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Battle Tested: The 11 Best Field Jackets

Field Jackets are a relatively new phenomenon, being far less than 100 years old. They began in WWII with the M-1941 coat worn into combat. These were later updated and refined for the Korean and Vietnam wars, when soldiers were suddenly faced with monsoon season in the Asian jungle. Needing something that could carry extra ammo, supplies, smokes, and breathe well while guarding against the ever-present damp, boys in uniform were given M-1965 (or just M-65) jackets. These were longer coverings with a multitude of pockets that have now become ubiquitous the world over. Everyone, everywhere, anytime can wear a field jacket, and should.

What Makes a Field Jacket

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It can be difficult to determine what exactly is a field jacket. Since the days of combat, they’ve changed tremendously. You can still find the G.I. style in olive drab, but you’ll also find there’s plenty that are as natty as a blazer. You can go for a rumpled military surplus aesthetic as easily as four-star general visiting the war front. Basically, four pockets on the front, and a lightweight but still protective exterior define this kind of clothing. The same way that extra side pockets make up a pair of cargo pants, it’s storage space that largely sets these apart.

How To Pick A Good Field Jacket

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Since we could list great options all day long, it’s simpler to familiarize yourself with this guide on choosing a field jacket. While we can tell you the 11 best field jackets, it helps to know exactly what you’re looking for.

Dockers Wool Melton Military Jacket

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Minimum Effort: Dockers usually knows little more than khakis, which is why it’s a shock to see this smooth, minimalist piece come under its label. Low on cost, it’s not as heavy as some, and won’t outlive your grandchildren. It will, conversely, feel good with a wool, nylon, and rayon blend, look dashing both near and far, and stash all your EDC gear with space to spare. Purchase: $90+

Alpha Industries M-65 Field Coat

bennevisclothing.com

Soft & Strong: Just like a real man, Alpha Industries is the best of both worlds. The hardware is combat ready and can take a serious pounding. The dense cotton blend fabric is gentle on the skin, able to be worn year round in any conditions. Though very close to a true M-65, this field coat bears a few enhancements, such as concealed hood, and drawstring adjustments to make it even more pleasurable to wear than the original. Purchase: $100+

Bonobos Lightweight Military Jacket

Wanelo

Work Wear: The trend of men’s clothing has been sliding toward casual since hats ceased to be a workplace requirement. In this vein, Bonobos has devised a slim-cut navy blazer capable of being worn in place of a blazer or sport coat. Capable of going from an office to a job site to a hunting party, it might be all the top layer you need. Purchase: $138

Orvis Hawker Jacket

Amazon.com

Offspring: Orvis has forgotten more about field jackets than most brands ever bother to learn. The Hawker shows exactly how adept Orvis is. The build feels like the sweet child of a stunning mountaineering coat and the trench fighting skill of an M-65. Cotton is used for the body, giving it the ability to breathe and wick away moisture. The collar is corduroy, for a comfortable feel that also maintains a static internal temperature. Purchase: $189

Hamlin Field Jacket

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Spring Showers: Instead of the typical cotton or canvas build, Hamlin’s offering is constructed of Taslon. This is a breathable nylon shell that cuts moisture and sheds snow. The quadruple bellows pockets have a more urbane appearance, with two in the standard location, and two disappearing into zippered compartments on either side. Purchase: $195

ISAORA M-65 Tech Shell Jacket

acquiremag.com

Just Dandy: It’s always interesting when a technical brand known for contemporary outfitting decides to take a new twist on an old classic. The 60’s jacket DNA is easy to spot, with the bellows pockets. What isn’t as apparent is the triple layer of stretch nylon that allows this to move with activity, keep you toasty, and look Wall Street professional all at once. Purchase: $259

The Algonquin Field Jacket

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Hunter/Killer: This goes even further back than the M-65. It’s made with an eye toward hunting gear made in the early 20th century. The mixture doesn’t stop there, as it also borrows from English sporting jackets, and uses Japanese canvas for a look that spans uses, geography, and time. Purchase: $297

Cockpit USA Men M-65 Cotton Field Jacket

Amazon.com

True Original: Cockpit makes their M-65 to the precise specs that were put out when these first landed in the hands of fighting men overseas. Though that makes them sound out of date, in fact this is a “don’t make them like they used to” situation where older is superior. If you want true to form field wear, this is it. Purchase: $314

Filson Tin Cloth Field Jacket

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Time Honored: Filson is the working person’s brand of choice for gear that can live forever under dire conditions. It’s burly and heavy, made to fight winter chills. The collar is pure virgin wool that will having you flipping your collar up just for the experience. Custom brass zippers mark the center and side pockets, and if you need more warmth, Filson’ zip-in liners slide into the Tin Cloth like the cows coming home. Purchase: $450

Schott Wool Blend Field Jacket

nordstrom.com

Onion Up: A glorious wool blend that feels as good as it looks, and works better than both, Schott has brought all their high-end heritage leather know-how to bear on this piece. Made to be layered when the chill gets biting, and worn alone during the crisp months, what you see is very much what you get. And if you don’t see magic, look closer. Purchase: $460

 

Arc’teryx Veilance Field Jacket

hues.co.jp

Big Spender: It’s difficult to call any piece of outerwear with this hefty a price worth the money, but if anything does, it’s the Veilance. Six pockets with an obscene amount of storage, coupled with upgraded stretch nylon, all filled with the Antarctic-grade insulation that Arc’Teryx is known for give this a lot of value for those who can afford it. Purchase: $1,300

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