warmth.
13. Heron Preston Camouflage Print Jacket
BEST STREET STYLE PICK
Another great high-end pick is this camouflage jacket from Heron Preston. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, it was launched in 2016 by its namesake, Heron Preston, who gained notoriety through collaborations with Nike and Kanye West. We’re big fans of Preston’s field jacket because it’s at the cutting edge of street style trends with a bold orange logo, camo pattern and a baggy military-inspired silhouette.